(Health Secrets) There may be an answer to Alzheimer’s! Although diet and lifestyle changes can have some effect on the development and progression of age-related neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s, these interventions have yet to provide the true key for avoiding such diseases. New research is showing that having optimal amounts of the steroid hormones may be the answer to Alzheimer’s. Each hormone has its role, and it appears that the right balance of hormones will unlock the mystery.
For decades estrogen, progesterone and testosterone were thought of as sex hormones because they play a fundamental role in the regulation of behavioral and physiological happenings needed for successful procreation.
Then it was discovered that estrogen exerts powerful effects on the structure and function of the hippocampus and cerebral cortex, and has a profound effect on learning, memory and mood as well as neurodevelopmental and neurodegenerative processes.
While most research data on estrogen was derived from studies with females, there is mounting evidence that estrogen also plays an important role in the male brain, where it can be generated from circulating testosterone or synthesized by neurons and glia.
Scientists have known for a long time that estrogen acting alone in the body can have tremendously negative effects, and estrogen does not appear alone in the healthy individual, but is always balanced by progesterone and testosterone. Optimal amounts of each of these hormones is necessary for the body to achieve homeostasis.
It is now well recognized that progesterone plays a protective role against diseases of the central nervous system. New research just reported in the Journal of Neuroendocrinology found that progesterone treatment exerts beneficial effects against hippocampal neuropathology and displays a neuroprotective role in the brain.
The importance of progesterone in regulating cognition and affect has been repeatedly described in current research literature. In addition, progesterone has shown strong protective effects against numerous insults to the brain and central nervous system, including stoke. Although all key pathways for these actions have not yet been documented, the mechanism by which progesterone regulates one important member of the neurotrophin family, brain-derived neurotophic factor (BDNF), is well understood and underscores the pivotal role of progesterone in brain protection.
New research from Emory University has taken this knowledge a step further, documenting that the combination of progesterone and the vitamin D hormone is even more effective against stroke than if each were used alone. The researchers found that vitamin D potentiates the efficacy of progesterone.
Other research from University of Southern California (USC) studied the interactions between estrogen (estradiol) and progesterone in synaptic plasticity, the ability of the nervous system to modify synapses to allow for learning and remembering. They concluded that while estrogen exerts a clear and important role in long-term potentiation of synaptic transmission in hippocampal neurons, the role of progesterone may be accounted for by its ability to directly or indirectly regulate GABA receptors. They noted the neuroprotective roles of both hormones against excitotoxicity, the neuronal injury caused by excessive release of excitatory neurotransmitters, primarily from glutamate and aspartate.
New research from scientists in Italyhas begun the clarification process in the relationships with age related physiologic and pathologic brain changes. They studied estrogen, progesterone, pregnenolone and DHEA, as well as several metabolites of these hormones to determine age related neuropathological changes in brains with Alzheimer’s disease. They found that such characteristics of Alzheimer’s as beta amyloid accumulation and gliosis were associated with reduced levels of progesterone and testosterone.
Normal age-related depletion of testosterone is a risk factor for Alzheimer’s disease, according to 2010 research from USC. These scientists found that testosterone depletion significantly accelerates development of Alzheimer-like neuropathology, an effect prevented by testosterone treatment. Because testosterone is metabolized in the brain into both the androgen hormone dihydrotestosterone (DHT) and estrogen (estradiol), it can mediate Alzheimer-like changes through androgen or estrogen pathways.
These researchers observed a significant increase in beta amyloid accumulation in the subiculum, hippocampus and amydgala in mice whose gonads had been removed. Treatment of these mice with testosterone prevented the increased beta amyloid accumulation in all three brain regions. DHT treatment yielded similar results, significantly reducing beta amyloid accumulation across brain regions. Estrogen prevented beta amyloid accumulation in the hippocampus, but exerted only partial effects in the subiculum and amygdala.
Why has this information been a secret for the past 15 years?
Hormones occur naturally, and anything that occurs naturally cannot be patented. In other words, there is not much money to be made from helping people replace their declining hormone levels. The money is in selling drugs to “manage” diseases such as Alzheimer’s, and there is no push to get news out that would get in the way of that. In fact, drug companies make a lot of money by selling drugs that block hormone production in the body. Once the protective effects of hormones are eliminated, you become a prime candidate for many diseases that need to be “managed” with drugs for the rest of your lifetime!
Why did we fall for such a lie? Maybe it was that connection between hormones and procreation that did it. After all, many of us are descendants of the Puritans. Whatever the reason, it’s time to take the blinders off and realize that hormones are the life force. Without them, we are in big trouble.
The steroid hormone are protective of many other bodily organs and systems. Get the full picture and see where you stand.
For more information:
Published with permission from Alignlife. Original article link is here.