Inflammatory cytokines promote or sustaining harmful inflammation: image via Cytokine Bulletin, RNDSystems.com Biologists at the University of Leeds have found that a steroid
produced by our bodies can help prevent heart disease as well as many
other downward spirals that come with age. The fountain of youth may be just around the corner!
The discovery from the British university came as a surprise even to the research team. They discovered that a natural steroidal supplement has the potential to turn off proteins that abound during the initial stages of heart disease. Though not available right now, this natural steroid is also known to improve energy, vision, and memory. Sounds like they might have found the 'fountain of youth.'
Inflammatory Cytokine A is the protein that not only drives the early stages of heart disease, but is also present and multiplying at every other inflammatory event in the body and the brain. The Leeds research team discovered, however, that a previously-unknown ion channel in human blood vessels can limit the production of the cytokines.
Pregnenolone sulphate, a natural steroid that our body produces, is the molecule in our blood that can be 'switched on' both in diseased blood vessels and in healthy ones. Though our bodies produce them, our natural supply of this steroid declines with age.
Though 'fountain of youth' steroids have been synthetically produced, such as pregnenolone and DHEA, they are not the same as pregnenolone sulfate, which is not sold as a health supplement. But, if it does prove to be successful in further tests, the natural steroid would be aneasy and low cost way to manage cholesterol problems as well as enhance our health in general.
“The effect that we have seen is really quite exciting and also
unexpected,” said Professor David Beech, who led the study. “However,
we are absolutely not endorsing any claims made by manufacturers of any
health supplements. Evidence from human trials is needed first.”
Chemical profiling conducted by the Leeds team suggests that pregnenolone sulfate needs to be supported by a healthy diet and exercise to be most effective, and that the steroid is most effective with cholesterol-lowering drugs.The study is published in the journal Circulation (“Pregnenolone sulphate- and cholesterol-regulated TRPM3 channels
coupled to vascular smooth muscle secretion and contraction” by
Jacqueline Naylor, Jing Li, Carol J. Milligan, et al is published in Circulation Research (doi:10.1161/circresaha.110.219329).
Breakthrough Digest, R&D Systems