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Natural Progesterone Cream – An Introduction
A natural progesterone cream contains only the naturally occurring hormone progesterone. It’s a very important hormone in the female endocrine system. It’s essential for reproduction and for the regulation of the menstrual cycle. Progesterone provides a balance to the stimulatory effects of oestrogens. When women do not produce sufficient progesterone, the resulting changes can severely disrupt the quality of life of those affected. Women can experience mood swings along with anxiety and depression. Other side effects include weight gain, irregular menstruation, headaches (migraines) and PMS (pre-menstrual syndrome). Fertility side effects include the failure to conceive, miscarriage and post-natal depression. Endometriosis and polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) are also associated with reduced progesterone production and progesterone deficiency.


Natural Progesterone – A History
Natural progesterone is a term used to describe the hormone naturally produced by the ovaries of humans and animals. Progesterone is not produced anywhere in the plant kingdom.

Progesterone was discovered and isolated in the early 1930s. Initially, it was obtained from the ovaries of pigs and later from human placentas. This way of obtaining progesterone proved to be expensive and only resulted in small quantities of progesterone being produced.

In 1938, an American biochemist named Russell E Marker manufactured progesterone in a laboratory. He did this by converting another substance, diosgenin, into progesterone through a series of chemical changes. Soon after this breakthrough, pharmaceutical companies then took progesterone and changed it again to give progestins, also called progestagens. These are compounds with actions similar in some respects to progesterone, but not naturally occurring and therefore patentable.

Since the 1940s natural progesterone production has been plant based. Production  comes from soya beans, wild yams and plants in the tuber family. It is very important to understand soya beans and wild yams DO NOT contain progesterone. Today, progesterone is produced for pharmaceutical purposes in the laboratory with the aid of enzymes. The vast majority of steroid substrate (raw material) for progesterone synthesis is sourced from soya. The soya bean contains the steroid substrate sigmasterol which is converted into progesterone.

natural progesterone

In the early 1990s, US medical practitioner Dr John Lee M.D. pioneered and published books on the benefits of natural progesterone to manage menopausal symptoms, pre-menstrual syndrome and breast cancer.

Dr Lee coined the phrase “natural progesterone” to distinguish real progesterone from progestins. This is because natural progesterone has such a dynamic and holistic action on the body whereas progestins have an extremely limited spectrum of action.

Unfortunately, because of the development and controlled evolution of progestins by the pharmaceutical industry, mainstream medicine does not differentiate positively between natural progesterone and the synthetic progestins. The lack of understanding by mainstream medicine of this basic premise has been the source of great controversy for many years in scientific circles.

Research has shown progesterone is effectively absorbed and utlilised by the human body when taken orally in a high dose or when applied as a cream to the skin. It is also effective when used topically in the vagina.

Over-the-counter remedies for hormonal imbalances may contain wild yam extracts or homeopathic progesterone, but neither of these are pure natural progesterone. Homeopathic progesterone and wild yam creams contain NO progesterone.

The only progesterone oral capsules and progesterone creams made to international pharmaceutical standards are produced by Besins Healthcare and Lawley Pharmaceuticals respectively. These products use high quality pharmaceutical grade natural progesterone guaranteed to provide meaningful amounts of natural progesterone. Compounding pharmacies do not maintain the exceptionally high and rigorous standards of manufacture required to produce pharmaceutical grade products. Therefore, compounded products do not have the same integrity, stability nor efficacy as pharmaceutically manufactured progesterone products.


Why do Humans need Progesterone?


Progesterone is the hormone that regulates menstruation, supports pregnancy, tempers the highly stimulatory effects of oestrogen and helps an embryo develop by providing a source of corticosteroids. Natural progesterone, derived from cholesterol, is a steroid hormone. It is a vital hormone needed for the production of corticosteroids and glucocorticoids. (these are steroids that help us deal with stress and physical tissue repair). The corpus luteum normally produces progesterone. It happens in the ovaries and in the brain.

During the first trimester of pregnancy, normally between 8-10 weeks, the placenta takes over progesterone production from the ovaries. Progesterone is needed in order to strengthen the womb during pregnancy, deficiency can cause early term miscarriage. During childbearing years  a woman can experience cyclical progesterone surges. In the beginning (follicular phase) of a menstrual cycle, women have low progesterone levels. The levels equate to those found in men, children, and post- menopausal women – less than 2 ng/ml of blood).

When a woman releases an egg for fertilisation (ovulation), her progesterone level spikes (greater than 5 ng/ml of blood). If the egg (ovum) is fertilised, the corpus luteum (yellow body) in the ovary secretes progesterone to maintain the pregnancy until the placenta is large enough to take over production. Progesterone levels increase to 400 ng/ ml of blood, and taper off during the last month of pregnancy to 200 ng/ml. After birth occurs and milk production (lactation) begins, women experience “baby blues” because the progesterone levels decrease abruptly.

Progesterone is a neurosteroid in the brain that affects functioning of the nerve synapses and the protective myelin sheath of nerves. Researchers are investigating the effects of progesterone on memory, cognition, and multiple sclerosis. Animal studies suggest progesterone may protect females from brain injury.

Progesterone reduces spasms in smooth muscles. It is an anti- inflammatory and decreases immune response. Progesterone adjusts the body’s use of zinc, copper, fat, oestrogen, collagen, and blood clotting factors. It is a hormone that influences the function of the uterus, gall bladder, thyroid, bones, teeth, skin, ligaments, tendons, and joints.


More Information on Natural Progesterone

Progesterone Deficiency & Oestrogen Dominance

Natural Progesterone Treatment Options

Natural Progesterone v’s Synthetic Progestins

Progesterone treatment options & side effects

The Progesterone Deficiency Assessment Questionnaire

About ProFeme

The information in this article has been taken with permission from the official Lawley booklet on Understanding Progesterone