BEACON TRANSCRIPT – Few of us actually manage to avoid getting colds in the winter, and even fewer of us have the same luck with flu, especially during a particularly aggressive strain. According to a new study from Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, some of us may be more resilient than others – more precisely women are more resistant to flu virus thanks to estrogen hormone.
The study will published on paper in the American Journal of Physiology, but it already has been published online.
According to the team of researchers behind the study, they decided to look into the effects that estrogen has on the flu virus because previous data showed that it had helped weaken multiple viruses, but no tests had been performed up to that time on its effect on the influenza A.
Previous studies have shown that all types of estrogen, be it natural or artificial, are helpful in weakening certain viruses. These viruses include hepatitis, Ebola, and even HIV. So of course, the next step was to test its effectiveness against the influenza virus.
For the study, the team of scientists first collected samples of cells from the nasal passages of both male and female subjects. After that, the cells were exposed to a moderate array of synthetic substances similar to estrogen that are generally found in hormone replacement medicines.
Next, the samples were subject to a bisphenol A treatment, yet another chemical similar to estrogen, found in hormone therapies. But the process didn’t stop there for the samples, as they were then exposed to the influenza A virus, those most common during the winter flu season.
According to the findings, the female cells that were exposed to estrogen therapies replicated the virus 1,000 times less than the ones that were not administered estrogen therapies.
Looking further into the explanation for the process, the researchers discovered that binding to estrogen receptors is apt to reduce the activities of more than 30 genes responsible for cell metabolism, slowing them down and stopping the creation of viral cells.
Because of the significantly fewer estrogen receptors present in male cells, the treatment didn’t do much good for them.
However, despite of the positive results, the researchers want to advise caution.
Different women will be influenced differently by estrogen therapies, depending on their hormonal levels.
Additionally, the researchers want to emphasize not to use hormonal therapies just for the purpose of preventing flu. Different therapies do different things for different women, and you can only make the situation worse by taking a hormone derivate without proper consultation.
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