When you need some natural help with those pesky symptoms of peri-menopause, post-menopause, or hormone imbalance, choosing a natural progesterone cream is often frustrating and often daunting. Over the years, I’ve watched many natural progesterone creams come and go. As such I’ve also seen the best qualities of the most effective progesterone creams. In this “Guide to Choosing a Natural Progesterone Wisely” I want to share with you some recommendations based on research as well as my almost twenty years of experience in helping women with hormone wellness. Hopefully the info in this guide to choosing a natural progesterone cream wisely will enable you in selecting the best progesterone cream for your particular hormone health needs.
DID YOU KNOW? Inconsistency in use of the terms “proges-terone,” “progestin,” and “progestogen” has led to confusion over these substances. Progesterone refers to a single (note the “one” at the end of the term) molecular structure that is identical to the progester-one molecule that the body makes, also referred to biochemically as “P4.”
What to Look for When Choosing a Natural Progesterone Cream
Most important, when choosing a natural progesterone cream wisely, is to make sure the progesterone cream you choose actually contains progesterone USP. Check the label’s ingredient list for the words “Progesterone Cream USP”. USP (United States Pharmacopeia) labelled ingredients conform to the legal requirements of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. USP labelled ingredients also means that they are produced in accordance with the principles outlined in the FDA Good Manufacturing Practices. USP progesterone matches the human progesterone made by your body and is progesterone that your body can easily assimilate. In fact, it is usually called bioidentical or human identical progesterone by practitioners. It is not the same as prescription synthetic progestins, which often cause health issues, manufactured and sold by pharmaceutical companies.
No Wild Yam Extract or Wild Yam
The second most important thing when choosing a progesterone cream wisely is to look for the words “wild yam extract”, “wild yam”, or natural progesterone in the ingredient list. Wild yam extract, wild yam or natural progesterone IS NOT USP progesterone and as such, these creams will not give the best results. This is an important point that I will address below in greater detail later.
Amount of Progesterone Matters
Select a natural progesterone cream that contains 500 mg to 1000 mg of progesterone per ounce. Even though a natural progesterone cream contains USP progesterone, if there is not enough progesterone per ounce, your benefits will not be optimum. Although clinical studies place the level of progesterone at between 500 and 1000 mg per ounce, some creams currently on the market contain much less. The ingredient list on the label should clearly state how much progesterone the cream contains per ounce. Otherwise, you might be throwing your money away on a cream that cannot possibly offer relief for PMS, perimenopause, and post-menopause symptoms.
Knowing the correct amount of a progesterone to use is just as important as the quality of progesterone in the progesterone cream. More is not always better, although for severe symptoms or certain situations, a higher than normal dose of progesterone may be needed in order to get results.
The body of a healthy 20 year old woman makes approximately 20 mg of progesterone every day. This is the dose that most progesterone creams recommend and it is the amount that Dr. John Lee, pioneer in the use of bioidentical progesterone, recommended. However, because we live in a much more estrogenic world than when Dr. Lee was seeing patients, some women will benefit and feel better with using a higher amount. It’s always best to talk with a knowledgeable practitioner or doctor about the amount needed for your specific health issues.
Packaging Is Important
Many companies are now packaging progesterone creams in pump bottles. Most of these pump bottles measure out 1/4 teaspoon which equals +/- 20 mg of progesterone. The issue with the metered dose is, depending upon the season of life, not every woman needs 20 mg of progesterone. Some women will need less and some will need more, depending upon their particular health situation.
BPA-free jars are the best packaging for natural progesterone cream, in my opinion. When used correctly, there will not be a concern with purity, integrity, or breakage. None of us are cookie-cutters as to our health and hormone needs and at different times during the month, you may need more or less progesterone making. Progesterone cream packaged in a jar gives you the ability to choose the amount you need — this is important.
Knowledgeable Support Staff
Purchasing your progesterone cream from a company who understands the importance of educating women about natural hormone replacement, the need for hormone balance, and understanding the perimenopause and menopause process is important. Try to deal only with companies that provide a phone number to call and knowledgeable support staff willing to answer your questions. In other words, deal only with companies that provide excellent customer service before and after the sale. If you have questions about dosage, application or other questions concerning the company’s particular natural progesterone cream, you will want the ability to talk to a knowledgeable person. Even with the best progesterone cream, if one does not have the knowledge of when to use and how to apply it correctly, success will be minimal.
