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Understanding the Superpower of Progesterone in Ovulation and Fertility


Vrouwen maken het hormoon progesteron zelf na de ovulatie. Heb je geen ovulatie dan mis je de superkrachten van progesteron. Progesteron is niet alleen voor de vruchtbaarheid maar ook voor je algehele gezondheid van belang.


Most ladies know that progesterone is the most important hormone for fertility and healthy menstruation. It promotes conception and implantation and helps pregnancy go well[1]. But... progesterone does much more for you. It affects your mood, stress levels, sleep, thyroid function, immune system, metabolism and much more. Don't have ovulation in your cycle? Then you are missing out on the super powers of progesterone for your entire body.


Progesterone is an amazingly beneficial hormone with many more functions in our body. For instance, progesterone affects not only the uterus, vagina, cervix, breasts but also the brain, blood vessels and bones. Progesterone calms, nourishes, energises, strengthens and saves your body in ways you never imagined. We tell you all about the beneficial health benefits of progesterone in this article.


No ovulation? Then you're also missing out on the benefits of progesterone throughout your body. That's why working on restoring your cycle is more than worth it! PCOS is reversible!


What is progesterone?


Progesterone, like oestrogen, belongs to the female sex hormones and, in women, is mainly produced in the ovaries by the corpus luteum (also called the yellow body) that forms after ovulation. Proper ovulation is thus crucial for proper progesterone production.


Progesterone thus supports fertility and pregnancy. In the second half of menstruation, after ovulation, progesterone levels increase. Progesterone causes the endometrium to prepare for implantation of a fertilised egg. If implantation is successful, progesterone helps maintain the endometrium during pregnancy. If there is no pregnancy, progesterone levels drop, the built-up endometrium is broken down and menstruation follows.

 


But now, the other superpowers of progesterone:


1.Progesterone promotes the functioning of your thyroid gland and thus increases the metabolic rate. Researchers found that increasing progesterone levels cause the thyroid gland to produce more thyroid hormone [2]. This is also why your basal body temperature goes up half a degree when you produce progesterone after ovulation.


Low progesterone levels, in their turn, can cause thyroid function to slow down. Symptoms associated with this include extreme fatigue, depression, mood swings and an irregular cycle.

2. Progesterone has a positive impact on your mood, gives peace of mind, helps you relax and feel good. This is because progesterone stabilises communication between the hypothalamus (a gland in the brain that controls the dominant hormonal system) and the adrenal glands (which produce hormones) [3].


In addition, progesterone stimulates GABA receptors. GABA has a calming effect and improves stress management and sleep. Thus, progesterone not only stabilises the HPA axis (stress axis/stress response system) and makes you cope better with stress, it also promotes sleep [4][5].


Progesterone is converted to neurosteroid allopregnanolone (ALLO) and thus calms your nervous system. ALLO has the same action in the brain as GABA.


Hormonal contraception robs you of the calming, mood-enhancing effects of progesterone. Hormonal contraception contains progestogens, not progesterone. Progestogens are not converted into the calming ALLO, which could explain why hormonal contraception can cause anxiety [6].

3. Progesterone is good for your sleep: it makes you sleepy and ensures deep restorative sleep. If your body produces too little progesterone - caused, for instance, by (peri)menopause or hormone fluctuations due to a hormonal imbalance - sleep problems (falling asleep badly, waking up frequently at night) can occur.


If just before menstruation, progesterone levels in your body drop, it can cause you to have trouble falling asleep and sleep more restlessly.

4. Progesterone plays a role in regulating the immune system[7], reduces the risk of autoimmune diseases and helps reduce inflammation[8]. It suppresses the activity of certain immune cells involved in inflammatory responses. Progesterone also improves the function of specific immune cells important for fighting infections and cancer cells.


A good hormonal balance where oestrogen and progesterone are balanced can help with autoimmune diseases, as the immune system is somewhat quietened down.

5. Progesterone reduces the risk of hormone-sensitive (oestrogenic) cancers such as breast, ovarian and uterine cancers[9]. Studies have shown that proprietary progesterone can inhibit cancer cell growth and trigger cell death in malignant mesothelioma and breast cancer cells. It may therefore play a role in breast cancer treatment in the future[10].


6. Progesterone helps detoxify, e.g. from histamine (plays a role in hay fever, allergy, eczema, constantly stuffy nose). The DAO enzyme that clears your histamine excess is stimulated by progesterone. Thus, progesterone helps reduce those aforementioned symptoms.


