Hormones, Supplements, and Dementia
We know…dementia is hard to talk about. Most people would prefer not to even think about it.
Yet…it’s an important discussion to have. As people over the age of 65 become a larger portion of the population, the incidence of Alzheimer’s and other age-related dementia will continue to be on the rise.
The statistics about Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia are indeed sobering:
- One in ten people over the age of 65 suffers from Alzheimer’s.
- After age 65, the chance of developing some form of dementia doubles every five years.
- Alzheimer’s affects nearly half of all people over the age of 80.
- At least one in twenty people with dementia began to experience symptoms before age 65.
Tragically, just about everyone has a family member who suffers from some form of dementia or knows someone who does.
Read on to learn more about Alzheimer’s, other forms of dementia, and some evolving ideas around ways to prevent these disorders.
Dementia and Alzheimer’s Basics
Contrary to what many people think, dementia isn’t a specific disease. The CDC defines dementia as simply being the impaired ability to remember, think, or make decisions such that it interferes with everyday tasks. In other words, dementia is worse than the mild short-term memory loss that most people experience as they get older. A cliché among memory researchers is that dementia isn’t forgetting a family member’s birthday…it’s when you forget your own.
Alzheimer’s disease is by far the most common cause of dementia. It accounts for 60-80% of dementia cases in people over the age of 65. For this reason, Alzheimer’s is the focus of most research.
All that extra attention notwithstanding, medical science has yet to discover a cure for dementia in general, and Alzheimer’s in particular.
You may be wondering….is there any good news? Yes…there is.
The Role of Estrogen
Recent research indicates that estrogen significantly influences risk factors related to developing Alzheimer’s.
This is because estrogen affects your brain in a few important ways:
- It promotes connections in the hippocampus…the area of your brain responsible for memory and learning.
- It controls the release of important chemicals like dopamine, serotonin, and acetylcholine…all of which are important for healthy brain function.
- It helps protect your brain from the effects of amyloid-B and tau proteins…both of which are linked to brain cell damage.
The fact that dementia is more common in women than it is in men may be due to the abrupt loss of estrogen that women experience during and after menopause. That being the case, it’s not surprising that research suggests estrogen replacement therapy can reduce the risk for developing dementia in women.
In men, estrogen production gradually declines with age due to declining testosterone, which is converted to small amounts of estrogen in men’s bodies. For men, testosterone replacement therapy can keep estrogen at healthy levels by ensuring that adequate supplies of testosterone are available to convert to estrogen.
Can Supplements Help?
At present, there are no vitamins or minerals that can “cure” dementia or delay its effects once it appears.
However, there are many supplements that support good brain health…which could help to prevent the cellular damage that can result in dementia. Here are some brain protective supplements to consider:
- Antioxidants (beta-carotene, vitamins C and E, resveratrol, glutathione, and alpha lipoic acid, to name a few). Antioxidants protect the cells in your body…including the cells in your brain…from the damaging effects of free radicals.
- Vitamin D. Low levels of vitamin D have been linked to an increased risk for developing Alzheimer’s.
- Other memory boosting supplements include NAD+, CoQ10, phosphatidylserine, Omega 3s, and L-Carnitine.
Scientists don’t know exactly why people develop dementia…but the known risk factors include age, a family history of dementia, and traumatic brain injury.
Having said that, lifestyle changes…especially if you begin before middle age…could prevent the onset of symptoms.
First, maintain a healthy diet rich in antioxidants and nootropics (i.e. foods or chemicals that support brain health).
Second, stay physically active. Studies link higher risk factors for developing dementia to poor cardiovascular health.
Third, stay mentally active and keep trying new things. Your brain is like any other part of your body…it needs exercise.
And finally…make sure important hormones like estrogen, testosterone, thyroid, and pregnenolone are in proper balance.
Renew Youth can provide you with a treatment plan specifically designed to support brain health and preserve cognition.
To learn more, call us at 800-850-7511 or fill out our contact form to schedule your free consultation.