Cardio Diseases and
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.
studies report possible benefits of DHEA supplementation in patients with
cholesterol plaques ("hardening") in their arteries.
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.
A 1986 study found that a higher level of
DHEA, as determined by a single measurement, correlated with a lower risk
of death or
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.