Anti-Inflammatory Diet

All health care starts with diet. My recommendations for a healthy diet are here:
Anti-Inflammatory Diet and Lifestyle.
There are over 190 articles on diet, inflammation and disease on this blog
(find topics using search [upper left] or index [lower right]), and
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Sunday, October 12, 2008

Estrogen and Brain Damage

Estrogens provide protection from some forms of inflammation and reduce symptoms of acute trauma as well as chronic inflammation.

Researchers were trying to figure out why some people died of brain injuries that others sustained with minimal lasting damage. Rats showed the same differences, that were readily sorted into a group of females with minimal damage, females with moderate to severe damage and dead males. Supplementing the females with estrogens protected them all. Supplementing the males with estrogens protected them too.

Head trauma and various kinds of strokes show essentially the same protective quality to estrogens. Estrogens appear to diminish brain inflammation following trauma and lowering inflammation apparently minimizes lasting damage. It is as if inflammatory swelling and not the initial injury causes damage in brain trauma.

Estrogens work like all steroid hormones by binding to cytoplasmic receptors. The activated, hormone-bound receptors are then transported to and into the nucleus, where they act as transcription factors and regulate gene expression. The activated receptors may also act directly on the inflammatory transcription factor, NFkB and interfere with inflammation signaling. The net result is that estrogen-treated cells are less responsive to inflammatory signals, which also include pyrogenic bacterial wall fragments, such as LPS.

The periodic rise and fall of estrogens in the menstrual cycle of women results in a corresponding general cycle of susceptibility to inflammation. Women can become pregnant at the low ebb of inflammability, but when estrogens are low and inflammability is high, women display symptoms of any suppressed underlying inflammation. Chronic inflammation can be displayed in inflammatory symptoms such as acne, arthritis pain, depression, etc. Chronic inflammation can be so high that inflammatory disease symptoms appear throughout the menstrual cycle and even lead to infertility. Some women may experience relief from their inflammatory disease symptoms by taking birth control pills that suppress inflammation with higher levels of estrogen.

Menopause will also reveal underlying chronic inflammation and women going into menopause would be advised to be particularly vigilant and proactive to reduce sources of inflammation. The best advice that they could get would be to aggressively pursue an anti-inflammatory lifestyle and diet.


Mrs. Ed said...

Could this be why some autoimmune diseases go into remission during pregnancy?

Dr. Art Ayers said...

Mrs. Ed,
This shows the interplay between inflammation and autoimmune disease. It also shows that an anti-inflammatory diet would be supportive.

Thanks for picking my articles during your reading period.

Anonymous said...

I thought it was elevated progesterone levels during pregnancy that accounted for incidences of autoimmune diseases going into remission during pregnancy.

Also, progesterone levels tend to decline ahead of estrogen levels during perimenopause. This seems to beva common age for women to develop an autoimmune disease.

Progesterone is being used for traumatic brain injuries.

Dr. Art Ayers said...

That makes sense to me.

Thanks for your observations.