Recent tests of DHEA supplements by ConsumerLab.com showed that most products contained their claimed amounts of the controversial ingredient, but one provided only 14.7% of its listed amount.
Dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA), a steroid hormone now banned from use by certain athletic organizations and not permitted to be sold in Canada without a prescription, has been touted for its potential to “reverse the aging process” and “increase strength.” You can read my blog, “DHEA for Anti-Aging or other purposes … what’s the truth?” to learn more about DHEA. This is taken from my book, Alternative Medicine: The claims, the options, the evidence, how to choose wisely.
ConsumerLab.com’s new Product Review of DHEA Supplements reviews these claims as well as the quality of products on the market. Sales of DHEA were $55 million in 2009, up 10% from the prior year according to figures from Nutrition Business Journal.
“Levels of DHEA decrease with age, which is why it has been promoted as a ‘fountain of youth,’ said Tod Cooperman, MD, President of ConsumerLab.com.”Several studies have shown that it does not improve strength or general well-being in seniors. But DHEA may improve skin condition, sexual function and libido, and osteoporosis in older individuals.”
Dr. Cooperman warned, however, that, “DHEA has potential side effects and should be used with caution.”
In addition to testing the quality of DHEA supplements, ConsumerLab.com compared the cost to obtain an equal amount (25 mg) of DHEA from the products that passed testing. The cost ranged from 4 cents to as much as 46 cents.
Had the product that failed testing contained its listed amount of DHEA, it would have been the most economical product (3 cents per 25 mg of DHEA). However, based on the amount of DHEA actually found, the cost was 23 cents. “If the price of a supplement seems too good to be true, be wary of it,” Dr. Cooperman added.
The new DHEA report is now available here. The report provides results for twelve products, of which ConsumerLab.com selected ten. Two products were tested at the request of their manufacturers/distributors through CL’s Voluntary Certification Program and are included for having passed testing.
Also listed is one product similar to another that passed testing but sold under a different brand name.
Products included in the report are:
ConsumerLab.com is a leading provider of consumer information and independent evaluations of products that affect health and nutrition. The company is privately held and based in Westchester, New York. It has no ownership from, or interest in, companies that manufacture, distribute, or sell consumer products. ConsumerLab.com is affiliated with PharmacyChecker.com, an evaluator of online pharmacies, and MedicareDrugPlans.com, which reviews and rates Medicare Part D plans. Subscription to ConsumerLab.com is available online.