Progesterone has a lot of benefits. People often have an imbalance of their progesterone and estrogen ration – with too much estrogen and not enough progesterone.

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Introduction

Progesterone belongs to a group of hormones called progestogens and these are involved in the menstrual cycle, embryo creation, and pregnancy of humans and other species (R).

Progesterone is produced and released by the ovaries and maintains fertility in women.

Progesterone and Fertility

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Progesterone prepares the uterus for egg attachment and maintains pregnancy and prevents further ovulation during pregnancy.

Progesterone is required for ovulation, fertilization and production of hormonal cells of endometrial glands.

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Progesterone stimulates the growth of maternal breast tissue and milk glands. Progesterone needs estrogen to affect the breasts since estrogen induces the production of the progesterone receptors in breast tissue to prime the breasts (R).

Progesterone, estrogen, prolactin and other hormones work together during pregnancy to prepare the breast for lactation (R).

Too Little Progesterone

According to research, low levels of progesterone cause definite abnormalities (R).

Low progesterone may cause irregular or absent menstrual bleeding.

Low progesterone may be due to amenorrhea (no periods), failure to ovulate or possible miscarriage (R).

Low progesterone blood levels is associated with low percentage of ovulation in infertile women. It can prevent women from getting pregnant (R).

Even in pregnant women, progesterone is still required to maintain the uterus. If it is at a low level, the uterus may not be able to carry the fetus and can result in a miscarriage (R).

Low progesterone level may result in or pregnancy that occurs outside of uterus (R).

Too Much Progesterone

If the progesterone level is higher than normal level, this may be due to pregnancy, adrenal cancer, ovarian cancer, or congenital adrenal hyperplasia (R).

Congenital adrenal hyperplasia is a disorder that affects the adrenal gland by lacking an enzyme which the adrenal gland needs to make the hormones (R).

Progesterone pills, either alone or in combination with estrogen, prevent ovulation, as well as pregnancy.

Progesterone in Males

Although progesterone is thought as female sex hormone, it is also produced in the adrenal cortex in both sexes and in the testes of males (R).

The amount of progesterone is less in males than in females. It balances against the overactivity of testosterone and estrogen.

In some research, a higher level of progesterone receptors was found in prostate cancer cells, suggesting that progesterone has a role in this cancer (R).

Progesterone is also associated with less markers of obesity in men. Obese men with lower progesterone levels have higher BMI and waist circumference (R).

Progesterone in Hormone Therapy

Hormone therapy is used to treat certain symptoms of menopause. It works by replacing the estrogen that is no longer produced by the body (R).

Studies show that using synthetic progesterone (progestin) with estrogen increases the breast cancer risk compared to estrogen alone. By contrast, using natural progesterone with estrogen does not affect breast cancer risk (R).

Before the menopause years, cells from the endometrium are shed during menstruation. When the endometrium is no longer shed, cells are overgrowth in the uterus by estrogen, which can lead to cancerProgesterone decreases the risk of endometrial cancer by making endometrium thin.

Progesterone

  • Longevity8.0/10
  • Inflammation9.0/10
  • Mood9.5/10
  • Cognition8.5/10
  • Energy8.0/10

Pros

  • Great for weight loss: helps the thyroid, reduces cravings, and reduces water retention.
  • Reduces stress & anxiety.
  • Improves energy and sleep.
  • Helps PMS and Menopause.

Cons

  • May cause headache and painful/tender breasts.
  • Prevents ovulation (causing missed periods), as well as pregnancy.
  • May increase risk for heart disease, and ovarian and prostate cancers.

Progesterone: The Good

1) Progesterone is an Anti-Inflammatory

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Progesterone has anti-inflammatory actions (R).

It suppresses NF-κB and MAPK  activation, which then inhibits proinflammatory markers (like TNF-α, iNOS, and COX-2) (R).

2) Progesterone May Help Lower Weight 

Progesterone is also associated with less markers of obesity in men. This means that men with higher progesterone levels have lower BMI and waist circumference (R).

In hamsters, the combination of progesterone and 17 beta-estradiol interact to lower their fat (lipid) stores. This causes them to lose weight (R).

