Dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate and postmenopausal women


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Abstract

Purpose of reviewLevels of dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) are known to decline with age. In an era of increasing use of supplements to better life, the benefits of DHEA in the aging female population are controversial. The goal of this article is to critically review published studies to determine if there is a role for DHEA supplementation in postmenopausal women.Recent findingsDaily administration of oral DHEA achieves serum concentrations similar to those of women in their 20s. Several observational studies have shown that lower DHEA levels are associated with increased cardiovascular risk in women; however, interventional trials show no improvement in atherosclerosis or cardiovascular risk factors, and a lowering of HDL cholesterol levels. DHEA supplementation modestly increases bone mineral density in conjunction with adjuvant therapies and improves cognition in those with mild-to-moderate cognitive impairment, but does not affect cognition in unimpaired women. Use of intravaginal DHEA, but not oral DHEA, alleviates vaginal atrophy and improves sexual function in postmenopausal women.SummaryOn the basis of current evidence, there is no role for oral DHEA supplementation in healthy, postmenopausal women. Where benefits have been shown, long-term studies are needed to confirm these benefits and verify the safety profile of DHEA.

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