Journal Article

The Effect of Oral Dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) on the Urine Testosterone/Epitestosterone (T/E) Ratio in Human Male Volunteers*

Thomas Z. Bosy, Karla A. Moore and Alphonse Poklis

in Journal of Analytical Toxicology

Volume 22, issue 6, pages 455-459
Published in print October 1998 | ISSN: 0146-4760
Published online October 1998 | e-ISSN: 1945-2403 | DOI:
The Effect of Oral Dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) on the Urine Testosterone/Epitestosterone (T/E) Ratio in Human Male Volunteers*

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Dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) is an endogenous androgenic steroid produced by the ovaries and adrenal glands. Research suggests that DHEA can be converted to testosterone in peripheral tissues. Classified as a nutritional supplement, this compound may be purchased without a prescription. The military and international sports organizations prohibit the use of exogenous androgenic/anabolic steroids. Steroid-screening results are considered “positive” when the urinary ratio of testosterone to epitestosterone (T/E), an inactive synthetic byproduct, exceeds 6:1. Human volunteers ingested the recommended daily dose of 50 mg each morning for 30 days to determine if DHEA causes an adverse effect on this ratio. Urinary samples were collected before ingestion and 2–3 h after ingestion. Urine samples were extracted using solid-phase columns and analyzed using a previously developed gas chromatography-mass spectrometry method. T/E results were compared to an average baseline generated from three urine samples obtained before the study. Mean baseline T/E ratios averaged 0.67 for the seven subjects (range 0.1–1.2). The mean T/E ratio after DHEA ingestion ranged from 0.03 to 2.11. Individual postdose T/E ratios ranged from 0.01 to 3.7. The results from these individuals indicate that the administration of DHEA at this dose, for this period of time, has a minimal effect on urine T/E ratios and would not be expected to result in a positive screen for testosterone abuse. One subject agreed to take a single dose of 250 mg. This acute, high dose caused his T/E ratio to increase by 40% relative to the predose value.

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Subjects: Medical Toxicology ; Toxicology (Non-medical)

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