Revisiting existing drugs finds molecules that control body clocks: Discovery of an anti-aging supplement that reduces jet lag in mice -- ScienceDaily
For most travellers, flying west (e.g. from Asia to Europe), which delays the circadian clock, does not cause too many health problems. On the other hand, flying east (e.g. from Asia to America), which fast-forwards the circadian clock, forces people to wake up earlier than usual and tends to cause severe jet lag symptoms, such as fatigue and insomnia. Therefore, Yoshimura and his group decided to investigate circadian period-shortening compounds that will fast-forward the circadian clock and relieve jet lag symptoms when travelling east.
Among the 13 circadian period-shortening compounds that the group identified, the researchers focused on a steroid hormone, dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA), which is commercially available as an anti-aging supplement in USA. In humans, DHEA is produced in the adrenal gland, gonads and brain, and is a precursor for testosterone and estrogen. DHEA is one of the most abundant circulating hormones in the blood stream, but its concentration usually decreases with age. This is why DHEA is sold as a supplement for anti-aging and for boosting metabolism.
Further investigation showed that DHEA shortens the period of the circadian clock in cultured human cells in a dose dependent manner. The team found that DHEA speeds up the circadian rhythm in human cells, as well as in cultured cells and tissues of mice. As previous studies have demonstrated the safety of orally administering DHEA in mice, experiments were carried out to test whether DHEA had an effect on the circadian rhythm of mice.