DHEA = DeHydroEpiAndrosterone is helpful in that it decreases the stickiness of platelets, small particles in the blood that often clump together and cause heart attacks and strokes. DHEA also:
a.. lowers blood pressure in animals given drugs to elevate it.
b.. has been shown to be helpful in cancer, Alzheimer´s disease, Multiple Sclerosis, memory loss, chronic fatigue syndrome, and Parkinson´s disease, and
c.. has been shown to increase the level of estrogen in women and testosterone in men to levels found in younger men and women.
As such, it might be safer to supplement with DHEA in older men and women then with estrogen and testosterone.
A summary of current DHEA Research:
Research at major institutions has revealed that high levels of DHEA in our bodies may be the key to vitality, resistance to disease, weight control, and slowing down the aging process. Over 40,000 studies and articles on DHEA have been undertaken. Here are summaries of some of the findings:
AIDS - In an article in the Journal of Infectious Diseases (November, 1991), researcher William Regelson demonstrated that people with HIV virus do not seem to develop full blown AIDS until their adrenal output of DHEA drops. Dr. Regelson found that HIV-positive men with low DHEA levels had double the risk of getting full blown AIDS compared to those with normal DHEA levels.
The prestigious Harvard Health Letter published an article entitled "DHEA Gets Respect", in July, 1994. The article reported that DHEA added to vaccines helped older test mice develop the same vigorous antibodies as young mice. Richard Hodes, head of the National Institute on Aging, called these results "extremely interesting and potentially important."
ALZHEIMER´S DISEASE - The Alzheimer´s patients studies by Dr. C. R. Merril of the Laboratory of Biochemical Genetics at the National Institute of Mental Health in Bethesda, Maryland, showed DHEA levels 48% lower than the control group of non-Alzheimer´s patients. We know that DHEA is a precursor building block of estrogen. In April, 1994, Prevention Magazine quoted Annlia Paganini-Hill, professor of preventive medicine at the University of Southern California, as saying that increased estrogen may be related to a decrease in the risk of developing Alzheimer´s in women.
BREAST CANCER - In a large population study conducted by British researchers on the island of Guernsey, it was discovered that women with DHEA blood levels less than 10% of the normally expected amount for their age group all developed breast cancer and died of the disease. Other researchers picked up on this observation and gave DHEA to rats that had been inbred to develop breast cancer. Predictably the DHEA blocked all breast cancer. Dr. Arthur Schwartz, a researcher at Philadelphia´s Temple University, found that women with breast cancer have lower DHEA levels and concurrent increase of an enzyme called G6PD (glucose 6 phosphate dehydrogenase), which is blocked by DHEA.
CARDIOVASCULAR DISEASE - A 100 microgram per deciliter increase in DHEA sulfate concentration corresponded with a 48% reduction in mortality for any reason. The natural level of DHEA sulfate was measured and those individuals with higher DHEA sulfate levels lived longer and have a much lower risk of heart disease. This was the result of a study of 242 men aged 50 to 79 over a 12 year period. The study was conducted by medical doctor Elizabeth Barrett-Connor at the University of California and reported in The New England Journal of Medicine (1986). An unrelated study at Johns Hopkins in 1988 demonstrated that rabbits with severe arteriosclerosis experienced a 60% reduction in plaque size when treated with DHEA.
FAT LOSS WITHOUT DIETING - Dr. Schwartz also noted that DHEA is a very effective anti-obesity agent because it blocks the G6PD fat-producing enzyme. DHEA increases the body´s ability to transform food into energy, and not only burns off excess fat, but also prevents fat from accumulating in the first place. In a 1977 study Terrence Yen, a biochemist at Eli Lilly, found that when DHEA is fed to obese mice, their weight drops significantly even without any other change in diet or exercise.
LIFE EXTENSION - Other studies showed that when DHEA was fed to mice it increased their life expectancy by a third. The treated mice seemed younger and had a lower incidence of the typical diseases of aging. It reduced the risk of breast, colon, and lung cancer in mice. Other studies have found that DHEA can reduce the risk of liver, skin, and lymphatic tissue cancers.
MEMORY LOSS - Increasing DHEA in elderly patients appears to improve memory function. research by medical doctor Eugene Roberts at City of Hope Medical Center conducted on 31 elderly volunteers indicated that the volunteers who took DHEA experienced less memory loss than volunteers who were given a placebo. At the New York University School of Medicine, psychiatrist Kenneth Bonnet reported that DHEA replacement therapy on test mice resulted in better memory. When Dr. Bonnet treated middle aged and old mice with DHEA, their retention and recall skills, which earlier had been much lower than those of the young mice, now increased to the same levels as in the young mice.