Progesterone is one of the many steroid hormones made in the bodies of all animals, both male and female. “Steroid” means
that its molecular structure contains a “core” pattern of 17 carbon atoms arranged in four fused rings. (See the illustrations
in Wikipedia.) Different steroid hormones are distinguished from one another by the various molecular groups which adorn the steroid core.
Progesterone performs a number of functions in the body, some of them involving cardiovascular processes, cell division, temperature
control, muscle relaxation, inflammation, and fat metabolism, and others involving the female monthly cycle and pregnancy.
It is therefore not surprising that progesterone supplements can be used, regardless of gender, to achieve a wide variety
of effects in the body.
Progesterone is one of a number of “progestins” — hormones with the properties listed above — but progesterone is safer and
has fewer side effects than other progestins.
What we can’t tell you
In the U.S. and some other industrialized countries, government agencies like the U.S. Food and Drug Administration have adopted
censorship as a method for intensifying their control over supplement users and their suppliers. Thus, FDA regulations prohibit
us from telling you that any of our products are effective as medical treatments, even if they are, in fact, effective.
Accordingly, we will limit our discussion of Progesterone Cream to a brief summary of relevant research, and let you draw
your own conclusions about what medical conditions it may be effective in treating.
Medical research has found evidence for progesterone’s effectiveness in the following applications:
- skin anti-aging
- inhibiting components of atherosclerosis
- sleep problems
- depression and mood
- traumatic brain injury
- preventing fluid retention as a PMS symptom
- treating vasomotor symptoms after menopause
- preventing endometrial hyperplasia (thickening of the uterus)
- lowering risk of breast cancer
- alleviating cyclical breast pain
- vaginal dryness
- menstrual migraine
Although progesterone can be administered in various forms, LifeLink has chosen a 2.1% progesterone cream for its product
line because of the ease and flexibility of application. Progesterone is absorbed well transdermally — in fact, transdermal creams have been shown to be just as effective as oral formulations.
Stroke and brain injuries
Progesterone is converted into a variety of metabolites with different modes of action in the repair of nervous tissue. Progesterone
therefore has a unique potential as a treatment for injuries to the central nervous system, including stroke and traumatic
brain injuries. Researchers at the Emory University School of Medicine, USA, have suggested that a combination of progesterone and vitamin
D3 — another neuroprotective supplement — should provide even better recovery for brain injuries than either supplement would
In women menopause results in a decline of various hormones, including progesterone. Men, on the other hand, have a life-long
relative shortage of progesterone. Studies in post-menopausal women has shown that the application of progesterone cream to
the skin leads to improved elasticity and firmness. The fact that this method has not been studied in men does not mean that it doesn’t work — it just means that the medical
world is hidebound and uninterested in male esthetics.
Bone loss and osteoporosis
Whether progesterone cream can prevent post-menopausal bone loss is still an open question — studies have reported that it
can and others have reported that it can’t. This suggests that its benefits are unlikely to be dramatic. But even modest improvements in bone strength are important
and worth pursuing. A study comparing progesterone cream and soy milk showed that they had comparable benefits, but that used
together they interfered with each other. Therefore, it is probably best not to use soy milk if you are using progesterone cream for osteoporosis.
Menstrual and menopausal symptoms
The theory behind the use of progesterone for menopausal symptoms is well explained in an article from the Yale University
School of Medicine, which states: “The failure of follicular development that characterizes the menopause leads to a marked
reduction in serum levels of estradiol and progesterone. As a result, the majority of women develop symptoms, including hot
flushes, sleep disturbance, and vaginal dryness. Long-term consequences of ovarian insufficiency include genital atrophy,
osteoporosis, and increased rates of myocardial infarction. Estradiol replacement (ERT) has proved effective in treating and
preventing these problems. ERT has, however, led to increased risk of endometrial carcinoma. Consequently, treatment regimens
now include progestins (HRT) to protect women who have a uterus. Progestins act by down-regulation of estradiol receptor activity,
which is an advantage for preventing endometrial hyperstimulation, but a potential disadvantage when beneficial effects of
estradiol are opposed.”
Vasomotor symptoms consist of hot flashes or night sweats that result from sudden opening of the blood vessels close to the
skin. Progesterone cream has been shown effective for preventing these symptoms.
Breast pain associated with menstrual cycle has been found in some studies to be greatly reduced with progesterone cream. But other studies have found the exact opposite. The medical literature is full of such contradictions, which result from sloppy research work, differing dosages, or other
factors. Fortunately, it’s easy enough to test the idea for oneself — if progesterone cream makes your breast pain go away
without causing undesired side effects, then it’s “right for you”.
For some women progesterone administration can worsen mood if taken during the second half of the menstrual cycle, or improve
it if taken during first half. Some experimentation may be necessary to find an appropriate dosing schedule.
Menstrual migraine headaches can be triggered by premenstrual progesterone decline. Research at the University of Vienna
has shown that progesterone administration can alleviate this condition.
Fluid retention is another symptom seen in Premenstrual Syndrome. In a clinical study conducted at the University of Calgary
in 1997 a symptomatic improvement was achieved using progesterone.
Endometrial hyperplasia is a pre-cancerous condition of the endometrium in which the lining of the uterus becomes too thick,
which results in abnormal bleeding. A clinical trial at the University Federico II of Naples, Italy, showed that progesterone
treatment produced a complete regression of this condition in 90.5% of the patients who used it, of which 78.3% occurred in
the first 3 months and 11.5% after 6 months of treatment.
Is Progesterone Cream useful for the conditions and purposes mentioned above? We aren’t allowed to tell you, so you should
take a look at some of the references cited here, and then decide for yourself.