Progesterone is considered to be a predominantly “female” hormone, essential for fertility and pregnancy.
In reality, however, it is a hormone that affects both sexes. It is found in small amounts in the brains of both women and men and has multiple protective effects in the human body.
Research suggests that progesterone facilitates the proper function of the nervous system and especially the brain.
As a result of its important functions in the nervous system, progesterone has been classified as “neurosterone”.
It comes from two different parts in order to reach the brain:
- Brain cells, the spinal cord and the peripheral nervous system which make up progesterone from cholesterol.
- Progesterone circulating in the blood also has direct access to the brain and nerves
How does Progesterone operate in our Nervous System?
It protects our brain
Progesterone plays an important role in the development of neurons in the brain and in its protection from damage and recovery after injury.
It actually achieves this by promoting the development and repair of the myelin sheath that protects nerve fibers.
About 20 years ago, researchers studying rats after brain damage made an important observation. Female rats, which were in the reproductive cycle at the time of brain damage, when progesterone levels were at their highest, had significantly less brain damage than male rats or females with lower progesterone levels.
This research eventually led to clinical trials in humans, which have found that high doses of natural progesterone have significantly improved patients’ survival after traumatic brain injury. In particular, when it is administered shortly after brain injury, it can reduce cerebral edema and neuronal death of the brain and it could improve patients’ prognosis in terms of their neural functional abilities.
It contributes to the treatment after a stroke
A review recently published suggests that not only should progesterone be used to treat traumatic brain injuries, but that it may also play a role in the treatment of stroke, due to its strong protective effects on brain tissue.
It improves memory and cognitive ability
Progesterone, like pregnenolone and dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA), belongs to the group of neurosteroids. It can be synthesized within the central nervous system and also serves as a precursor to another important neurosteroid hormone, allopregnanolone.
Neurosteroids affect synaptic function, are neuroprotective and affect myelination.
They have been researched for their ability to improve memory and cognitive ability.
The Bioidentical Hormone Replacement Therapy
The laboratory tests and clinical trials of the last 20 years with progesterone, promise a lot for the overall protection of our nervous system. In the above conditions, an individual’s natural hormonal recovery can not only correct the lack of progesterone (which causes a whole range of other symptoms), but can also relieve the pain which is caused by inflammation of the neurons.
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