7-Oxo-Dehydroepiandrosterone, abbreviated as 7-oxo-DHEA, is a natural substance produced in the adrenal glands, gonads and brain. 7-Oxo-DHEA is a metabolite of the steroid hormone DHEA (see DHEA). DHEA and its metabolite dehydroepiandrosterone-3-sulfate, or DHEAS, are the major secretory steroidal products of the adrenal glands and the most abundant steroids in human blood. DHEA has been found to promote leanness in some obese animals, and, in mostly animal studies, has been found to decrease serum cholesterol, to decrease blood glucose in diabetic mice, to enhance immune function, to possess anticancer activity and to improve memory in old mice. DHEA is believed by some to have great importance in human physiology. However, to date, its exact role in human physiology remains unknown. 7-Oxo-DHEA has been studied to better understand, among other things, the biological role of DHEA. A major biochemical difference between 7-oxo-DHEA and DHEA is that DHEA is metabolized to the sex hormones (androgens and estrogens) while 7-oxo-DHEA does not appear to be metabolized to these hormones.
7-Oxo-DHEA is being studied for its possible cognition-enhancing and thermogenic activities. Steroids that are made in the brain are referred to as neurosteroids; steroids that may have thermogenic activity are referred to as ergosteroids. 7-Oxo-DHEA is also known as 3beta-hydroxyandrost-5-ene-7,17-dione,delta5-androstene-3beta-ol-7,17-dione and 7-keto-DHEA. The structural formula is:
7-Oxo-DHEA is marketed as a nutritional supplement. The form of 7-oxo-DHEA most commonly marketed is the 3-acetyl ester of 7-oxo-DHEA, also known as 3-acetyl-7-oxo-DHEA.
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