|Image 1: This is the "Fountain of Youth" in Karlsruhe, Germany. I have never been there, but I guess I should take the next train and check whether water contains 0.4% or 0.8% DHEA ;-)|
DHEA a Weapon in the War Against Diabesity?
The most widespread of these ailments certainly is diabetes; a pathology the management of which (not it's treatment!) has generated a $42 billion dollar market (data from 2010) that is estimated to grow to $114.3 billion dollar by 2016 (inverstorplace.com). It is thusly no wonder that the recently published study by Kei Fujioka and his colleagues from the Departments of General Internal Medicine and Parasitology at the Gifu University Graduate School of Medicine in Gifu, Japan, was not funded by a Japanese (let alone US ;-) pharmaceutical company, but by a research grant from the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science, and Technology of Japan (Fujioka. 2012).
|Figure 1: Simplified illustration of the adrenal hormone production cascade|
|Figure 2: Relative differences in epdidymal fat pad weights, serum glucose, triglyceride, total cholesterol and free fatty acid levels in LETO and OLETF rats after 52weeks on chow with 0.4% DHEA (=100mg/day; human equivalent: 16mg/day); data expressed relative to rats on control diet (data adapted from Fujioka. 2012)|
DHEA vs. Testostosterone - Who is the "King" of Metabolic Hormones
Luckily, the Fujioka et al. were not satisfied with these results and conducted another experiment. This time with normal rats (Wistar strain) and with a second group which received 0.4% testosterone in their chow.
|Figure 3: Fat weight, triglyceride content of liver and gastrocnemius muscle, body temperature and adipocyte diameter in male wistar rats after 4 weeks on DHEA (0.4%) or testosterone (0.4%) containing chow; data expressed relative to control on standard chow (data adapted from Fujioka. 2012)|
|Figure 4: DHEA-S (µg/dL), testosterone (ng/dL) and PPAR-γ expression in control, DHEA and testosterone group at the end of the study period (data adapted from Fujioka. 2012)|
Similar Effects in Healthy, Young Human Beings are Highly Questionable
|Image 2: Neither Drogba (l) nor Ronaldo (r) are candidates for DHEA supplementation (img VanityFair WC special edition).|
Before we do not know why in some trials (rodents and humans) oral DHEA supplements yield phenomenal results (in the study at hand, both the lower dosage, as well as the "chronic" administration in very low doses spread across the day could be decisive factors), while they totally suck in others, the "specificity rule" from the Three Simple Rules of Sensible Supplementation would preclude anyone under the age of 35+ (DHEA levels begin to decline ~30y) from supplementing with DHEA, unless this someone knows (not just guesses!) from bloodwork that his/her DHEA levels are at least borderline low. And don't forget, even then DHEA or rather its downstream metabolites (estrogen in particular) can be similar suppressive on your own natural hormone production as "real gear" or the reputed OTC "pro-hormones" 90% of which are active steroids, anyway.