When many of us think of progesterone, we think of it as being a strictly female hormone for women. However, men need progesterone, too.
- Progesterone helps “police” the actions of estrogen, to keep her safe, in both men and women.
- Progesterone helps protect men’s reproductive tissue from adverse effects of excessive estrogen as men age.
- Progesterone helps battle the beer belly gut that excess estrogen makes it difficult for maturing men to shed.
- Progesterone also helps men preserve their masculinity.
- Progesterone is a precursor to the male sex hormone, testosterone.
When men age, testosterone levels start to decline, and then estrogen levels start to steadily rise. These levels can potentially increase even faster if testosterone is supplemented/replaced in men because of its degradation to more estrogen. This causes “bad estrogen dominance” in men, similar to how it can occur in women, in which excess estrogen growth signaling adversely affects brain and body functions.
Estrogen dominance is a term coined by the late hormone expert, Dr. John R. Lee, describing a condition in which a person has more estrogen than progesterone can keep under control.
According to Dr. Jerome Block, an internist in Tulsa, OK, “Even if a man’s estrogen levels are high, or even are low, he may experience symptoms of estrogen dominance if his progesterone is low. Other causes include environmental factors such as hormone receptor disrupters (plastics) and hormonal substances in our food (milk and meat). Additionally, alcohol above moderation, chronic stress and particularly adiposity (too many fat cells) add insult to injury. It is in our fat that we aromatize or convert our precious testosterone to estrogen and the estrogen tends to make men and women even fatter, a vicious negative cycle!”
Progesterone protects brains. Even in men. Progesterone delivers its signals to progesterone receptors. The brain is flush with progesterone receptors in all of us— girls, boys, men and women. Progesterone, in fact, is so important for protecting nerve and brain function it is actually manufactured locally right inside the brain itself. Some neurologists in the know are giving small amounts of progesterone replacement to children with epilepsy or attention deficient disorder to help stabilize brain function. When someone undergoes brain injury, progesterone is secreted locally and aids brain neurons to heal faster and better. This happens in boys and girls as well as women and men.
- Progesterone naturally calms the brain.
- Progesterone may be involved with a sense of satiation after eating.
- Progesterone increases dopamine-controlled signaling and progesterone replacement may be seen in the future in other diseases.
- Progesterone promotes neuroprotection (brain and nerve) and repair.
- Progesterone acts similarly to barbiturates and Propofol (Diprivan) which decrease the over-excitement of sick nerve cells. These synthetic drugs are commonly used in medically-induced coma for traumatic brain injury.
Progesterone is now recommended:
- In traumatic brain injury and spinal cord damage (both acute and chronic) progesterone is now being recommended by avant-garde neurosurgeons.
- Nerve impingement (vertebral disk disease) and peripheral neuropathy from diabetes, etc. and MS improve in many cases when progesterone replacement is added to the mix. (This is why MS patients who become pregnant—progesterone levels soar during pregnancy—often go into remission).
- For insomnia in mid-lifers, progesterone replacement boosts the production of neurosteroids (Allopregnanolone), which modulate GABA type A receptors (similar to the action of Valium) and promote restorative sleep and calm.
- Treatment for acute and even protection against stroke as progesterone is involved in a variety of steps that affect nerve health.
- Ischemic brain injury.
Bioidentical progesterone is presently being tested in a multi-center study. It is being administered intravenously for 4 continuous days, at 18 various head trauma centers, given to girls, boy, men and women who have had brain trauma to try to enhance healing and decrease complications.
According to Dr Ping Zheng and his research, progesterone boosts small increases in serotonin in an area of the brain that regulates body temperature, energy, and sexual behavior. Dr. Jerome Block writes that men with low levels of progesterone have greater risk of: anxiety, low libido, hair loss, weight gain, fatigue, depression, erectile dysfunction, impotence, bone loss, muscle loss, prostatism (blockage of urine at the base of the bladder due to overgrowth of prostate cells) and even cancer.
The brain/nerve/psychological effects of progesterone are best achieved by its metabolites formed enzymatically in the liver. Thus, taking progesterone for the brain, sleep, calming, nerve protective effect is best achieved by taking it orally. Oral form dosages have to be much higher than the dosage of taking progesterone on the skin or on mucous membranes (inside the mouth, vagina, or around the anal area). Taking progesterone for erectile dysfunction can be done as a cream in much lower dosages.
The oral dose may vary from as little as 25 mg to as much as 400 mg at a time. Do not confuse the synthetic PROGESTIN (Provera etc.) with the natural bioidentical PROGESTERONE or the branded expensive, but paid for by insurance, PROMETRIUM, which has a higher degree of adverse reactions to it than the compounded bioidentical progesterone.