3) Progesterone Reduces Blood Pressure

Blood Pressure

Women’s blood pressure can rise after they go through menopause. Progestin, a synthetic version of progesterone, slightly lowers blood pressure in women with menopause. The combination of progestin and estrogen administration in 12 postmenopausal women lowered blood pressure by  6 to 7 mm Hg (R).

4) Progesterone Protects Bone Health

Progesterone stimulates bone growth. In human bone cells, progesterone administration promote bone cell formation. It activates osteoblast (bone forming cells) activity (R).

Although progesterone does not prevent bone loss, it can work with other drugs as co-therapy to decrease fractures in postmenopausal women (R).

5) Progesterone Protects Against Cancer

Cancer

 

In the endometrium, progesterone stops estrogen-driven cell growth. This helps protect against endometrial cancer (R).

In obese women, a progesterone deficiency can increase their risk for endometrial cancer (R).

6) Progesterone May Reduce Anxiety

Progesterone and progestin (synthetic progesterone) might help decrease anxiety in women. However, there does not seem to be a correlation between progesterone levels and anxiety in women with premenstrual dysphoric disorder (R, R).

In mice, progesterone administration helped reduce anxiety (R).

7) Progesterone Helps Sleep

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Progesterone helps induce sleep (R).

In a study (DB-RCT) of 8 postmenopausal women, progesterone administration restored normal sleep when sleep was disturbed (R).

8) Progesterone Improves Mood

There are progesterone receptors located in the areas of the brain that are involved in thinking and emotion (hippocampus and amygdala). Progesterone increases serotonin transmission, which helps improve mood (R).

9) Progesterone Helps With Common Symptoms of Menopause

Estrogens levels fall by half during menopause. Progesterone levels reach zero (R).

The high ratio between estrogen and progesterone causes the problems of menopause.

Giving people progesterone cream can help with hot flushes, mood swings, insomnia, night sweats, vaginal dryness and restlessness (R).

10) Progesterone Causes Relief From Menstration and PMS Symptoms

Causes of PMS include cyclical changes in hormones, changes in the brain, and depression.

Symptoms include anxiety, depression, joint or muscle pain, and feeling tired.

Progesterone along with other drugs called diuretics, NSAIDS, and antidepressants can help with these conditions (R).

14 days after ovulation, if there is no pregnancy, the uterus presses in and this causes bleeding.

Low progesterone causes uncontrolled menstrual bleeding, so progesterone administration can limit bleeding (R).

11) Progesterone Helps Maintain Fertility

Women with low progesterone levels can have otherwise unexplained miscarriages (R).

Progesterone is an important hormone during pregnancy. It decreases inflammation, which helps maintain early pregnancy (R).

In a review, progesterone administration helped improve pregnancy outcome in women that had miscarriages before (R).

12) Progesterone Improves Muscle Mass

In postmenopausal women, progesterone improves muscle mass by promoting muscle protein synthesis. It also increased MYOD1 gene activity, which helps increase muscle mass (R).

Progestin (synthetic progesterone) also increases muscle strength in postmenopausal women (R).

13) Progesterone Helps Reverse Baldness

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At high doses, progesterone inhibits the enzyme 5-alpha reductase, and prevents the conversion of testosterone to dihydrotestosterone (DHT) (R).

DHT is considered to be responsible for damaging hair follicles and an important factor in hair loss (R).

14) Progesterone Improves the Skin

Progesterone cream application can improve skin health in women. It slows down the skin aging process (R).

In a study (DB-RT) of 40 postmenopausal women, a progesterone cream improved elasticity and reduced more wrinkles than the control (R).

15) Progesterone Protects Nerve Cells

Progesterone improves the integrity and function of cell membranes. In the brain, progesterone receptors helps protect nerve tissue (R).

Progesterone: The Bad

1) Synthetic Progesterone May Increase Heart Disease Risk

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Synthetic Progesterone is associated with congestive heart failure (R).

2) Progesterone Might Causes Missed Periods

Progesterone causes mice not to ovulate or have periods (R).

Progesterone stops cells at the surface of the uterus from dividing and causes sores on the surface of the uterus. This causes the uterus to bleed (R).

