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DHEA & Brain Inflammation

It sounds complicated, but it can be broken down pretty simply; low grade inflammation in the brain is a key contributor to gradual degeneration (Which causes cognitive decline, or, in more extreme cases, things like Alzheimers).

Whilst this seems obvious, the implications are significant - if we can reduce or remove this inflammation, we slash the likelihood of degeneration. This study explored the use of DHEA as an agent in helping reduce neuroinflammation, and explored recent literature to cross examine this hypothesis!

This study explored various domains such as the HPA axis (a part of the brain), the immune system, the endocrine system, the adrenal glands, as well as sex hormones. These all relate to brain aging, specifically how, "ageing of the brain is associated with increasing inflammation and local oxidative stress—also resulting in repeated tissue damage-recovery cycles—which predisposes older individuals to developing neurodegenerative pathologies."

The authors note that numerous studies have shown the efficacy of DHEA, and it's 'anti-inflammatory action of DHEA in systems and disease models other than those related to the brain or CNS.' So, does it work the same way in the brain? This is where the science gets very complex, exploring specific molecular actions and chemicals in the brain to better understand how DHEA is capable of anti-inflammatory action.

The main takeaways were that, because DHEA is capable of conversion to other hormones, it can help regulate the overall hormone picture. This also contributes to positive GABA levels, a key neurotransmitter in the brain - thus helping cognitive function. Secondly, it can regulate and/or promote a host of key neurotransmitters in the brain, as well as neurotropins, meaning the necessary 'signals' for healthy brain function are positively affected by DHEA.

The rest of the study explores different delivery methods, where DHEA is made in the body, and various other structural elements of DHEA. Although a complex study, this helps to show how fundamental DHEA is, and how valuable a supplement it can be as we age!