Journal of Applied Physiology

Effect of oral DHEA on serum testosterone and adaptations to resistance training in young men

Gregory A. Brown, Matthew D. Vukovich, Rick L. Sharp, Tracy A. Reifenrath, Kerry A. Parsons, Douglas S. King


This study examined the effects of acute dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) ingestion on serum steroid hormones and the effect of chronic DHEA intake on the adaptations to resistance training. In 10 young men (23 ± 4 yr old), ingestion of 50 mg of DHEA increased serum androstenedione concentrations 150% within 60 min (P < 0.05) but did not affect serum testosterone and estrogen concentrations. An additional 19 men (23 ± 1 yr old) participated in an 8-wk whole body resistance-training program and ingested DHEA (150 mg/day,n = 9) or placebo (n = 10) during weeks 1, 2, 4, 5, 7, and 8. Serum androstenedione concentrations were significantly (P < 0.05) increased in the DHEA-treated group after 2 and 5 wk. Serum concentrations of free and total testosterone, estrone, estradiol, estriol, lipids, and liver transaminases were unaffected by supplementation and training, while strength and lean body mass increased significantly and similarly (P < 0.05) in the men treated with placebo and DHEA. These results suggest that DHEA ingestion does not enhance serum testosterone concentrations or adaptations associated with resistance training in young men.

  • insulin
  • liver transaminases
  • serum lipids
  • serum estrogens
  • strength training


  • Address for reprint requests and other correspondence: D. S. King, Dept. of Health and Human Performance, 248 Forker Bldg., Iowa State University, Ames, IA 50011 (E-mail: dsking{at}

  • This research was supported by Experimental and Applied Sciences.

  • The costs of publication of this article were defrayed in part by the payment of page charges. The article must therefore be hereby marked “advertisement” in accordance with 18 U.S.C. §1734 solely to indicate this fact.

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