Dr. John Lee and Menopause
Please note that Dr. Lee does not endorse or sell natural progesterone cream from or for any company. He only states which creams should be beneficial, as some creams contain less progesterone in the entire jar than what is typically needed in one day.
"What Your Doctor May Not Tell You About Menopause"
The following is an audio tape transcript of a lecture on Natural Progesterone, given by Dr. John R. Lee, author of "What Your Doctor May Not Tell You About Menopause."
Thank you Pastor Barbara and Pastor Mays, it's a true pleasure to be here in Georgia, and I do compliment everyone who came out in the rain. Coming over I was telling Mrs. Allen that when I was in England last summer I spoke to a beautiful room, not as big as this but a very nice room at St. Andrews College, medical school and hospital. It's on the Thames river just across from the Parliament, about a 300-400 year old room. One hundred and twenty five doctors were there and I spoke from 10:00 in the morning to 5:00 in the afternoon on this topic with a lunch break and a tea break. Mrs. Allen said, "well you've only got an hour or two at the most here but fortunately Georgia women are a whole lot smarter than those doctors in England, so we can get it all in, in an hour" (laughter).
It's kind of strange being here. I was thinking last night I probably have a better idea of what you people are doing here than my being here. I think that the people that are here today have an awareness that there's a problem shaping up in this country having to do with women's hormones and part of the problem is that the response by conventional medicine is not working well. There's something wrong here. Something wrong is going on and women realize that they have to educate themselves. They have to acquire knowledge. They have to make tough decisions in their life because there's some bad things that are happening to women that they're not prepared for and the response of the conventional doctor is actually part of the problem as I've already explained. So I think I know why you're here. Why I'm here is a little more difficult to explain.
I was in family practice for 30 years in Mill Valley and I must say it took me, I may not be the smartest kid on the block, but within about 10 years I figured out that medicine the way we practice it, isn't as intelligent as it ought to be. We tend to have to wait until somebody gets diabetes or has his fracture or has breast cancer or heart attack or stroke, and they we're supposed to step in and try to fix it. It struck me that it would be a whole lot smarter to try and figure out where these things come from and then to alter people's choices, their lifestyle choices that they're making to try and optimize their chance of being healthy and minimize their chance of getting diseases. Because many of the things that we do end up with are things of long standing that gradually accumulate and gradually pass into some threshold where the disease becomes manifest.
In my case I was sensitive to this because my father who was the only doctor in a little town in Minnesota had his first heart attack at 44 and died at age 49 when I was 15 years old. Now when I got to medical school I discovered that you don't get a heart attack, or get a fatal heart attack like that unless you've spent years and years and years accumulating the cholesterol plaque building up in your arteries. So I tell you, at that moment I quit drinking whole milk. I haven't had a glass of milk since 1955, because the family history of heart disease in my family is awful high. My dad, my two uncles, my only male cousin, they all had serious heart attacks in their early forties or late thirties. I'm the first Lee in our family in three generations, the first male Lee to not only break 50 but break 60, I'll be 66 in another week or so. (Applause) So, either I'm doing something right or I'm adopted. (Laughter)
But at any rate, my interest turned to preventive medicine, and this has led me into all sorts of studies that I never dreamt of when I was in medical school. Medical school is more like a trade school, I have to admit. They teach you how to diagnose problems and that means to classify them by their signs and symptoms and to respond with a treatment to treat whatever the sign or symptom was. If you have a bladder infection you get sulfa if you have hypertension you get a diuretic and so on. There wasn't much thought given to spending time tracking down where these things come from.
So I accidentally got involved with the progesterone in a kind of peculiar way I guess. In my practice, after you've been in practice 20 years people who were 40 when you started are suddenly 60. People who were 30 are suddenly 50. Of course YOU don't change but all of a sudden you've got older people to take care of. Osteoporosis was my entrance into the field of progesterone. I thought I knew as much as anyone else about estrogen and progesterone in practice. But I had these people developing osteoporosis.
We had a doctor in town who developed a clinic to measure bone mineral density. Dr. Malcolm Powell. He had been a professor at UC and developed a way of using photons. Like kids at Halloween used to shine a flashlight through their hand and you could see the dark areas where the bone was and the pink areas where the light went through? He had a machine that could measure how much light was lost in passing through, and the loss of the energy of the light beam could be calibrated to the density or the mass of minerals that were in the path of the beam. Then later the X-ray folks developed a very light dose X-ray to do the same thing. They could measure the mass of the minerals in the path of the beam of any bone in your body. So we had these tests, very accurate, they're about 96-97% accurate, to measure bone mineral density loss and I had these people with osteoporosis.
The dilemma was, in 1976, that if we give estrogen as we were taught, you increase the woman's risk of breast cancer and cancer of the uterus. This didn't seem right to me, I couldn't imagine mother nature making this dilemma. There's something wrong here. But there it was, there was very solid evidence that unopposed estrogen is the only known cause of cancer of the uterus and it was probably the cause of at least 30% of the breast cancers.
There was a meeting at the Mayo Clinic in 1976 called the consensus meeting. Experts from around the world gathered, and said women should not be given estrogen unless you give some progesterone along with it because they found that progesterone protects against those cancers. That mother nature had always arranged for those two hormones to be made at the same time. The ovary makes both hormones. Mother nature did not decide that women should be on estrogen by itself month after month, year after year and yet that's what doctors were doing. They were putting women, post menopausal women on estrogen for their bones and they were creating cancer of the uterus and breast cancer. So when the Mayo Clinic said that progesterone should be given it turns out here was no company selling natural progesterone, real honest to God human female progesterone. They were all making synthetic analogs that worked like progesterone in the sense that they could be used for birth control pills. So they jumped in and started advertising to the doctors, "oh, we have a good progesterone here, use ours" so Provera came in and Megastrol came in and all these synthetics we'll be talking about came in.
Well, that was all right but a lot of doctors weren't using progesterone if a woman has already had a hysterectomy. The doctor would say, "well, she can't get cancer of the uterus, she's already had a hysterectomy. So they would still be giving unopposed estrogen. I saw these patients who were on estrogen and they were getting swollen breasts and fibrosistic breast disease, they were getting fat around their middle, their hips, their abdomen, losing libido and getting depressed. When they traveled any place and they were sitting any period of time their feet would swell they'd have water retention and all that. And it struck me that there's something wrong here.
Also I had patients who couldn't take any estrogen because they've already had breast cancer or diabetes or vascular disorders or obesity, there's all sorts of counter indications for estrogen, gall bladder disease, migraines, hypertension, it goes on and on. So I had patients with osteoporosis who couldn't take estrogen and I was wondering, "what can I do for these patients?" "I can tell them to eat a good diet, I can put them on calcium, I can put them on Vitamin D, I can try and get them off cigarettes" and all these things you're supposed to do. But we knew from the bone mineral density that that was not enough. Bones needed something or they were going to get osteoporosis.