3) Progesterone Increases Breast Cancer Risk

Progesterone can activate progesterone receptor target genes and increase cell formation/replication in breast cancer cells (R).

Ina study of one million women, a treatment with estrogen and synthetic progesterone caused an increase in breast cancer risk (R).

Other

Progesterone blocks the action of oxytocin.

Progesterone on SelfDecode

Buying Progesterone

Progesterone tablets can be taken orally.

Progesterone cream taken on the skin can be 5-7 times more powerful than progesterone taken orally.

Progesterone cream can be taken through vaginal or anal routes.

Preferred progesterone cream:

Other potentially good progesterone creams:

 

FDA Compliance

The information on this website has not been evaluated by the Food & Drug Administration or any other medical body. We do not aim to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any illness or disease. Information is shared for educational purposes only. You must consult your doctor before acting on any content on this website, especially if you are pregnant, nursing, taking medication, or have a medical condition.

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7 COMMENTS

  • carol close

    Where is the edit button after we have posted?
    Re: Every cell in the body has progesterone receptors. Correction: Most hormones circulate in blood, coming into contact with essentially all cells. However, a given hormone usually affects only a limited number of cells, which are called target cells. A target cell responds to a hormone because it bears receptors for the hormone.
    Forgot to add:
    .Reduces prolactin, reduces high follicle stimulating hormone which is catabolic, and reduces high luteinizing hormone which raises body temp waking you.
    • Suppresses MMPs
    •Strengthens collagen, increases cell turnover. 70% of the skin is collagen and 20% of the entire body is collagen, including arteries
    •Reduces spasm and relaxes smooth muscle. Bronchi are widened and mucus regulated. (Progesterone receptors are widely present in submucosal tissue. One reason kids sometimes outgrow asthma attacks when they start to produce progesterone after puberty).
    •Reduces gall-bladder activity.[74]
    • Normalizes blood clotting and vascular tone, zinc and copper levels, cell oxygen levels, and use of fat stores for energy.
    • May affect gum health, increasing risk of gingivitis (gum inflammation) during pregnancy when progesterone levels are highest.
    • May play a role in male behavior, such as in male aggression towards infants
    RE: *Adequate progesterone keeps women’s (Replace with:When progesterone drops, then estrogen and testosterone drop, then follicle stimulating hormone and luteinizing hormone rise, then more than 20 other hormones become unbalanced, including: gonatropin releasing hormone (rises), growth hormone (lowers), corticotropin releasing hormone ( rises), cortisol (rises), insulin (lowers), glucogon (rises), prolactin (rises), thyroid (lowers), somatostatin (rises), aldosterone (rises), calcitonin (rises), renin (rises), prostaglandins (rise), thyroxine (lowers), ghrelin (rises), leptin (lowers), melatonin (lowers), epinephrine (rises), norepinephrine (rises), adrenocorticotropic hormone (rises), antidiuretic hormone aka vasopressin (lowers), thyrotropin releasing hormone (lowers), oxytocin (lowers), parathyroid (lowers), adiponectin (lowers), glucocorticoids (rise)

  • carol close

    Progesterone benefits for both men and women
    *Suppresses excess testosterone and estrogen.

    •Inhibits 5 alpha-reductase activity. 5 alpha-reductase participate in 3 metabolic pathways: bile acid biosynthesis, androgen and estrogen metabolism, and prostate cancer. There are three isoenzymes of 5-alpha reductase, which vary in different tissues with age.

