Sunday, March 7, 2010
Female Hormones and Brain Aging
Brains and Hormones
Below are possible solutions that support the normal function of the brain and glands for proper hormone balance and brain health.
Your brain and hormones work together, forming a vital support system for proper health and function.
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Hormones and Aging Brain
The brain is a mass of nerve (neurons) and immune cells (microglia) kept in balance by hormones to counteract the ongoing and persistent break down called, "Neurodegeneration". Hormones have very powerful impacts on the brain and are involved with all steps of keeping the brain in balance.
There is a barrier that keeps the brain clean of anything not wanted called the Blood-Brain Barrier (BBB). Hormones easily cross the blood-brain barrier, and there are also enzymes that allow hormones to be made in the brain (not just in the glands). These hormones are very important and allow the brain to function at its best.
It is well established that sex hormones have many effects on the brain beyond their role in reproduction. These hormones also promote the balance of nerve growth, reduce nerve inflammation, slow down the neurodegeneration, control nerve repair, assist neurotransmitter assistance, make new nerve pathways and apparently cause better efficiency known as neuroplasticity. We can age gracefully and stay in sharp at the same time if we have a plan!
Hormones can help the brains capacity to change connections and behavior in response to new information, sensory stimulation, development, damage, or dysfunction.
The most recent scientific research on these basic connections shows the importance of hormones working with brain function. Microglia (the most abundant cell in the brain) has as one of its many functions hormone production for the brain. DHEA (A master hormone) and Cholesterol have also been found to produce hormones in the brain (See Fig 1 at the bottom of this article for full explanation).
There are normally enzymes found in the body (that are affected by stress and blood sugar imbalances) which change hormones and make Estrogen from Testosterone or make DHEA assist the brain in many ways - from healing to mood, from cognition to control of non-reproductive behavior.
Note: The research information presented here should not be construed as claims regarding any product.
The Estrogen-Brain Connection
Unhealthy or uncomfortable hormonal changes in Menopause are of great concern. Decline of Estrogen levels during this time can wreak havoc in the brain, as well as in the reproductive system. Estrogen levels must be improved effectively during this time. Well-balanced Estrogen levels can improve mood, mental/cognitive function, coordination, depression, orientation and more.
Research shows that Estrogen plays a role in brain inflammation, degeneration and menopausal symptoms. Data suggests that Estrogen replacement therapy may decrease chances of Alzheimer's and stroke. Evidence shows that a slowdown of neurodegenerative diseases can occur with Estrogen replacement therapy.
Methods to improve Estrogen balance must be individualized. Estrovite is a supplement which supports healthy Estrogen receptor site response and improve Estrogen metabolism. This aids in overall Estrogen balance. Women who suffer symptoms of premenstrual syndrome and menopause as well as men who convert too much Testosterone into Estrogen can benefit from Estrovite.
Many disorders are caused by unbalanced Estrogen levels. These include Fibrocystic breasts, ovarian cysts, endometriosis, breast cancer, PMS, Menopause, endometrial cancer, prostate carcinoma and Andropause - to name a few.
Estrovite also has highly effective compounds for those who are on Estrogen replacement therapy or Birth Control Pills, both of which increase the level of Estrogen. As shown in figure 1 below, Estrogen is the last hormone in a long series of conversions and also needs to be broken down and used. Estrovite helps with this.
Many women suffer from poor coordination between their brain and glands as they age. This can result in symptoms before or during menopause. Lower Estrogen levels can be due to lowered ability in the brain to effectively use Follicle Stimulating Hormone (FSH) which triggers release of Estrogen. In these cases, FSH does not control Estrogen as well as it used to. This function can be supported by Opticrine. The compounds in Opticrine have been shown to support FSH and Estrogen balance in women and LH release in men.
Estrogen can protect the brain during menopause but needs to made, released and broken down. It may be beneficial to use nutritional support for Estrogen release, transport, detoxification, and receptor response when taking Estrogen replacement or birth control pills before Menopause. Nutritional support can also help in PMS when Estrogen and Progesterone are out of balance.
Men with too much Testosterone converting to Estrogen can be slowed down with Testanex and broken down with Estrovite.
Summary of the above supplements to support Hormone-Brain Function:
* Estrovite (for men or women)
* Opticrine (for men or women)
* Testanex (for men)
The Thyroid-Brain Connection
From brain development to adult brain aging and balancing nerve and immune functions the Thyroid's normal function and hormones are very important. Those who are born with or develop poor thyroid function may suffer developmental disorders characterized by reduced mental abilities, lowered sensory perception and lack of coordination.