So in 1978 I attended a meeting, actually I was giving a talk on hypoglycemia and Linus Pauling was there giving a talk on Vitamin C, when Dr. Ray Peat, a Ph.D. from Oregon was there giving a talk to doctors challenging them, saying, "why aren't you all using progesterone, the second female hormone? It's readily available, they can make it from yams, they can make it from soy, they can make it from 5000 different plants, it's identical to what the humans make, it's been out for 30 years in face creams, cosmetics, it's wonderful for the skin, it's available, the FDA can't find anything wrong with it, why are you using only estrogen for post-menopausal ladies?
At menopause the ovary doesn't make any more eggs, doesn't make very much estrogen, your periods subside and we call it menopause and the doctors are just using estrogen and Ray Peat was up there saying, "look, I have a list of 250 references and they show that progesterone is a very important hormone and he lists all these important things, it's available over the counter, it's absorbed through the skin, and I was sitting there, just my mind was blown by this. I said everything he's saying is right. That all makes sense. The ovary makes two hormones why aren't we giving the two hormones?
So I got a hold of Ray Peat afterwards and I said, "I'd sure love a copy of your list of references, I'd like to look into this more." I did, and I found more references because every paper you get has another 150 references in it. So I accumulated quite a library of these references, and I found everything he said was collaborated by the references he had. This was very impressive to me, because this doesn't always happen in medical papers. You know, in medical papers, some doctor might do something, he might make some observation, but then he goes and makes a conclusion, and in the process of making a conclusion all sorts of underlying assumptions come in to play. A lot of times in medical papers there is so much that is still unknown. If they don't recognize the underlying assumptions, their conclusions can be wrong. Medicine is not nearly as scientific as you might think, because there's so much that is unknown. The whole essence of life is impossible to understand in scientific terms.
But at any rate I was impressed with what Ray Peat had, so I told my patients, I said, "I want you to go to Dr. Malcolm Powell's office and do a photon bone mineral density test and then I want you to go to the health food store and pick up some of this cosmetic cream." It was called "cielo" at that time, it means "blue" or "heaven" or "sky" and I want you to use that and rub a little bit in every day and then a year from now we're going to check and see how your bones are doing.
So over the next 2 or 3 years I did this and to my amazement all of these women who had bad osteoporosis, otherwise I wouldn't have been willing to do this extraordinary thing, their bones were all getting better. Then I looked at the people who were on estrogen, their bones didn't get better. It was just that estrogen slowed down the loss. You see the difference? Estrogen does not reverse osteoporosis, never has, never will. That's not it's function. What estrogen does is to slow up bone loss by slowing up the cells that are absorbing old bone. Bone is interesting tissue, it's always being made, remade, unmade, made over again, just like skin, just like hair, just like the lining of your stomach, bones are constantly being made, unmade and then made anew. The cells that undo them are called osteoclast and they dissolve them away. When they find old bone, subject to more crystallization, fracture risk higher, these cells identify the old bone and they dissolve it away. Little pockets of it here and there. Behind them come the osteoblast. The osteoblast comes in and makes new bone where the old bone had been removed. In fact the new bone can't be made unless the old bone is removed first. So it's very, very important to have this happen.
What estrogen does is to slow up the dissolving away of the old bone. It does nothing to make new bone. The function of progesterone and testosterone, which is the same in this action, is to tell the cells that make new bone to get to work and make new bone wherever there's a spot for it. So you are increasing new bone formation when you get progesterone, or testosterone. So my patients all did very well even though they never took any estrogen at all.
Pretty soon I accumulated quite a number of these people, and of course they were telling other people. So other doctor's patients were coming over to my office and saying "what do you do" and I was telling them to go get some of this cream over the counter and put a little dab on and they said, "how do you know how much to give?" and I said, "well I certainly don't know, we're going to see what the tests show up a year later, but I know it can't hurt you because during a regular monthly cycle, the ovary normally makes 20 milligrams a day. From ovulation time until the time of your period. And during pregnancy the placenta makes it, and it makes up to 400 milligrams a day. So the safety range is somewhere between 20 milligrams a day and 400. You can't miss. A little dab of this cream is about 20 milligrams. So you're in the right ball park, and the only way we can tell is if we check the bone mineral density at the end of the year.
So we did and then I began learning things from these patients. They told me their energy level was higher, they told me that they could do a whole lot more work and that they could use up their body fat, their body fat was slimming down, they were able to turn body fat into energy.
Estrogen on the other hand turns the food energy into body fat. That's why they give it to steers. You understand, they castrate the steers, put them in feed lots, feed them sorghum and give them estrogen. Steers you see, are sold by the pound. So the function of estrogen is to lard in a lot of fat in with the meat in a quick time, and also to retain water. By retaining water the weight goes up so you get more per pound when you kill the steer for meat. That's the function of estrogen, and that function is prevented when you take progesterone. Progesterone allows you to use the fat for energy.
The women were teaching me that their fibrosistic breasts had returned to normal breasts. The women were teaching me that those that had developed some acne and pimples like teenage boys get, here they were post-menopausal women, that their skin had all cleared up. The women showed me that where their hair had been thinning, they now had full, luxuriant hair again. The women told me that they had previously been bothered by fibroids, and the fibroids were coming down and their doctor couldn't figure out why. Those that had water retention didn't have it any more, their edema had gone away. Those that had had muscular aches and pains had gotten better.
I could never understand this until just July of this year. There was an article in "Science" the journal for the American Cabinet for the Advancement of Science. It was an article about how the Schwann cell makes the myelin sheath that covers and protects all the nerves as they pass through your body. There are little cells every couple of centimeters that makes a covering, an insulation called myelin that protects the nerve from damage and it protects the nerve so it doesn't short circuit and lose it's electric impulse when the nerve impulse comes down. Turns out the Schwann cell can't do this unless something interferes with this progesterone receptors. Progesterone is necessary to make the myelin sheath. Now who ever new that before?
One of the problems in medicine is that they tend to label a hormone by some presumed function. A sex hormone, thyroid hormone, they don't realize that the reality is that the body is so much more complex that to label it by one function means you do not understand what that hormone does. They do so many things.
In my research over the years, learning about progesterone I discovered brain cells concentrate progesterone and testosterone to levels 20 times higher than the blood carries. Now, brain cells wouldn't do this unless the progesterone or testosterone has some function in the brain cell. Why go to the work of drawing that progesterone in, holding it against an osmotic gradient, getting it through the cell membrane into the brain cell unless there is some reason for it?
