Some research is now suggesting that starting estrogen therapy around the age of menopause/perimenopause is safer than waiting until years after. Starting estrogen therapies at onset of menopausal symptoms has been shown to be neuro-protective (preserves nerve and thus cognitive/brain funtion). This is an important thought in prevention of diseases such as Alzheimer’s Dementia or even depression/anxiety. Also, due to it’s lipophilic (fat loving) nature, estrogen can concentrate in our fat-rich cell membranes, increasing their fluidity and improving cellular function. This is part of the reason that estrogen therapy can enhance mood, improve skin elasticity and improve many of the dreaded menopausal symptoms (hot flashes, weight gain, irritability, insomnia, etc). In addition to the cell regulatory effects, estrogen has been shown to be an inflammation modulator by acting as a COX2 inhibitor (like aspirin) in the brain.
However, research is also showing that starting hormonal therapies years into menopause, comes with significant more risk and does not provide the same neuro-protective functions as starting support earlier.
Phytoestrogens (plant based estrogens) are also demonstrating similiar neuro-protective properties and can safely be used to correct menopause-related imbalances.