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DHEA Benefits the Heart ~ [Issue 0999-1]  Wellness Weekly
 Sep 07, 1999 19:48 PDT 

DHEA, better known to researchers as dehydroepiandrosterone, has
become one of today's more popular hormone nutritional supplements.
Literally thousands of research papers have been published discussing
DHEA's possible value in helping prevent a variety of conditions
normally associated with increasing age. A recent study conducted at
the University of California San Francisco now shows that DHEA also
has a beneficial effect on heart function. Though there has been
limited scientific basis for claims that DHEA is a potent anti-aging
substance, this study, which showed that DHEA protects the heart
against some cardiovascular diseases, was presented at the Scientific
Session of a recent meeting of the American Heart Association.

Christian Zellner, M.D., Cardiology Research Fellow at the University
of California San Francisco conducted the study under the direction
of Stanford Health Care cardiologists Tony Chou, M.D., Assistant
Professor of Medicine, and Kanu Chatterjee, M.D., Professor of
Medicine at UCSF's Vascular Lab. Dr. Zellner reports that "there
seems to be a link to conditions such as aging, heart disease and
cancer with decreasing levels of DHEA." This study showed that DHEA
can reverse the effects of Endothelin-1, or ET-1, a peptide that is
elevated in most heart diseases, including heart attacks and high
blood pressure. A balance between ET-1 and nitric oxide is essential
for maintaining vascular tone, which in turn is necessary for
controlling blood pressure, maintaining tone of coronary arteries and
regulating blood flow. When ET-1 is elevated, the heart's vessels
constrict, restricting the flow of blood to the heart's tissues. The
study found that DHEA reversed this vascular constriction and
re-established blood flow.

This year marks the third year in a row that UCSF's Vascular Lab
presented findings on DHEA at the AHA conference. Previously, the
UCSF group showed that DHEA dilates the coronary arteries as does
nitroglycerin and increases the function of the endothelial cells,
which create the inner lining of the arteries and offer protection
against a wide range of cardiovascular disorders, including
atherosclerosis. Although DHEA has become increasingly popular as a
nutritional supplement, there is still a lot of scientific work that
needs to be done to make sure the hormone is both safe and
beneficial, cautions Zellner. Noting that these studies were done
with pigs, he pointed out that human studies examining the cardiac
effects of DHEA have not been completed. Such studies are essential
before official recommendations involving DHEA can be made.

Researchers around the world have been investigating many possible
roles of DHEA, including its role in brain diseases such as
Alzheimer's and in auto-immune diseases such as lupus. Two mysteries
surrounding DHEA include the questions of why the hormone is produced
only by humans and other primates and why its levels in the body
decrease so sharply with age. One explanation may be that the DHEA
produced by our bodies enters many metabolic pathways. Scientists
hypothesize that it is converted into the more well-known hormones
estrogen and testosterone and it has been observed that these two
hormones decrease with age as well. Certainly, it is evident when
looking at a graph comparing the levels of DHEA in our bodies with
the incidence of degenerative diseases, that decreasing levels of the
"master hormone" correspond with increased disease.

DHEA possesses many other healthful properties that make it a truly
unique and powerful nutritional supplement. To learn more about DHEA
and the product we offer called "Endocryn DHEA," please visit the
following web page: http://www.aomega.com/ahs/e0210b.htm - there you
will find links to even more details, the other products we offer on
our web site, and ordering information / instructions.
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