So now I understood why some of my patients who gave this to their elder mothers and aunts who were in nursing homes, they gave it to them for their bones or because it's so wonderful for skin, it hydrates skin again, makes skin much better, these elderly women all became much more alert and aware. Women who were content to just to lie in bed all day and couldn't keep track of the conversation with their niece or whatever, after a week or so of being on progesterone they're up leading discussions on the headlines and the latest in book reviews.
I had a doctor come all the way from South Hollow Brazil. He gave it to his 92 year old mother and his mother resumed being an intellectual giant again where before she had become a baby-like cripple, and he specializes in the care of the elderly. He came all the way up from South Hollow Brazil to a little town where I live Sabasco California to spend an afternoon talking to me about it. It helps brain function.
So I was learning all this from the patients. It's not in the books. When I eventually did write a book about it, people said they took it to their doctors who said, "well this doesn't agree with things that I read in my books, it's not in the other books," and I said, "that's right, if it were already described I wouldn't bother." But I was doing something people hadn't done before as far as I know. I wasn't doing it on 1 or 2, I was doing it on everyone. I probably have more experience giving natural progesterone to people than anyone you're ever going to meet. I've been doing it since 1978. I retired in 1989 but my old patients keep me informed and people are calling me all the time since the book came out, I get 50-60 phone calls a day. I'm in more touch with people now more than ever in my practice.
So then I decided, here I have all these people on estrogen and they're not getting better. I'm slowing up their bone loss but I'm not doing anything to reverse it. Why not add some progesterone to them? This is when I learned one of the most important lessons. When I give this to a woman who's doctor has her on estrogen, turns out the dose he has ordered is ALWAYS, two, four, eight, times too much. And I was trying to figure out, is the doctor that dumb? What is happening here? Why is it that when I give progesterone they get estrogen side effects? They get breast swelling, they get water retention, they get headaches, their feet swell, that's estrogen.
Well, it dawned on me finally when I looked it up. Turns out when you have the same hormone all the time like estrogen, unopposed by progesterone, the estrogen receptors tune down. Just as if you're working in an office where there's too much noise. After working there for six months you end up not noticing the noise. Then you go away for two weeks and come back and say, "oh my God, how could I have been working here without realizing all this noise is here?" Same thing happens with light. You've been out in the bright daylight sometimes and you go into a matinee movie and can't see anything for 45 minutes, your eyes have tuned down, constant exposure to the same message tunes down the message and hormones are like messengers.
Every cell that they work on, it does so because there's a receptor, already made that binds and unites with that hormone's molecule, and goes to the nucleus and creates the effects of the message. But it takes binding with that receptor. When you have unopposed estrogen, the receptors tune down. When you add the progesterone the receptors come back to full force again, full efficiency.
So, I learned that every time I added this to a woman already on estrogen I had to tell her to cut her estrogen at least in half. Then later she could cut it down even more because the progesterone was handling so many of her problems. She didn't need all that much estrogen. Then I had some ladies who kept cutting it down, cutting it down and pretty soon they weren't taking any, and they were doing fine. No hot flashes, no vaginal dryness, no problems, they were doing fine and I said, "how can this be?" I was taught in medical school estrogen goes to zero.
So I went to the library and looked up the original references of people, primary references. Somebody measured estrogen levels for 5 years before menopause and then 5 years after menopause and you know what they all found? Every single one? They found the estrogen only drops about 40-50%! It doesn't go to zero! Women continue to make estrogen even if they have their ovaries removed! How do they make it? The fat cells make it. The body fat converts to one of the hormones that the adrenal gland makes, into real estrogen. The greater your need for estrogen, the more it makes. The body's not dumb. The body has this backup mechanism and it works. In fact the test show that a fat lady after menopause makes more estrogen than a skinny lady does before menopause. Isn't that something? And you have all these doctors giving fat ladies estrogen! There's something wrong here! (laughter) It became more and more apparent to me, I learned all this from the patients.
Then I would go try and find a reference to try and explain it, try and understand it. People say, "what kind of doctor are you?" they want me to say family practice or internist or surgeon or whatever. I say, "I'm the kind of doctor who is a puzzle solver. I can't walk by somebody doing a puzzle without trying to figure out what the puzzle is or adding a piece here and there. I'm the kind of a doctor who when he hears 3 doctors out of 4 prefer hydroprophin or something else," I always wonder, "what does that 4th guy know that the other 3 don't?" (Laughter) Don't you have that? But I think I have this compulsion to solve puzzles, especially in natural science type things, and then I get a compulsion to want to tell people what I found. I figured out that's what I'm doing here. I have nothing to sell, I don't have any interest in any of the companies that make these creams.
I wrote a book two years ago. I first wrote a series of about 5 or 6 papers but the American journals wouldn't publish them because they said, "Dr. Lee doesn't have a control group." I was showing them that people with osteoporosis get BETTER when you add progesterone. That's never happened before in the history of womankind. There isn't any other study that shows that, and that estrogen doesn't do it. It's kind of like if somebody says, "all sheep are white." You do not have to do a double blind control, all you have to do is find one black sheep. Right? And you've disproved that. If you say osteoporosis cannot be reversed and I do it on 100 patients, I don't need a control group, I'm doing something that's reversing osteoporosis and they ought to be looking into it. I wasn't in a position to do the double blind studies because people were coming to me for advice on how to use the progesterone they could buy over the counter.
I've learned all these things that I'm trying to tell, so I wrote the papers and the first one was published in an Australian journal which is recognized around the world, International Journal of...something with nutrition, but it's a real good journal around the world. The next one was in the English journal, Medical Hypothesis. The next one was in a Canadian journal and bit by bit this was getting the news around.
Then there was a letter to Lancet. Lancet had shown these hormones are well absorbed through the skin, so I wrote, "yes, I know, I've been doing this, and it reverses osteoporosis," and they published it. Then I began to get letters from doctors all around the world, and my wife said, "why don't you put it all together in a book."
I'd given talks at our local hospitals, Marin General and Ross Hospital showing these bones getting better on these people. I mean, I ordered the tests but I had nothing to do with making the tests, and the people were using the progesterone. There was no way I could interfere with the results. The doctors would say, "wow, they've never seen anything like this before," but none of them would do it in their practice. Here it was available, they all had patients with osteoporosis they were still doing the same dumb thing. But one by one, they would call me and they'd say, "John, my mother-in-law is visiting and she has terrible osteoporosis, how is it you use this cream?" or they'd say, "my wife has PMS, how do we do this?" or, "my wife has fibrosistic breast disease," or, "my wife is having to take thyroid." Progesterone helps the thyroid hormone work. Estrogen interferes with the thyroid hormone.
