Synonyms: keto-DHEA, 7-oxo-DHEA, -dehydroepiandrosterone,
Keto-DHEA is a metabolite of DHEA (i.e., it is made from DHEA by enzymes in the body). It is a steroidal hormone that was discovered in the 1950s but received little research attention until the 1990s. Henry Lardy and his collaborators at the University of Wisconsin are currently studying this and related compounds for use in fat reduction, memory enhancement, immune system regulation, skin rejuvenation, dermatitis treatment, and wasting syndrome.
Typical claims made for 7-keto-DHEA
(1) Fat reduction: promotes weight loss, decreases bodyfat
(2) Energy: increases “energy”, reduces fatigue
(3) Memory: enhances memory, recovers “lost” memories
(4) Immunity: improves immune system
(5) HIV: improves HIV-related symptoms [fatigue, muscle loss, dementia, and depression]
(6) Muscle: improves in wasting syndrome [decreases the body’s catabolic (muscle destroying) processes]
(7) Heart: increases HDL cholesterol, reduces risk of heart disease, heart
(8) Skin: diminishes wrinkles; moisturizes skin
(9) Lupus: decreases lupus symptoms
(10) Mood: reduces depression, improves mood
, and stroke
(11) Diabetes: normalizes blood sugar, prevents diabetes
(12) Sex: increases sex drive
(13) Anti-aging: reverses tissue “deterioration”, rejuvenates the body
(14) Hormonal effects: has no androgenic or estrogenic side effects; doesn't cause balding, facial and body hair growth, breast growth, or acne; produces optimal levels of all 50+ steroid hormones in the body
Typical claims made against 7-keto-DHEA
(15) Energy: reduces energy production [causes "proton leakage" in mitochondria]
(16) Hormonal effects: causes decline in testosterone and estradiol levels
(17) Safety: might be unsafe; “We don’t know much about its effects in the body”
(18) Salivation: causes excessive salivation
The known facts about 7-keto-DHEA
Most of what is known about the biological effects of 7-keto-DHEA comes from the work of researchers at the University of Wisconsin, led by Henry A. Lardy. Lardy is also a principal in a supplement company, Humanetics Corp., that markets derivatives of this substance.
•Fat reduction and Energy (claims 1, 2 and 14): 7-keto-DHEA decreases the efficiency of energy production in the body — more fats have to be burned to produce the same amount of useable energy. This results in loss of fat (weight loss). If one runs low on fat then one would presumably experience a reduction in energy production. For fat loss, doses of 350 to 1400 mg/day are used.
•Memory (claim 3): experiments in mice have shown that a prohormone of keto-DHEA improves memory at doses of 20 mg/kg/day. Extrapolating these results to humans and keto-DHEA, in proportion to bodyweight, gives a dose of about 1400 mg/day.
•Immunity (claim 4): This claim is based on Lardy’s experiments with mice infected with flu viruses. 7-keto-DHEA treatment caused an increase in anti-viral antibodies to some of the viruses. Dosages used were impossible to decipher from Lardy’s data.
•HIV and Muscle (claims 5 and 6): Monkeys infected with a virus similar to HIV, and suffering from wasting syndrome, regained bodyweight when treated with 7-keto-DHEA at doses as low as 8 mg/kg/day (which extrapolates to 475 mg/day for a 130 lb human). Human studies, and studies on wasting conditions other than HIV, have not yet been done.
•Heart (claim 7): A Czech study showed that a single transdermal dose of 25 mg improved blood levels of HDL-cholesterol and other substances relevant to vascular and heart disease.
•Skin (claim 8): These claims are made in U.S. patents # 6,399,084 and 6,399,085, but no supporting evidence is presented.
•Lupus, Mood, heart, diabetes, sex, anti-aging (claims 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13): These claims are just repetitions of claims made for DHEA. There is no published data on 7-keto-DHEA that supports or refutes any of them.
•Hormonal effects (claims 14 and 16): It is known that 7-keto-DHEA does not metabolize to estrogens or testosterone, and that supplementary 7-keto-DHEA can decrease testosterone and estradiol levels in the blood. It seems reasonable to suppose that this translates into a lack of estrogenic and androgenic side effects.
