March 1997 Nutrition Action Healthletter -- DHEA: Pssst! Wanna Hormone?

Pssst! Wanna Hormone?

DHEA has been available for decades. But, until recently, supplement manufacturers were afraid to distribute it widely because they feared regulatory action by the Food and Drug Administration for selling an unauthorized drug, says Luke Bucci, vice-president of research at Weider Health Products in Salt Lake City.

"That changed with the Dietary Supplement and Health Education Act of 1994," he adds. "It expanded categories of dietary supplements that seek to remedy nutrient deficiencies. And that's how we market DHEA, to treat a DHEA deficiency as we get older."

Some scientists see that as a dangerous precedent. "Advocating DHEA as hormone replacement therapy for human aging, or even as a therapeutic for a specific disease, is premature at best, and potentially even dangerous," says hormone expert John E. Nestier of Virginia Commonwealth University.

A quick search for DHEA on the Internet turned up more than 100 sites. Most were selling the hormone through multilevel marketing schemes.

[DHEA article] Nutrition Action Healthletter