More research shows estrogen supplementation with HRT decreases death rates from COVID-19 in postmenopausal women
Early on in the COVID-19 pandemic, initial research indicated that women with higher levels of estrogen had a lower risk of dying from the virus than postmenopausal women not taking HRT1. A study from Sweden also shows a significant association of estradiol supplementation with HRT and reduced risk of death from COVID-19.
In this open article published in the BMJ, a nationwide registry-based study from Sweden provides more evidence towards estrogen’s important role in the immune system. Data from the Swedish Public Health Agency, and the National Board of Health and Welfare were captured during 2020, and the deaths of 14,685 women aged 50-80 years were analysed.
The primary factors associated with risk of death – age, socioeconomic and level of education – were adjusted for and results showed that the women in this age bracket that had low estrogen levels (postmenopausal and not taking HRT) had a 10% risk of death, while women who were already taking menopause hormone therapy (estrogen replacement) had a 2% risk of dying from COVID-19.
The authors, Sund, Fonseca-Rodriguez, Josefsson et al, concluded that drugs increasing estrogen levels may have a role in therapeutic efforts to alleviate COVID-19 severity in postmenopausal women and could be studied further in randomised control trials.
Dr Louise Newson, Chair of the Newson Health Menopause Society, co-authored an article published in the Lancet in November 2021 that asked why sex-specific pathophysiology receives such little attention in recent reviews of the literature on COVID-192. There is clearly an appetite for this understanding as the article has consistently been in the Lancet Regional Health Europe’s top 3 most read articles in the months since publication.
In response to these findings from Sweden, Dr Louise Newson said:
“Oestradiol is known to be able to modulate the immune system and improve the way it works. This study is yet more evidence that women who take HRT have a lower risk of dying from COVID. It is so important that benefits of taking HRT are recognised as they have been neglected for far too long.”