Progesterone is one of the main hormones that impacts a woman's menstrual cycle. This hormone also plays a smaller, yet important role in men's health, particularly during the aging process. Though the subject is controversial and not all doctors believe in hormone replacement therapy for men, other doctors note benefits ranging from blood sugar regulation to cancer risk reduction. Be sure to see a healthcare professional if you believe your progesterone levels are low.
Helps Ease Depression
Supplementing with progesterone may help with easing depression in men, according to Dr. Michael E. Platt, in his book, "The Miracle of Bio-Identical Hormones." This is because progesterone impacts neurotransmitters in the brain, particularly mood-enhancing dopamine. It also helps with the production of serotonin, which helps in regulating mood and relieving anxiety. Platt recommends using the cream form instead of oral progesterone so it is able to bypass the liver.
Reduce Symptoms of Andropause
Men experience a similar hormonal change later in life called "andropause," less discussed than menopause. Lowered progesterone and testosterone levels are related to andropause, which includes side effects such as irritability, fatigue, anxiety, insomnia and an enlarged prostate, according to Dr. Michelle Tonkin and nutritionist Melissa Tonkin in their book, "That's the Key: Unlocking the Door to Health and Freedom in Every Area of Your Life." Increasing progesterone and testosterone and reducing estrogen levels can help ease these symptoms.
Regulates Blood Sugar
Another benefit of progesterone for men is that it helps regulate blood sugar levels, reducing the risk of diabetes. Dr. Platt notes in his book, "Natural Hormone Therapy for Men, Women and Children," that low progesterone can contribute to hyperinsulinemia, an excessive level of insulin circulating through the bloodstream. This can lead to obesity and obesity-related complications. Testosterone is often low, along with progesterone, in this situation; thus, make sure your doctor tests all hormone levels.
May Prevent Prostate Cancer
Dr. Platt believes that taking progesterone after age 50 may help men prevent prostate cancer, though this is unproven. He notes that as men get older, their progesterone levels decrease while their estrogen levels increase, which coincides with the time in life that prostate cancer becomes a risk. Also, lowered progesterone levels in women are linked to increased risks of several cancers, including breast cancer. This may be the same case for cancers specific to men.
- "The Miracle of Bio-Identical Hormones"; Michael E. Platt, MD; 2007
- "That's the Key: Unlocking the Door to Health and Freedom in Every Area of Your Life"; Michelle Tonkin, ND and Melissa Tonkin, CNC; 2007
- "Natural Hormone Therapy for Men, Women and Children"; Michael E. Platt, MD; 2004