The benefits of natural progesterone, when used correctly, can support a woman throughout her entire life especially during those years when the symptoms of hormonal imbalance that comes with PMS, peri-menopause and post menopause become problematic. In fact, natural progesterone has been touted by some women as their trusted go-to for feminine balance and wellness. Natural progesterone, sourced from the Mexican Wild Yam Root, has the same molecular structure as the progesterone produced by your body. In other words, it is human-identical. When a natural progesterone cream is used, it is absorbed directly through the skin and into the bloodstream by-passing the liver’s filtering process. This means that you use much less progesterone than when taking progesterone pills. While the benefits of natural progesterone are many, the main benefit of natural progesterone is that it can help support your body in keeping estrogen and progesterone ratios in balance, resulting in maintaining hormone synergy.
Natural Progesterone is not simply a sex hormone as most assume. If your body is overloaded with xenoestrogens (found in food, water and air) and thus unable to produce enough progesterone to counteract and balance the estrogen to progesterone ratio, health concerns can be the result.
Benefits of Natural Progesterone Cream
- Supports healthy breasts – Fibrocystic breasts are most often a sign of a relatively high estrogen to low progesterone ratio. Dr. John Lee found that “using natural progesterone routinely resolves the problem.” Along with progesterone USP, Dr. Lee suggested 600 IU of natural Vitamin E (I suggest a full-spectrum Vitamin E) at bedtime, as well as 300 mg of magnesium (I suggest magnesium orotate) and 50 mg of vitamin B6 a day which routinely resolved fibrocystic breasts. According to Dr. Lee: “Once the cysts have cleared up, you can reduce the natural progesterone cream dose to find the smallest dose that is still effective each month and continue as needed through menopause. This protocol is simple, safe, inexpensive, successful and natural.”
- Helps use fat for energy – Natural progesterone increases the body’s ability to burn fats for energy. This is especially important during the pre-menopause and post-menopause years when weight-gain is commonly experienced.
- Acts as a natural diuretic (water pill) – Natural progesterone is a natural diuretic (increases flow of urine) helping to release excess water that is being stored in the body. This can be very helpful for those with high blood pressure.
- Acts as a natural anti-depressant – Progesterone and depression are linked through progesterone’s influence in the metabolism of serotonin and dopamine, both known to play a role in depression. Woman suffering from PMS and depression have been found to have low levels of serotonin in their blood. Several studies have also shown progesterone to have anxiolytic (anti-anxiety) effects by acting on gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) receptors in the brain.
- Facilitates healthy thyroid hormone function – Natural progesterone therapy facilitates normal thyroid hormone action. Dr. John R. Lee successfully treated hypothyroid people as well as those with hyperthyroidism (excessive production of the thyroid gland) and Hashimoto’s thyroiditis with natural progesterone therapy. Low thyroid activity causes low energy levels, cold intolerance and weight gain. Excess thyroid activity induces higher energy levels, feeling too warm and weight loss. Estrogen, progesterone and thyroid hormones are complementary – a three-legged stool, if you will. Estrogen signals the body to turn food into fat while thyroid and progesterone hormones signal the body to burn fat for energy. If there is unopposed estrogen or estrogen dominance the thyroid may be unable to keep up.
- Normalizes blood clotting – Estrogen promotes fat synthesis and blood clots. Natural progesterone normalizes blood clotting, which can also protects against stroke and support healthy blood pressure by acting as a natural diuretic. Excess estrogen causes salt and water to be retained and potassium and magnesium to be lost, thereby increasing blood pressure. Estrogen promotes fat synthesis and blood clots. Estrogen also accelerates the aging of collagen, weakening the walls of the arteries.
- Supports healthy libido – Natural progesterone is known to help with a healthy sex drive. Many women who have a normal menstrual cycle, indicating the presence of sufficient estrogen, still have low libido. During normal ovulation, progesterone levels rise and sexual drive is heightened. This is meant to ensure that a woman will be receptive to procreation. A low sex drive usually happens because of a low progesterone to estrogen ratio. If a woman does not ovulate in a given month, she produces no progesterone.
