Question: What are the benefits of taking a progesterone supplement?
Dr. Brownstein's Answer:
Progesterone is produced in the adrenal glands of men and women, as well as in women’s ovaries. During menstruation, it is the hormone that prepares the uterus for implantation of a fertilized egg. Progesterone also acts as a natural antidepressant and diuretic, helps to activate thyroid hormone, improves libido, protects against breast disease, and can even prevent osteoporosis (deterioration of bone mineral density).
For women, natural progesterone is a wonderful treatment for symptoms of PMS (premenstrual syndrome). It also can normalize irregular periods and help infertile women conceive.
Bioidentical progesterone is made from plant products and has the same chemical structure as the progesterone that is produced in the human body.
Unfortunately, the most commonly used progesterone supplement in the United States is the synthetic version, medroxyprogesterone, marketed under the brand name Provera. This synthetic hormone is associated with a host of serious adverse effects including invasive breast cancer, heart disease, stroke, and irreversible osteoporosis.
Optimal serum levels of progesterone for menstruating women are 15 to 26 ng/ml (on day 20 of cycle), and for postmenopausal women, 2 to 6 ng/ml. For men, optimal levels are 0.5 to 1.5 ng/ml.
Optimal doses of progesterone are 10 to 100 mg/day for women, and 5 to 10 mg/day for men. Men with prostate problems may need larger doses.