Author + information
- Leslie M. Klevay, MD, SD in Hyg∗ ()
- ↵∗School of Medicine and Health Sciences, University of North Dakota, 223 27th Avenue South, Grand Forks, North Dakota 58201
Tivesten et al. (1) measured dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) in serum of nearly 2,500 Swedish men aged 69 to 81 years. Low serum levels of DHEA and its sulfate predicted increased risk of coronary heart disease death after 5 years. They reviewed more than a dozen earlier articles, mentioned that some people use DHEA as a dietary supplement, and made a plea for mechanistic studies.
Adult rats have concentrations of DHEA similar to those in their Table 2. These can be halved by copper deficiency because copper enzymes generally are oxidative and DHEA is synthesized from cholesterol by oxidation (2).
The Western diet often is low in copper, and copper values in dietary surveys are falsely high (3). Copper deficiency is the only nutritional insult that elevates cholesterol, blood pressure, homocysteine, isoprostanes, and uric acid; has adverse effects on arteries and electrocardiograms; impairs glucose tolerance and paraoxonase activity; promotes thrombosis and oxidative damage; and to which males respond differently than females. More than 80 anatomic, chemical, and physiological similarities between animals deficient in copper and people with ischemic heart disease have been identified (4,5).
Perhaps low DHEA in their subjects (1) was a subtle, indirect sign of copper deficiency. People who believe that high concentrations of DHEA are beneficial may find that copper supplements are less expensive and less hazardous than DHEA supplements. A supplement containing copper produced improvement in heart failure.
- 2015 American College of Cardiology Foundation
- Tivesten A.,
- Vandenput L.,
- Carlzon D.,
- et al.
- Klevay L.M.