Could testosterone supplements help prevent Alzheimer’s disease? It is possible, according to results of a new study in which researchers exposed nerve cells to the male hormone. In the presence of testosterone, nerve cells collected from rats and mice tended to produce a harmless or beneficial form of beta-amyloid protein rather than the form that makes up plaques in the brains of Alzheimer’s disease patients.
The testosterone directs the metabolism so that much more goes to the good pathway and much less to the bad pathway. In other words, you get much less beta-amyloid peptide and you get more of this secretory beta-amyloid precursor protein, which is considered by most people to be beneficial for the health of the nerve cells. While the findings do not necessarily apply to the treatment of humans — the brain being a much more complex system than a laboratory culture dish — the new findings suggest that testosterone may be helpful in preventing Alzheimer’s disease, according to the report.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA February 1, 2000;97:1202-1205.