Problems with memory, concentration and problem-solving associated with reduced estrogen levels after menopause may have to do with the mitochondria. The mitochondria is the part of the cell that produces energy. A study, published in Neurochemistry International (2014 Jul;74:16-23) looked at the role the mitochondria and coenzyme Q10 have in the cognitive decline experienced by mice following removal of the ovaries.
Cognition and cellular energy production was evaluated in the mice. The Morris water maze and elevated plus maze were used to measure cognition. The activity of enzymes involved with energy production in the brains of the mice were measured (including NADH: cytochrome c reductase, succinate dehydrogenase and cytochrome c oxidase). Four weeks after the ovaries, the activity of these enzymes were greatly reduced, as well as their cognitive function (as determined by the ability to perform in the mazes). Also, chemical constituents involved in oxidation and inflammation in the brain were increased.
Supplementing the mice with coenzyme Q10 (10 mg per kg of body weight) improved the biochemical issues in the brain. The supplementation also improved cognition. The authors concluded, “…the data indicates that CoQ10 improves cognitive decline in post-menopausal state by modulating mitochondrial functions and oxidative stress.”