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Cardio Diseases and DHEA


There is a clear relationship between DHEA levels and heart disease: as DHEA decline, the incidence of cardiovascular disease rises in men and in women. Diabetic men with the lowest DHEA levels have a significantly greater chance of developing coronary heart disease. The risk of death is higher among those with the lowest levels of DHEA in men less than age 70. DHEA play a protective role in the development of atherosclerosis and coronary artery disease, especially among men.

Several mechanisms are involved: inhibition of G6PD, which can modify the lipid spectrum; suppression of platelet aggregation; and reduced cell proliferation. Men with lower DHEA-S are more likely to have atherosclerosis and calcified deposits in the abdominal aorta. Because cortisol increases the risk of heart attack and the severity of atherosclerosis in men, raising DHEA levels to increase the DHEA/cortisol ratio has promise for reducing cardiovascular risk. However, the same associations are lacking in women.

Initial studies report possible benefits of DHEA supplementation in patients with cholesterol plaques ("hardening") in their arteries.

Myocardial Infarction

Low DHEA is related to premature heart attack in men. Severely ill cardiac patients and those with acute heart attack have lower DHEA levels for as long as 3 to 4 months after the event.


Clinical Studies

  • A 1986 study found that a higher level of endogenous DHEA, as determined by a single measurement, correlated with a lower risk of death or cardiovascular disease.

  • Research at the University of California Medical School shows that for every one microgram per milliliter increase in blood level of DHEA-S, achieved by supplementing by mouth with capsules, death from all causes was diminished by 36%. These results were reported in a study of 242 men between 50 and 70 years old. A 48% decrease in death rate from atherosclerosis and cardiovascular disease was reported in the DHEA-treated patients.










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