This wasn't my discovery, this was described in the 50's in a study in Lancet. It doesn't interfere with the gland, it interferes with how the thyroid hormone is working. So the person acts as if they're low thyroid but the blood tests of T3 and T4 are okay. But the doctor often ends up giving more thyroid and can overcome this sluggishness of the thyroid by giving more of it. So he thinks he's doing a good job. And he can do that, forcing more thyroid hormone than the cells really need. But then you set up the stage for Hashimoto's thyroiditis. And THAT was described 30, 40 years ago.
No, it became apparent in my practice when I would measure progesterone levels, that progesterone deficiency is very common malady, long before menopause. This is never taught in medical school. No one ever thinks of measuring progesterone levels. They'll say, "well, after 43 or 44 it's harder for you to get pregnant, and you may have periods till you're 55," but they never say "it's harder for you to get pregnant because the ovary isn't making progesterone."
Let me tell you a little bit about what progesterone does. The main purpose of progesterone is to procreate the species. First you have the hypothalamus, then the pituitary sends down signals to the ovary to get to work to start the period over again. That signal is called FSH, follicle stimulating hormone. Follicles are little nests of cells in the ovaries, each containing the capability of one egg. One egg is already made and resting in there. It has to be developed, made full and then when one is released, that follicle becomes the corpus luteum, which then becomes a factory for making progesterone.
But anyway, the first response of the ovary to follicle stimulating hormone is to make estrogen and at the same time 150 follicles or so are developing an egg. When the first egg is released and the progesterone starts being manufactured that progesterone tells the other follicles to relax, quit, they don't have to do their job because this one has one good egg out. When that egg meets up with the sperm, it is able to signal back to the ovary, "don't stop your progesterone manufacture, make more. Progesterone is necessary to maintain this sequetory lining in the uterus. The uterus develops this nice bloody lining as a nest to be able to nourish the fertilized egg and to sustain it and if you have a fall off of progesterone at that point you will initiate a shedding, like a monthly shedding, and you will lose the pregnancy. So the ovary is very important, it has to make more progesterone at that point.
The fertilized egg in the blastula stage, there may be only 8 cells, signals the ovary, make more progesterone. Isn't that amazing? But the first business of the fertilized egg is to tell the ovary to keep on making it. Then, as the ovary does that, and the embryo develops, then the placenta develops and the placenta gradually takes over the function of making progesterone, and it makes more and more and more as the pregnancy goes on. So that in the last 3 months of pregnancy instead of making 20 milligrams a day you're making 400 milligrams a day. There's no other hormone in your body that is made in such a prodigious amount. That's a ton of hormones, and it doesn't hurt anybody. In fact women are healthiest in their last 3 months of their pregnancy. Think of that.
So here's a hormone that's absolutely necessary for the embryo to survive, from conception all the way up to time of birth. That period of time is called gestation time. We all know that, gestation time. The hormone that promotes that is pro-gestation hormone, progesterone. There's no mystery.
The problem is when people learn THAT role, they think they understand progesterone. Instead, progesterone is involved all through the body, from the nerves, to the brain cells, to the thyroid gland, fat metabolism, energy, muscle building, just imagine all the things. It's during pregnancy that you can burn your body fat to help the baby grow.
Estrogen helps you when you're not pregnant so that you turn food into body fat so that gives you survival benefit during times of famine. Women will outlive men if they live in a society that has occasional famine. Mother nature is very clever. But when you're pregnant you want to be able to use that energy for the baby and that's the role of progesterone.
There are so many roles. It causes hydration of proper water in the skin. It protects the cell membranes so the cell membranes can keep sodium out and allow potassium and magnesium to come into the cell. It maintains the intercellular concentration of the GOOD minerals and keeps out the sodium, otherwise if the sodium comes in then the water comes in and you get swelling.
Did you know that on all these synthetic progesterone's... we've got to be clear, there's a little synaptic problem that doctors have with this. Progesterone, as you all know is the name of the hormone made by the corpus luteum, the follicles that release the egg. The ovary makes progesterone. What I did, oh, here it is, in my book I put that molecule right there. THAT is progesterone, nothing else is.
When the companies want to give you some progesterone, something with progesterone activity, they go back to the discovery that Dr. Russell Marker made in 1938. He found that in plants there are fats and oils called saponines, where the word sap comes from. These are fats and oils that plants make. Now, the plants don't make cholesterol like humans do and other animals do. But they make sterols that are very similar. Plants don't make real progesterone. They make fats and oils that are very similar to this molecule.
In 1938 Dr. Russell E. Marker, down in middle America someplace, discovered the steps of how to convert that saponine into real, honest to God natural progesterone. Called natural because it's natural for humans. It's that molecule. It's able to be made.
So these companies that want to sell you progesterone, the pharmaceutical companies, they can't make any money selling that molecule because it cannot be patented. That's a natural molecule, you cannot patent natural things. They deliberately alter this molecule. They add different acetate groups over here and a methyl group over there and they make something that mother nature never made. But it may still have one or two of the effects of progesterone, enough so it will convince the ovary that the other ovary's already ovulating. They can use it then as a birth control pill. Anything that holds in the bloody lining can be called a progesterone. It doesn't matter what it is. They make them out of testosterone, they make them out of horse urine, they make them out of the real stuff. The companies have these huge farms growing the wild yam in Mexico and they make this progesterone, then they deliberately alter it into Provera and Megastrol. Now it no longer has the full range of activity. Plus it's loaded with toxic side effects. That's what they're selling people.
They use this same hormone to make testosterone for males, they make their estrogens out of this hormone, they can make all of the cortical sterones, cortisol, the hydrocortisone and all of these things can be made out of this molecule, just the way the body does. This is the "mother" of all the other molecules.
The body makes this out of cholesterol. The body uses this as a precursor for all the other hormones. So, throughout the book I show how this happens. You can't see this, but this is cholesterol, pregnelone and progesterone. From progesterone you start making all the cortisone's and you end up making all the estrogens, you make testosterone but without it you can't do that. So it has a million different roles. That's why I call it the multiple roles of a remarkable hormone.
So I think you get the idea that by my experience with these women, intelligent women, telling me, teaching me, I have learned an awful lot about progesterone. I feel an obligation to tell people what I've learned about progesterone. I found that it's very well absorbed through the skin, 40 to 70 times more efficiently, than if you take it by mouth. There are companies that are making progesterone pills. See, anybody that wants to can buy this progesterone on the wholesale market. Some people are putting it into pills. Well, I looked up some of the studies that have been done and the skin is 40-70 times more efficient. Which means, if I give somebody 10 or 20 milligrams by a little glop of the cream, and it's all absorbed, the doctor might then give the person 200-400 milligrams orally. Ten to twenty times greater, because when you take it orally, being fat soluble like Vitamin E, beta carotene, Vitamin A and so forth, it goes to the liver. The liver excretes it in bile, Metabolizes it, congregates it and binds it to bile and out it goes. So the person only ends up with about 5% of what you gave them. In the meantime you put the liver to all this extra work and you're creating artificial metabolites that aren't the same, you don't know what their function is. There's no reason not to use the skin. The skin is by far better.
