What is Bio- Identical Progesterone?

Progesterone is a hormone that has been around for about 500 million years. That makes it the oldest hormone around.

It’s essential to all vertebrates: fishes, reptiles, birds and mammals – including humans. It has countless functions in both sexes and all ages.

This vital hormone plays a major role in the body. It is not exclusively a female hormone . It plays no part in the secondary sexual characteristics which develop at puberty. It is the precursor to the hormones oestrogen and testosterone.

It 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).

William Allen and George Corner first isolated ‘Progestational Steroidal Ketone’ (these are the words that fully describe the hormone and which are the source of its commonly used name) in 1934 and proposed the name because of its “progestational” activity in the pregnant female. This was an unfortunate choice of name as it has now come to be regarded as a ‘female’ hormone, and it’s many other roles having been largely forgotten.

It was not until 1943 that Russell Marker made progesterone from the plant steroid diosgenin. Originally he used the Mexican wild yam (dioscorea villosa) as a source plant. However, diosgenin has now been found in many other plants, including the spice fenugreek and the soya bean.

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.

Let me clear the confusion for you.

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 then converted to 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 “natural” hormone your body makes has a unique molecular structure. Here’s what it looks like…

progesterone-molecule

The synthetic progestins and progestogens on the other hand have an altered molecular structure. Here’s what they look like…

progestin-molecule

 

 

 

 

 

Spot the difference? They may look similar to the real thing… just as ivy and spinach are both green and leafy (ivy quiche anyone?).

Need more proof? Take a look at these…

hormone molecules

 

 

Not much difference to look at either, but…

  • estradiol tells your body its female
  • testosterone tells your body its male

There aren’t many clearer differences than that!

The lesson here is obvious enough… if such small differences in molecular structures have such big real effects then… beware of man made alterations.

The fact is progestins behave in the body in radically different ways to progesterone itself. The only similarity between progestins and the natural hormone is their ability to maintain the endometrium (the lining of the uterus).

This also means they can be patented and sold for exhorbitant prices.

The natural hormone has no toxic side effects. However, the progestins and progestogens are potentially highly toxic because of their altered molecular structure.

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 estrogen.

Source: http://www.progesteronetherapy.com/#ixzz2fSeBIYGn
Under Creative Commons License: Attribution

Of course progesterone has many other roles within the body such as normalizing blood sugar levels, boosting thyroid function, it helps us use fat for energy instead of storing it, it also has anti-inflammatory effects and reduces swelling and inflammation.

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