To understand your progesterone, you will have to go back in time about 100 days, which is the lifespan of an ovarian follicle. This 100-day period mean if your follicles are unhealthy for any part of this period, it could impact your menstrual cycle months down the road, including your progesterone levels.
An ovarian follicle is a sac within your ovary that contains one egg. When one, sometimes two, follicle reaches maturity, a hormone causes the follicle to release its egg which is ovulation. Ovulation is black and white, you either ovulate or you don’t. Ovulation is very important because it is how you make progesterone.
Once the follicle sac releases the egg, the empty sac restructures itself into a 4 cm gland called corpus leteum. The corpus leteum secretes progesterone. The health of the corpus leteum is impacted by everything affecting your follicles during the 100-day lifespan. This can include inflammation, thyroid issues, and deficiency of nutrients and vitamins like magnesium, vitamin B & D, iodine, and zinc.
So why is progesterone so important to your health. Progesterone’s primary job is to support a pregnancy. But it also helps counter estrogen. It is frequently cited as the yang to estrogen’s yin. Read more about estrogen here.
Progesterone also impacts:
- Female Reproductive System, by thinking your uterine lining
- Cancer, by reducing the impact estrogen has in contributing to breast cancer.
- Skin, like estrogen, progesterone increases skin’s collagen, elasticity, and hydration.
- Brain, there has been studies that show progesterone supports brain development and protects damaged brain tissue.
- Nervous system, progesterone helps to calm the nervous system by converting to a neurosteroid that promotes relaxation and sleep. There is some research that people who are addicted to nicotine and alcohol have lower levels of progesterone. Synthetic progesterone does not convert to this neurosteroid.
- Others, progesterone also reduces inflammation, normalizes blood-clotting, affects gum health, and plays a role in insulin release.