Could heart disease in menopause and the thickening of the arteries that comes with it be due to a deficient chemical? New research suggests it is. A chemical cofactor called BH4 (tetrahydrobiopterin) could lead the way to reversing vascular health that occurs after menopause. This comes from a small study published January 13 in the American Journal of Physiology – Heart and Circulatory Physiology.
According to the study, BH4 is essential for the body to produce nitric oxide, a substance that reduces hardening of the arteries and helps the arteries dilate.
To prove this point, the scientists gave BH4 to 24 women in menopause and 9 women who were not yet in menopause. In three hours they found that the BH4 increased the ability of major arteries to the head and in the upper arm to expand by 24±5% in the menopausal women but it didn’t have an effect in the younger women.
In a second part of the study, the women in menopause were divided into two groups and half were given estrogen and the other half given a placebo. Two days later, women who received the estradiol had the same types of benefits as the women who had received BH4. Those given a placebo had no changes. Giving BH4 along with the estradiol gave no better results than either alone. So it looks like estrogen keeps BH4 levels adequate.
Since heart disease is the number one killer of women, we have to keep open the discussion of who should receive it, how much and for how long. Click Here for a free EBook on HRT and how to take it.