Bio-Identical progesterone is a progesterone molecule that is identical to the hormone produced by the human body.
Progesterone is secreted primarily by the ovaries in females and the testes in men. Smaller amounts are produced by the adrenal glands, the brain and glial cells in both sexes.
There are no great quantitative differences between men and women (at least outside the luteal phase).
There is much confusion in the minds of both the public and the professions between progesterone on the one hand, and the progestins or progestogens and “yam extracts” on the other.
Progesterone is made in your body from cholesterol. Here are the essentials of the process…
First, your body turns the cholesterol into pregnenolone
Pregnenolone is a precursor hormone used by the body to make progesterone.
Your body then makes a cascade of other hormones that it needs from the progesterone (these include the estrogens and testosterone amongst others)
The synthetic progestins and progestogens on the other hand have an altered molecular structure. They are synthetic substances that are not the same as the progesterone molecule produced by the body.
The synthetic version cannot make the other needed hormones.
The only similarity between progestins and the natural hormone is their ability to maintain the endometrium (the lining of the uterus).
The natural hormone has no toxic side effects. However, the progestins and progestogens are potentially highly toxic because of their altered molecular structure.
The fact is progestins behave in the body in radically different ways to progesterone itself.
The lesson here is obvious enough… if such small differences in molecular structures have such big real effects then… beware of man made alterations.
This also means they can be patented and sold for exhorbitant prices.
And now for “yam extracts“ and “yam creams”… simply put…these do not contain progesterone.
They do contain the plant steroid diosgenin, but the body cannot convert diosgenin into the hormone itself.
The yam creams can have a beneficial ‘adaptogenic’ effect on the body but, unlike the hormone itself, they cannot correct hormonal imbalances such as excessive levels of oestrogen.