Effects of healthy levels of progesterone on the body

  • Enhancing the action of thyroid hormones
  • Balances oestrogen
  • Improves metabolic rate promoting weight loss
  • Helps the body use and eliminate fats
  • Improved sleep quality
  • Reduced in anxiety
  • Reduction in depression
  • Promotes new bone growth
  • Improved cognitive abilities
  • Improvement in sexual function
  • Balancing blood sugar levels
  • Balances fluid in the cells
  • Lowers blood pressure
  • Reduction in menstrual bleeding
  • Maintaining the uterine lining and preventing excess tissue build-up
  • Inhibiting breast tissue overgrowth
  • Acting as a natural diuretic
  • Normalizing blood clotting
  • Preventing cyclical migraines
  • Restoring proper cell oxygen levels
  • Increases HDL’s
  • Protects against breast cancer
  • Increases scalp hair

 

Progesterone is a key precursor to other steroid hormones, including cortisol, testosterone, and the oestrogens (estriol, estradiol, and estrone).  Progesterone plays a key role in the tasks necessary for reproduction; in fact, low progesterone may contribute to miscarriage. Beyond preparation for pregnancy, progesterone has a multitude of effects throughout the body, many of which may be attributable to its ability to oppose the action of oestrogen. Progesterone complements and balances the impact of oestrogen.

The Oestrogen/Progesterone Ratio

The term “oestrogen dominance” describes the condition of lacking sufficient progesterone to counteract the effects of oestrogen. Oestrogen dominance is not just the result of extremely high levels of oestrogen, but may also be caused by normal levels of oestrogen and relatively low levels of progesterone, or by low levels of oestrogen and extremely low levels of progesterone. It is extremely important that oestrogen and progesterone are present in the body in the correct ratio. Women who still produce their own oestrogen can take progesterone alone, but doing this in women who are deficient in oestrogen can lead to weight gain, an increase in total cholesterol, decrease in HDL cholesterol, increase in LDL, increase in triglyceride levels, depression, fatigue, a waning libido, and insulin resistance and eventual diabetes.

A woman’s oestrogen may drop 40-60% below her baseline level by menopause and her progesterone level can drop even more dramatically. In clinic I have even seen teenage girls with abnormally low progesterone.  This can be stress or diet related. For example a high copper to zinc ratio (even when both are shown to be within normal limits individually) produces high output of oestrogen and a low production of progesterone.  Although the adrenal glands still produce some progesterone, the decline in progesterone upsets the body’s natural hormone balance. Following menopause, a woman’s progesterone level drops to nearly zero.  For many men, the decline in progesterone follows a similarly debilitating pattern.

Causes of low progesterone

  •  Stress can cause low progesterone
  • Antidepressants can lower progesterone
  • Progesterone production can be impaired by low levels of luteinizing hormone (LH) and increased prolactin levels
  • Excessive arginine consumption (body builders often use arginine, disrupting the ratio between arginine and other amino acids which effects progesterone production)
  • Sugar itself can lower progesterone
  • Vitamin A, B6, vitamin C deficiency effects production of progesterone
  •  Low Zinc levels or ratios
  •   High copper levels or ratios
  • Hypothyroidism can decrease progesterone production

 

Symptoms of Progesterone deficiency  in both sexes

  • Osteoporosis
  • Anxiety
  • Irritability
  • Hypersensitivity
  • Nervousness
  • Insomnia/Restless sleep
  • Headaches/migraines before menstruation
  • Weight gain
  • Decreased libido

In Women:

  • Breast tenderness
  • Heavy periods
  • Uterine fibroids
  • Ovarian cysts

In Men:

  • Enlarged prostate

 

 

Natural vs. Synthetic Progesterone

It is very important to understand the difference between natural progesterone and the synthetic progesterone analogs called progestins. Progestins do not reproduce the same actions of natural progesterone.

Side effects of un-natural progestins

  • Increase appetite
  • Weight gain
  • Fluid retention/bloating
  • Irritability/mood swings
  • Depression
  • Decreased energy
  • Headaches
  • Acne
  • Hair loss
  • Nausea
  • Insomnia
  • Inhibit protective effect oestrogen has on the heart
  • Can cause coronary artery spasms
  • Increase LDL’s
  • Decrease HDL’s
  • Counteracts the positive effect oestrogen has on serotonin
  • Interferes with the body’s normal production of progesterone
  • Associated risk of breast cancer

 

Natural progesterone refers to bioidentical hormone products that have a molecular structure identical to the hormones our bodies manufacture naturally. Natural progesterone in a cyclic manner does not increase breast cancer risk.

Because progesterone’s highly lipophilic (fat-soluble) molecules of low molecular weight allow it be well absorbed through the skin, natural progesterone cream applied in a cyclical manner that mimics the natural rise and fall of progesterone levels in the body over the month is the most effective way of restoring progesterone deficiency. In this way individualised dosing can also be easily facilitated by varying the amount of cream applied. It is best applied day and night due to the extremely short half-life of progesterone. The most effective form of bioidentical progesterone is called micronized progesterone USP. The process of micronisation allows for steady and even absorption of the medication. Micronized progesterone is available only through a doctor’s prescription.

Hormone replacement should never be considered without a complete understanding of how all the body’s hormones interact with each other. If one is altered, or deficient it will affect the actions of all of the hormones in your body. Every person’s hormonal response is unique. How you respond to hormone replacement is related to your genetic profile, stress level, the condition of our health, the environment, nutritional supplementation, detoxification, and what you eat.