Hormones and Their Connection With Cognitive Function
Hormones carry messages between the brain and the body, so by balancing your hormones, you balance the cognitive function as well. The main systems that the body uses for inner communication are the endocrine system that utilizes hormones as its messenger and the nervous system that prefers using neurotransmitters.
Multiple systems within the body produce hormones and these are adrenal glands, pituitary gland, thymus, thyroid, gonads, kidneys, and even heart. Hormones control basic human functions; they are similar in function to neurotransmitters – the chemicals used by the nervous system to coordinate basic behavioral activities.
How the brain responds to hormones defines how capable it is to respond to environmental signals. This is the main connection between hormones and the brain, but what else? Let’s see.
Brain and Hormones: The Connection
Receptors for thyroid hormones are contained in the brain as well as the receptors of 6 steroid hormones synthesized from cholesterol, and they are androgens, estrogens, progestins, glucocorticoids, mineralocorticoids, and vitamin D.
The mentioned steroid hormones and thyroid hormones bind to receptor proteins that, in their turn, bind to DNA to control the work of genes. This results in long-standing changes in cellular structure and function.
The receptors for metabolic hormones like insulin, insulin-like growth factor, ghrelin, and leptin are also contained within the brain.
If we experience changes in our biological clocks (such as day and night changes) or have some dealings with stresses, hormones are ‘sprayed’ in the blood and go to the brain and other organs.
Hormones affect the structure of brain cells and alter the release of gene products that take part in synaptic neurotransmission. Synapses are the junctions where neurons pass signals to other neurons, muscle cells, or gland cells.
Might the hormone deficiencies account for any issues?
There are multiple studies that say that the deficiency of certain hormones can cause health issues and malfunctions of definite organs. Concerning the function of the brain, there were several studies conducted from 1999 up to 2005. Later, there were some more researches made, but their results were not as convincing.
So, in 2005 a study of 565 Word War II veterans concluded that higher testosterone level in middle age was associated with a better condition of the brain tissue and the enhanced work of the brain in the older age.
Another study of 400 men of age 40 to 80 was conducted in 2004 and found that a higher level of testosterone was linked to much better cognitive performance in older men, however, no associations were observed in the younger males.
Another research from the Baltimore Longitudinal Study of Aging was provided to evaluate 574 men during a period of 19 years.
The report was made in 2004 and it concluded that a low level of free testosterone predicted the overstated risk of Alzheimer’s disease even when other risk factors of dementia were taken into account.
A study provided in 2002 evaluated 310 men with an average age of 73 years old and it found that a higher level of testosterone was linked with better results of three cognitive function tests.
Almost the same study of 407 men of ages between 51 and 91 found that a higher level of free testosterone was associated with better scores of 4 cognitive function tests including the tests for visual and verbal memory.
If you need to ask some more questions concerning any type of hormone replacement therapy or testosterone therapy, in particular, don’t hesitate to get in touch with a team of our qualified experts and apply for a free consultation here.