What Is Progesterone?
- Progesterone is a precursor hormone the human body uses to make other hormones including cortisol, DHEA, testosterone, and estrogen.
- Progesterone is derived from cholesterol.
- Progesterone regulates and balances estrogen. Maintenance of the balance between estrogen and progesterone is very important to minimize unpleasant symptoms and health risks.
- Progesterone is primarily produced by the ovaries and secondarily produced by the adrenal and fat tissue.
- Natural bioidentical progesterone is the exact chemical structure as the progesterone the human body produces. Because of this, natural progesterone exactly matches and fits the progesterone receptors (like “a key in a lock”) to yield its positive effects.
- Synthetic progesterone does not exactly fit the progesterone receptors.
- Unlike synthetic hormones, natural bioidentical progesterone has many benefits and no side effects when a woman has normal (physiological) levels.
What Does Progesterone Do?
Functions of natural progesterone include:
- Brain protection and development: Progesterone is in a group called neurosteroids that have important protective effects on the brain. It is also responsible for developing intelligence and brain activity.
- Pregnancy hormone: It helps maintain the uterus for pregnancy and helps maintain pregnancy..
- Acts as a natural antidepressant.
- Helps initiate sleep.
- Has a calming effect by activating GABA receptors. GABA is an inhibitory neurotransmitter (brain signal) that is very calming.
- Acts as an anti-inflammatory agent.
- Regulates immune system response.
- Normalizes blood clotting.
- Normalizes vascular (blood vessel) tone.
- Regulates blood sugar.
- Uses fat stores for energy.
- Increases metabolic rate (which increases fat loss).
- Improves oxygen levels in cells.
- Improves skin elasticity.
- Improves bone strength.
- Prevents endometrial cancer (cancer of the uterine lining) by balancing the effects of estrogen on the endometrium.
Perimenopause, Menopause and Progesterone
- Natural progesterone levels often begin to naturally decline in women after the age of 30-35.
- Perimenopausal and menopausal women often have a deficiency in progesterone that results in unpleasant symptoms.
High Progesterone Levels in Women
- Commonly caused by excessive progesterone being prescribed by physicians who are inexperienced with bioidentical hormone therapy.
- May also be due low estrogen (such as in menopausal women).
- Symptoms of too much natural progesterone include: weight gain, increased fat storage, fatigue, decreased sex drive, depression, bloating, constipation, increased appetite and carbohydrate cravings, suppressed immune system function, decreased growth hormone levels, muscle aches, urinary incontinence, and insulin resistance.
To treat progestorone imbalance, consult a hormone replacement therapy doctor in Arizona