- Supports healthy blood sugar levels – Balancing the excess estrogen in your body with natural progesterone normalizes blood sugar levels. When your blood sugar level is too low – you crave food – usually high-sugar or sweet foods such as chocolate. If you indulge in these quick sugar fixes your body pours insulin into the blood to help remove the sugar from the bloodstream … it then stores it … as fat. Once insulin removes the sugar from the bloodstream into the fat cells water fills the space where the sugar was – causing bloating and cramping. Natural progesterone can help to reduce symptoms of both bloating and cramping giving further relief and weight loss management.
- Normalizes zinc and copper levels – Paul Eck called copper the “emotional mineral”. The reason for this is that copper and imbalances related to it have such a profound impact on the central nervous system. The psychiatric implications of copper imbalance are tremendous, even if copper did not affect other body systems. Did you know that, according to Dr. Lawrence Wilson, when copper is out of balance, as it is in many people, parasitic infection is much more common. Women who are toxic in copper are often estrogen dominant, meaning they have more estrogen in their bodies, proportionately, than they have progesterone. Getting one’s copper levels checked may be an important component in balancing hormones. Hair testing is the best method to detect copper imbalances because it can detect not only copper excess and copper deficiency, but copper bio-unavailability, also. While hair is not a primary site of copper deposition, a knowledgeable practitioner will be able to interpret hair testing results as to correct copper status.
- Restores proper cell oxygen levels – Estrogen steals oxygen from the mitochondria, shifting patterns of growth and adaptation. The simple need for more oxygen is a stimulus to increase the growth of blood vessels, and estrogen’s stimulation of non-mitochondrial oxygen consumption with the production of lactic acid stimulates blood vessel formation. Progesterone, by increasing oxidative efficiency, opposes this “angiogenic” (neovascularization) effect of estrogen.
- May help prevent endometrial cancer & breast cancer – When unopposed estrogen is present in tissues that are sensitive to hormones such as the breasts, uterus and ovaries, these tissues can turn cancerous if the unopposed estrogen, is not balanced with progesterone.
- Increases bone building – Women using USP natural progesterone cream experienced an average of 7 to 8 per cent bone-mass density increase in the first year, 4 to 5 per cent in the second year, and 3 to 4 per cent in the third year. In fact, a woman attains her peak bone density at approximately 30 years of age, after which she begins to lose bone at a rate of about 1-1.5% per year.
- Promotes normal sleep patterns – Montplaisir J, Lorrain J, Denesle R, Petit Sleep in menopause: differential effects of two forms of hormone replacement therapy. Menopause 2001; 8(1):10-16. This randomized clinical trial compared the effects of conjugated equine estrogen (CEE) and medroxyprogesterone acetate to CEE and oral micronized progesterone. Twenty-one postmenopausal women were studied in a sleep lab, with results demonstrating an improvement in subjective measures of menopausal symptoms and sleep in both groups. The group receiving natural progesterone had significantly improved sleep efficiency, whereas the medroxyprogesterone acetate (synthetic progestin) group did not, suggesting that the former might better improve sleep in postmenopausal women.
Important Information About Natural Progesterone Creams
An effective natural progesterone cream contains USP progesterone. USP progesterone used for hormone replacement comes from plant fats and oils, usually a substance called diosgenin which is extracted from the Mexican Wild Yam Root, or from soybeans. In the laboratory diosgenin is synthesized into real human progesterone. The other human steroid hormones, including estrogen, testosterone, progesterone and the cortisones are also nearly always synthesized from diosgenin.
Some companies sell diosgenin, which they label “wild yam extract” as a cream or supplement, claiming that the body will then convert it into hormones as needed. While this can be done in laboratory setting, there is absolutely no evidence that this conversion will take place in the human body. Beware: If the words “progesterone from wild yam extract” appear in the ingredient list, USP progesterone is not being used and therefore, results may not be the same as using USP progesterone.
The base cream ingredients used in natural progesterone creams is also very important. Many companies use cheap base creams that contain harmful or questionable chemicals. Some of these chemicals act as xenoestrogens which can result in causing hormone imbalance. The best progesterone creams have a base cream that is made up of non-toxic and natural ingredients.
Research, Education & Reference
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Lee, John R. MD. 1994, Slowing the Aging Process with Natural Progesterone, BLL Publishing, California, USA, p. 12.
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