You all know about the estroderm patches? How many people know about that? If you look up the weekly dose of the patch and then turn to PDR, Physician Desk Reference and look up the same company that sells not only the patch but the pills, the same dose to get the same effect taken orally has to be 70 times higher. Therefore the skin is 70 times more efficient. Isn't that something? This doesn't apply to everything, but it applies to these particular molecules. These are slightly smaller than a cholesterol molecule. They're fat soluble, they have the right sort of electromagnetic charge, they pass through skin, get picked up by the fat underneath, it gets into the blood stream, it rides around on the red blood cells.
I used to have doctors who would see a patient who is on the progesterone and I'd say, "well, lets do a blood test." They'd draw a serum and a plasma level and they wouldn't find much there. They'd say, "oh, this cream must be a fake." Well this has been answered now. There's been a beautiful study done in April. Some French doctors gave some women some progesterone cream and they measured it in the blood stream, in the serum. They also measured the change in the breast tissue. Turns out the breast tissue concentration went up 100 times but the serum concentration didn't change at all. How did it get to the breasts? By the blood. What part of the blood? On the good old red blood cells and the calimicrons but not in the watery plasma because fat and water don't mix.
Now when the ovary makes it prior to menopause, it wraps it in a protein which makes it water soluble. But the amount that's bound to the protein is not biologically active. Only 1-9% of the level the doctor finds in the serum is biologically active. The rest stays bound to the protein. So even thought the doctor gets higher numbers when it's made by the ovary, he doesn't know that only 1-9% is actually working. So, this is just another way of showing. The doctor does the test, he draws the blood serum, the lab tells him they don't find much progesterone, the doctor draws the wrong conclusion. His conclusion is, "that cream isn't working." But the patient says, "but my fibrosistic breasts have turned back to normal. My bones are getting better." The doctor says, "placebo." (Laughter) The doctor doesn't even think, "I'm looking in the wrong part of the blood!" Isn't that something? You see, how conclusions can be made from a finding, and the conclusions are 180 degrees wrong. But the doctor doesn't know that unless he thinks about progesterone. I would say 99.9% of all the people calling me, and all the patients that I've seen over the years that have seen other doctors, the doctor has never once measured their progesterone level.
We now have a better way. The World Health Organization for the last 5 years has been using saliva. The saliva gland, when it makes the saliva, in the process excretes in the saliva all the cortical sterols, all the cortisone, the testosterone, the estrogen, the progesterone, the DHEA, it's all in saliva. Now they can be calculated from the level in the saliva. You can calculate what the body level is. And it only excretes the biologically active form. So you're getting a direct or proportionate measure of the body levels biologically active hormone by using saliva.
The World Health Organization uses it because number one it's accurate, number two the saliva can be stored without changing the numbers, number three it's relevant, it's really measuring the biologically active form, number four it's cheaper, number five it's easier to get. When you're out doing nations of people and cities and colonies and tribes and people all around the world, it's much easier to get saliva specimens than it is to go out with nurses and come back with blood tests that have to be analyzed within 12 hours.
This is now available, and in the book I tell, for instance there's a lab in California, Dr. Zabazad's Aaron lab, and he's been doing these tests on people for three years now himself, and they're very accurate, and they're much less expensive than blood tests, and he's developed a mailing kit. You can order this kit by calling (215) 871-7655, Ask For Charlotte. You collect your saliva and send it back and he'll tell you what your estrogen and progesterone levels were. You don't even have to go to the doctor. He has enough of an explanation so then you can show it to your doctor and the doctor will be able to learn. You can teach your doctor. They're teachable. Not very, (laughter) but with effort you can.
Okay, now we come to the second part of my talk. I'm going to explain how all this came about. Remember how I told you that I didn't think mother nature would put women through this, there has to be a reason? When I first got into it I thought, "oh, it's our bad diet." We in America eat way too much animal fat, we eat way too much sugar and highly refined foods, we eat way too many milk products with all the cows hormones in there. Homogenized milk is a very unnatural thing, shouldn't be drunk by a grownup. There's no animal in the world with breasts, who's children come back to drink their mothers milk when they grow up. And they ask us to drink this mothers milk of this other animal! Craziness. 75% of the people around the world live where there's no milk. There's no cows, and they've got good bones, good teeth, and they beat us at the Olympics every 4 years, (laughter) there's no reason to drink milk.
Anyway, I thought it was diet. Then, the other thing I was thinking about was stress. We know that the control of these hormones emanates from the hypothalamus center in our brain, the limbic brain. The limbic brain is where all the stress manifests itself. All of these computer like things for stomach acid and for blood pressure and rapid pulse and having to urinate or blushing or anything, it all comes through computers in that part of the brain. Can you imagine? You get a little embarrassed you turn red all over. That's blushing. You don't plan to do this, it's not a thing you can tell your body to do. In fact, you only blush down to where the blouse line is. Isn't that interesting? How does the brain know that? Imagine how clever the darn brain is.
Well, at any rate, it's the brain that sends the signal to the pituitary to tell the ovary when to start the period and when to stop. We know that at college age when women have the most definite periods of all time, if they have some emotional stress it can throw their periods off. The break-up of a relationship, a test that they did badly on, losing out at some silly sorority house, whatever it is it can mess up their periods.
We also know you can take three unrelated women, have them room together at college time and by the end of the year their periods are all in synchrony. Isn't that something? They didn't plan that. The brain does that. So I thought: diet, stress. But still I thought, "well, we've had bad diet and stress all the times people have been on earth. Why is this happening to people now?" They're getting breast cancer, they're getting PMS, they're getting fibrosistic breast disease, they're getting even more of it, they're getting it earlier, it's more intense and the breast cancers are worse. We're not winning the war against breast cancer. No amount of mammograms going to do it, no amount of self examination is going to do it. Doesn't change anything, we're getting more breast cancer, and where is all this coming from?
Well we know that estrogen makes it, we know that progesterone protects against it, but what's happened to the progesterone when we do measurements? For instance Dr. Terri Lynn Pryor, chief of Women's Endocrinology up in the University of British Columbia in Vancouver tested female athletes who were getting osteoporosis. 24 year old long distance runner breaks her leg, her hip, they have osteoporosis.
