When you think of hormones, progesterone may not be one that usually comes to mind. But it’s just as important as testosterone and estrogen. Let’s take a close look at this hormone:
Produced by the adrenal glands and the ovaries, progesterone plays a crucial role in regulating different body functions such as in ovulation and in pregnancy. As you age, your level of progesterone starts to decline, allowing estrogen to increase and dominate, which causes a host of unpleasant health symptoms.
When a woman’s progesterone drops below the average normal level, she may experience the following symptoms:
Polycystic ovarian symptom (PCOS)
Premenstrual syndrome (PMS)
Progesterone is mainly produced in the ovary by the corpus luteum on the second half of the menstrual cycle. This hormone plays a key role in menstruation and during pregnancy.
During day 14 of the menstrual cycle, when an egg cell burst from the ovary, the remains of the ovarian follicle that enveloped a developing egg create a tissue called the corpus luteum. This process produces progesterone and a little estradiol.
Progesterone prepares the uterus for pregnancy in case the released egg is fertilized. If the egg remains unfertilized, the corpus luteum tears apart and the level of progesterone decreases. From there, a new menstrual cycle commences.
On the other hand, if the egg is fertilized, progesterone encourages growth of blood vessels in the endometrium (the lining of the uterus) and promotes supply of nutrients from the endometrium to support the growing embryo.
During the early phases of pregnancy, progesterone is regularly produced by the corpus luteum to support the pregnancy and help form the placenta.
In addition, progesterone is useful in the development of the fetus as it strengthens the walls of pelvic muscles to prepare for labor and stimulates maternal breast tissue growth. Overall, the level of progesterone consistently increases throughout pregnancy until the baby is born.
There are many benefits of taking progesterone:
1. Improves mood and sleep. Due to the anti-depressant-like effect of its component allopregnanolone, which is a neurosteroid that directly targets GABA receptors in the brain, it promotes sleep. It influences the brain’s sleep centers, which makes it an effective treatment for premenstrual and menopausal insomnia.
2. Increases energy. Progesterone can stimulate the thyroid and rev up your metabolism. This is the reason why your body temperature may go higher when taking progesterone after ovulation. Further, it improves communication between the adrenal glands and hypothalamus to relieve adrenal fatigue or the HPA dysregulation.
3. Enhances the appearance of hair and skin. Progesterone lowers the level of androgen, or male hormone, by blocking the enzyme 5-alpha-reductase. This results In less sebum or skin oil, shiny, healthy locks, and fewer breakouts
4. Prevents heavy menstrual period. Progesterone works by preventing the stimulating effect of estrogen on the uterine lining.
5. Lowers the risk of developing autoimmune disease. Progesterone lowers inflammation, supports detoxification enzymes, and supports immune function.
6. Prevents osteoporosis and muscle loss. It promotes production of osteoblasts, or the bone-building cells, and the growth of muscles.
7. Lowers the risk of developing certain cancers. Progesterone may counteract the stimulating effect of estrogen on the uterine and breast tissue. It is even considered to be a treatment for breast cancer.
8. Prevents weight gain and fluid retention. Progesterone may counteract weight gain and fluid retention due to estrogen dominance.
9. Protects the brain from damage. Progesterone plays a key role in protecting the brain and restoring it after a traumatic injury by repairing any damage on the myelin sheath. This helps protect the nerve fibers.
10. Pregnancy and fertility. Progesterone supports the growth of embryo and the fetus during pregnancy.
If you are suffering from the unwanted symptoms such as acne, excessive body hair, fatigue, heavy period and/or infertility, it may be helpful to replenish your progesterone with a natural progesterone. This can be accomplished in a number of ways, including a capsule or a transdermal cream. Also called bioidentical progesterone, this form of therapy is identical to the hormone produced by your body. It helps balance the estrogen in your body so you can take control of your life and manage the symptoms you are experiencing. Talk to your health care provider to find out which method is best for you.
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Dr. Jenny P. Wilkins, NMD, CRA
Dr. Jenny is a Naturopathic Doctor and clinical research associate. She is a successful entrepreneur as the CEO/Proprietor of AgeVital Pharmacies in Sarasota, Florida. She is a charismatic media personality and television producer with regular appearances on ABC, NBC, TBN, CBS, the CW and Lifetime. As a health and wellness expert and educator, Dr. Jenny lectures all around the world at various conferences about the endocannabinoid system and functional integrative healthcare and how natural solutions work to treat a multitude of diseases and illnesses. She authors books for healthcare practitioners and consumers and educates the healthcare community and individuals using her extensive research and findings about the endocannabinoid system.
She is the President and Chairman of The American Academy of the Endocannabinoid System (AAECS) and sits on the Executive Board of Directors for the American Board of Medical Marijuana Physicians (ABMMP). Her expansive credentials include a Board Certification at The American Board of Anti-Aging Health Practitioners – (ABAAHP), a Diplomate of the AAIM College of Nutrition and a Board Certification with the (AAIM) Board of Integrative Medicine. Dr. Jenny is also a member of the American Academy Of Anti-Aging Medicine, serves as a senior business and financial advisor for Nuvusio, Conference Advisory Board Medical Chair of the Florida Medical Cannabis Conference & Exhibition (FMCCE) and the medical director for Biom-Pharmaceuticals and Chief Scientific Officer And Medical Director for M3-Biodynamics and M3-Innovations.