•Safety (claim 17): According to J. Zenk of Humanetics Corp., clinical trials have revealed no safety problems with 7-keto-DHEA used as a supplement at 200 mg/day for 28 days. It is certainly true that not much is known about the effects of 7-keto-DHEA in the body, but this is true also for many other substances that we use regularly — for example, most of the substances in the foods we eat. This is not, by itself, a good argument for avoiding them.
•Salivation (claim 18): In monkeys at very high doses (equivalent to about 70 grams/day for a human), 7-keto-DHEA caused excess salivation. No such side effect occurs at the doses one would actually use.
The currently known benefits of 7-keto-DHEA occur at doses in the range of 350 to 1400 mg/day. The supplement is rather expensive at the present time, and its benefits are similar to those of DHEA. 7-keto-DHEA differs from DHEA in its side effects: it doesn’t get converted to estrogens and testosterone in the body, so estrogenic and androgenic side effects are considered to be fewer than for DHEA. These side effects (breast enlargement, acne, growth of body and facial hair) occur only in a minority of users; for those in whom they do, the additional cost may be justified, for others it would not.
Bioavailability and half-life
The bioavailability and half-life have not been established for 7-keto-DHEA. As with most other steroidal hormones, micronization improves bioavailability. The presence of other substances that use the same metabolic enzymes can improve bioavailability or half-life, but can also cause side effects.
Interaction with other substances
If, as seems likely, 7-keto-DHEA is metabolized for excretion by the same principal enzyme that does this for DHEA, then the article at 7-keto-DHEA interactions (Substances metabolized by the CYP3A4 enzyme) lists some substances that may alter the bioavailability and half-life of DHEA, and vice versa.
Substances metabolized by the CYP3A4 enzyme
The following list of substances may interact with each other in the body because they are all metabolized by the enzyme CYP3A4 (aka “cytochrome p450 3A4”). Various kinds of interactions can occur, depending upon the substances involved. These can result in changes in bioavailability, half-life, and the levels of these and other substances in the body.
GENERIC NAME (BRAND NAME)
• Alprazolam (Xanax)
• Amiodarone (Cordarone)
• Amitriptyline (Elavil)
• Astemizole (Hismanal)
• Budesonide (Rhinocort)
• Bupropion (Wellbutrin)
• Buspirone (BuSpar)
• Carbamazepine (Tegretol)
• Cerivastatin (Baycol)
• Cisapride (Propulsid)
• Clarithromycin (Biaxin)
• Clomipramine (Anafranil)
• Clonazepam (Klonopin)
• Cyclosporine (Sandimmune)
• Diazepam (Valium)
• Diltiazem (Cardizem)
• Disopyramide (Norpace)
• Donepezil (Aricept)
• Doxycycline (Vibramycin)
• Estradiol (Estrace)
• Ethinylestradiol (Estinyl)
• Felodipine (Plendil)
• Fluoxetine (Prozac)
• Imipramine (Tofranil)
• Lansoprazole (Prevacid)
• Lidocaine (Xylocaine)
• Loratadine (Claritin)
• Lovastatin (Mevacor)
• Midazolam (Versed)
• Nefazodone (Serzone)
• Nicardipine (Cardene)
• Nifedipine (Procardia)
• Nisoldipine (Sular)
• Norethindrone (Micronor)
• Omeprazole (Prilosec)
• Ondansetron (Zofran)
• Orphenadrine (Norflex)
• Paroxetine (Paxil)
• Propafenone (Rhythmol)
• Quetiapine (Seroquel)
• Rifampin (Rifadin)
• Sertraline (Zoloft)
• Sibutramine (Meridia)
• Sildenafil (Viagra)
• Simvastatin (Zocor)
• Tacrolimus (Prograf)
• Tamoxifen (Nolvadex)
• Terfenadine (Seldane)
• Trazodone (Desyrel)
• Triazolam (Halcion)
• Venlafaxine (Effexor)
• Verapamil (Calan)
• Vinblastine (Velban)
• Zolpidem (Ambien)