Progesterone Is the Key
I can honestly say before I started listening to Ray Peat interviews and working with Andrew Murray of Western Botanical Medicine I never one time gave progesterone a thought. I couldn’t have told you anything about it except maybe that it was one of the 3 sex hormones. I had no clue how important it was to your overall health and wellness. In the last article I explained why excess estrogen is so damaging to our bodies. In this article I am going to talk about how wonderful progesterone is, why we don’t have enough of it and what we can do to increase our levels while decreasing our excess estrogen.
Quick shout out to the dudes reading this
Progesterone is also good for guys, but I have to get through the ins and out of the ladies first. Please read along so you can understand, and I promise I will get to you after all of the explaining. Or, just skip to the end and look for the heading DUDES.
Back to the Ladies
First, a short primer on progesterone. Probably the coolest thing it does is during pregnancy. Your progesterone levels get really high during pregnancy because it is the “anti-stress” hormone and it is keeping the baby safe from external stressors. What??? That is SO COOL! You go progesterone. But it doesn’t stop there. Progesterone functions to reduce stress in us as well. It can relieve anxiety, improve cognition, protect brain cells, it promotes respiration, increases the tone of the blood vessels, promotes healthy bone growth, reverses skin damage caused by sun exposure or aging, can relieve arthritis and works to cure many immunological disfunctions.
Although a progesterone deficiency doesn’t always mean that you have an excess of estrogen the two often go hand in hand and the symptoms of excess estrogen look similar to the symptoms of diminished progesterone. Those symptoms are: increased cortisol and adrenalin, increased aging of the skin, decrease in brain cells and increased fat storage around the tummy and back.
The best news is that the highest quality progesterone is available online without a prescription. It is micronized progesterone in a Vitamin E suspension. You put 3 to 4 drops on your finger and rub the viscous liquid into your gums. A bottle is $30.95 for 34 ml bottle. The maintenance dose for menstruating women is 3-4 drops per day from day 14 of your cycle to day 28 or until your cycle starts again. There are also recommendations for increased dosage based on your symptoms. Here is a an excerpt from the instructions taken from the products website: https://www.longnaturalhealth.com/progest-e-instructions/
“The more severe your symptoms, the more doses you need. It is recommended that nearly everyone should begin with the high dose directions for 10 days to avoid complications (as low thyroid, high estrogen situations require a high initial dose to avoid progesterone reverting to estrogen). For example, to relieve severe symptoms (hot flashes, menstrual pain, cramping, PMS, ovarian cysts, fibrocystic breast disease, high estrogen, etc.) take one dose (3 drops) five times daily for 10 days, then decrease to about 3 doses daily for 1-2 two weeks (can be longer as needed). Eventually, 1-2 doses for another few weeks or months as needed. Can continue using every day, or if you’re having a regular menses you can switch to a maintenance dose: one dose per day from mid-cycle to start of menses (usually about 14 days).” -- Taken from the Long Natural Health website
We are working to bring this product into our Nutrition Warehouse stores so hopefully in a month or, so we will also have it readily available. I will update all our social media feeds when we get it on the shelf.
Other than understanding the symptoms, how else can you tell if you are deficient in progesterone? Well, if you have your lab work with your hormone levels we can do a quick math equation to figure out your ration of Progesterone to Estradiol. If you are a menstruating female, then ideally, we would get this measurement done on the 20th day of your cycle. That is the day when your progesterone should be at its peak. But, no worries if it is from another day. We can still see trends.
Now we have to do some math. The two numbers you are looking for on your lab work are your Estradiol number and your Progesterone number. For the sake of this we are going to use my most recent lab work done on January 16, 2018. My estradiol number was 31.2 pg/ml and my progesterone number was 0.16 ng/ml. To find the ratio we first have to do a conversion. Estrogen is measured in picograms per ml and progesterone is measures in nanograms per ml. To make those numbers of equal value we must add 3 decimal points to the progesterone amount, so we go from 0.16 to 160. Now we will divide this new number (160) by the estrogen number (31.2) and we will get 5.1:1. No WONDER I have been having problems a ratio of 5.1:1 is hanging out somewhere down in the sewer with the rats. If I was in perfect hormonal health this ratio would be more like 50:1. That is the goal, to get your progesterone to estrogen ration as close to 50:1 as possible.
I will have my labs done again next week and will recheck this ratio. I hope it has gotten better since I have been increasing my progesterone and working to level out my thyroid. I will give an update in one of my next articles.
