Mon. Apr 15th, 2024

“Miracle drug” available now regrows hair and boosts heart health • Earth.com

The drug finasteride, widely recognized for its use in treating male pattern baldness and enlarged prostate, has been identified as having the potential to improve heart health by lowering cholesterol levels and reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease. This discovery adds a surprising new dimension to the drug’s known benefits.

This exciting research by the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign highlights findings from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey conducted between 2009 and 2016.

Beyond hair: Finasteride’s potential to protect your heart

Previous research revealed that men using finasteride exhibited significantly lower cholesterol levels compared to those not on the medication.

Further experiments in mice corroborated these findings, showing reductions in plasma cholesterol, delayed progression of atherosclerosis, and decreased liver inflammation among other positive outcomes.

Jaume Amengual, the lead study author and an assistant professor in the Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition at the College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences, expressed his surprise at the results.

““When we looked at the men taking finasteride in the survey, their cholesterol levels averaged 30 points lower than men not taking the drug. I thought we’d see the opposite pattern, so it was very interesting,” he said.

Navigating the limitations in finasteride research

The study, however, faced limitations due to its observational nature and the small sample size of men over 50 who reported using finasteride.

Despite these challenges, the findings prompted further investigation into the drug’s effects on mice, aiming to understand the mechanisms behind these observations.

“This was not a clinical study in which you can control everything perfectly,” Amengual said. “It was more of an observation that led us to say, ‘Okay, now we’ve seen this in people. Let’s see what happens in mice.’”

Amengual’s curiosity about finasteride stemmed from its mechanism of action — blocking a protein that activates testosterone, a hormone suspected to play a role in atherosclerosis.

Finasteride, testosterone, and heart health

This connection between testosterone and cardiovascular diseases led the team to explore finasteride’s potential impact beyond hair loss and prostate health.

“I was reading about this medication one day, and I started to notice that there were not many long-term studies of the implications of the drug. Initially, it was just my own curiosity, based on the fact that hormone levels are known to have an effect on atherosclerosis, hair loss, and prostate issues,” Amengual said. “So, we decided to dig into it.”

Donald Molina Chaves, a doctoral student working with Amengual, conducted experiments on mice predisposed to atherosclerosis. The mice were fed varying doses of finasteride alongside a high-fat, high-cholesterol diet.

“Mice that were given a high dose of finasteride showed lower cholesterol levels within the plasma as well as in the arteries,” Molina Chaves said. “There were also fewer lipids and inflammatory markers in the liver.” 

The highest dose tested showed significant decreases in cholesterol levels and inflammatory markers in the liver, though Amengual notes such a dose would be impractical for human use.

“It’s an incredibly high level of the drug. But we use mice as a model, and they are extremely resistant to things that would kill any of us,” he said. “So it is not that wild when you think about it that way.”  

Implications for transgender health

The study’s implications extend beyond men with hair loss or prostate issues. Amengual points out the potential benefits of finasteride for transgender individuals undergoing hormonal transitions, who are at an increased risk for cardiovascular diseases.

This discovery suggests finasteride could offer a preventative measure for a broader audience, including the transgender community.

However, Amengual cautions that finasteride, like any medication, carries risks and emphasizes the importance of consulting healthcare providers for personalized advice.

“Over the past decade, doctors have started prescribing this drug for individuals transitioning either from male to female or female to male. In both cases, the hormonal changes can trigger hair loss,” he said.

“The interesting thing is that transgender people are also at a higher risk of cardiovascular diseases. So this drug could have a potential beneficial effect to prevent cardiovascular disease not only in cis men, but also in transgender individuals.”

This research opens the door to further studies, including potential clinical trials to verify finasteride’s cholesterol-lowering effects.

As the medical community continues to explore this unexpected benefit, finasteride stands out not only as a treatment for common men’s health issues but also as a promising ally in the fight against heart problems and cardiovascular disease.

Future of finasteride: hair, prostate, and heart health

In summary, this fascinating research has unveiled a remarkable new facet of finasteride, a substance already dubbed a “miracle” drug by many, traditionally used to treat male pattern baldness and enlarged prostate.

By demonstrating its potential to significantly lower cholesterol levels and reduce the risk of heart disease, this study opens up exciting new possibilities for finasteride’s application in health care.

Beyond its established uses, finasteride may now be considered a viable option for heart disease prevention, offering hope not only to men suffering from hair loss and prostate issues, but also to the transgender community, who face a heightened risk of heart-related health challenges.

This discovery paves the way for further research and clinical trials, highlighting the importance of re-evaluating existing medications for new, beneficial uses.

The full study was published in the Journal of Lipid Research.

—–

Like what you read? Subscribe to our newsletter for engaging articles, exclusive content, and the latest updates.

—–

Check us out on EarthSnap, a free app brought to you by Eric Ralls and Earth.com.

—–



Getting You Seen Online

Thank You! Source link

Related Post

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *