Progesterone should be called the “hormone of youth”. I’m not a very black and white type of person but this is a hormone that gets little to zero attention, nor credit.
Ask most people on the street what impact low progesterone can have on a female and you may get a blank stare.
Ask the same question about estrogen and you should receive at least a guess.
Unfortunately estrogen has taken the front seat in the last 70 years and tends to get most of the attention.
But progesterone is the hormone that should be in bright lights on Broadway. Below are just some of the benefits with regard to health.
Benefits of Progesterone
- maintaining pregnancy
- brain protective
- thymus gland (immune system) function
- adrenal glands (anti stress function)
- relieves anxiety
- improves brain function
- promotes healthier bone growth
- improves bulging veins by increasing tone of blood vessels
- thyroid functioning
- restores normal tone to smooth muscle (gall bladder, urinary bladder, cardiac, sphincters and uterus)
The hormone progesterone participates in practically every physiological process, in both men and women. It’s the dominant hormone during pregnancy and serves to stabilize both mother and child during that crucial time.
Is it more than coincidental women comment about improvements in their hair, nails, skin and even eye sight while being pregnant? Could the phrase “you’re glowing” be a result of the usual 40 times increase in this hormone during ‘progest’tation?
Before delivery progesterone produces anesthesia and contributes to tissue elasticity. The fetus requires large amounts of glucose, and progesterone makes it possible to be provided in abundance which is ideal for brain growth.
The stabilizing action of progesterone is especially visible in muscle tissue, such as the uterus, blood vessel walls, the heart, the intestines and the bladder. Less visibly, progesterone stabilizes and normalizes nervous, secretory and growth processes. Biochemically, it provides the material out of which all the other steroid hormones (such as cortisone, testosterone, estrogen and salt-regulating aldosterone) can be made as needed.
Why this hormone and it’s benefits isn’t known by every female is borderline criminal.
It is one of the few essential requirements, besides nutrients, for nerve (brain) cell growth and survival. In young people of both sexes, the brain contains more progesterone than other organs do.
Some of the symptoms of low progesterone:
- high cortisol
- aging skin
- accumulation of fat
- hair loss
- mood swings
- night sweats
- heavy cycles
These deficiency signs can be also be signs of aging but unfortunately a little more intrusive than grey hair and wrinkles.
If hormones are blamed for symptoms like edema and those above then shouldn’t a hormone also relieve those issues?
Unfortunately supplementing progesterone is still a misunderstood area when it comes to getting treatment. You don’t have to go far on google to find estrogen being the glorified hormone. It can get very confusing and frustrating for those looking for help.
Progesterone will sometimes be mistaken for or called progestin or progestogen. These are completely different. The progestin and progestogen have estrogen qualities which is completely opposite of progesterone functions. I recently heard a doctor on the radio talk about a study showing progesterone causing cancer. I was driving home and thinking to myself, all the reading I’ve done and advice I’ve given clients is wrong! Oh crap! As soon as I got home I looked up the study and it was progestins he was referencing. Even doctors get it confused.
Natural progesterone when combined with vitamin E will be absorbed efficiently. Vitamin E will allow for the progesterone to be absorbed as soon as it touches the membrane like the lips, gums, or tongue. Look on the label and choose one mixed with tocopheral (vitamin E). Sometimes for economic reasons the company will use tocopheral acetate which they’ll still advertise as Vitamin E but the absorption won’t be as effective.
In regards to dosing it will depend largely on symptoms. From the Long Natural Health website:
“Normally, the body produces 10 to 20 milligrams of progesterone per day on its own. Though many factors can cause low levels. A quantity of 3 or 4 drops usually brings the blood levels up to the normal range, but this dose can be repeated several times during the day if needed. For general purposes, it is effective to take progesterone dissolved in vitamin E orally into the mouth, or by rubbing it into the gums. The Progest E Oil can be applied directly to the skin, for skin issues or beauty, and can be helpful for areas affected by sun, and conditions such as physical pain, arthritis, osteoporosis, tendinitis, bursitis, varicose veins, etc. It can also be used for vaginal dryness. To speed up assimilation and to make application easier when applied externally, add a few drops of olive oil or coconut oil to the area then rub Progest-E Oil Complex into and around the affected area.
For women on their cycle they can start on second half of their cycle. Keep the dose consistent or menstruation will start sooner. For those with a hysterectomy supplementing daily would be fine.
Some medical professionals think if the uterus is gone estrogen stops but every cell can produce estrogen if stressed.
Talking to friends, doctors, or in Facebook groups you’ll still see heavy support for estrogen therapy. The Women’s Health Initiative 2001 should have put the final nail in estrogen’s coffin.
160,000 women were studied in 2001 in the Women’s Health initiative. The study concluded estrogen therapy resulted in higher risk of cardiovascular disease and a multitude of cancers.
Barbara Seaman wrote a fantastic book about the massive study. The book goes deep into the history, the deceit, and fallout of estrogen therapy. The book will leave you highly ticked off but also informed.
The great attribute about progesterone is it’s simple molecular structure. It allows it to balance either an excess or deficiency of those other hormones.
Causes of low Progesterone
Many factors, including poor nutrition, under eating, climate (lack of light), emotional or excessive physical stress and toxins, can cause a progesterone deficiency.
Menopause happens when the balance of unopposed estrogen exceeds in relation to progesterone. This is contrary to popular opinion. Well, at least they are not using “the women runs out of eggs” theory any longer. 🙂
Blood work can give some insight and reference point but it’s not necessary to pull all eggs in that basket. Estradiol is the hormone typically tested and this can show ideal numbers but the test doesn’t reveal what is in the tissue. to my knowledge there is no test to check tissue saturation and expensive if there is one. Also, estradiol can lower at menopause but estrone which is similar to estradiol can raise. Estrone is rarely tested.
What to do?
There are many options. A combination of all would be wise.
Do your research.
It’s your body.
Find a doctor or practitioner who is willing to listen and is in sync with your approach.
Here’s a great talk by the late Dr. John R Lee
Some further reading: