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Our endocrine glands are responsible for secreting hormones. These hormones are then carried to other organs,
tissues and cells to elicit a response at that particular site. Various enzymes interact with molecular components
to create these specific chemicals we call hormones. It is a synergistic and precise dance that creates each hormone,
each having its own powerful and specific message. Though each of these hormones looks molecularly similar, each one
has some slight variation in its configuration and therefore biological effect. In this way, cholesterol becomes
pregnenolone, which can become DHEA and progesterone. These two hormones can create other cortico-steroids and
testosterone, which can then change into estridiol or estrone, which can be metabolized into estriol. So you can
see the formation of hormones is a complex and intricate symphony. Though we will not be talking about the
chakra system in this text, suffice it to say that the endocrine glands have an energetic correspondence to
the chakra system. You can read more about this topic on my web pages
Progesterone and estrogen are the two main hormones made by the ovaries of menstruating women. Progesterone is
also made in smaller amounts by the adrenal glands in both men and women and in the testes of men. It is a
precursor of adrenal cortical hormones and other sex hormones, such as estrogen and testosterone. The ratio of
1(estrogen) to 300 (progesterone) is considered normal when testing these levels in the saliva. Progesterone
makes the survival of the fertilized egg possible. It also has many other beneficial actions throughout the
Progesterone's effects include: protection from fibrocystic formations, acting as a natural diuretic, helping
to use fat for energy, acting as a natural anti-depressant, helping thyroid hormone action, normalizing blood
clotting, restoring libido, helping to normalize blood sugar levels, normalizing zinc and copper levels,
restoring proper cell oxygen levels, protecting against endometrial and breast cancers, stimulating osteoblast-
mediated bone building and ensuring the survival of the embryo throughout gestation.
The amount of estrogen in the body helps determine sex-related body development. Estrogen's effects can lead to:
breast tissue stimulation, increasing body fat, proliferation of endometrial tissue, depression, headaches, the
interference of thyroid hormone, increasing blood clotting, decreasing libido, impaired blood sugar control,
a loss of zinc, the retention of copper, reduced oxygen levels in all cells, an increased risk of breast and
endometrial cancers, a reduction of vascular tone and the slight restraint of osteoclast functions (dissolving
old bone tissue). Estrogen is not one hormone but a group of similar hormones produced by the ovaries. The most
recognized are estrone, estradiol and estriol.
Estrogen and progesterone work together
in nature. It is important that there is a balance between these important hormones. Many of estrogen's
undesirable effects can be prevented when we have adequate progesterone levels in the body. In today's world
there is a tendency for many people to eat a high-fat, animal source diet. This diet is high in calories and
many times can be nutritionally deficient. An animal based diet, unless organic, is also high in xeno-estrogens.
These xeno-estrogens are present in the petrochemicals, plastics, adhesives and additives, all of which are abundant
in our environment. These xeno-estrogens create an imbalance of estrogen to progesterone in our system. Because
of this imbalance, more and more men, women and even children are experiencing the disease symptoms these imbalances
create. Many children today are experiencing the signs of early puberty. Some studies reported children as young
as eight or nine years of age with menses. Young boys developing breasts were also being reported. Something is
terribly wrong with this picture.
EXOGENOUS ESTROGENS: THE MYTH OF DEFICIENCY
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Many women are not producing enough progesterone. They are exposed to many strong estrogenic compounds in today's world that affect the levels of estrogen in the body. This does not include the ones being prescribed by doctors. These exogenous estrogens come to us from plants, called phyto-estrogens and from petroleum products, called xeno-estrogens. According to research, these toxic petroleum compounds (xeno-estrogens) are also contributing to cancers in women and low sperm levels in men. Our exposure to harsh plastics, adhesives and additives in our environment and food chain are increasing. As a result estrogen dominance is created and along with it some bothersome signs and symptoms. These include water retention and edema, breast swelling, fibrocystic breasts, premenstrual mood swings, depression, loss of libido, heavy or irregular menses, uterine fibroids, craving for sweets and
weight gain with fat deposition at hips and thighs, headaches, high blood pressure, insomnia and anxiety.
Estrogen deficiency in menopause seems like a myth created by the pharmaceutical industry to justify selling supplementation.
Reading texts such as those written by Dr. John Lee, (What Your Doctor May Not Tell You About Menopause and What Your Doctor May Not Tell You About Pre-menopause), one gathers that it is common knowledge that women do not have estrogen levels dropping to zero after menopause as some would have us believe. There is support from other glands in the body helping to create estrogen. It is also created from body stores of fat. These levels are adequate in most cases to support healthy female bodily functions, excluding pregnancy. According to Dr. Lee, estrogen should only be given to woman clearly deficient and even then, it should never be given without progesterone at any age. This is true whether you have a uterus or not.
