Written by Slawomir (“Swavak”) Gromadzki, MPH
Progesterone is made by ovaries (from corpus luteum) and it is a precursor to oestrogen (oestrogen is made out of progesterone). It maintains the lining of the uterus and stays high during pregnancy. During menopause, when menstruation stops and progesterone can no longer be made from corpus luteum, healthy adrenal glands and nerves should take over and start making progesterone.
HEALTH BENEFITS OF PROGESTERONE
Progesterone is known as a happy hormone and antidepressant.
It helps maintain healthy body weight as it burns fat and turns it into energy.
Progesterone is also a natural diuretic and helps body to get better oxygen supply.
Helps building the bones and prevents development of osteoporosis.
Regulates blood sugar levels and helps maintain normal sex drive (libido).
Progesterone makes sure that there is a balance between estrogen and progesterone in the body. Progesterone is extremely important because it keeps the oestrogen levels normal. Since oestrogen is a powerful proliferator (stimulates multiplication of cells including cancer cells) by maintaining normal levels of oestrogen progesterone prevents breast and ovarian cancer as well as other problems associated with high oestrogen.
PROGESTERONE DECLINES WITH AGE
Unfortunately, as a woman ages and reaches menopause, progesterone levels drop dramatically. Low progesterone negatively influences mood and leads to oestrogen dominance and since oestrogen is a powerful proliferator its higher levels increases the risk of developing breast or ovarian cancer and other problems.
FOCUSING ON PROGESTERONE IS MUCH MORE IMPORTANT
In preventing and dealing with hormonal imbalance, both before and during menopause, it is important to understand that there are reasons to believe that it is even more important to focus on increasing progesterone than oestrogen. First of all, body uses progesterone to make oestrogen thus preventing or eliminating menopause symptoms. In addition, progesterone regulates oestrogen levels and prevents its dominance. It means that without healthy levels of progesterone, oestrogen can be not only too low but also too high, thus significantly increasing risk of breast cancer, obesity, depression, heart attacks or strokes.
HOW TO INCREASE PROGESTERONE BEFORE MENOPAUSE
Before menopause starts a still menstruating woman can maintain and increase progesterone by taking the following supplements:
– Zinc acts on multiple organs of the body that are implicated in progesterone production including the pituitary gland and ovaries. Zinc increases levels of follicle stimulating hormone, which in turn causes ovulation and also stimulates the ovaries to produce estrogen and progesterone.
– The most important nutrient for maintaining normal progesterone levels before menopause is vitamin B6 which is absolutely crucial for the development of the corpus luteum (a gland produced in ovaries after the egg is released) out of which progesterone is produced. Therefore, vitamin B6 is necessary for preventing progesterone deficiency and through progesterone for balancing other hormones including oestrogen.
– Also vitamin C is required to assist the body in producing progesterone. In a 2003 study, women who took 750 mg of vitamin C increased their progesterone levels by 77 percent! It is important to remember that in order to be effective vitamin B6 must be taken with zinc as without zinc vitamin B6 won’t help to cope with low progesterone! You need to take daily dose of about 20 to 50mg of zinc (such as zinc citrate) after breakfast.
– Magnesium regulates the pituitary gland, which in turn controls the production of FSH (follicular stimulating hormone), LH (luteinizing hormone), and TSH (thyroid stimulating hormone) that in turn regulate the production of progesterone and oestrogen. Magnesium, which deficiency is rampant today, is also the key nutrient to relax uterus and prevent or treat uterine cramps and menstrual pains.
– Also amino acid L-arginine is known to help increase progesterone levels.
– The most effective herb to increase and balance progesterone before menopause is Agnus castus (Vitex). Agnus Castus (known also as Vitex, Chaste Berry or Monk’s Pepper) is a large shrub (native to the Mediterranean region of southern Europe) with lilac or white flowers and small fruits. Taking Agnus castus works by stimulating the body to produce more natural progesterone in a safe and controlled way. That is the reason why Agnus castus is so effective in helping women to cope with PMS and other symptoms associated with low progesterone.
– Ashwagandha supports healthy levels of luteinizing hormone which triggers development of the corpus luteum out of which progesterone is made (>).
INCREASING PROGESTERONE LEVELS DURING MENOPAUSE (AFTER MENSTRUATION STOPS)
Unfortunately, once the menstrual cycle stops, the ovaries can’t produce progesterone any more since corpus luteum (out of which progesterone is made) ceases to appear in ovaries. However, since the body still needs progesterone it continues producing it in the adrenal glands and nerve cells.
Unfortunately since due to chronic stress and nutritional deficiencies many menopausal women suffer from adrenal fatigue and poor nervous system condition and function their adrenals and nerves are unable to take over the function of ovaries and make enough progesterone.
For this reason it is also crucial to recover from adrenal fatigue and strengthen nerves by learning to control stress, regular exercise, healthy high in nutrients unrefined plant-based diet and by using various supplements including zinc, B vitamins, magnesium, vitamin D, and antioxidants as well as adaptogenic herbs and foods such as maca, rhodiola, ginsengs, ashwagandha, gotu kola, chlorella, and spirulina. Read more about Adrenal Fatigue >
To protect and heal nerve cells you need: Alpha lipoic acid (600-1200mg per day), sublingual Methylcobalamin (1000-2000mcg per day under the tongue), organic Chlorella (2 tablespoons or 20-40 tablets before breakfast), organic ground Turmeric (one teaspoon with food 2-3 times a day), and good Multivitamin such as VM-75, Earth Source, Special Two, VM-2000, etc. (one tablet after breakfast.).
– PMS >
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