Influence of DHEA administration on 24-hour cortisol concentrations

Patricia D. Kroboth, Janet A. Amico, Roslyn A. Stone, Maggie Folan, Reginald F. Frye, Frank J. Kroboth, Kristin L. Bigos, Tanya J. Fabian, Ana M. Linares, Bruce G. Pollock, Charles Hakala

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


DHEA is marketed and readily available as a daily nutritional supplement to counteract the effects of aging. The effect of DHEA administration on 24-hour plasma cortisol profiles has not been investigated. In this single-blind placebo-controlled crossover study, the effect of DHEA administration on cortisol concentrations was evaluated in healthy older women and men. Once each morning, subjects took either placebo (Days 1 to 7, and 23 to 29) or oral DHEA 200 mg (Days 8 to 22: doses 1 to 15). Twenty-four hour DHEA and cortisol concentrations were measured on Day 1 (placebo), Day 8 (DHEA dose 1), Day 15 (DHEA dose 8), Day 22 (DHEA dose 15), and Day 29 (placebo washout dose 7). DHEA administration resulted in a decrease in plasma cortisol concentrations (mean, peak, and/or AUC) in healthy older women and men. The cortisol-lowering effect of DHEA was more pronounced in women than in men in our study; pairwise differences in concentrations between days showed that relative to Day 1, cortisol was lower on Days 15, 22, and 29 in women (p = 0.0001) and on Day 15 in men (p = 0.002). The mechanism by which DHEA lowers plasma cortisol concentrations merits further investigation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)96-99
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of clinical psychopharmacology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 2003
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Pharmacology (medical)


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