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Estrogen is with progesterone, one of two main types of female sex hormones. Essential for the development of much of women of reproductive apparatus, and to maintain it throughout life.
But estrogen is not just a female sex hormone. In fact, he acts on the brain.
The effects of female sex hormone estrogen on the sexual development and function, bone structure, skin or fat and protein metabolism doctors have long and well known. About them being taught in school, and many patients who take estrogen because of hormonal disorder before or during puberty, the reproductive period or in menopause, the effects team know how much.
But that estrogen acts on our brains, and how it operates, it is known only a small number of specialists who deal with this area. Neuroscience studies indicate that estrogen has several important effects on the human brain: protects neurons (cells from which the brain is built), reduced sensitivity to pain, improves memory and mood, and delayed development of some severe mental illness.
The brain cells estrogen acts as antioxidant molecules, preventing flow of harmful cellular processes. It works on the cell nucleus by encouraging the creation of molecules that nourish and protect the same cells (so-called nerve growth factors). Acting on the nucleus of neurons increases the density of the main connections (synapses) in the brain and reduces the activity of genes that can lead to cell death.
Estrogen may reduce sensitivity to pain by encouraging the creation of matter similar opiate drugs. These substances, called endogenous opiates, our brain produces in small quantities, it is possible to control the sensitivity to pain. Estrogen stimulates the action of acetylcholine and glutamate, two of the many molecules that neurons use to each other communication. That is, with increasing density of synapses in the brain, the way that estrogen can stimulate the processes of memory.
In a similar way, by acting on neurotransmitters, ie, molecules which neurons communicate, estrogen can improve mood. Estrogen, in fact, encourages the creation, preventing degradation and operates on the places where it binds to the neurotransmitter serotonin neurons. And most of the newer drugs used to treat depression affects the same neurotransmitter.