Symptoms of estrogen deficiency are persistent vaginal dryness, vaginal mucus membrane atrophy (thinning) and urinary tract problems despite adequate progesterone levels. Only if these symptoms persist should women take estrogen and then at the smallest amount possible to take care of the symptoms. In our present estrogen-contaminated world it is rare that a woman has true estrogen deficiency.
Often women are given doses estrogen that are far too high either way. I have read reports indicating one-tenth of the amount generally prescribed could afford the needed replacement levels in woman who really do need replacement. Many women who are pre or post-menopausal coming to a doctor with ANY symptoms are assumed to be deficient in estrogen. Since it is more likely they are progesterone deficient, the high estrogen level created from supplementation leads to more symptoms which the doctor often associates with the woman not getting enough estrogen. So her dose is increased. Cervical hyperplasia can ensue and a D&C can be recommended next, with a total hysterectomy soon after, as symptoms get worse not better. Doctors are relying on blood tests from plasma or serum to determine hormone levels. This does not give a true measure of hormonal levels. Hormones are fat-soluble and plasma serum is a water medium. Therefore precise level of hormones can not be adequately measured from this source. Saliva testing is better than serum or plasma testing for determining hormone levels in the body.
Hot flashes are also blamed on low estrogen levels. Actually, it is hormonal fluctuations that cause this bothersome symptom, with progesterone deficiency the main antagonist. Without adequate progesterone you cannot maintain adequate estrogen receptor availability. This means that even though you may have enough estrogen, your cells can not use it effectively. If you maintain the proper level of progesterone you can take advantage of the estrogen you do have. From the reports I have read, most woman receive relief from hot flashes from using progesterone cream alone.
Over 50% of premenstrual women are not producing adequate progesterone and many post-menstrual women are being given estrogen without progesterone, supposedly to prevent osteoporosis. This is really a shame as it is really progesterone that helps to build bones, not estrogen. Estrogen will only help stop the creation of more bone loss. In fact, bone loss which is rapid at the beginning of menopause will usually regain balance in several years after menopause ensues. This can only happen when progesterone levels are adequate.
Osteoporosis in women starts in their mid-thirties and accelerates at the time of menopause. If it were a lack of estrogen that were
causing this loss then why would it happen at this early age (mid-thirties) when estrogen levels are generally high? It is more likely
occurring from the lack of progesterone which starts decreasing at this time. In fact, many women menstruate without ovulation (they have
a period but no eggs are released) because of low progestrone levels.
NATURAL PROGESTERONE vs. SYNTHETICS
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Progesterone is given its name because of the function it has in promoting gestation, thus pro-gest-erone. It is responsible for the rise in libido at the time of ovulation and should conception take place, it keeps the endometrium, which is nourishing the embryo, from shedding. Were it to drop or be blocked at its receptor sites the embryo would detach and a miscarriage would take place. As the placenta develops more progesterone is produced and continues to rise, with high levels of more than 300 mg./day until the birth of the baby.
There are approximately seven different synthetic progesterone-type hormones, called progestins. Though they are very similar to progesterone, they are in no way natural and are less easily metabolized and excreted. These synthetics will bond to receptor sites as will the natural progesterone. However, the synthetics will have a slightly different message for the target cell. This difference is the reason they have a list of warnings, adverse reactions, contraindications and precautions associated with them. These reactions are not characteristic of natural progesterone; progesterone in physiological doses has no known side effects.
Why then have progestin (synthetic progesterone) drugs become so dominant in our society? The answer lies in their use as birth control. They were developed at a time when there was more sexual freedom. A time when natural progesterone supplementation required expensive, painful injections, rectal or vaginal suppositories. Synthetics have a guaranteed consistency and potency. Since they are not easily metabolized, they have a longer duration of action. Probably the most important reason they are used is the fact that they can be patented and therefore are a very profitable product. Because of this the pharmaceutical industry could really get behind them. The potentially serious side effects of these drugs are written in small letters in the Physician's Desk Reference (PDR) and on informational drug data sheets. Not too many people really want to know about them anyway, they just do not want to become pregnant. The progestins also got a foothold as more women were being given estrogen replacement, which increased the risks of breast and endometrial cancer. It was agreed that this tragic side effect could be lessened if progesterone was included along with the estrogen. So, the synthetics took over the market as the pharmaceutical industry had more to gain by using them.
Commercial progesterone is synthesized from plant fat (sterols) and oil, unlike the pharmaceuticals which come from horse urine etc.
It is identical to the progesterone synthesized by the body from cholesterol. Absorption of this natural progesterone cream is as much as
ten times more efficient when taken through the skin (transdermal) than if taken orally. The best sites to apply natural progesterone
cream are the areas of the body that blush, where capillaries are closer to the skin's surface and more plentiful. These areas include the
face, neck, back of hands, breast, inner arm and chest. Alternate the sites when applying. Using two or three different sites each time is
a good idea as the other ingredients in the cream could get in the way of absorption if left to accumulate in just one area.