Both men and women can benefit from the use of the hormone progesterone in it’s natural form. To understand the benefits of supplementing with either plant-based or bio-identical pharmaceutical progesterone, it is important to understand what it does in the body.
Progesterone is part of a group of steroid hormones in the progestin family. The hormone (or endocrine) system is very complex, one hormone is converted into another and then another… and progesterone and it’s family have many roles. Progesterone is what we term a “precursor hormone” to other sex, adrenal and stress hormones and even brain hormones interactions. This is why when an individual is not making enough progesterone to meet their needs, symptoms can be very wide-spread to include depression, insomnia, PMS, hair loss, acne, low libido and anxiety to name a few.
In males, progesterone is made in the testicles and in females the ovaries. The hormone once produced travels through the blood to all tissues in the body. In the brain, progesterone supports normal development and protection of brain cells. Progesterone also contributes to serotonin regulation in the brain and a correlation has been made in some people with addictions to nicotine, alcohol or other substances with lower levels of blood progesterone. Elsewhere in the body, progesterone has been determined to help regulate the immune response and act as an anti-inflammatory.
Females often exhibit symptoms of low progesterone with respect to their menstrual cycle. Short cycles, heavy flow with pain, PMS, breast tenderness and mood swings are attributed to an imbalance of the sex hormones. These symptoms can be worse when under stress because more progesterone is used to support the stress response and less to support sex hormones.
Progesterone levels can be tested by blood, saliva and urine. The best method depends on symptoms but often urine levels show the most comprehensive analysis. Once it is determined that an individual would benefit from progesterone supplementation, herbs, creams or oral progesterone can be prescribed. There are many applications for use of progesterone such as in shampoos to stimulate hair re-growth, creams to support acne and fertility, oral capsules to promote restful sleep and mood. At Vitalia Healthcare Naturopath Vancouver, we are experts in hormone therapy and look forward to an questions or inquiries.