The common thought is, "oh, they're running so hard their fat level is down and they're not making estrogen." She tested that and she found the estrogen was fine. The progesterone was gone. Lack of progesterone makes osteoporosis. See, I like that particular reference because here I was seeing elderly people with osteoporosis and I was giving them progesterone and their bones were getting better and she was seeing young people who had low progesterone and their bones were getting worse. So it all fits. Isn't that nice?
Well, she thought it was due to the running. Then she tested women who weren't marathon runners. And she found that by the time they're 35, 50% of the women in North America are missing their progesterone. Whoa! By age 35, 50% of you aren't making the progesterone you ought to be making.
Then a study done by Dr. Peter Ellison who worked for the World Health Organization with the saliva hormone essay, he was asked to use his saliva business to test a long standing theory, that at the time of ovulation, women make a burst of testosterone to explain their increased libido. It's kind of a male conceit I think, that it has to be testosterone to make women have a burst of some extra libido. But he took 18 normally, healthy, sexually active women and using his saliva test measured for testosterone every day for 3 cycles to see if a spurt of testosterone coincided with ovulation.
But he knew that he had to find out when the ovulation time was. So he also had to do a progesterone level every day throughout the 3 cycles because you never make progesterone unless you do ovulate. So to his amazement, out of these 18 women, the average age was 29, seven of them were not ovulating. Whoa! 7 out of 18, average age 29, normal, functional, sexually active women, didn't have any progesterone. Something strange was going on here.
Well, the answer came about the last couple years. It turns out that down in lake Apopka in Florida, second largest lake in Florida, everybody noticed the alligators were dying off. So they hired Dr. Louis Gillette Jr. from Florida University, professor and his students, to examine the alligators and find out why this was happening because it wasn't happening in other lakes. It was also happening to the Florida cougar, and deer and foxes and was happening to frogs and toads around this lake and not other places.
So they examined them and they found that in the female alligator's large ovaries, the follicles were all burned out or damaged. The follicles. They're the ones that make the eggs, and they're the ones that make the progesterone. They could look through the microscope and they could see these damaged follicles. They went back to younger and younger female alligators and they found that it originates in the embryo stage, when the alligator embryo is only 12-15 days old. Something is happening to the follicle that they're going to end up not being able to make eggs, not being able to make progesterone. It starts at the embryo stage. And then later in life it continues to happen but the most sensitive time of life is the embryo stage.
This is why the FDA and the NIH and the National Institutes of health, and the EPA all missed it. The way they test for toxicity is to give a suspicious chemical to a normal animal and then see if the animal gets sick some time or another. See, these females didn't appear sick.
The other way is to give it to them until they have a baby and then examine the baby and see if the baby's deformed, has some kind of congenital abnormality somewhere. The baby's come out looking fine because the doctors weren't looking at the ovaries to look for the follicles on the inside. Well, they then examined the males and they observed that the males had very small testicles and small penises. In the testicles the sicoli cell is the male equivalent of the follicle cell, and the sicoli cells in the males were all burned out. They weren't producing sperm.
So now we know why the alligators were not reproducing right. The females weren't making enough eggs, they weren't making progesterone, and the males weren't making enough sperm. Well they looked around the world at the sperm banks to say, "I wonder what's happened to people?" In the sperm banks in all the industrialized countries over the last 30 years sperm production has fallen 50%. FIFTY PERCENT! If you draw a line from where it was 30 years ago down to the sperm production now and continue that same line, you can calculate that the last person to father a baby in the United States has probably already been born. In two generations we're going to run out! Now it might be it's not going to go down to zero, maybe it's just going to level off, we're going to find some people who are still able to make the sperms, still able to make an egg, but these animals showed other things, they had cross beaks, they had thyroid abnormalities, they had tumors here and there, they were sick in other ways.
They did not know what was causing it but some old geyser living down at Lake Apopka said, "we know what happened. There was a big chemical spill here 8 years ago," so they went back and talked to the company and they said, "oh yeah, we accidentally discharged a whole bunch of this insecticide we were making into the lake, but we've checked the water and there's not a sign of it left. So Dr. Gillette checked the water and there's no sign of it left and still this was happening.
Then he checked the bottom of the lake where those little plants and those little clams and little creatures live, crawdads and whatnot. In the body fat of the plants and the creatures, there's where all the insecticide is. And those are the creatures that give rise up the food chain up to what the alligators eventually eat, what the frogs and the toads were eating and so on.
It turns out this insecticide along with about 5000 other petrochemicals that we now call xenoestrogens, foreign estrogens, or xenobiotics, foreign to the life of your own cells, these chemicals are all fat soluble, they go into body fat and none are biodegradable. They do not ever get degraded. We do not have the enzymes, the metabolic machinery to degrade these, to eliminate them, to get rid of them. When we die, they get in the soil and get picked up by some other creatures. They end up getting swept out into the channels out into the lakes and the ocean, and they're showing up now in the penguins down in the south pole.
In every creature studied, seagulls, salmon, humans, cougars, toads, amphibians of all sorts, fish of all sorts and the alligators, in every creature it damages the follicles in the ovaries and the sicoli cells in the testicles. Isn't that something? Plus it damages the thyroid hormone's ability to do it's work. Plus it can cause cancers throughout the urogenital tract.
The classic example of course is DES. Remember? They gave that to women 25-30 years ago, women who were thought to be at risk of losing their pregnancy. That was the first classic xenoestrogen. A synthetic compound that does estrogen like things. Actually, in the long run, it turns out it didn't change the success of their pregnancy. But the babies that were born, if they were females, when they grew up to be 25 or 30, they had a risk of cancer of the cervix cancer of the vagina that was 100's of times above the average. I mean, they're rare, but it was 100's of times higher than the average among non-exposed women.
You see, the damage occurred when they were in the embryo stage and it showed up when they were 25 or 30. So here we have a new epidemic, hitting industrialized nations in the latter half of the 20th century. We've been making these compounds for 50 years now, the first one was DDT. You all know that we banned DDT in this country? That means the DDT manufacturers moved to Mexico, Central America, North Africa, all around the world, there's more DDT produced in the world now than before we banned it. They use it on their crops, and on their people, and in their lakes and in everything, and we buy the crops and bring it back now that we have gas and we have all these wonderful things. Companies can grow things elsewhere and bring it back to the United States for sale. It's coming back to the United States in higher quantities than ever before. We have DDT poisoning going on right now. These are xenoestrogens.
So the full extent of this epidemic, will not be realized until another generation and a half from now. Isn't that amazing? We don't know how bad it's going to get. There are some good signs. Israel banned the use of all insecticides, but still allows a lousy diet in some of their communities, they still allow other things that can be considered risk factors, and the incidence of breast cancer has fallen over 50% in Israel in the 10 years since they banned it. I mean there's just powerful evidence that this stuff does something to make you more susceptible to breast cancer and to other cancers.