No Added Herbs
If you need a progesterone cream that can help you through all the seasons of life, look for one that doesn’t included added herbs. A long list of ingredients, however “healthy and natural” they may appear, does not necessarily make an effective progesterone cream. For example, some women may not need Dong Quai, Chaste Tree Berry, Black Cohosh or other herbs. It’s always best to use herbs separately and not a one-size-fits-all conglomeration of herbs in a progesterone cream. And some herbs are just not intended for long-term use, especially if you plan on becoming pregnant.
Complete List of Ingredients
Companies who provide a partial list of ingredients or use the term “plus more” should raise a red flag to you. Purchasing from a company that refuses to give you a complete list of all ingredients on their website or over the phone should raise a red flag.
Progesterone Cream Ingredients to Avoid
Wild yam extract
Your body does not convert wild yam extract into progesterone. Again, more on this in greater detail later in this article.
Mineral oil blocks the absorption of progesterone.
Methyl Paraben, Propyl Paraben, Butyl Paraben or any of the related Parabens
These are estrogenic chemicals and can stimulate estrogen receptor sites. Parabens are hormone disruptors. Widely used in products as preservatives, paraben is usually preceded by the prefixes methyl-, ethyl-, butyl-, or propyl. Parabens may also cause contact dermatitis in some individuals. It is unclear whether these ingredients can increase the risk of breast cancer, but we would rather err on the side of safety with these ingredients. According to Dr. Hulda Clark, cancer patients often exhibit an overload of parabens in their body. Pass over those progesterone creams containing parabens and select one with all natural ingredients.
Stearal konium chloride
An emulsifier, is highly toxic and can be lethal if ingested.
Ethoxylated wetting agents
Examples are PEG 8 Stearate, PEG 100 Stearate, Polyethylene Glycol, Polysorbate 60, or Polysorbate 80. These wetting agents might be contaminated with 1,4-dioxane, a known carcinogen.
Triethanolamine may form carcinogenic compounds called nitrosamines on the skin or in the body after absorption. It’s thought to possibly cause cancer in humans, based on limited data.
Propylene glycol is recognized as a neurotoxin by the National Institute for Occupational Health and Safety in the U.S. It is known to cause contact dermatitis, kidney damage and liver abnormalities. It is widely used as a moisture-carrying ingredient in place of glycerine because it is cheaper and more readily absorbed through the skin. The Material Safety Data Sheet for propylene glycol warns workers handling this chemical to avoid skin contact.
USP vs. Wild Yam Extract – BIG Difference!
Wild yam or wild yam extract is not human-identical progesterone. It is ineffective, other than the ability to temporarily help with some symptoms of low progesterone. In fact, it may create some unwanted side effects. Even though wild yam contains diosgenin, the base molecule for progesterone, there are no enzymes in the human body that will convert diosgenin into progesterone USP.
Dr. John Lee states in his book What Your Doctor May Not Tell You About Menopause: “There is no evidence that the human body converts diosgenin to hormones.”
Every USP progesterone cream gets its start from either the soy plant or the Mexcian Wild Yam Root. When synthesized in the laboratory, some parts of the diosgenin are cleaved and natural progesterone is the result. Creams that contain “wild yam extract progesterone” or “progesterone” in the ingredient list missed that crucial laboratory-synthesizing step that allows the transformation of diosgenin into human-identical progesterone.
Look for progesterone creams that list USP progesterone in the ingredient list section of the product label. Women who have a clinical need for progesterone and use a properly formulated USP progesterone cream almost always experience good benefits.
The old adage, “you get what you pay for and cheaper is not always better” rings true with natural progesterone creams. Unconverted diosgenin is a cheap way to produce a progesterone cream and a markedly low price is usually a good clue that the cream does not contain USP progesterone or contains other unwanted or even harmful ingredients.
Don’t Become Over-Whelmed
It’s easy to get over-whelmed when trying to decide on which bioidential progesterone is best for your particular needs — but you don’t have to be. Bioidentical progesterone plays a crucial role in keeping the important estrogen to progesterone ratio balanced. As such, when progesterone is needed, it’s very important to know what to look for in an effective natural progesterone cream. I recommend and use OAWHealth’s Oasis Serene Natural Progesterone for the best absorption, bioavailability, and efficacy. Oasis Serene progesterone cream utilizes Mexican Wild Yam Root, a natural and plant-based source of progesterone prepared according to the USP, added to select antioxidants like Camu Camu (vitamin C), along with natural Vitamin E, and Vitamin B6 making this natural progesterone rejuvenating creme a best friend to both women – in all stages of life – and men. Oasis Serene Natural progesterone is GMO-free, vegan, and gluten-free and includes 750 mg/ounce of progesterone USP in a high quality cream base that is non-toxic and effective.
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