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DHEA: Breaking All the Rules of Growing Old

Cathy Oats

Today there is a growing number of people like you and me who refuse to age the way our parents did: passively! And the Lord knows that we can't afford to either, for everything has changed. Back when we were buttering our bread with abandon and basting our bodies with baby oil and iodine before laying in the sun all day, who ever dreamed we'd be looking at an adult life span where 65-year-olds would be fighting with their 85-year-old parents about whether it was time for the rest home?

Also, with so many couples waiting until their 40s to have children, not only does Mom not want to get old, but she's concerned about needing bifocals to breast feed! Think about it! And how about Dad? How is Dad going to keep up with invitro twins when their adolescence corresponds with his mid-life crisis? So, this new way of living, and living successfully, depends upon proper age management: A combination of eating right, exercising regularly and utilizing science's youth-maintaining applications.

You must realize that youth supplements are the BMW's of the '90s with the hottest new anti-aging supplement today being DHEA. And, thanks to recent FDA legislation, true DHEA is now available without a prescription and WIN has it.

One of the most exciting benefits of DHEA is it proves to help the body burn fat, thus causing weight loss and avoiding unwanted pounds.

What is DHEA?

DHEA is a hormone produced by the adrenal glands and is the most abundant hormone in the human bloodstream. It is a precursor to the sex hormones as well as a number of others found in the body. Levels of this amazing hormone are highest when we are in the prime of life, from ages 18 to 25, after which production begins to shut down. The older you are, the less DHEA you have. As a result, DHEA has been called a "market" of aging because after age 30, it declines progressively over the next four decades to 10 percent of young adult levels.

Interestingly, the steady declining levels of DHEA in our blood stream, as we age, perfectly match the increasing incidence of such killer diseases as cancer, heart disease (including atherosclerosis), and Alzheimer's. A large and rapidly expanding body of scientific evidence indicates that the level of DHEA in a person's blood can foretell the future regarding degenerative diseases. And as individuals near death, research shows that DHEA levels for most people will be between zero and 5 percent.

DHEA, Aging and Disease

To date, more than 4,000 published scientific articles have revealed that supplemental DHEA has been shown to slow the aging process while preventing, improving and even often reversing conditions such as cancer, heart disease, memory loss and diabetes, as well as osteoporosis, obesity and depression. Called the most exciting life extension substance making the rounds today, DHEA is said by some to be the closest we can get to the "fountain of youth" since it seems to protect against early death.

  • Cancer - In a 22-year-long study on 5000 apparently healthy women who developed breast cancer, DHEA supplements were found to improve function and have significant anti-cancer and anti-tumor effects. One hundred percent of the women with higher-than-average levels of DHEA remained cancer free, while the women who developed cancer had subnormal DHEA levels some were even found to have had low DHEA levels up to nine years before being diagnosed with the disease! Other studies report DHEA to have a cancer-fighting effect on cancers of the colon, liver, thyroid and skin.
  • Heart Disease - A 12-year study published in The New England Journal of Medicine in 1986 reported that of the 242 men studied, age 50-79, who received a 100 mcg per dm increase in DHEA sulfate, 48 percent experienced a reduction in mortality due to cardiovascular disease and 36 percent experienced a reduction in mortality for any reason.
  • Diabetes - Research indicates that early DHEA treatment may help prevent the development of most diabetic symptoms. Higher insulin levels from the ingestion of simple carbohydrates can cause a reduction of DHEA in the bodies of diabetic patients. This may help to explain why diabetics are 250 times more likely to suffer strokes and why half of the people with diabetes, the third leading cause of death, also have heart disease.
  • Stress/Depression - Many studies indicate that we can counteract the negative effects of stress hormones and very likely alleviate depression by increasing DHEA in the body. DHEA levels lower when people are under stress, which often leads to depression.
  • HIV/AIDS - Studies show people with the HIV virus do not suffer from full-blown AIDS until their adrenal output of DHEA drops. A study done at the Houston Immune Institute in Texas found that the majority of AIDS patients on DHEA and adjunct therapy experienced significant increases in both CD4 and CD8 counts.

The relationship between DHEA and the immune system may be the most significant of all. DHEA stimulates T-cells, B-cells and macrophages by interfering with glucocorticoid immuno-suppression. DHEA protects against both bacterial and viral infections. Research in areas such as lupus, multiple sclerosis and chronic fatigue show great promise. And in general, most people taking DHEA supplements report feelings of increased tolerance to stress, fatigue and illness.

DHEA and Weight Control

One of the most exciting benefits of DHEA is it proves to help the body burn fat, thus causing weight loss and avoiding unwanted pounds. DHEA's ability to facilitate the burning of fat may become one of the most significant finds of this century in weight control. Temple University School of Medicine found that elevated levels of DHEA caused weight loss without a change in appetite. Of course proper diet, exercise and lifestyle are important for controlling weight, however, it is exciting to be able to obtain benefits from such a fantastic natural substance.

Research also confirms DHEA's ability to block an enzyme named G6PD (glucose-6-phosphate-dehydrogenase). This enzyme is not only essential for fat tissue production but also promotes cancer cell growth. Blocking G6PD may, therefore, play a key role in DHEA's actions of reducing body fat and helping to prevent against cancer!

DHEA as a Supplement

Although DHEA is a fairly new supplement on the American market, Europeans have used it for years. This is primarily because the governments in Europe have been paying for their residents' medical treatment for so long that, according to many, they will only use what is most effective and cost efficient.

In the United States, however, pharmaceutical companies are so aggressive in their marketing that older, natural remedies have slowly been phased out. Physicians receive samples from these profit-induced companies to give out freely to their patients. (After all, everyone loves something for nothing!) If the drug works, the doctor writes a prescription. Unfortunately, these drugs often only treat the symptoms rather than the cause. Hence, symptoms usually persist and the individual still needs to use the drug creating quite a market for the pharmaceutical industry. Does this sound familiar?

Well, there is now a light at the end of the tunnel. Prior to October '94, when the Dietary Supplement Health & Education Act went into effect, DHEA was only available through prescription in the United States. Many people had to wait for months to receive their orders from Europe. Underground markets secretly sold it hoping that they wouldn't get caught. The passing of this law was a major leap forward for all of us who have been waiting for regulation to allow natural substances to be sold over the counter.

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