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DHEA

Clinical Update on Benefits of DHEA

18 years, 6 months ago

8369  0
Posted on Apr 06, 2004, 12 p.m. By Bill Freeman

Dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) along with its form as a sulfate ester (DHEA-S) that serves as a reservoir for DHEA itself, are weak androgens produced primarily by the adrenal gland. Combined, DHEA and DHEA-S are the most abundant adrenal hormones found in human plasma. The peak plasma levels of DHEA and DHEA-S occur at approximately age 25 years, decrease progressively thereafter, and diminish by 95 per cent around the age of 85 years.
Dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) along with its form as a sulfate ester (DHEA-S) that serves as a reservoir for DHEA itself, are weak androgens produced primarily by the adrenal gland. Combined, DHEA and DHEA-S are the most abundant adrenal hormones found in human plasma.

The peak plasma levels of DHEA and DHEA-S occur at approximately age 25 years, decrease progressively thereafter, and diminish by 95 per cent around the age of 85 years.

The decline of DHEA-S concentrations with aging has led to the suggestion that DHEAS could play a role in itself and be implicated in longevity:

- Epidemiological evidence has shown that adult men with high plasma DHEA-S levels are less likely to die of cardiovascular disease.
- DHEA has also been shown to increase the body's ability to transform food into energy and burn off excess fat.
- Recently, researchers discovered important anti-inflammatory properties of DHEA. It was known that DHEA can lower the levels of interleukin-6 (IL-6) and tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-alpha). Since chronic inflammation contributes to the development of the killer diseases of aging, namely ? heart disease, Alzheimer's disease and certain types of cancer, supplementation with DHEA, combined with conventional treatment, has been suggested to be potentially therapeutic for improving the quality of life across a wide range of illnesses.

In February 2004, a team of scientists from the University of Wisconsin (Madison) exposed human neural stem cells to DHEA and yielded some of the world's first direct evidence of the biological effects of DHEA on the human nervous system. DHEA significantly increased cellular division in the cells contained in the lab dish, and increased the number of neurons produced by the stem cells by up to 29%. The researchers observed that, of all the steroids to which the lab stem cells were exposed, DHEA was the only one to have such a direct effect on stem cell growth and new neuron formation. This new research suggests that DHEA may moderate the production of new brain cells as we age, and when taken collectively with previous broad research suggesting the role of DHEA in enhancing the brain and memory, an important potential role of DHEA in cognitive dysfunctions such as senile dementia, including Alzheimer's Disease, is revealed.

Daily DHEA supplementation has also recently been shown to remedy some of the side effects of menopause. During a year-long study in Italy, 20 menopausal women took 25 milligrams of DHEA. Estrogen, testosterone, and dihydrotestosterone increased by between three and four times, while progesterone rose nearly two-fold. Lead researchers Dr. Alessandro Genazzani from the University of Modena (Italy) suggest that one day, DHEA may replace hormone replacement therapy (HRT), as this experiment resulted with all women reporting improvements in menopausal symptoms such as hot flashes, without any side effects of any kind.

DHEA recently has also been found to reduce risk factors associated with age-related heart disease. DHEA improves blood vessels by stimulating the linings of arteries to produce nitric oxide, a substance that relaxes arterial tension. In a Japanese study of 24 men, average age 54, with elevated cholesterol, Kumamoto University School of Medicine researchers found that 25 mg of DHEA daily benefited endothelial function (flexibility of arteries), insulin sensitivity, and fibrinolytic activity, with changes taking place as early as within four weeks of supplementation.
DHEA for men and women, in youth or in older age, can be considered as a safe, multi-modal anti-aging supplement promoting quality of life and increasing the odds of living longer lives.


References:
"'Anti-ageing' hormone found to boost brain cell growth," NutraIngredients.com, Feb. 19, 2004.
"DHEA, another HRT alternative?," Nutraingredients.com, Jan. 23, 2004.
"DHEA could protect against onset of heart disease," Nutraingredients.com, July 28, 2003.
Leowattana, W. "DHEA: The fountain of youth." J-Med-Assoc-Thai. 2001 Oct; 84 Suppl 2: S605-12 0125-2208

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