    •Helps balance blood glucose. Improves insulin resistance. Plays an important role in the signaling of insulin release and pancreatic function, and may affect the susceptibility to diabetes or gestational diabetes.
    •Is calming, due to it’s action on the GABA receptor sites. GABA is a calming neurotransmitter, this prevents an excessive response to stress and reduces cortisol which is catabolic breaking down tissue.
    •Brain neurotransmitter and myelinator. Progesterones are neuromodulators and are neuro-protective, neurogenic, and regulate neurotransmission and myelination. Myelin sheaths are made of progesterone. There is also evidence that the addition of progesterone can also help remyelinate damaged axons due to trauma, restoring some lost neural signal conduction
    *Produces the neurotransmitters- dopamine and serotonin. Enhances serotonin. Increases gene expression for DNA repair mechanisms in serotonin neurons, thereby rendering them less vulnerable to stress-induced DNA fragmentation.
    •Has well-described protective effects against numerous insults in a variety of cell models, animal models and in humans, including strokes, concussions, and spinal injuries.
    •The key mediator of progesterone’s beneficial effects is on the family of growth factors called neurotrophins in the central nervous system.
    •Acts as an antiinflammatory agent and regulates the immune response.
    •Increases T cells synergistically with Vitamin D. Progesterone with vitamin D promotes generation of induced regulatory T cells with increased stability.
    • Is responsible for immune function in cooperation with vitamin D which fail with lowered progesterone and lowered vitamin D causing autoimmune disorders and other diseases.
    •Improves blood pressure. Is a vasodilator, thus enhancing blood flow which allows nutrients to reach the hair follicle (a reason for baldness. Estrogen on the other hand constricts the smooth muscle found in blood vessels.)
    •Acts as an antioxidant by increasing levels of superoxide dismutase, glutathione and catalase (which catalase is deficient in gray hair).
    •Inhibits lipid peroxidation (a high level of pro-inflammatory LDLs leads to increased lipid peroxidation). Progesterone protects against lipid peroxidation.

    •Inhibits mast cells responsible for the increase in histamine.
    •Maintains and lengthens telomeres and stabilizes DNA.

    •Inhibits Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha.
    •Appears to prevent endometrial cancer (involving the uterine lining) by regulating the effects of estrogen.
    •Causes cancer apoptosis at progesterone levels comparable to the third trimester.
    •Suppresses the stress hormones. Cortisol uses up progesterone. Higher progesterone suppresses cortisol.
    •Suppresses the mTOR pathway. http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0960076014000934 “Anti-tumor effects of progesterone in human glioblastoma multiforme: Role of PI3K/Akt/mTOR signaling” (Rapamycin does the job of decreased progesterone)
    • Increases the tumor suppressor p53 to suppress cancer http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9846203 “Progesterone inhibits growth and induces apoptosis in breast cancer cells: inverse effects on Bcl-2 and p53.”
    •Raises epidermal growth factor-1 (EGF-1) levels, a factor often used to induce proliferation, and used to sustain cultures, of stem cells.
    •Stimulates progenitor cells and promotes stem cell growth with estrogen/testosterone. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24395108 “Progesterone stimulates progenitor cells in normal human breast and breast cancer cells.” http://www.the-scientist.com/?articles.view/articleNo/28895/title/Hormones-promote-stem-cell-growth/ “Hormones promote stem cell growth” Using our own stem cells with progesterone being a signal molecule is how our body renews itself.
    *Adequate progesterone keeps women’s
    *Progesterone is one of the anabolic hormones which stimulate connective tissue growth- including bone, cartilage, tendon ligaments, guts, cornea, liver, lymphatic organs, heart, vessels, lungs, adipose tissue, nervous systems, meninges, spinal cord, skin.
    *Every cell in our body has progesterone receptors.
    . *Men maintain higher progesterone levels slightly longer than women, so they are sometimes able to produce sperm for reproduction to impregnate women when they are advanced in age, whereas progesterone levels drop when women are in peri-menopause beginning in the mid 30’s. When women finally become menopausal, their progesterone production virtually stops. Women are not born with a finite supply of eggs causing menopause. Plus, even after menopause you still have many eggs left. http://news.sciencemag.org/2012/02/stem-cells-may-make-eggs-found-women Healthy ovaries nourished with progesterone which nourish egg producing stem cells will allow stem cells to keep replacing old eggs with new eggs over time unless progesterone levels drop. Once progesterone drops, then menopause means further hormone unbalancing and de-stabilization. Once progesterone drops in both men and women, this means the quality of the house/factory to build eggs and babies- testes/ovaries/endometrium in the uterus have weakened connective tissue. Ovaries/testes which produce eggs/sperm, become weakened with reduced progesterone, then egg/sperm production slows/ceases. Research shows progesterone keeps the endometrium healthy to implant an embryo and maintain a pregnancy. Also, eating the placenta stops apoptosis of ovarian germ-line stem cells (because the placenta is rich in progesterone).