7. Progesterone nourishes the hair and conditions the skin. This is because progesterone helps stimulate the production of collagen (and collagen's job is to keep the skin supple). Progesterone therefore plays a role in skin elasticity. In addition, progesterone also has an effect on skin circulation: it has a dilating effect on blood vessels, boosting circulation (which is why pregnant women often talk about a beautiful pregnancy ‘glow’). Another way progesterone nourishes the hair and cares for the skin is because it reduces androgens (male hormones) by inhibiting the enzyme 5-alpha-reductase. The result is faster-growing hair, less skin oil (sebum) and fewer rashes.


8. Progesterone thins the endometrium, thus cancelling out the thickening of the endometrium by oestrogen. In this way, progesterone helps relieve menstruation and prevent heavy periods.


9. Progesterone helps keep bones strong and promotes the building of muscle tissue [11][12].


10. Progesterone provides protection against heart disease [13]. It has beneficial cardiovascular physiological effects (cardiovascular effects) and the presence of progesterone in a menstrual cycle with regular ovulations is associated with a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease in women.


11. Progesterone has a positive effect on vaginal candida. It inhibits candida growth and also prevents the formation of a candida biofilm [14].


So more than enough reasons to make sure your hormones are balanced and you make enough progesterone. Not only for your fertility and a stable menstrual cycle, but for your overall health! But how do you know if you are making enough progesterone? Physical signs of progesterone deficiency include premenstrual spotting, fertile mucus in the luteal phase (from ovulation to menstruation), a short luteal phase and low temperatures in the luteal phase.





More insight into progesterone deficiency if you measure with Daysy


You can tell if your progesterone production is going well from the graph of your readings after ovulation. With Daysy, you can monitor your temperature curve throughout the cycle. Progesterone deficiency or corpus luteum insufficiency (CLI) can be detected with your Daysy using the following data:


  • A short luteal phase (this is the time between your ovulation and your period). The luteal phase should last at least 11 days.

  • Low temperatures during the luteal phase. Progesterone causes the temperature to rise; if there is insufficient progesterone, no rise takes place.


How do you get more progesterone?


Make more yourself by pursuing a good hormonal balance and ovulating regularly. You achieve this by:


  • Stress reduction, sufficient relaxation

  • Nutrition: unprocessed, sufficient protein and fats, limit sugar/coffee/alcohol

  • Sufficient sleep, 7-9 hours

  • Exercise

  • Avoid exposure to (environmental) toxins and hormone disruptors

  • Supplement vitamin and mineral deficiencies + adaptogenic herbs (Vitex ea)

  • In addition to the above, use bioidentical progesterone available from us as a cream.


There are no known side effects of this version, just use the dosage before bed as indicated or personal advice, 1 cream hub, right after ovulation until your first menstrual day, then you will be fine.


Tip: There is NO progesterone in hormonal contraception. The biggest problem with hormonal contraception is that it causes progesterone deficiency.

 



Our experts are here for you.

Do you suspect you have problems with the production of progesterone? Schedule an appointment I with our professionals, they will be happy to advise you during a 1-on-1 zoom call on how to improve progesterone production and thus your hormonal balance.

 

 

Sources:


[1] Voos D, Apotheken-Umschau 2017: apotheken-umschau de diagnose laborwerte progesteron-zyklus-und-schwangerschaftshormon  
[2] Sathi, P., Kalyan, S., Hitchcock, C.L., Pudek, M. and Prior, J.C. (2013), Progesterone therapy increases free thyroxine levels—data from a randomized placebo-controlled 12-week hot flush trial. Clin Endocrinol, 79: 282-287. Doi org/10.1111/cen.12128  
[3] ncbi.nlm.nih gov pmc articles PMC 4513660
[4] pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih gov 18676087
[5] pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih gov 22072663
[6] pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih gov 25832993
[7] nature com/articles/nrrheum.2014.144
[8] pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih gov 23958466
[9] ncbi.nlm.nih gov/pmc/articles/PMC7156851
[10] pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih gov 26153859
[11] cemcor.ubc ca/sites/default/files/uploads/5_Ovulation_and_Bone_Health pdf
[12] ncbi.nlm.nih gov pmc/articles/PMC3879672
[13] restorativemedicine org journal/progesterone-within-ovulatory-menstrual-cycles-needed-for-cardiovascular-protection-an-evidence-based-hypothesis
[14] pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih gov 25183575

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