Impact of dehydroepianrosterone (DHEA) supplementation on serum levels of insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1)

Impact of dehydroepianrosterone (DHEA) supplementation on serum levels of insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1) : A dose-response meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials / Min Xie, Yanfa Zhong, Qing Xue, Meirong Wu, Xiaoxian Deng, Heitor O. Santos, Shing Cheng Tan, Hamed Kord-Varkaneh, Peng Jiao. - (Experimental Gerontology 136 (2020) 110949 (15 July);

  • PMID: 32304719
  • DOI: 10.1016/j.exger.2020.110949


Background and aim: Inconsistencies exist with regard to the influence of dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) supplementation on insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1) levels. The inconsistencies could be attributed to several factors, such as dosage, gender, and duration of intervention, among others. To address these inconsistencies, we conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis to combine findings from randomized controlled trials (RCTs) on this topic.

Methods: Electronic databases (Scopus, PubMed/Medline, Web of Science, Embase and Google Scholar) were searched for relevant literature published up to February 2020.

Results: Twenty-four qualified trials were included in this meta-analysis. It was found that serum IGF-1 levels were significantly increased in the DHEA group compared to the control (weighted mean differences (WMD): 16.36 ng/ml, 95% CI: 8.99, 23.74; p = .000). Subgroup analysis revealed that a statistically significant increase in serum IGF-1 levels was found only in women (WMD: 23.30 ng/ml, 95% CI: 13.75, 32.87); in participants who supplemented 50 mg/d DHEA (WMD: 15.75 ng/ml, 95% CI: 7.61, 23.89); in participants undergoing DHEA intervention for >12 weeks (WMD: 17.2 ng/ml, 95% CI: 8.02, 26.22); in participants without an underlying comorbidity (WMD: 19.11 ng/ml, 95% CI: 10.69, 27.53); and in participants over the age of 60 years (WMD: 19.79 ng/ml, 95% CI: 9.86, 29.72).

Conclusion: DHEA supplementation may increase serum IGF-I levels especially in women and older subjects. However, further studies are warranted before DHEA can be recommended for clinical use.


15 April 2020
Deng, Xiaoxian
Jiao, Peng
Kord-Varkaneh, Hamed
Santos, Heitor O.
Tan, Shing Cheng
Wu, Meirong
Xie, Min
Xue, Qing
Zhong, Yanfa
Iran, Islamic Republic of
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Central South University (CSU), China
Dezhou Hospital of Traditional Chinese Medicine
Shahid Beheshti University of Medical Sciences
Universidade Federal de Uberlândia (UFU) - Federal University of Uberlândia
Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM) - National University of Malaysia
Doping classes
S1. Anabolic Agents
Insulin-like Growth Factor-1 (IGF-1)
Prasterone (dehydroepiandrosterone, DHEA, 3β-hydroxyandrost-5-en-17-one)
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Health effects
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Date generated
22 October 2020
Date of last modification
27 October 2020
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