|Figure 1: Changes in Body Weight and Body Composition Before and After 12 months of DHEA |
(data adapted from Weiss. 2011)
The DHEA replacement resulted in small but significant decreases in body fat percentage and total fat mass in the male participants, while the men in the placebo group had small but significant increases. Trunk and appendicular fat masses showed a similar reduction. Abdominal visceral fat, evaluated using MRI, underwent a very small, but statistically significant, decrease in the men in the DHEA group; however, the difference between the changes in visceral fat between the DHEA and placebo groups was not significant. There were no significant changes in body weight in the women in either the DHEA or placebo group. The only significant change in body composition in the women was a small increase in fat free mass in the DHEA group.These results, along with the finding that other than minor increments in both testosterone and estradiol in the male subjects, would suggest that the bodies of the subjects "used" the supplemental DHEA to replenish their age-relatedly low DHEA-sulfate levels and the ensuing effects on previously impaired glucose tolerance and the reduction of inflammatory cytokines TNF-Alpha (-30%) and IL-6 (-31%) could be directly related to the restauration(!) of youthful DHEA levels in the 65 to 75 year-old study participants. The improvements in body composition, which were observed exclusively in the male participants, on the other hand, could be intricately related to the downstream metabolism of DHEA into testosterone. At least, this would explain the lack of significant effects in women, who, nevertheless, gained a small, yet measurable amount of lean body mass in the course of the first 12 month on DHEA (cf. figure 1).
[...] improvements in glucose tolerance in response to DHEA occurred only in those participants who had abnormal glucose tolerance.