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Was Dr. John R. Lee Correct About Natural Progesterone?

One of my favorite books was written by Dr. John R. Lee, and is entitled “What Your Doctor May Not Tell You About Menopause”.  This book gives a lot of great information that can help benefit your overall health.  Even though it is targeted towards menopausal women, anyone can benefit from reading this book, and it is especially helpful for people with thyroid conditions. One of the reasons for this is because it goes in great detail about “hormone health”, and a high percentage of people with thyroid conditions have hormone imbalances.

In this book, Dr. Lee focuses a great deal on the benefits of natural progesterone.  While he doesn’t refer to this as being a “miracle” hormone, by reading the book it can easily give the reader the impression that progesterone is a miracle cure for many conditions.  Once again, he doesn’t specifically say this, although he talks about how natural progesterone can cure many different conditions, and discusses many of these conditions in this book. 

So does this mean you should run to your nearest health food store or pharmacy, or go online and purchase natural progesterone?  Well, Dr. Lee was correct when stating that natural progesterone can help with many different conditions.  But if you read the entire book word for word, you’ll also notice that he mentions many of these conditions can be cured through eating well, taking quality nutritional supplements, doing a better job of managing stress, etc.  So while he recommended natural progesterone to a high percentage of his patients, many of which no doubt received great results, he also understood that other factors were equally important in one’s recovery.

The Benefits Of Taking Natural Progesterone
Even though I personally try not to give my patients natural progesterone if at all possible, one of the reasons why taking natural progesterone can help with so many conditions is because it can help with the symptoms of Estrogen Dominance.  Estrogen Dominance is a condition which involves an imbalance in the ratio of estrogen and progesterone.  And in most cases, this condition is due to a deficiency in progesterone.  So it makes sense that giving someone progesterone can help to manage the symptoms of Estrogen Dominance.

Recently I wrote a separate blog post on Estrogen Dominance, and how this condition can actually cause or contribute to the development of a thyroid condition.  For those with a thyroid condition who have Estrogen Dominance, it is necessary to correct this hormonal imbalance if there is any chance of using natural thyroid treatment methods to restore their health back to normal.  In addition, for those who have problems losing weight, often times this is also due to Estrogen Dominance.  So I’m not denying that giving someone natural progesterone can help correct this condition and quite possibly restore one’s health back to normal, although I’m about to explain why it’s rare for me to recommend natural progesterone to my patients.

The Risks Of Taking Natural Progesterone

There are two primary reasons why I don’t recommend natural progesterone to most of my patients:

Reason #1: Although many people can benefit from taking natural progesterone, most people can have their health restored back to normal without taking it.  With most thyroid conditions, eating well, taking quality nutritional supplements and herbs, exercising, doing a good job of managing stress, and addressing other lifestyle factors is enough to cure one’s condition.  However, to correct Estrogen Dominance one usually does need to go on a purification program, as just eating well and taking supplements usually isn’t sufficient to correct this hormone imbalance. 

Don’t get me wrong, as there are some people who do need to take natural progesterone.  However, when I do recommend natural progesterone to my patients it usually is for them to take on a temporary basis, and not for the rest of their life, as some healthcare professionals would recommend.  And the same concept applies with nutritional supplements and herbs.  When I recommend for my patients to take certain nutritional supplements and/or herbs, the goal is not for them to take them forever, as ideally I would like them to eat well and get most of their vitamins and minerals from the foods they consume.  Of course since most people don’t eat a perfect diet, most can benefit from taking some “basic” supplements daily. 

Just remember that even though we’re talking about “natural” progesterone, we’re still referring to a hormone, and not a nutritional supplement.  As a result there are greater risks of taking progesterone when compared to taking supplements, which I’m about to discuss next.
Reason # 2: There are risks when taking natural progesterone.  Once again, it’s important to realize that natural progesterone is not the same as a nutritional supplement.  So although Dr. Lee and many other healthcare professionals talk about how safe natural progesterone is, there is a much greater chance of experiencing side effects when taking any hormone.  One of the big problems with telling people to take natural progesterone is that it is easy to overdose, which will then create additional health issues.  Even Dr. Lee talks about this in his book, as while he talks about specific dosages he recommends, he also discusses how there is a problem with patients overdosing.

So this is another reason why I don’t recommend natural progesterone to many of my patients, as Dr. Lee did.  I’m not questioning the ability of natural progesterone to help with many different health conditions, but I just find that 1) it is not necessary to take in most cases, and 2) too many patients experience problems overdosing when taking it.  With that being said, taking natural progesterone definitely is a better option than most conventional medical treatment methods which many doctors recommend to their patients for different conditions, and so I do commend Dr. Lee for helping so many people who otherwise might have not had their health restored back to normal. 

In summary, natural progesterone sometimes is necessary for people with thyroid conditions to take.  It can also help with other types of conditions as well.  However, many people can have their health restored back to normal without taking natural progesterone.  And because so many people overdose when taking natural progesterone, or any other hormone for that matter, I only recommend it to my patients when absolutely necessary.