Nature gives progesterone to men and women alike to balance and offset the powerful effects of estrogen. Some of the most common concerns of aging women are weight gain, insomnia, anxiety, depression, and migraine. For other women, even more, debilitating conditions such as cancer, uterine fibroids, ovarian cysts, and osteoporosis now play a predominant role in their lives. As men age, complaints of weight gain, loss of libido, and prostate enlargement top their list of health concerns. Many physicians and scientists are becoming more aware of a common link between these symptoms and conditions. That common link is often an imbalance between two sex hormones, progesterone, and estrogen.
The Key Precursor
Firstly, progesterone is a key precursor to other steroid hormones, including cortisol, testosterone, and estrogens (estriol, estradiol, and estrone). When progesterone circulates in the blood, 90% is bound to a protein or albumin fraction. Additionally, only a small percentage (3%) circulates unbound.
What Are Foreign Estrogens?
Fact: Estrogen levels may be elevated by a number of external influences. What are these external influences? We thought you’d ask. Xenoestrogens (foreign estrogens) are among a group of chemicals known to alter hormone levels. Additionally, environmental pesticides, including those found on commercially grown fruits and vegetables, are perhaps the primary source of xenoestrogens. Lastly, cosmetics, shampoo, and plastics also may contribute to the accumulation of these foreign estrogens.
Natural v. Synthetic
When discussing progesterone, it is important to understand the difference between natural progesterone and synthetic progesterone analogs called progestins. Progestogens are an umbrella term for both natural progesterone and synthetic progestins because they all have progestational effects in the uterus.
Natural progesterone is synthesized in the laboratory from either soybeans or the Mexican wild yam (Dioscorea villosa). The process was discovered in the 1930s by Pennsylvania State University Professor, Russell Marker, who transformed diosgenin from wild yams into natural progesterone. Natural progesterone refers to bioidentical hormone products that have a molecular structure identical to the hormones our bodies manufacture naturally. The most effective form of bioidentical progesterone is called micronized progesterone USP. Furthermore, the process of micronization allows for steady and even absorption of the medication. Micronized progesterone is available only through a doctor’s prescription. An alternative is natural progesterone creams sold over the counter worldwide. Both the micronized progesterone and commercially available progesterone creams contain bioidentical progesterone.
To learn more about how New Leaf Wellness uses progesterone to support patients’ wellness journey, contact us today!
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