Bioidentical Hormones and Alzheimer’s

Home / Blog / General / Bioidentical Hormones and Alzheimer’s

Most of us know at least one person with Alzheimer’s.  Currently one in nine older Americans suffer from this debilitating disease and the projections are that the prevalence with only increase.  Dr. Edward. Friedman , in his book The New Testosterone Treatment: How You and Your Doctor Can Fight Breast Cancer, Prostate Cancer, and Alzheimer’s “ writes how bioidentical hormones help prevent Alzheimer’s disease in 9 different and documented ways.

Two abnormalities commonly associated with Alzheimer’s are beta amyloid plaques between neurons in the brain and neurofibrillary tangles within the neurons.  The tangles are composed of hyperphosphorylated tau protein which eventually kills the neuron.  Impaired glucose metabolism in the brain and poor blood circulation to the brain are also associated with Alzheimer’s.  Alzheimer’s disease destroys brain function and is ultimately fatal.

AD hormones progression with age

  1. Apolipoprotein Ee4 is a genetic mutation which hinders beta amyloid excretion from the brain.  Vitamin D3 increases the excretion of beta amyloid from the brain.
  2. Beta amyloid secretion is impaired by both testosterone and estradiol.  Cycling with progesterone also enhances this impairment ability of estradiol.
  3. Beta amyloid is a peptide created from 40 or 42 amino acids.   An increased ratio of the 42 amino acid structure over the 40 is associated with Alzheimer’s.  This ratio is decreased by testosterone.
  4. Alpha secretase is an enzyme that prevents production of beta amyloid.  Both estradiol and testosterone increase alpha secretase activity.
  5. Beta secretase is an enzyme that increases the production of beta amyloid.   Estradiol and testosterone decrease beta secretase.
  6. The enzyme neprilysin degrades beta amyloid.  Testosterone and estradiol increase neprilysin activity.
  7. The hyperphosphorylation of tau protein is inhibited by testosterone by not by estradiol.  However, progesterone also inhibits it!
  8. Both estradiol and testosterone improve brain cell glucose metabolism.
  9. The impaired blood flow to the brain also demonstrated in Alzheimer’s disease is improved by both testosterone and estradiol.

According to Dr. Friedman, only the real thing will work.  The hormone receptor is everything and only bioidentical hormone structures will fit into the receptor correctly. Given the evidence of the remarkable interplay of hormones in the known problems associated with Alzheimer’s and the lack of any other effective treatment developed thus far, shouldn’t keeping hormone levels at optimal amounts in the brain be a priority for us?

Terry Pfau DO, HMD