DHEA also deserves attention in people of both sexes who have MS. DHEA is a steroid hormone. Altered levels of DHEA have been associated with various autoimmune diseases and their symptoms, including MS (Calabrese VP et al 1990). One study found that people with MS have relatively lower DHEA levels compared to healthy control subjects and that, at least in animals, DHEA therapy reduces T-cell proliferation, secretion of pro-inflammatory chemicals, and nitric oxide synthesis (Du C et al 2001; Offner H et al 2002; Ramsaransing GS et al 2005). Similarly, researchers have found that people with MS have a higher ratio of cortisol (the body's main stress hormone) to DHEA than do healthy control subjects, although this is probably a symptom of the disease rather than a causal factor (Kumpfel T et al 1999).
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