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Miracle pill: scientists have found a drug that treats the heart and prostate, and is also effective against hair loss


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The drug finasteride is a "miracle drug" that restores hair, heals the prostate and improves heart health, reports Earth.


The drug, widely recognized for its use in treating male pattern baldness and enlarged prostates, has 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.

A fascinating study conducted by the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC) summarized the results of the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey from 2009 to 2016.

Not Just Hair: Finasteride Will Protect Your Heart

Previous studies have shown that men who took finasteride had significantly lower cholesterol levels compared to those who did not take it.

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Further experiments on mice confirmed these results. They showed that other benefits included a reduction in plasma cholesterol levels, a delay in the progression of atherosclerosis, and a reduction in liver inflammation.

Jaume Amengual, lead author of the study and assistant professor of food science and human nutrition in the College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences, expressed his surprise at the results.

“When we looked at men taking finasteride, their cholesterol levels were on average 30 points lower than men not taking the drug. I thought we would see the opposite picture, so it was very interesting,” he said.

Overcoming Research Limitations

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

Despite these problems, the findings prompted further study of the drug's effects in mice to understand the mechanisms underlying these observations.

“This was not a clinical trial in which everything can be perfectly controlled,” Amengual noted. “It was more of an observation that made us say, okay, now we've seen this in people. Let's see what happens to the mice."

Amengual's interest in finasteride stemmed from its mechanism of action, namely blocking a protein that activates testosterone, a hormone thought to play a role in atherosclerosis.

Finasteride, testosterone and heart health

This link between testosterone and cardiovascular disease prompted the team to study the potential effects of finasteride on the heart.

“One day I read about this drug and began to notice that there weren’t many long-term studies on its effects. Initially, it was just my own curiosity based on the fact that hormone levels are known to influence atherosclerosis, hair loss and prostate problems,” Amengual concluded. “So we decided to dig into it.”

Donald Molina Chavez, a doctoral student working with Amengual, conducted experiments on mice prone to atherosclerosis. The mice were given varying doses of finasteride along with a high-fat, high-cholesterol diet.

“Mice given a high dose of finasteride had lower levels of cholesterol in both the plasma and arteries,” Molina Chavez stated. “And there were fewer lipids and inflammatory markers in the liver.”

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

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

Health implications for transgender people

The study's implications extend beyond men with hair loss or prostate problems. Amengual points to the potential benefit of finasteride for transgender people experiencing hormonal changes and at increased risk of cardiovascular disease.

This finding suggests that finasteride could become a preventative measure for a wider audience, including the transgender community. However, Amengual warns that finasteride, like any medicine, carries risks. He emphasizes the importance of consulting with medical professionals to obtain personalized advice.

“Over the last decade, doctors have begun prescribing this drug to people transitioning from male to female or female to male. In both cases, hormonal changes can trigger hair loss,” the study author noted.

“It should be said that transgender people are at higher risk of cardiovascular disease. That is, this drug could potentially have a positive effect in preventing cardiovascular diseases not only in cis men, but also in transgender people,” he concluded.

This study opens the door to further study of finasteride, including potential clinical trials to test the cholesterol-lowering effect.

The Future of Finasteride: Hair, Prostate and Heart Health

In summary, this exciting study has revealed a remarkable new facet of finasteride, a substance that many have already called a “miracle” drug.

Beyond its conventional use, finasteride can now be considered a viable option for the prevention of cardiovascular disease. It offers hope not only to men suffering from hair loss and prostate problems, but also to the transgender community, who face an increased risk of heart-related health problems.

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