The results of new research released in January by the Norwegian University of Science and Technology suggests that estrogen supplements may help ward off dementia in women.
The study analyzed data from 80 women who had taken estrogen supplements before and during menopause and another 80 who had never taken any supplements. It found that those who had taken the supplements had a better brain structure than members of the other group, most notably a larger hippocampus, one of the most significant areas of the brain for sense of place and memory. It is also one of the earliest to be affected by Alzheimer’s disease.
While the study showed that boosting levels of estrogen increases hippocampus size and guards against dementia, that information comes with a caveat – supplements must begin before the onset of menopause and continue for several years afterwards. Only those who start taking estrogen before menopause reap these dementia-fighting benefits.
The Role of Estrogen Supplements
Estrogen levels naturally drop in women during menopause, and estrogen supplements can help prevent some of the symptoms most commonly associated with these hormonal changes. For years, estrogen-based products, such as Estrace, have been administered during menopause to fight osteoporosis and cardiovascular disease as well as reduce unpleasant hot flashes. However, this recent research sheds new light on the protective effects this hormone has on the brain and provides a strong argument for taking estrogen earlier to prevent future Alzheimer’s problems.
Estrace is an estrogen supplement that could have many benefits if begun at an early enough age.
Because there is currently no cure for dementia, finding methods of prevention has become an imperative until a cure can be found. If further research validates these findings on an improved brain structure, then a simple adjustment to the estrogen timetable may help countless women. Rather than waiting until the beginning of menopause, an early start (the forties is recommended) before menopause begins could be one of the best and most important approaches to fighting dementia discovered in recent years.