Research suggests that Thyroid hormones may influence the adverse reactions that accompany brain lesions or neuro-degeneration.
Many traditional approaches to Thyroid balance are no longer safe and effective. New research developments have brought new understanding in the area of Thyroid function. For example, supplements containing iodine are considered a double-edged sword in relation to the Thyroid. It is needed to make a hormone the Thyroid produces, but can also suppress other Thyroid hormones. This suppression is due to the alarmingly high intake of salt where iodine has been added, which covers most of the salt in the United States.
Iodine can increase anti-bodies that attack the Thyroid gland in cases of under-active Thyroid due to auto-immune causes (which accounts for up to 80% of hypothyroidism in this country). In these cases, the use of Iodine is harmful, not beneficial and Oxicell and Ultra D Complex would be of possible benefit.
MyVits carries a multi-vitamin for both men and women called Basic Nutrients V. This has been the #1 supplement sold on MyVits for five years running. Basic Nutrients V contains no Iodine, nor any Iron.
We also carry Thyroxal, used for Thyroid health. This supplement is Iodine and Tyrosine free. If a person has too many problems with stress, they should not use Tyrosine, which is why Thyroxal is a great option.
Research has shown that there are other causes for Thyroid imbalances than an excess of Tyrosine and Iodine. Many cases have shown improvement by fixing low levels of Essential Fatty Acids and improving conversion with Thyro CNV.
A commonly found cause of Thyroid problems can be found due to Autoimmunity. This can be supported with Oxicell and Ultra Vitamin D. The cause could also be traced to altered Progesterone function, helped by Progestaid.
Summary of Recommended Supplements:
* Basic Nutrients V - Iodine and Iron free multiple vitamins.
* Thyroxal - Iodine and Tyrosine free Thyroid support supplement.
* Thyro CNV - Raises EFA level and improves conversion.
* Oxicell - Supports autoimmunity.
* Ultra Vitamin D - Supports autoimmunity.
* Progestaid - Aids Progesterone function.
The Brain-Testosterone Connection
Testosterone has a powerful impact on the Brain. Research shows that the drop in Testosterone is related to cognitive and brain aging. The Testosterone-Brain Connection affects basic memory, clear thinking, and Dementia.
Many men must improve their Testosterone levels at some point, but only in extreme cases should bio-identical Testosterone replacement be encouraged. In many cases men cannot make enough Testosterone or their bodies over-convert Testosterone to Estrogen. There are tests in the Expanded Male Hormone panel from Diagnos-Techs that show where the problem lies. Many men cannot keep the levels balanced due to an enzyme called Aromatase that converts Testosterone to Estrogen. This over-conversion can be slowed down with Testanex, along with Glysen, which improves insulin function.
The most common reason for low Testosterone in men is stress. The brain releases LH, which causes Testosterone to be made. When there is too much stress, suppression of LH occurs. The use of Testosterone therapy in men can also turn off the release of LH causing a loss of the feedback to the brain. At the point feedback is lost, the brain stops knowing that it needs to make more testosterone. Natural botanicals and compounds that nutritionally support LH pathways in men are found in the product Opticrine.
Low Testosterone in men has been linked to a risk factor for Alzheimer's. This is caused by a reduction of the secretion of beta-amyloid protein. The theory is that the increased secretion of this protein with aging tangles up with the nerve cells, causing poor transmission and leads to nerve cell death and destruction. Studies are still ongoing but evidence suggests that improving Testosterone levels can slow down this destructive cycle. Other studies show that Testosterone can increase the rate of regeneration, increase nerve growth and protect nerves from cell death due to environmental stress.
The neurotransmitter Dopamine is strongly affected by Testosterone. It will support regeneration of injured nerves and slow down neurodegeneration. The Neurotransmitter Assessment can show symptoms of low Dopamine. Using the MyVits supplement Dopatone may be of great benefit.
Testosterone levels fall as men age. The improvement of Testosterone levels is a bit tricky. When the brain wants more Testosterone it makes a hormone called LH to release it. When someone is given Testosterone that does not have low LH, their own naturally occurring production is stunted. The primary problem was missed - as it commonly is.
This means no one should be given Testosterone without first checking the LH level to be sure it is HIGH not LOW and checking for insulin resistance.
Opticrine is our choice when LH is LOW. Testanex when Estrogens are higher than normal.
The Progesterone-Brain Connection
Progesterone has many effects on healthy brain function including activating the major cells and nerve signaling. It can also stimulate the growth of nerve cells which create myelin sheath for brain insulation. Progesterone can activate the GABA receptors in the brain which creates a calming effect. We have GABA-Pro as a supplement which can also improve this.
