Dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) is a steroid secreted by the adrenal cortex, with a characteristic, age-related, pattern of secretion. The decline of DHEA concentrations with age has led to the suggestion that old age represents a DHEA deficiency syndrome and that the effects of ageing can be counteracted by DHEA 'replacement therapy'. DHEA is increasingly being used in the USA, outside medical supervision, for its supposed anti-ageing effects. This commentary weighs the evidence for the existence of a DHEA deficiency syndrome and considers the value of DHEA 'replacement therapy'.
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