Because women often experience improvement of MS symptoms while pregnant, hormone therapy using estrogen has been studied as a treatment for the disease. In human studies, estriol treatment (8 mg/day) in nonpregnant women with MS was associated with reduced lesion numbers and lesion volumes and when treatment ceased, these values returned to levels observed before treatment.37 Patients given estriol also had enhanced cognitive function. With respect to immune studies, estriol was associated with reduced pro-inflammatory and increased anti-inflammatory cytokine production and these changes correlated well with the reduced formation of lesions.39
Other studies have shown that male MS patients treated with 10 mg of testosterone exhibited improved cognitive performance and reduced brain atrophy, although MRI data showed no change in lesion formation.129 In another similar study, testosterone treatment in males was associated with reduced production of inflammatory cytokines and increased production of neuroprotective factors.130
There is currently debate among researchers about the role of hormones with MS and how that relationship may be exploited as a means of therapy. Some studies argue for hormone replacement as a new therapeutic approach.131 More information can be found in Life Extension's "Male Hormone Restoration" and "Female Hormone Restoration" protocols.
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