Ageing and supplements
MIGHT so-called anti-ageing supplements,
marketed as a way to replenish hormones
that decline with age, help people retain
their physical health?
A study randomly assigned 144 people
(87 men and 57 women) over age 60 to
take one of those supplements -- the steroid
hormone DHEA (dehydroepiandrosterone)
-- or a placebo daily; men also were randomly assigned to wear a skin patch of
testosterone or a placebo.
After two years, blood levels of DHEA
had increased; for men, testosterone levels
also had risen. Bone density had improved
slightly at one of the five body sites where
it was measured.
However, a battery of tests showed no
improvement in muscle strength, physical
performance or the body's ability to lower
glucose levels, and the participants reported no effect on their quality of life. No
harmful side effects were reported.
Who may be affected by these findings?
Caveats: Different doses may produce
different results and different side effects;
some experts say high levels of testosterone or DHEA may increase the risk of
breast and prostate cancer. Long-term
effects of the supplements were not determined.