Where is PROGESTERONE made in the Body?
PROGESTERONE is produced in the ovarian corpus luteum, testes and adrenal cortex (in small amounts) - when stimulated by pituitary luteinizing hormone (LH), which is itself stimulated by hypothalamic GnRH.
GnRH ▲ → LH ▲ → PROGESTERONE ▲
PROGESTERONE can be stored in adipose tissue.
Adrenal exhaustion from aging /poor nutrition reduces PROGESTERONE production - also reduces anti-inflammatory cortisone.
Inhibitors of PROGESTERONE synthesis - include:
• Sunlight deficiency
• Iron excess
• Free radicals.
There are no food sources of ready-made PROGESTERONE, but plants do contain PROGESTERONE-like substances (so called phytoprogesterone ) - however, there are differering opinions on whether phytoprogesterone provides PROGESTERONE activity in menopause:
“Just as with phytoestrogens, many plants make PROGESTERONE - like substances. In cultures whose diets are rich in fresh vegetables of all sorts, PROGESTERONE deficiency does not exist - Not only do the women of these cultures have healthy ovaries with follicles producing sufficient PROGESTERONE, but, at menopause, their diets provide sufficient progestogenic substances to keep their libido high, their bones strong, and their passage through menopause uneventful and symptom free. ”Lee J, 'Estrogen Overkill', WDDTY vol 5 no 4, 1994
“Mammalian sex hormones such as 17 β-ESTRADIOL and PROGESTERONE were present in 60-80% of the plant species investigated - Enzymes responsible for their biosynthesis and conversion were also found in plants.” Janeczko A, Skoczowski A, Folia Histochem Cytobiol, 43(2), 2005
- Plants only have significant PROGESTERONE activity by stimulating the luteal phase of the cycle in premenopausal women - According to scientific literature, there seems to be no other kind of PROGESTERONE activity from plants.
In women, most PROGESTERONE is produced and secreted by the ovarian corpus luteum (latin for "Yellow Body”, measures ~2.5 cms in diameter and is a deep yellow color) for 12 days just after ovulation - daily PROGESTERONE production rises from 2-3 mg/day to as much as 30mg/day, a week or so after ovulation, when it is essential for the survival of a fertilized egg (zygote) in pregnancy; if pregnancy occurs, production continues for 9-10 weeks stimulated by hCG secreted by zygote, at which time the placenta takes over. PROGESTERONE production.
Ovulation / “Egg released to meet sperm”
- About 10-14 days after “Day 1” - when estrogen levels are sufficiently high ▲ ▲ ▲, the pituitary releases a sudden surge of LH ▲ ▲ ▲ that triggers ovulation
- Ovulation - about 24 hours after the LH surge, the Graafian follicle ruptures and the finally matured egg (oocyte) is released into the fallopian tube.
Luteal Phase (2nd half of cycle) / “Preparation for Pregnancy”
- Corpus Luteum produces PROGESTERONE - the now-empty ovarian follicle (remnant egg-sac) left behind after ovulation, develops into the corpus luteum. In addition to smaller amounts of estrogen ▼ the corpus luteum now produces high amounts of PROGESTERONE ▲ ▲ ▲ to prepare the lining of the uterus for implantation.
In men, most PROGESTERONE is made in the testes - since PROGESTERONE is a pre-cursor of TESTOSTERONE,
In Men and Women
In men and women, small amounts of PROGESTERONE are manufactured by the adrenal glands, but diminished with stress - under stress, most of the PROGESTERONE produced is converted into the corticosteroid hormones to deal with emotional stress or fight or flight situations.
In the body PROGESTERONE is synthesized from PREGNENOLONE (via 3β-HSD enzyme) which is synthesized from cholesterol.
Cholesterol → PREGNENOLONE → PROGESTERONE
Elevated levels of PROGESTERONE control themselves by negative feedback to the hypothalamus (similar to estrogen). Also, circulating estrogen can negatively feed-back to reduce circulating levels of FSH and LH.
|Hypothalamus||→||GnRH||→||Pituitary||→||LH||→||Corpus luteum / testes||→||PROGESTERONE|
PROGESTERONE ▲▲▲→ GnRH ▼ → LH ▼→ PROGESTERONE ▼
Estrogen ▲▲▲ → GnRH ▼ → LH, FSH ▼→ PROGESTERONE ▼
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