by Nils Osmar. Updated August 21, 2022 . Medical Disclaimer
Two thirds of all Alzheimer’s patients are women.
Some maintain that this is simply because women live longer than men. But they only live a few years longer, and symptoms of menopause begin decades earlier than the actual onset of the disease. So is this actually the reason for the difference?
According to an article published in The Atlantic, the loss of estrogen during menopause may be a major factor in women’s greater vulnerability to Alzheimer’s. The article explores an approach taken by Lisa Mosconi, Director of Weill Cornell Medicine’s Women’s Brain Initiative,
From the Article:
Mosconi has been conducting multiple MRI scans of perimenopausal women to look at brain atrophy, vascular damage, and connectivity…. her published data thus far have shown that middle-aged women’s brains exhibit signs of a higher risk of Alzheimer’s than men’s. “For women, there is a marked decline in brain energy and an increase in Alzheimer’s plaques as they go from premenopausal to fully menopausal.”
Mosconi’s theory for why this is so, in a nutshell, is estrogen. During menopause, estrogen dramatically decreases “Estrogen,” Mosconi says, “is a neuroprotective hormone. When it declines, the brain is left more vulnerable. So if a woman is somehow predisposed to Alzheimer’s, that’s when the risk manifests itself in her brain.”
NMN and Estrogen
The anti-aging compound NMN has been shown to increase NAD levels and restore fertility in animals that had gone through a species-related version of menopause.
According to this article, which examines the results of NMN supplementation in lab animals:
Anecdotal reports suggest that a similar phenomenon may sometimes occur in women supplementing with NMN, up to and including the restoration of ovulation and fertility in women who’ve been through menopause (though more research is needed to verify whether this is really the case).
Cyanidin and Estrogen
Reproductive aging in females is also accompanied by changes in endocrinal function, particularly by declining estrogen levels. In this study, NMN supplements increased the levels of estrogen dramatically, almost to the peak levels observed in 12-week-old mice.
Another compound that’s interesting in this light is cyanidin, found in blackberries and elderberries. This study points out that the precipitous drop in estrogen also increases the risk of developing metabolic syndrome – and suggests that eating berries, including blackberries, may alleviate the loss of estrogen that accompanies menopause, protecting against metabolic syndrome, weight gain and inflammation.
From the Study:
Estrogen loss predisposes postmenopausal women to a 60% greater risk of developing metabolic syndrome.
We examined the dose dependent effects of whole blackberries containing 87% cyanidin-3-O-β-d-glucoside (C3G), a powerful antioxidative and anti-inflammatory anthocyanin, in ovariectomized rats…
After 100 days of treatment, serum, liver lipids, insulin and C-reactive protein, serum antioxidant capacity, low density lipoprotein oxidation and gene expression of inflammatory markers were measured.
… Thus, consumption of C3G-rich blackberries is protective against weight gain and inflammation associated with ovariectomy-induced menopause in a rat model.
- Menopause may be “natural” in a biological sense, but from an anti-aging point of view, it’s a major challenge that needs be addressed.
- Its onset is accompanied by the sudden collapse of an interconnected system of hormones. The hormones that go into collapse are essential not only to fertility, but to women’s health and longevity.
- I’m not suggesting that taking NMN or eating blackberries, elderberries or other sources of cyanidin are a “cure” for menopause. But animal studies do suggest that they may be protective against some of the negative effects of the phenomenon, and might possibly be effective in delaying or reversing it, at least for a time.
- Supplements notwithstanding, anti-aging research needs to include a stronger focus on alleviating, postponing, and perhaps totally preventing menopause from occurring in the first place. Women need access both to hormone replacement and to compounds that can alleviate the problems triggered by the loss of hormones.
- Cyanidin 3-O-β-d-glucoside-rich blackberries modulate hepatic gene expression, and anti-obesity effects in ovariectomized rats
- NMN Slows Ovarian Aging in Mice
- What Menopause Does to Women’s Brains