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Question:

From Sydney, Australia:

Has there been strong evidence for the use of DHEA pills to improve the health of senior citizens with Type 1 or 2 diabetes and heart conditions? My father is 65 years old and on diabetes tablets.

Answer:

In a word, no.

DHEA is an abbreviation for a very long medical term (which I don't think I can even spell), which is being hyped for therapy of the aging process. I've seen containers that claim to contain DHEA, and which, on closer inspection, contain ground-up animal adrenal gland extract. Since DHEA is produced in the adrenal glands, I guess that these pills probably contain some DHEA, but who knows how much?

DHEA is not well-established to help anyone, and has definite side effects (large amounts cause acne, extra hair growth, and loss of menstrual cycles in young adult women); it should not be recommended for anyone with diabetes unless they're part of a research study.

WWQ

Original posting 22 Jul 97

  
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Last Updated: Tuesday April 06, 2010 15:08:54
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