According to science, hormonal changes are the main reason women are more prone than males to acquire Alzheimer’s Disease. What can women do to prolong the life of their brains?
It’s well known that women are more likely than males to get dementia, but why?
Recent research has shown that women are two times more likely than males to have Alzheimer’s disease, the most prevalent type of dementia, later in life. Hormonal changes are believed to play a role in this.
Evidence from research conducted from 2006 to 2001 over a five-year period points to menopause and other hormonal issues as the main causes of the startling findings.
Female hormonal health factors for Alzheimer’s disease
The most important risk factors for Alzheimer’s disease were identified by analyzing data from 292 cognitively healthy men and women (average age, 67) registered in the Wisconsin Registry for Alzheimer’s Prevention, according to cross-sectional research published this month in JAMA Neurology.
Researchers came to the conclusion that female individuals typically had higher levels of the biomarker for Alzheimer’s disease, amyloid protein. The regional tau PET (another biomarker for Alzheimer’s disease) levels of these people were considerably greater in those who utilized hormone treatment and went through menopause earlier in life.
These indicators are becoming more prevalent as a result of declining levels of estrogen and other reproductive hormones.
This idea was earlier described by Lisa Mosconi, a neuroscientist and associate director of the Alzheimer’s Prevention Clinic at Weill Cornell Medical College, who claimed that female reproductive hormones are beneficial to brain function
According to her comments on the mindbodygreen podcast, “In women going through menopause, the brain starts showing reductions in brain energy levels, which correlates with the formation of amyloid plaques, or Alzheimer’s plaques, in women’s brains.”
She refers to female hormones as “superpowers” for maintaining brain function and averting potential health concerns. During menopause, when these superpowers are diminished, the female brain is left open to attack by Alzheimer’s plaques.
She argues that this is biologically the opposite for males since, unlike women, who experience a period of hormone decline, male testosterone levels are typically steady throughout an individual’s lifespan.
Menopause appears to be the tipping moment where these medical concerns transform into actual medical problems, according to Mosconi.
Alzheimer’s prevention plan for Women by JAMA Neurology
The study from JAMA Neurology notes that while hormone treatment may be a useful neuroprotective strategy against Alzheimer’s disease, it must be administered at the right time to be beneficial.
The study found that women who started taking hormone therapy five or more years after menopause had higher levels of Alzheimer’s disease biomarkers. Hormonal treatment thus responds best just after menopause has occurred.
The Mediterranean diet, according to Mosconi, is a daily preventative step that women may take. The diet encourages frequent eating of fish, a food that has been shown to be essential for maintaining brain function and is high in omega-3 fatty acids.
Other ways to promote brain health
- Consume a balanced, healthy, and low-glycemic diet. Include foods high in the antioxidants lutein and zeaxanthin, omega-3 fatty acids, and vitamins C, D, and E
- Working with an endocrinologist can help you maintain normal hormone levels.
- Work to avoid or treat illnesses and disorders that raise the risk of Alzheimer’s, such as diabetes, heart disease, traumatic brain damage (concussions), depression, and more, to improve your general health throughout life, but especially by middle age.
- Engage in everyday routines that promote brain health, such as reading, adequate sleep, and exercise.
- To check for any indications of cognitive deterioration, consult a neurologist.
- Keep your brain engaged. While the effectiveness of cognitive exercises in reducing the incidence of Alzheimer’s disease is still up for discussion, maintaining mental agility will improve your well-being as a whole. You may also check out these memory games.
- Determine if you are post-menopausal or in the perimenopausal stage, then research hormone treatment options.
Understanding your female hormone cycle, according to Mosconi, is one of the greatest strategies to identify dementia risks early.
It’s really beneficial if you can identify the risks when you’re 45 or 50 so that we can have a solid baseline and begin an Alzheimer’s preventive strategy.