Progesterone occupies an important position in the pathway of hormonal synthesis in both men and women. When many of us think of progesterone, we think of it as being a hormone strictly for women. However men need progesterone too, as is explained in the following research. While most Progesterone in women is produced in their ovaries, it is produced in the adrenal glands in both sexes and in the testes in males. In fact, after menopause, the female body makes close to zero progesterone, while the male body makes more.
Not only is progesterone found in males, but men rely on the alleged “female hormone” to preserve their masculinity. In fact, did you know that progesterone is a precursor to testosterone – the male sex hormone? Also did you know that as men age and testosterone begins to decline, estrogen levels steadily rise? As estrogen levels increase, progesterone levels plummet. Therefore, as Progesterone is a precursor to testosterone, and testosterone levels in men decline with age, doing whatever they can to boost progesterone levels can be of great benefit for men, as this article explains.
Hormonal balance is like a jig-saw puzzle – without all of the pieces in place, it just doesn’t work. Hormones are cell messengers that carry important signals to different cells in the body. There can be a lot of things that go wrong in their communication, and these problems can be due to a multitude of factors, including: nutritional inadequacies, stress, toxicity, organ toxicity/malfunction, mineral deficiencies.
Estrogen dominance is a term coined by hormones expert Dr. John R. Lee, and it describes a condition where a woman (or in this case, man) has more estrogen than progesterone. Even if a man’s estrogen levels are low, it is still possible that he will experience symptoms of estrogen dominance. Progesterone is apparently well known to help counteract the effects of estrogen on the male body.
The main cause of estrogen dominance in men is exposure to xenoestrogens which are hormone-mimicking chemicals found in consumer-based products and even in the air we breathe. In addition to environmental factors, other causes of estrogen dominance in men include alcoholism, obesity, chronic stress and glandular dysfunction.
In both males and females, progesterone favors the development of T helper cells, thereby boosting immunity. It also increases dopamine release, supplying a good precursor to adrenal hormones – again, for both sexes. Progesterone is also the precursor to the all-important adrenal cortical hormone, cortisol. Cortisol is essential for stress response, sugar and electrolyte balance, blood pressure and for general survival.
In short, progesterone acts as a precursor to many important steroid hormones and helps to regulate a broad range of biological and metabolic effects in the body. During chronic stress, progesterone production is reduced as the body favors cortisol production to reduce stress, but this causes shortfalls in other areas.
A common problem in both men and women is the shortfall of various steps in the pathways of the body’s conversion of cholesterol to progesterone, so you can see the importance of boosting the body’s production of this vital hormone. It’s recommended that in addition to testing testosterone levels, men should also consider having other hormones tested to get a clearer picture of what’s going inside their bodies. This includes estrogen, progesterone, cortisol, DHEA and thyroid hormones.
Symptoms of low progesterone in men include:
- * Low libido
- * Hair loss
- * Weight gain
- * Fatigue
- * Depression
- * Gynecomastia (“man-boobs”)
- * Erectile dysfunction
- * Impotence
- * Bone loss
- * Muscle loss
In addition, men with low levels of progesterone have a higher risk of developing health conditions, such as osteoporosis, arthritis, prostatism and prostate cancer.
What are progestagens?
Progestagens (called progestins in America) are synthetic hormones that are similar but not identical to progesterone. Because a natural substance such as progesterone cannot be patented, it is generally not profitable for a pharmaceutical company to obtain a licence to produce it as a medicine (to license a medicine can cost millions of pounds). But if that natural substance is slightly changed it can then be patented and licensed as a medicine. However such a substance is no longer ‘natural’ to the body. Even a tiny change from the natural hormone can result in considerable side effects.
All known progestagens cause particularly undesirable consequences in the body – as can be seen by the long list of side effects listed in medical textbooks. This is because progesterone has a very central role to play in making other hormones. It is like trying to build a jigsaw around the wrong piece. Unfortunately for many years progesterone has been ‘lumped in’ with the progestagens and many doctors have assumed that progesterone also causes these serious side effects. Evidence is now clearly emerging that this is not the case.
What is natural progesterone?
Natural progesterone is the hormone produced by the ovaries (and also by the male body). After menopause, the female body makes close to zero progesterone, in fact the male body makes more. This hormone can also be made in the laboratory from plant sources such as soy and yam. According to Dr Lee’s research, the result is identical in every way to the hormone produced by the body and is called natural progesterone because it is identical to the hormone the ovaries make.
For further information see Natural Progesterone, the Multiple Roles of a Remarkable Hormone by John R Lee MD and other books. Dr Lee’s book, “Natural Progesterone, the Multiple Roles of a Remarkable Hormone” was written in 1993 especially for doctors and other health care professionals who want the scientific details and biochemistry behind the use of natural hormones. Dr Lee said that it is a gift every woman should give her doctor – but of course, he is the author!
* “Natural Progesterone, the Multiple Roles of a Remarkable Hormone”, John R Lee MD
* “The Male Herbal: The Definitive Health Care Book for Men and Boys”; James Green; 2007
* “Doctor’s Guide to Natural Medicine”; Paul Barney, MD; 1998
* “Prescription for Natural Cures”; James Balch, MD; 2004
* “Alternative Cures: More Than 1,000 of the Most Effective Natural Home Remedies”; Bill Gottlieb; 2008
* University of Maryland Medical Center: Wild Yam
* Article “Benefits of Progesterone For Men”, Livestrong.com
* Article “Hormones For Men: Progesterone “, BodylogicMD.co