  • carol close

    I was wrong that they use synthetic progesterones in ovarian cancer mouse models. I have been looking for proof for my statement- however, synthetic progesterones increases cervical and breast cancer and they use synthetic progesterone in mouse models for breast cancer. “The MPA mouse breast cancer model: Evidence for a role of progesterone receptors in breast cancer.” http://s3.amazonaws.com/academia.edu.documents/45712107/333.pdf?AWSAccessKeyId=AKIAIWOWYYGZ2Y53UL3A&Expires=1486438111&Signature=QCMQ4ZG0dW2DjQv4sp4M5x8wAkI%3D&response-content-disposition=inline%3B%20filename%3DThe_MPA_mouse_breast_cancer_model_eviden.pdf/

    “Effect of medroxyprogesterone acetate (synthetic progesterone) on the response of the rat mammary gland to carcinogenesis.” https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2246992 /
    http://www.pnas.org/content/102/7/2490.full

    Another experiment shows results that demonstrate that (real) progesterone at a concentration similar to that seen during the third trimester of pregnancy exhibited a strong antiproliferative effect on at least two breast cancer cell lines. Apoptosis was induced in the progesterone receptor expressing T47-D breast cancer cells. “Progesterone inhibits growth and induces apoptosis in breast cancer cells: inverse effects on Bcl-2 and p53.” https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11559549

    It is suggested that androgens and progesterone might play an etiologic role in ovarian carcinogenesis [37]. Pregnancy results in increases in maternal circulating progesterone due to production from the placenta. Among cell lines of normal human ovarian surface epithelium and ovarian cancer epithelium, low doses of progesterone were shown to stimulate cell growth in both cell lines whereas high doses resulted in cell growth inhibition [38]. In contrast, among the same cell lines exposed to estrone and 17-β estradiol, there was continued cell growth stimulation with increasing levels of hormone [38]. While it has been suggested that estrone exerts limited effect on ovarian surface epithelium cells, the link between Hormone Therapy and ovarian cancer risk suggested in these and other data suggest that estrone, and perhaps synthetic components of Hormone Therapy, might enhance neoplastic changes in ovarian epithelium. “Estrogen, Progesterone and Epithelial Ovarian Cancer.” https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2729759/

    Our data have identified folicle stimulating hormone, luteinizing hormone, estrone, estradiol, testosterone, DHT, and low-dose progesterone as positive growth regulators for ovarian cancer cells. Conversely, progesterone at high concentrations has been shown to be a potent antiproliferative factor for ovarian cancer cells. (Doesn’t say if they used synthetic progesterone.) “Expression of Gonadotropin Receptor and Growth Responses to Key Reproductive Hormones in Normal and Malignant Human Ovarian Surface Epithelial Cells.”
    http://www.annclinlabsci.org/content/28/6/360.abstract

    Progesterone lowers follicle stimulating hormone and luteinizing hormone (that climb with age) back down to normal levels.

    Estrone the carcinogenic form of estradiol common in older women and men,(reference: “Age Trends in Estradiol and Estrone Levels Measured Using Liquid Chromatography Tandem Mass Spectrometry in Community-Dwelling Men of the Framingham Heart Study.” https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3660115/) may be converted in the liver back into estradiol by a NAD conversion, In my mind, an important reason to keep NAD levels up to normalize estradiol/estrone levels with age. .

    In enzymology, an estradiol 17beta-dehydrogenase (EC 1.1.1.62) is an enzyme that catalyzes the chemical reaction.

    estradiol-17beta + NAD(P)+ (rightleftharpoons) estrone + NAD(P)H + H+

    The 3 substrates of this enzyme are estradiol-17beta, NAD+, and NADP+, whereas its 4 products are estrone, NADH, NADPH, and H+.

    This enzyme belongs to the family of oxidoreductases, specifically those acting on the CH-OH group of donor with NAD+ or NADP+ as acceptor. The systematic name of this enzyme class is estradiol-17beta:NAD(P)+ 17-oxidoreductase. Other names in common use include 20alpha-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase, 17beta,20alpha-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase, 17beta-estradiol dehydrogenase, estradiol dehydrogenase, estrogen 17-oxidoreductase, and 17beta-HSD. This enzyme participates in androgen and estrogen metabolism.