The Progesterone hormone is important in the regulation of stress, post partum depression, memory, cognition, PMS, depression and other functions. Progesterone receptors in the brain are controlled by dopamine.
Studies show that Progesterone is also very powerful in protecting brain tissue (also called neuro-protective) as well as having an anti-inflammatory effect. Progesterone has demonstrated speeding the recovery of the brain after trauma.
As with any hormone, too much Progesterone or not enough are both problems. When hormone creams are used they tend to have adverse effects. Hormones can be stored in the fat and this can cause imbalances. Excess Progesterone can overload the receptors and the person may develop symptoms of low Progesterone - even though the opposite is true. The response of hormones is lost also due the Pituitary gland in the brain not releasing its hormones when it senses too much present.
If the body is saturated with hormones, eventually the receptor sites develop resistance, where they are no longer responding to the hormones as well; the symptoms can be the same as hormone insufficiency. Solving hormone overload may require stopping all creams for 30-90 days and using Metacrin-DX and BileMin as liver support to remove the excess hormones from storage.
Progestaid is designed to support healthy levels of LH (luteinizing hormone), support a proper Estrogen/Progesterone balance in women, improve fertility, help manage premenstrual syndrome, and inspire healthy release of LH and Progesterone. LH imbalances can lead to Progesterone deficiency, Estrogen dominance, inability to lose weight, infertility, depression, and increased cancer risk. Opticrine can help restore the Estrogen balance in women whose FSH hormones from the pituitary gland need to be stimulated to help produce Estrogen after being placed on Estrogen.
More Information is provided below on how hormones are made and how to balance their over and under production affecting the brain and body (Fig 1):
Click the number next to each arrow for an explanation.
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1. The enzyme that converts Cholesterol into Pregnenolone is very limited and this conversion is a difficult step for the human body. There is only so much Pregnenolone produced each day, so if the conversion toward Progesterone as seen in Adrenal Stress is over-active, DHEA and sex hormone production will suffer.
2. This enzyme is elevated by too much insulin; unfortunately the enzyme that converts Androstenedione to Estrone is also elevated. The net effect is the conversion of Pregnenelone into DHEA and Androstenedione followed by immediate conversion of DHEA into Esterone. Non optimal for men.
3. DHEA is converted into Androstenedione by the same enzyme used in reversing the conversion of Androstenedione into Testosterone and reversibly converting Esterone into Estrodial. It's common to see high levels of Androstenedione when this enzyme is high. It is also common to experience symptoms of low sex hormones due to high levels of this enzyme. This is because the receptors to sex hormones lose their sensitivity. This shows up clinically as a person with symptoms of low sex hormones.
4. Taking oral Pregnenolone stimulates the conversion into Progesterone in healthy males. However the potential for oral Pregnenolone conversion into any other hormone is possible especially in men that have insulin resistance and too much Estrogen production.
5. When the conversion of Progesterone to Aldesterone is overactive the culprit is frequently high Cortisol. Cortisol appears to have a high affinity for Aldosterone receptor sites and can bind to them creating an Aldosterone response. Symptoms such as high blood pressure and electrolyte imbalance when there are no changes in blood or urine Aldosterone indicate an elevation in Cortisol. This syndrome is known as "pseudohyperaldosteronemia".
6. Conversion of Progesterone to Androstenedione takes place with adrenal stress or insulin resistance. Ideally Progesterone should convert into Cortisol instead.
7. When a person has a chronic stress response, giving Progesterone will usually elevate Cortisol. Therefore, any doctor should be wary of the conversion of Progesterone into excess Cortisol. He must be cautious even with patients who demonstrate low Progesterone and low Cortisol. Many times even a small amount of Progesterone will cause a "jump" immediately into a high Cortisol pattern. The person will experience all the side effects of high Cortisol, such as weight gain, inability to fall asleep (insomnia), insulin resistance, etc.
8. The majority of Testosterone creation is determined by the production and secretion of Luteinizing Hormone (LH) by the Pituitary gland. This can be supported in men using Opticrine.
9. The enzyme responsible for converting Testosterone to Dihydrotestosterone appears to increase with low Progesterone levels, Essential Fatty Acid deficiency, and Zinc deficiency.
10. Conversion of Testosterone and Androstenedione to Estradiol and Esterone is controlled by an enzyme found in fatty tissues. This enzyme called aromatase increases as Cortisol and Insulin levels increase. When overactive it can be blocked by using the Testanex Cream rubbed into the belly adipose (fatty tissue).