Cochrane Summaries

Trusted evidence. Informed decisions. Better health.

No current evidence for an improvement in memory or other aspects of cognitive function of non-demented older people following DHEA supplements

Grimley Evans J, Malouf R, Huppert FAH, Van Niekerk JK
Published Online: 
15 April 2009

The adrenal hormone dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) and its sulphated ester (DHEAS) are together the most abundant of steroid hormones in both sexes. Blood levels are high in young adults and decrease with advancing age. There is some epidemiological evidence that relatively high serum DHEAS levels in males may protect against heart disease and be associated with increased longevity. In the USA there is growing public enthusiasm for DHEA supplementation as a means of retarding ageing and age-associated cognitive impairment but there is very little evidence from controlled trials. In two trials DHEA was associated with a deleterious effect on visual memory after a psychosocial stressor and quality of life measures, but there is inconsistent systematic evidence of adverse effects from DHEA. Longer-term randomized placebo controlled trials are needed for low and high doses.

This record should be cited as: 
Grimley Evans J, Malouf R, Huppert FAH, Van Niekerk JK. Dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) supplementation for cognitive function in healthy elderly people. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2006, Issue 4. Art. No.: CD006221. DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD006221
Assessed as up to date: 
21 July 2008