What is Progesterone ?
Progesterone is a female sex hormone produced mainly in the ovaries following ovulation each month. It is crucial part of the menstrual cycle.
Progesterone helps to regulate your cycle, but its main job is to get your uterus ready for pregnancy. After you ovulate each month, progesterone helps thicken the lining of the uterus in preparation for a fertilized egg. If there is no fertilized egg, progesterone levels drop again and menstruation begins. If a fertilized egg does not implant in the uterine wall, progesterone helps to maintain the uterine lining throughout pregnancy.
Progesterone secretion is 1 to 2mg a day in the first half of the menstrual cycle (follicular phase) where it is almost entirely produced by the adrenal gland and 20-40 milligrams per day in the second half (luteal phase) of the menstrual cycle.
Progesterone acts on the brain to calm it down by stimulating certain receptors known as GABA receptors, the same receptors that are acted upon by anti-anxiety medications. Stimulating GABA receptors results in a calming effect. If you wake between 2 a.m. and 4 a.m. you may have a progesterone deficiency. Progesterone also affects the youthfulness of our skin, helps memory, is anti-inflammatory, is a natural diuretic and helps normalize blood sugar. It also stimulates that cells that make new bones called osteoblasts.
Factors that Influence Progesterone Production
Intensive prolonged stress or physical activity use up sex hormones and thereby reduce the levels. Intense emotional stress can inhibit the secretion of progesterone by inhibiting the release of the pituitary hormones follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) and luteinizing hormone (LH) which stimulate the production of estrogens and progesterone. Eating foods high in protein or saturated fat increases estrogen and progesterone production, but eating sugar, and high fiber (e.g. cereals rich in fiber, whole grain breads, bran flakes) can reduce female sex hormone levels.
7 Common Symptoms Associated with Low Progesterone
- Waking at night
- Fibrocystic breast
- Bone loss
- Low libido
- Infertility or irregular periods
The vitamins B6, C and E, minerals magnesium, zinc as well as the amino acid Arginine are all required for progesterone synthesis. Vitamin D looks to be important in balancing progesterone levels and activity.
The herbs Vitex agnus-castus (Chasteberry) and Cimicifuga (Black Cohosh), Eleutherococcus senticosis (Siberian Ginseng) helps promote overall systemic functioning of the female reproductive system when used appropriately.
If you think you or someone you know may have a progesterone issue please to call the clinic
for more information as we can do specialized testing to help provide you with more information.
Dr. Quinn Rivet, ND
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