Related Topics: Conditions, Features, Hormones, Menopause

Alzheimer’s And Hormone Balance

Alzheimer’s is not usually related to hormone imbalance, but as the majority of sufferers are women – with numbers increasing each year – it is time look at how your hormones may affect it.

AnnA Rushton

Labrix Laboratory in the United States has made a study of the relationship between hormone imbalance and Alzheimer’s that is particularly relevant to women in the context of oestrogen dominance.

In the United States alone, every 67 seconds someone develops Alzheimer’s disease (AD) and about two thirds of these are women. One of the early symptoms is typically difficulty remembering new information, and this is caused by the deposition of beta amyloid plaques and tau protein tangles build inside cells. These eventually cause the death of neurons that control memory, personality, and those that regulate our basic metabolic processes and physiological functions.

Consequently, Alzheimer’s disease is now the 6th leading cause of death in the US – responsible for more deaths than prostate and breast cancer combined.

The role of bioidentical hormones in helping combat Alzheimer’s
There are many ideas about what contributes to AD including insulin resistance (AD has been referred to as Type 3 diabetes), exposure to toxins and heavy metals, uncontrolled inflammation, food intolerances and changes in neurotransmitter levels. There is a significant decline in the production of a neurotransmitter called acetylcholine with AD patients, and a relationship between this and changes in hormone levels.

This may be one of the reasons that the disease disproportionately affects women. Oestrogen stimulates the synthesis of acetylcholine and increases the number of synapses in the hippocampus, a part of the brain that is integral to memory storage. Also, oestrogen protects the brain from oxidative stress, amyloid B peptide and glutamate induce toxicity. Oestrogen has been shown to improve memory and cognition in women with Alzheimer’s disease and may modulate the risk of developing AD in the first place.

Progesterone is well established as an anti-inflammatory agent in the brain and can increase brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), an important agent that supports the survival of neurons and encourages the growth of new ones. Progesterone also protects against amyloid B-peptide toxicity, the main component in the amyloid plaques found in the brains of Alzheimer patients.

More information:
The Labrix report indicates that the restoration of balanced hormones is an integral part of the treatment for Alzheimer’s disease and maintaining optimal hormone levels may help to protect against the damage and degeneration that leads to the disease in the first place. Either bioidentical progesterone alone, or a combined cream of progesterone and natural oestrogens may be most effective, depending on other menopausal symptoms.

Helpful articles:’t-underestimate-the-effect-of-stress-on-your-hormonal-symptoms/

• de la Monte SM, Wands JR. Alzheimer’s disease is type 3 diabetes – evidence reviewed. J Diabetes Sci Technol. Nov 2008; 2(6):1101-1113.
• Hu XY, et al. Decreased estrogen receptor-alpha expression in hippocampal neurons in relation to hyperphosphorylated tau in Alzheimer patients. Acta Neuropathol. 2003 Sep;106(3):213-20.
• Sribnick EA, et al. Estrogen attenuates glutamate-induced cell death by inhibiting Ca2+ influx through L-type voltage-gated Ca2+ channels. Brain Res. 2009 Jun 18;1276:159-70. Epub 2009 Apr 21.
• Gonzales GF, Carillo C. Blood serotonin levels in postmenopausal women: effects of age and serum oestradiol levels. Maturitas. 1993;17:23-9.
• Brann D, et al. Oestrogen signalling and neuroprotection in cerebral ischaemia. J Neuroendocrinol. 2012 Jan;24(1):34-47.
• Bartus RT, Dean RL, 3rd, Beer B, Lippa AS 1982 The cholinergic hypothesis of geriatric memory dysfunction. Science 217:408-414
• Gabor R, Nagle R, Johnson DA, Gibbs RB. Estrogen enhances potassium-stimulated acetylcholine release in the rat hippocampus. Brain Res. 2003 Feb 7;962(1-2):244-7.
• Van Amelsvoort T, Murphy DGM, Robertson D, Daly E, Whitehead M, Abel K. Effects of long-term estrogen replacement therapy on growth hormone response to pyridostigmine in healthy postmenopausal women. Psychoneuroendocrinology. 2003. 28,101-112.
• Wharton W, Baker LD, Gleason CE, Dowling M, Barnet JH, Johnson S, Carlsson C, Craft S, Asthana S. Short-term hormone therapy with transdermal estradiol improves cognition for postmenopausal women with Alzheimer’s disease: results of a randomized controlled trial. J Alzheimers Dis. 2011;26(3):495-505.
• Craig MC, Murphy DG. Estrogen therapy and Alzheimer’s dementia. Ann N Y Acad Sci. 2010 Sep;1205:245-53.
• Labombarda F, et al. Progesterone and the spinal cord: good friends in bad times. Neuroimmunomodulation. 2010;17(3):146-9. Epub 2010 Feb 4.
• Goodman Y, et al. Estrogens attenuate and corticosterone exacerbates excitotoxicity, oxidative injury, and amyloid beta-peptide toxicity in hippocampal neurons. J Neurochem. 1996 May;66(5):1836-44..

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Please feel free to discuss this article in the comments section below, but note that the author cannot respond to queries made there.
Comments 6
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AnnA Rushton | 12:11 pm, April 19th, 2018

We are very sorry to hear this JoAnn but we don’t have those resources. Your son does need specialist help as there are certainly signs of oestrogen dominance, the weight gain and breast lumps, and your GP should be able to get you a specialist referral.

JoAnn | 3:04 am, April 19th, 2018

My son has suffered from depression & anxiety for 15yrs he is 36yrs. His grandma died of alzheimer’s, and his father as well. Years of medicine, no better. Resistant to generic drugs
and resistant to non generic. Has developed IBS, and now breast lumps,55 lb weight gain and bad metonic lab results. Today he was to to seek out a
specialized endocrinologist for adrenal & hormone investigation. How and where do we go to get this resolved. A Dr or a university?
Like UCLA or a recommended Dr? Any help or comments are greatly appreciated

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Cerebral Success | 2:13 pm, February 17th, 2015

hi!,I love your writing very much! proportion we keep in touch extra about your
post on AOL? I need an expert in this house to unravel my
problem. Maybe that is you! Looking ahead to peer you.

AnnA Rushton | 9:01 am, February 6th, 2015

Unfortunately none of these studies have been made using bioidentical hormones to give us a true basis for comparison but as there is more interest in non-HRT solutions for menopuase then it may happen one day.

Jonathan | 12:58 am, February 6th, 2015

Progesterone alone is likely beneficial, but any added estrogen is risky. The WHI confirmed that dementia/mild cognitive impairment were increased by E+P and E-alone. Interestingly, in the same study, younger and older women on estrogen alone had decreases in verbal fluency and spatial rotational ability whereas the combination group did not. Estrogen, whether given as a therapy (Premarin or estradiol) or endogenously occurring (in obesity) causes brain atrophy in older women, especially in the hippocampus and frontal lobe.

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