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J Am Coll Nutr. 2003 Oct;22(5):363-71.

Ingestion of a dietary supplement containing dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) and androstenedione has minimal effect on immune function in middle-aged men.

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Department of Health and Human Performance, Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa 50011, USA.



This study investigated the effects of four weeks of intake of a supplement containing dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA), androstenedione and herbal extracts on immune function in middle-aged men.


Subjects consumed either an oral placebo or an oral supplement for four weeks. The supplement contained a total daily dose of 150 mg DHEA, 300 mg androstenedione, 750 mg Tribulus terrestris, 625 mg chrysin, 300 mg indole-3-carbinol and 540 mg saw palmetto.


Peripheral blood mononuclear cells were used to assess phytohemagglutinin(PHA)-induced lymphocyte proliferation and cytokine production. The cytokines measured were interleukin (IL)-2, IL-4, IL-10, IL-1beta, and interferon (IFN)-gamma. Serum free testosterone, androstenedione, estradiol, dihydrotestosterone (DHT) were also measured.


The supplement significantly increased serum levels of androstenedione, free testosterone, estradiol and DHT during week 1 to week 4. Supplement intake did not affect LPS or ConA proliferation and had minimal effect on PHA-induced proliferation. LPS-induced production of IL-1beta, and PHA-induced IL-2, IL-4, IL-10, or IFN-gamma production was not altered by the supplement. The addition of the same supplement, DHEA or androstenedione alone to lymphocyte cultures in vitro did not alter lymphocyte proliferation, IL-2, IL-10, or IFN-gamma, but did increase IL-4. In addition, serum HDL-C concentration significantly declined.


These findings suggest that, although chronic intake of a complex dietary supplement containing DHEA, androstenedione and herbal extracts increases serum androgen levels, it has minimal effect on immune function in middle-aged men.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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