Quick Side Story
Just this week I had a friend bring me her lab work. She is a 62 year old female in menopause. Her lab work was a bit confusing for us. Her estrogen was 5.0 (unfathomable) and her progesterone was 0.11. if you do her ratio you find that it is 22:1, which at first glance was better than mine and perhaps was trending in the right way. I was tempted to give her a pat on the back and say, “good work”. But then I re-listened to a Ray Peat interview (you can find it on Youtube: Life Supporting Substances – Kim Greenhouse and Ray Peat). In this interview he casually threw out that often a menopausal female will have a really low estrogen blood count but still have symptoms of excess estrogen. But the blood level doesn’t show the bound estrogen trapped in the tissues (which if you remember from my last article still does a huge amount of damage as the tissue aromatizes to create more estrogen, causing you to store fat, trapping estrogen and repeating the cycle). This made sense when we applied it to my friend’s lab work. Her progesterone was really low, she has all the symptoms of excess estrogen and yet her ratio was not as horrible as mine. Just something to keep in mind. As with everything you have to look at the whole picture to really understand what may be going on.
I have been supplementing with the natural progesterone in the vitamin e oil for about 4 months now and I have begun to notice some changes in my overall wellbeing. The most exciting has been my decrease in anxiety. Daily anxiety has crept up on me over the past 10 years. I always figured that was because of building a business, which is really stressful. I think everyone has an anxiety trigger, or a certain thought that gets played over and over again in your brain when you are struggling with daily anxiety. Mine is always caught up in an overwhelming fear of something happening to one of my animals. I would go through a great day then get in bed at night and immediately my brain would latch onto a fear of losing one of my animals. Often, I would lie in bed and sob (quietly so as to not wake up Marc). It got to where I would take 2 benadryl and ½ a xanax just to get past these unsettling emotions. It wasn’t until I started working with Andrew Murray that he made the link between my hormones and out of control anxiety. I think sometimes we think that symptoms are just a part of life, something we all deal with, but in actuality they are often a consequence of poor hormone balance. My personal anxiety has gone down quite a bit. I still take 2 benedryl (with 14 cats and 1 dog you need help staying asleep) but I also take my progesterone right before bed and it helps to calm my whole nervous system.
A couple of more cool things that you can use your progesterone for. First, is age spots. I am only 42 years old, but I have 3 or 4 fairly large age spots on my face. Every time I wash my face now I dab just a small amount of progesterone on the area and they have started to lighten. That is because the progesterone actually reverses the processes that created those stupid spots. My skin is tighter, and those spots are going away. You can also use progesterone for topical arthritis relief. First you must prime the area to allow the thick progesterone to soak into your skin. You can do this by rubbing the area with some olive oil first and then rubbing on the progesterone. I personally have not tried this because I do not have any painful spots of arthritis, but it is supposed to be quite effective at relieving the inflammation and pain. Most of the progesterone stays locally on the site, but some does get into the blood stream and also may help boost your levels.
Hey guys, you can suffer from low progesterone as well and it can be just as devastating. Like in women, low progesterone is often present when you are estrogen dominant. The symptoms are similar to what women experience, but more devastatingly for men can be the low libido or inability to perform when the time is right…if you know what I mean. Also, anxiety, sleeplessness, enlarged breast tissue, and increased belly and back fat are symptoms that men may experience. Don’t worry, you can also supplement with the Progest E and get great results. For men, the dose is 3 or 4 drops rubbed into the gums at bedtime. You will notice a difference in just a week or two. Often, supplementing will lead to your body beginning to produce progesterone in the correct amounts, however if you feel like you have had below normal progesterone for a long time then continuing to supplement nightly would benefit you in the long run.
The normal range for men is between 0.1 – 1.2 ng/ml. I am not sure if doctors routinely check progesterone in men. We have all of Marc’s lab work since 2014 and they never one time checked his progesterone. He has been supplementing with the 3-4 drops nightly for about 3 months and is planning to have his blood levels checked later this month. I will update everyone on what his levels are when we get them back. In the meantime, if you are having bloodwork done you may need to request that they run your progesterone as well and not just expect it to come as part of a basic hormone panel.
One last thing
The only thing to really be aware of with progesterone is that in large doses it can have an anesthetic affect. That is one reason it is good to take at night, it will help with your sleep. Just be wary of taking a large dose during the day or you may have to take a nap in your car until it wears off.
I think that is everything that I wanted to cover on progesterone. If you have any questions, please feel free to email me at [email protected]. I will help in any way that I can.
Need a Blood Test?
We use the link on Stan Efferdings page to order our blood tests when we are doing it outside the scoop of our regular doctors visits. The link is https://thekooler.com/pages/blood-test-1 and I think if you go through his site you get a 15% discount if you use the coupon code RHINO. Get the “Anti-Aging Test” for your gender, add the Vitamin D test to that and then if you are dude add the progesterone test. They get you set up with a local Labcorp office and you set up and appointment for them to draw your blood. The results are then emailed to you.