Misconceptions abound when it comes to progesterone, the amazing hormone that was discovered decades ago! You have probably heard that progesterone is just a female hormone or only a sex hormone or that progesterone is the same as progestin. You may have heard that wild yam is the same as progesterone or that you don't need progesterone after you stop ovulating. None of these is even close to the truth!
Progesterone has a vital role in creating our well being providing endless functions for men and women of all age groups. Progesterone serves the body by helping to build bone, proper brain function, clear thinking and may even help you sleep through the night. Our bodies are always making progesterone, although as we age progesterone is created in lesser amounts. Progesterone is used by the body to fuel the conversion by the adrenal glands into other vital hormones including testosterone and estrogen as well as cortisol.
Progesterone was first identified in 1934 by William Allen and George Corner who suggested that its name be progesterone because of its activity during gestation in pregnant women. Unfortunately, that led to progesterone becoming thought of as only a female hormone, rather than its true identity and role in the well being of both sexes. In 1943, progesterone was made from the plant steroid diosgenin by Russell Marker using Mexican wild yam. Once scientists determined that progesterone could be created through the diosgenin process, they began applying the process to produce other hormones in addition to progesterone including cortisone, testosterone and estrogen.
Is Progesterone The Same as Progestin or Yam?
There has been a lot of misunderstandings about progesterone, wild yam and progestins, that are synthetic versions of progesterone. Progesterone is the natural hormone made in only one of two ways - by your own body or through the laboratory process to create progesterone from wild yam or soy. Wild yam itself is not progesterone and can only become progesterone through this scientific process. Progesterone is a vitally essential element that your body uses to make many other hormones that are so important to your quality of life. As a result, progesterone deficiency can have a wide range of ramifications on your well being!
The progesterone that is made by your body has its own molecular structure or unique identity. Natural progesterone made in the laboratory process has the same molecular structure and thus carries out the same functions as progesterone made by your body. Progestins and yam extracts are composed of a different molecular structure, unlike that of the progesterone created naturally by your body. As a result, your body is unable to process the molecules with the ease of natural progesterone and unwanted side effects can develop. The yam creams and yam extracts on the market are not progesterone. Although they contain the steroid plant diosgenin, your body is incapable of converting the yam into progesterone by itself.
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