    Estrone is known to be a carcinogen for human females as well as a cause of breast tenderness or pain, nausea, headache, hypertension, and leg cramps in the context of non-endogenous exposure. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Estrone

  • carol close

    RE: Too much progesterone. Some evidence show that high levels of progesterone have a role in ovarian cancer since continuous ovulation could be involved in causing ovarian cancer (R). No, That was an unproven theory. Real progesterone is anti-carcinogenic and activates the p53 tumor suppressor gene and inhibits mTor which synthetic progesterone does not activate the p53 tumor suppressor gene or inhibit mTor, and in fact synthetic progesterones are proven to cause cancer and are often used to induce ovarian cancer in mice models. Real progesterone in levels equal to the third trimester induces apoptosis of ovarian cancer cells https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4189458/ “Protective Effect of Progesterone during Pregnancy against Ovarian Cancer”
    RE: Progesterone in males. The amount of progesterone is less in males than in females (R). No. Adult males have levels of progesterone similar to those in women during the follicular phase of the menstrual cycle. “NIH Clinical Center (2004-08-16). “Progesterone Historical Reference Ranges”. United States National Institutes of Health. Retrieved 2008-03-12.”
    RE: Progesterone raises body temperature causing one to sweat more (R), which may help ‘detoxification’ and weight loss. No. Luteinizing hormone increases body temperature. That is why when you are trying to get pregnant, you check to see if your temperature rises so you can tell when you are ovulating and fertile with the surge of luteinizing hormone. Progesterone lowers luteinizing hormone thus lowering body temperature which is why women go on hormone replacement therapy to relieve their hot flashes. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/447814 “LH, FSH and skin temperature during the menopausal hot flash.”
    RE: Progesterone causes headaches. No. Normalizing all hormone (including cholesterol, pregnenolone, progesterone, estrogen, testosterone and DEA) levels with restorative therapy using bio-identical hormones gets rid of all migraines. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26707041 “Is migraine a consequence of a loss of neurohormonal and metabolic integrity? A new hypothesis.”.: and here is the mechanism behind it. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21530095 “A new horizon into the pathobiology, etiology and treatment of migraine.”
    RE: Progesterone causes painful/tender breasts. No. High prolactin levels cause painful/tender breasts and progesterone lowers prolactin levels. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/7319468 “Serum prolactin and oestradiol levels in women with cyclical mastalgia”. and estrogen and progesterone lower prolactin…
    RE: Progesterone causes missed periods. Progesterone stops cells at the surface of the uterus from dividing and causes sores on the surface of the uterus (R). This causes the uterus to bleed (R). No. A drop in estrogen and progesterone causes your period to start. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Menstrual_cycle
    RE: Preferred progesterone cream- Wild Yam Progesterone Cream. No. Buy bio-identical progesterone hormone cream because your body cannot convert diosgenin from wild yams into progesterone, DHEA (dehydroepiandrosterone) or any other sex hormone, and wild yam does not naturally contain any progesterone that your body can use. The progesterone that is made from wild yam is known as pharmaceutical progesterone because it only exists after a chemical conversion process has been performed in a lab. Many manufacturing companies prefer to use synthetic diosgenin or wild yam as primary ingredients in their products, though, simply because they’re nearly half the cost of real progesterone. Real progesterone can provide many health benefits for women, but only if it’s USP progesterone, the only type that’s bio-identical to the naturally occurring progesterone in your body.

  • Sergio Quiñones

    Thank you Joseph. My wife (37) have serious PMS and gets very depress the last week of her menstrual cycle. I have been thinking for some time that hormone therepy could do her good. It was interesting reading your text, it is consistent with what my research in this topic.

  • Flavio

    Some studies you referenced use synthetic progesterone, that explains side effects. Synthetic progesterone does not work like natural progesterone. Perhaps you should clarify that so people don’t get confused.

    1. Joseph M. Cohen

      True

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