Crohn's Disease and
Dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) is low in patients with Crohn's Disease.
Initial research reports that DHEA supplements are safe for short-term use
in patients with Crohn's disease. Preliminary research suggests possible
Crohn’s Disease is a chronic
disorder that causes inflammation of the digestive or gastrointestinal
tract. It generally occurs in the lower part of the small intestine, but may
affect any part of the digestive tract - from the mouth to the anus.
Crohn’s Disease is also known
as Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD). This is the general name for diseases
in the intestines.
In a study of 115 Crohn's Disease patients
compared to 66 healthy controls and 64 UC patients, both Crohn's Disease
and Ulcerative Colitis patients had low serum DHEA-sulfate (DHEAS) levels
compared to controls. In Crohn's Disease patients, but not Ulcerative
Colitis patients, low DHEAS levels were correlated with high ESR, while
high cortisol was associated with high ESR and CRP. Another study found a
shift in the ratio of cortisol:DHEA in Crohn's Disease patients with
active disease, with higher cortisol and lower DHEA levels.
A phase 2 pilot trial was conducted to evaluate
its effect in IBD patients. Twenty patients (seven with Crohn's Disease;
13 with Ulcerative Colitis), ages 18-45, were given 200 mg
Dehydroepiandrosterone orally once daily for 56 days.
All patients were
experiencing active disease, defined as CDAI > 150, refractory to other
medications. All medications remained the same for two weeks prior to and
during the study. One patient with Crohn's Disease (and four with
Ulcerative Colitis) dropped out because of disease exacerbation or
noncompliance. In the Crohn's Disease group, six of seven responded to
treatment with a decrease in CDAI of 70 points or more. In all six
responders, the CDAI dropped below 150, putting them into remission. The
one patient who did not respond dropped out during the first week. Number
of liquid stools, bloody diarrhea, abdominal pain, and CRP all decreased.
One Crohn's Diseas patient relapsed on day 56. Patients were followed for
eight weeks after the end of the study and no further Crohn's Disease
relapses were reported.