Hormones deliver email to small openings that line cells, called receptors. These emails are messages that tell cells what to do, what not to do, how to function and keep you vertical, on the move, and paying taxes.
Estrogen delivers estrogenic email to estrogen receptors. Progesterone delivers progesteronic email to progesterone receptors.
Turns out, all of our brains are flush with progesterone receptors. Progesterone is manufactured in the brains of all humans, girls and boys, men and women alike.
What exactly is progesterone doing in the brain? What are the messages progesterone’s email are sending to the brain?
Exciting data has emerged from research studying special mice, called PR knockout mice, because they are bred not to have receptors to receive progesterone email. These mice then underwent experimental blockage of brain blood vessels. Shortly after the blood vessel damage, if progesterone was administered to the brain to enable its progesterone emails to be delivered, brain cells were protected from damage, and any damage that did occur was limited. If progesterone emails couldn’t be delivered, this neuroprotection was lost and the brain became more susceptible to tissue injury, loss of motor control, and stroke.
It appears that there is a 24-hour window, if adequate progesterone is present in the brain, even if there is only local injury, for the brain can recover better or avoid stroke, experience less damage, and rehabilitate faster. Moral of this story: if you or loved ones are at high risk of stroke, make sure you have some transdermal progesterone cream lying around, more prophylactic here than Band-Aids.
Long-term improvement requires additional longer treatment or exposure to progesterone past this 24-hour window.
Progesterone is a brain protector, and is a crucial, yet novel, therapeutic strategy for part of the treatment of stroke, but must be administered as soon as possible and continued for a while.