So now we have the full circle. We have an epidemic of illnesses related to progesterone deficiency and I have defined a condition called estrogen dominance that results.
By the way, Dr. Ellison found the other factor in raising women's estrogen levels higher than normal is the total amount of extra calories we eat in this country. If we look at other countries in the third world, the amount of calories they eat barely matches the amount of physical energy they expend. If you reduce the amount of calories you eat, estrogen levels fall. If you increase the amount of calories you eat in relation to the expenditure, estrogen levels rise. Dr. Ellison says that if the Doctors believe the lab tests that come back, where it says the normal range of estrogen is truly normal, it means the doctors don't understand what's going on. Our normals are merely typical results found at this time in America. It doesn't mean it's good for people. Don't ever understand that normal in medical terms means it's good. Normal means you take 100 people and see what the results are. You find the average or the mean, and you take two standard deviations, knock off two and a half percent off either end, and that's called normal. He said the normals in the petrochemical societies are so high in comparison to the 75% of the people who are in so called emerging or third world countries, that we are the abnormalists.
So we have an abnormally high estrogen level, because in general so many people eat more than their work really needs. We have a lot of workers who are not expending a lot of physical energy like they do in the third world countries. So you all have extra high estrogen. You have extra low progesterone. Because your follicles are not able to produce the progesterone having been damaged by these petrochemicals. So there's a very strange mix and I call it estrogen dominance. It's due to the high estrogen from the diet, it's due from the high estrogen the doctors are giving the people. Every women over 40 who goes to the doctor with any complaint at all is going to get an estrogen prescription. Guaranteed. The third factor is that your progesterone is low. So the balance you see, favors the estrogen. That's why I call it estrogen dominance.
I went back to Minnesota for my 40th medical school class reunions last June and I got to talk to a lot of my colleagues and their wives. Everyone of them at my age, 65, 66, they're on estrogen. Or they've had their breasts operated on, or they've had a hysterectomy, or they've had a cancer, their body fat's increasing, they have all these side effects. Now that I'm familiar with all of this, I recognize estrogen dominance all over the place.
Then my sister arranged a family meeting with all sorts of cousins and nieces and nephews and second cousins and second nephews and nieces I've never met in the last 40 years, and we had a get-together at somebody's cabin on a lake in Minnesota. It's a very Scandinavian thing to do. You get together at somebody's cabin on a lake, despite the mosquitoes, and the algae in the water and everything. But at any rate, we all got together and it was fun to see all these kids I never saw before. But I got talking to some of the mothers and I talked to 4 or 5 of them, they're all 40, 45, 50 years old now. Every single one has had a hysterectomy already. The story's all the same.
They hit 40, 42, they notice a little change going on in their periods. They're putting on a little more weight. Their breasts are a little more full, sometimes tender. They have headaches more. They lose interest in sex. Their body's changing and they don't like what's happening. They're not sleeping as well. They go to the doctor and he says, "well my dear, you're approaching menopause, you need estrogen." The doctor never measures the progesterone. What it means to me is they've been low on progesterone for 5 or 6 years already. And these things are happening.
So he puts them on estrogen and after a month or two they come back and say, "I don't think that's working so well, I'm bloating up even more, my breasts are even more swollen....," he says, "oh, that's because I didn't give you ENOUGH." So he raises the estrogen level. Then she starts getting spotting and more blood and starts getting clots along with her period because this is stimulating to the lining of the uterus, to make more stuff. So he says, "oh, this might be cancer, we'd better do a D&C (scraping of the lining of the uterus)." So they have a D&C and they find guess what? Hyperplasia. He MADE the Hyperplasia! That's the whole function of estrogen, is to tell those cells to multiply, divide, make more. He made the Hyperplasia. And he says, "hyperplasia's the first sign you're developing cancer of the uterus, we've got an appointment for you next Wednesday to have your uterus out." Every single one of them went for it. Isn't that something?
We've GOT to change the doctors. How do we do that? We get intelligent, assertive women who understand what the problem is and THEY educate the doctors. That's what we've got to do.
I want to add one more thing and that is a collection of papers put together by a lady, Brenda Adelman, in Sonoma County where I live. She invited all of those animal scientists who've been doing research on the salmon and the toads, the cougar, the alligators, these scientists that she could get a hold of in the United States and Canada. She asked them to come to Sonoma County to have a symposium one day and she got 6 or 7 of them. These are the world authorities on the xenoestrogen. They came and she made copies of all their papers plus the pictures of the slides they showed and where they all come from.
We're talking not just insecticides but the outgassing of the petrochemicals in the backing of carpets, we're talking about the lowfat foods. They say, "how can it taste so nice and fatty and there's no fat in it?" Those are petrochemical fats and oils and they're all poisonous for you. We're talking about the plastic on the dashboards of cars. You drive to the grocery stores and go to church and it sits in the hot sun, and all of these are outgassing through the interior of the car. Then you get into the car and drive home and breath this stuff in. We're talking plastics all over the place. We're talking emulsifiers that are in the whipping cream and things like that, it's all these petrochemical things. They all act like xenoestrogens.
Anyway, this lady put together a symposium. Best thing I've seen. Cost 90 bucks to go to the symposium and I got to talk to these scientists, and to everyone of them I said, "when you look at the ovaries, tell me again, what did you see?" "Well," they said, "the follicles are all burned out, there were abnormal clusters of cells and there were broken pieces of ova eggs and sometimes triple eggs and things like that, it was obviously dysfunctional." Not one of them was aware of the importance of that in humans, the importance of the loss of progesterone. So nobody's writing about that. They just say, "yeah, we saw the dysfunctional problem."
But at any rate, the other thing is Dr. Zava at the Aeron Labs, he's become very interested in this. In addition to doing progesterone levels on human saliva, he's been doing progesterone levels on all the creams that have come out. Are you aware that since I wrote my book two years ago more companies are jumping in with all sorts of creams? They're advertising themselves as if they've got THE progesterone cream. One is called Progerome, Progestone HG and all these things. He's been analyzing all these for progesterone content. Turns out there's only 5 or 6 that have the progesterone that I think is physiologically normal.
The cream that I've always used has 400-480 of progesterone per ounce. So I could tell people to use an ounce a month over 24 days, and I know that they're going to get 20 milligrams a day. You see how simple that is? Doctors will say, "how does Dr. Lee know how much to give?" Well, 20 milligrams a day is the normal amount that the ovary makes and that's what I want people to have. It's a physiological normal amount. And it was easy when it was that.
