WASHINGTON The Council for Responsible Nutrition announced Monday that its members have adopted a new voluntary program for responsible marketing of dehydroepiandrosterone, an ingredient in many sports nutrition products also known as DHEA.
Under the new program, CRN members agreed to refrain from marketing DHEA products as providing benefits like those of general anabolic steroids, such as muscle enlargement and increase strength. They also agreed not to market the products to children because the chemical is unlikely to enhance their performance.
“This is an important step forward in self-regulation by the dietary supplement industry, and we encourage other companies to join our members in following these guidelines,” stated CRN President and CEO Steve Mister said. “It’s disturbing to see some of the ads in magazines or online that promote DHEA as if it were a drug or anabolic steroid, when the fact is existing research has not demonstrated that kind of effect.”
In 2004, Congress enacted the Anabolic Steroid Control Act, which placed a number of steroid precursors on the Controlled Substances List. Congress omitted DHEA from the list, recognizing that it doesn’t enhance performance or lead to the abuse, addiction or side effects that anabolic steroids cause. Unlike anabolic steroids, DHEA is natural and is the most common steroid hormone in the body. The body recognizes when it achieves normal hormone levels and ignores additional DHEA.
“Research demonstrates that in young, healthy adults, supplemental DHEA does not affect testosterone levels and does not provide performance-enhancing benefits, therefore, it should not be marketed as having an anabolic steroid effect,” Mister said.
According to Nutrition Business Journal, U.S. annual sales of DHEA are $49 million, CRN said.