Progesterone Strengths & Dosages
My progesterone cream states that it contains 30 mg of progesterone per gram. How do I translate that to the amounts recommended?
30 mg in 1000 mg of cream is a 3% cream by weight. John R. Lee, M.D., the leading progesterone expert, prefers creams that contain 1.6% by weight. That is, each gram (1000mg) of cream would be 16 mg of progesterone. Since 2 ounces is about 60 grams, a 3% by weight cream would contain 3% X 60,000mg = 1800mg. Thus, a 3% by weight cream contains more progesterone than Dr. Lee thinks is best.
A 1.6% by weight cream means that 2 ounces of cream contain 960mg of progesterone
(1.6% X 60,000 mg = 960 mg)
A 3% by volume cream is created by combining 3 tsp of progesterone powder to 100 tsp of cream. Since progesterone is lighter than other ingredients the cream, a 3% by volume cream is approximately equal to a 1.6% by weight cream. This is the strength recommended by Dr. Lee.
What results are observed in women using high doses of progesterone cream?
According to Dr. David Zava Ph.D., he defines a high dose of progesterone cream as a product that contains 10% progesterone and is delivered in about 1/4 tsp, meaning 100 grams of progesterone is delivered transdermally. A physiological dose progesterone cream is one containing approximately 1.5 – 2% progesterone which delivers 10-20 mg of progesterone in 1/4 tsp.
***Physiological refers to the amount of progesterone a woman normally produces each month when menstruating.
Dr. Zava observed that women using higher dose progesterone creams have higher saliva progesterone levels and are more likely to have side effects such as: bloating, slowed digestion, sleepiness and mild depression. Some women also have exacerbation of candida (digestive and vaginal yeast infections). At really high doses, progesterone can convert to deoxycorticosterone and in excess can cause water retention and swelling.
Estrogen and Progesterone depend on each other for balance!
Another problem with higher dose progesterone cream is that women may experience symptoms of estrogen deficiency. These are women who say “the cream relieved my symptoms (for a year or so), but now they’ve returned.” Dr. Zava calls this progesterone dominance, or lack of balance with estrogen. When progesterone is persistently high in the absence of estrogens, this can cause estrogen deficiency symptoms.
Therefore Dr. Zava does not recommend these high dose creams.
In addition, at the cellular level, estrogen stimulates cells to produce progesterone receptors and in turn allow them to respond to progesterone. When progesterone binds to its receptors, the result is estrogen regulation. High progesterone levels down-regulate estrogen receptors, shutting off tissue response to estrogen (estrogen-stimulated cell proliferation).
Best results are obtained by using a cream containing 960-1000 mg per 2 ounce jar. Use ¼ tsp twice daily.
Dr. John Lee, M.D. Medical News Letter February 2000, including interview with Dr. David Zava