Now there's a whole bunch of creams that only have 2 milligrams per ounce. Then there's another bunch of creams he couldn't find any. Two milligrams spread out over 30 days is nothing. And nothing spread out over 30 days is also nothing. (Laughter) I'm happy to see here that the Allens who invited me to come here today, their cream came out good.
The thing I wanted to tell you about is Dr. Seth said, "well how does Dr. Lee know these things? It's circumstantial evidence. He's counting up the patients who get better, maybe it's the diet put them on, maybe it's a placebo, maybe they believe." I always say when they bring that up, "if it's a placebo, it's a really GOOD placebo. You know, it works! (Laughter) It's been working now for 15, 16 years.
But it's true, no one has done a double blind study. Until recently. Love it! There's some French doctors in Taiwan, with some Taiwan doctors, who had 40 female patients lined up. Young, menstruating, healthy female patients lined up for some minor breast surgery. Ten days before the breast surgery they gave a fourth of them a cream, just like happy PMS cream, same dose. Ten days before, and they rubbed a little dab in making 20-25 milligrams a day for 10 days. The other group was given an estrogen cream. The third group was given a mix of the two creams, a combination. Very good. The fourth one was given a placebo cream with no hormone in it.
So we had four groups out of 40 women, they all had their surgery 10 days later. At the time of surgery they were able to get some breast tissue. From the breast tissue they measured the hormone concentration. So you had the placebo group and that was the background hormone concentration, typical woman without any hormone.
Those that were receiving the progesterone, their progesterone concentration went up 100 times. Nice normal full progesterone levels as if she had ovulated. The ones that got the estrogen cream, they rose like 100 times higher too. So this test, right there proved that both estrogen and progesterone are well absorbed through the skin.
They get to the target tissues in full physiological concentrations. These doctors also measured where it was in the blood plasma during these days. How much was in the blood serum? When they did that, they couldn't find any progesterone in the serum at all. The serum's the watery part of the blood, no cells, no fats, no nothing, just the watery part. The doctors have been measuring the wrong part of the blood all these years! Isn't that amazing? Having proven that it gets from the skin to the breast tissue, it had to get there somehow. It was carried by the blood, but it was carried by the red blood cell membranes and fatty things. Not in the serum. I hope you see that distinction.
When the doctor says, "we did a blood test," you should say, "what part of the blood did you use doctor?" "I used the watery part" "why'd you do that? This is a fat soluble thing we're looking for." So you can help educate the doctors this way. Then, they did two tests on the breast tissue, two different ways of counting how fast the breast cells in the milk ducts were multiplying. You understand, cancer is not something out there. Cancer is a normal cell which multiplies itself more rapidly than it ought to. That's what cancer is. So they're looking to see how fast the breast milk duct cells are multiplying. They know what the normal rate was because they could see it on the women who were receiving the placebo cream.
On those receiving the progesterone cream, it dropped the rate to about 15% of what the normal was, it slowed the cells down. They could take their time. The instruction of progesterone to your cells all over your body is "slow up, relax, don't multiply so fast, mature, differentiate, become what you're supposed to become."
The estrogen taking women, their cells were multiplying at a rate 250% faster. The message of estrogen is, "get to work, multiply, make more of yourselves, proliferate, become more." That's what you don't want. It happens on fat cells, it happens on breast cells, it happens on cells inside the uterus, it happens wherever estrogen has a receptor. It stimulates cell proliferation. Unopposed by progesterone that leads to cancer.
Now we have the fourth group that had the combination cream. The question was, who's going to win? Is the estrogen part of it going to stimulate more rapid proliferation, or is the progesterone part going to hold it down? Among the dose they used, progesterone won. It kept the proliferation rate down to the low normal range. Stopped that estrogen from multiplying.
So now we see, what we've got is an epidemic of estrogen dominance going on. The estrogen can come from the xenoestrogens, it can come from the estrogen the doctors are giving inappropriately, it can come from the more estrogen you make because you're eating more fat, and more sugars and more calories than you truly need, and it can come from the fact that your ovaries are not making the right amount of progesterone.
So what can you do about it? Pretty simple, you quit overeating, you quit exposing yourself to all the xenoestrogens by eating food that doesn't have all this animal fat in it. What do we call that food? Veggies! Plant food! We get along fine with plant food. We get all the protein, all the vitamins, all the amino acids, all the minerals, everything comes from plants. All we need is a variety of plants. It doesn't matter. You can eat any particular plant you want as long as you eat a variety. You should eat the whole plant, eat the leaves, stems, stalks, roots, the tubers, the flowers, the fruit, the whole works, and eat them as unprocessed as possible. Eat them the way your grandparents ate their vegetables. They had gardens, they went out and picked them. Okay? Then you can have your progesterone measured.
If you are over 35 and if you are having any of these changes we are talking about, swollen breasts, fibrosistic breasts, more water retention, loss of libido, obesity, depression, low thyroid, these are all signs of low progesterone. The only way you're going to find out is to measure for it, and the measurement should be the saliva test. I didn't have access to the saliva test in the many years that I've been doing this. I did it because I learned to recognize estrogen dominance. It isn't that tough. Anyone who does this any period of time, they'll pick up on it very easily. The woman herself will know. The best laboratory in the world is the woman's body herself. It's good for PMS which is strictly estrogen dominance. The dosage has to be individualized that's not strange, we're all individuals, we all differ. It's safe to use. The skin that it's well absorbed through is the face, the neck, the hands, the upper chest, the inside of your arms, wherever there's thin skin and large areas and plenty of capillaries. So every place you can blush, every place that your skin is relatively thin. If you look at palms, they tend to be pink. The pink palms mean there's more capillaries there. Isn't that amazing?
I think of the couples that I've taught over the years, advising the male part of the couple to go ahead and massage it into the female partner and now I realize the male was getting more of it than she was. (laughter) Fortunately it doesn't hurt males at all. Males make progesterone. They need it to make their testosterone and for the adrenal glands to make cortisone. So males make it. You can measure males progesterone levels, and you'll find that when the woman has this follicle damage I'm talking about, the amount of progesterone she makes is less than that of a male. So it's a big difference. It's not like shades of gray here. It's not hard to find. So the saliva levels are now very easy to do and progesterone can be given and people will learn as they do this.
So here we have the whole story of how it helps the bones, that led me to learn more and more about progesterone, things that I learned from the patients and that has led me then to look for the causes of why a woman would be low on progesterone, and now we have the reason for the low progesterone. The fact that the ovaries had been damaged by petrochemicals in our environment, so perhaps that should be enough for a while, we can answer questions now, thank you very much. If you would like more information on natural progesterone, Dr. Lee has written a book called "What Your Doctor May Not Tell You About Menopause " which can be found in most book stores.