Progesterone is at the top of an important metabolic pathway of hormones. Progesterone deficiency, many times, can lead directly into problems related to to symptoms of cortisol deficiency. Deficiency in cortisol can include symptoms of allergies, arthritis, fatigue, high blood pressure, hypoglycemia, immune dysfunction, and mineral imbalances. Supplementing with natural progesterone often times can resolve these problems effectively without dangerous side effects.
One of the components of the adrenal gland, the inner medulla, controls the sympathetic nervous system by regulating the hormones related to our fight or flight response (epinephrine and norepinephrine). This is the part that relates closely to the chronic stress, trauma, inflammation and disease in our lives. Some of the most common factors that can put the adrenal glands in a stressed state that causes them to secrete excess amounts of cortisol are things such as IBS and the flu, for example. In this state, the efficacy of progesterone is compromised and can have multiple effects as is seen in estrogen dominance. Estrogen dominance can compound the problems with the reduction of the certain hormones like progesterone and the exacerbation of others, like cortisol. After enough stress the adrenals become so exhausted that they can’t properly function to provide us with the proper hormone production and protection. When our cortisol levels rise to that kind of stress level, they actually begin to work against us by blocking our progesterone receptors making it difficult for us to receive progesterone in the manner that we need it.
Sadly, women seem to be the most affected the most frequently by adrenal fatigue. The symptoms of being completely exhausted that accompanies burned out adrenal glands sometimes affects women as young as 30 years old. Lifestyle, environment, chemicals, toxins, medications, vaccines and pesticides all take their toll on the body and create an environment where our adrenal glands have nothing else left to give. When the adrenal glands stop functioning properly, progesterone is unable to be produced properly because the body focuses on just trying to get through each day by producing more and more cortisol and not enough of the other hormones like progesterone, testosterone, etc. that are equally necessary for proper hormonal balance. This type of cascade of hormone insufficiencies and imbalances creates the perfect storm that allows insufficient amounts of progesterone to make the way for estrogen dominance, which is a whole other ‘animal’!
Having a good foundation with an optimal balance of vitamins and minerals before and/or during natural progesterone supplementation is best for complete hormonal balance. Of course, just replacing one thing without dealing with or addressing your overall health will not achieve an effective recovery over time. Reducing stress, getting the much needed rest, eating healthy and clean, and maximizing ‘down time’ is critical to success in any reversal or recovery of a condition. Nothing happens over night to get you to where you are when your adrenals have ‘tanked’, and it takes time to get things back in order as well!
According to Dr. Lam, “Multiple hormonal supplementations such as DHEA, pregnenolone, low dose natural cortisol or cortisol enhancing agent such as licorice root extract should also be considered. An optimal and balanced intake of vitamins and minerals serves as a good foundation, including 500 mg to 3000 mg of vitamin C, 400 I.U. of vitamin E, 10,000 to 25,000 I.U. of beta-carotene and other important minerals such as selenium and magnesium as well as important amino acids such as lysine, proline and glutamine. Supplementing with natural hydrocortisone or cortisone acetate in doses of 2.5 to 5 mg two to four times a day can be a safe and effective way to replenish depleted adrenals.” (1)
Be sure that whatever you do to heal your adrenals, that you are working with a trusted professional/doctor. Be encouraged – there is hope of reversing adrenal fatigue and regaining your life!