Early Onset of Menopause Correlates with Shorter Life Expectancy

Aging is a phenomenon affecting all organs and systems throughout the body, driven by rising levels of molecular damage. The variation in aging between individuals is largely determined by variations in the overall burden of such damage, the compound interest of small differences arising from lifestyle choices and happenstance such as infection in the first half of life. Thus for any given individual, manifestations and measures of aging tend to be fairly well correlated. That doesn't necessarily tell us anything about causation. So in this study, in which the researchers look at two very high level manifestations of aging, menopause and life span, there is probably no direct thread of causation at all. These are downstream manifestations of the summed effects of every cause of aging.

It is a well-accepted fact in the medical community that both type 2 diabetes and early onset of natural menopause may be associated with early death. Emerging evidence shows an association between age at menopause and diabetes, with studies reporting almost a two-fold increased risk of type 2 diabetes with early onset of menopause. To date, however, there are no other known studies that have quantified (calculated the number of years lived with and without diabetes) the combined association of early menopause and type 2 diabetes with life expectancy.

In this study involving 3,650 postmenopausal women, the difference in life expectancy was compared in women experiencing early, normal, and late menopause, as well as in those with and without diabetes. Compared with late menopause (defined as menopause that occurs at age 55 years and older), the difference in life expectancy for women who experienced early menopause (defined as menopause that occurs at age 44 years or younger) was -3.5 years overall and -4.6 years in women without diabetes. Compared with age at normal menopause (defined as menopause that occurs at 45-54 years of age), the difference in life expectancy for women who experienced early menopause was -3.1 years overall and -3.3 years in women without diabetes.

The authors suggest the need for future research to examine the mechanisms behind this association to help tailor prevention and treatment strategies that improve women's health across all age categories of menopause.

Link: https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2018-10/tnam-eoo101618.php

Comments

I thought the balance between cancer risk and benefits associated with hormone levels in older women had been studied to death. This topic hits close to home, as a discussion and decision about hormone therapy is on our horizon. It's arguable "Three's Company" star Suzanne Somers has been an early cultural extreme longevity champion on the subject of Bioidentical Hormone Replacement Therapy.

In the spirit of FightAging, has the equivalent "Late Onset of Menopause Correlates with Longer Life Expectancy" study been done?

Posted by: Tom Schaefer at October 23rd, 2018 7:17 AM

A very interesting paper showing 100% life span extension in C. elegans using a drug combination targeting IGF and SREBP Lipid Signaling, with translatable effects in fruit flies as well:

"rug Synergy Slows Aging and Improves Healthspan through IGF and SREBP Lipid Signaling"

https://www.cell.com/developmental-cell/fulltext/S1534-5807(18)30699-3?_returnURL=https%3A%2F%2Flinkinghub.elsevier.com%2Fretrieve%2Fpii%2FS1534580718306993%3Fshowall%3Dtrue

SUMMARY
There is growing interest in pharmacological interventions directly targeting the aging process. Pharmacological interventions against aging should be efficacious when started in adults and, ideally, repurpose existing drugs. We show that dramatic lifespan extension can be achieved by targeting multiple, evolutionarily conserved aging pathways and mechanisms using drug combinations. Using this approach in C. elegans, we were able to slow aging and significantly extend healthy lifespan. To identify the mechanism of these drug synergies, we applied transcriptomics and lipidomics analysis. We found that drug interactions involved the TGF-b pathway and recruited genes related with IGF signaling. daf-2, daf-7, and sbp-1 interact upstream of changes in lipid metabolism, resulting in increased monounsaturated fatty acid content and this is required for healthy lifespan extension. These data suggest that combinations of drugs targeting distinct subsets of the aging gene regulatory network can be leveraged to to cause synergistic lifespan benefits.

Posted by: Chris at October 23rd, 2018 11:46 AM

@Tom
Some notes on hormones and HRT for women:
- progesterone is not really 'oppositional' to estradiol; it actually can potentiate the effects of estradiol
- estradiol levels fluctuate in a diurnal pattern as well as monthly (peaking around 2 am for most)
- too much estradiol can make one crabby, but so can too little
- consuming fresh legumes (english peas, fresh favas, green beans, etc.) can delay menopause
- equol is used in Japan to ease menopause symptoms

Also:
https://www.newscientist.com/article/2108682-young-ovaries-rejuvenate-older-mice-and-extend-their-lifespan/

PRP injections have been used for ovarian rejuvenation.

Posted by: CD at October 25th, 2018 2:26 PM

Yes, women cease blood letting (i.e. donating blood) with the cessation of the menstrual cycles as menopause sets in and iron begins to accumulate. Women accumulate ~1 mg. iron per day (like males do) but lose about 30 mg iron in their monthly blood flow. It is the accumulation of iron along with copper and calcium, the dominant minerals by volume, that drive aging. Men have no outlet for iron other than sweating. An early hysterectomy also shortens a woman's life expectancy. Women who craved iron-rich red meat to replace iron throughout most of their adult lives now need to cease eating red meat. Beef provides heme iron that is absorbed whether one needs it or not whereas non-heme iron is only absorbed on an as needed basis. Males and females don't age biologically during their growth years, they are only having birthdays as all the iron consumed is devoted to making new red blood cells; all the copper to making connective tissue and all the calcium to making new bone. Once growth stops (~age 18 years) then aging begins, first in males then later in females as they cease menstruation. Also the more children a woman births the longer she lives -- birthing requires donating her iron, copper, calcium to her offspring. By age 40 a man has double the iron load and 4x the calcium stored in his body and experiences a doubling of risk for diabetes, cancer and heart disease compared to an equally aged woman.

Posted by: Bill Sardi at October 28th, 2018 9:09 AM

Post a comment; thoughtful, considered opinions are valued. Comments incorporating ad hominem attacks, advertising, and other forms of inappropriate behavior are likely to be deleted.

Note that there is a comment feed for those who like to keep up with conversations.