International Health News

What can DHEA do for you?

HOUSTON, TEXAS. DHEA or dehydroepiandrosterone and DHEAS (dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate) are powerful steroid hormones which are synthesized in the adrenal cortex in humans and a few other primates, notably gorillas and chimpanzees. The synthesis of DHEA begins just prior to puberty, reaches its peak at age 20 years, and then declines steeply from age 25 to 70 years. It is worth noting that laboratory animals such as mice, rats and guinea pigs do not synthesize DHEA; this makes extrapolation of data obtained in animal experiments with DHEA to humans somewhat tenuous. Dr. Peter Hornsby of Baylor College of Medicine has just released a comprehensive report on DHEA. He reviews the studies which have been done on DHEA supplementation in elderly people. A study done at Baylor College found that DHEA supplementation increases muscle strength and leads to a gain in lean body mass and a loss of fat in older people. Other studies have found that DHEA improves immune function and leads to an increased sense of well-being. The possible role of DHEA in breast cancer is not clear. It is possible that high DHEA levels may be protective against breast cancer in premenopausal women, but may actually increase the risk in postmenopausal women - this, however, is still speculative. Nevertheless, recent research suggests that DHEA might have a role to play in hormone replacement therapy in older people. Dr. Hornsby concludes that while DHEA and DHEAS may be important in young adult life it is not clear whether the age-related decline actually leads to a deficiency which should be corrected by supplementation. (92 references)
Hornsby, Peter J. DHEA: A biologist's perspective. Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, Vol. 45, November 1997, pp. 1395-1401
Miller, Richard A. DHEA - Brass ring or red herring? Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, Vol. 45, November 1997, pp. 1402-03 (editorial)

category search
Keyword Search

My favourite Supplements

copyright notice