Common hair loss and prostate drug may help prevent heart disease

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A new study by the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign has unveiled a potential new benefit of finasteride, a medication widely known for treating male pattern baldness and enlarged prostate.

According to the research published in the Journal of Lipid Research, finasteride may also play a crucial role in reducing cholesterol levels and lowering the risk of cardiovascular diseases.

The study’s findings emerged from an analysis of data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, covering the years 2009 to 2016. Men using finasteride showed an average of 30 points lower in cholesterol levels compared to those not on the medication.

This observation led researchers to conduct further experiments on mice, which confirmed the potential of finasteride in reducing total plasma cholesterol, slowing down the progression of atherosclerosis, and decreasing liver inflammation.

The curiosity about finasteride’s effects beyond hair growth and prostate health stems from its mechanism of action.

The drug inhibits a specific enzyme that activates testosterone, a hormone linked to atherosclerosis—a condition where cholesterol plaques clog arteries, leading to serious cardiovascular issues.

Given the higher incidence of atherosclerosis in men than in premenopausal women, the hormone’s role in the disease has been a subject of scientific interest.

The University of Illinois study, while observational and based on self-reported medication use, opens up new avenues for clinical research.

The significant reductions in cholesterol observed in both humans and mice suggest that finasteride could offer a dual benefit for patients prescribed the drug for its traditional uses.

The implications of this research are vast. Not only could finasteride help millions of men manage their cholesterol levels alongside treating hair loss and prostate enlargement, but it could also offer cardiovascular benefits to a broader demographic, including transgender individuals undergoing hormonal treatments that may affect hair growth.

As with any medication, the potential risks and benefits of finasteride need careful consideration and consultation with healthcare professionals.

The findings from this study highlight the importance of further clinical trials to fully understand finasteride’s impact on cholesterol and cardiovascular health, offering hope for new therapeutic strategies against cardiovascular diseases.

If you care about heart health, please read studies about the best time to take vitamins to prevent heart disease, and calcium supplements could harm your heart health.

For more information about health, please see recent studies that blackcurrants can reduce blood sugar after meal and results showing how drinking milk affects risks of heart disease and cancer.

The research findings can be found in the Journal of Lipid Research.

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