Hormone fertility estradiol is obviously important for the brain as well. Decreasing middle age, worsening memory and faster aging of women. These have been reported by researchers from Leipzig.
Estradiol is the most important of three naturally-produced estrogens in the female body. It has many functions – but above all, it significantly contributes to the preservation of the female reproductive system.
Men also produce estradiol, albeit in much smaller quantities. In both sexes, estradiol is also produced by fatty tissue, the brain and the blood vessel walls. It also has vasodilating and antioxidant properties.
More abdominal, less sex hormones
Researchers from the Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences in Leipzig wanted to know how sex hormones and body weight affect the emotional and cognitive well-being of women. It is known that fat stomach is a risk for cognitive impairment in later life. "Our goal was to investigate whether excess organic fat is associated with decreasing structural networks, as well as brain memory during his life. We also wanted to find out whether this interaction could be affected by estradiol," says author Rachel Zsido.
Memory is shrinking
Jessica and her colleagues have therefore explored a large set of healthy adults aged between 20 and 80 in the LIFE study. Among them there were 501 men and 473 women. The researchers analyzed the structure of the brain and body fat of subjects in MRI images, as well as memory performance and estradiol levels in the blood.
"Our results show that increased body fat increases the negative impact of aging on brain networks in men and women." We also found that men used this organic fat earlier, while women were affected, especially in the middle of life, "explains the scientist.
The level of estradiol falls before menopause
Another finding of the study: Decreasing estradiol in this middle stage of life accelerates the normal aging process. "We looked at the subgroup of women between 35 and 55 and found that low levels of estradiol were associated with lower memory in the middle ages," adds Julia Sacher. It is also the stage of life in which a transition to menopause is taking place, initially characterized by sudden changes in estradiol and finally stopping the reproductive phase.
On the other hand, estradiol appears to protect the female brain from structural damage of gray matter over the middle years.
According to the researchers, the stage before menopause is therefore an important window of opportunity to prevent accelerated aging of the brain, and thus the development of neurodegenerative diseases such as dementia or depression in women.