Biomedical Fast Takes

Buildup (anabolism) and breakdown (catabolism) are natural and complementary processes of living organisms. Unfortunately, an imbalance sometimes occurs. This is certainly the case with many (and perhaps all) of our hormones as we age and one of the major reasons for hormone replacement therapy. In this light, a new study lends support to the case for taking DHEA along with progesterone.

When the effects of natural progesterone, DHEA, and the estrogen estradiol on the production and degradation of hyaluronate (a principal component of synovial fluid, vitreous humor, blood vessels, skin, and the umbilical cord) were examined, scientists found that progesterone tended to suppress hyaluronate synthesis whereas both DHEA and estradiol enhanced it. Progesterone suppressed hyaluronate synthesis by 22% while DHEA increased it by 22%, compared with control levels. Estradiol also increased hyaluronate synthesis but only by 12%.


  1. Tanaka K, Nakamura T, Takagaki K, Funahashi M, Saito Y, Endo M. Regulation of hyaluronate metabolism by progesterone in cultured fibroblasts from the human uterine cervix. FEBS Letters. 1997;402:223-226.