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Thursday, October 29, 2009

Progesterone Cream Causes Cancer in California?!

Happy Fall! - First time since I moved to NC that I have really enjoyed fall!!
A client has brought to my attention the new warning on all bottles of Progesterone cream. It states: This product contains Progesterone, a chemical known to the State of California to cause cancer. So, naturally I had to look into why this new warning is there. First I looked up the ingredients of Progest by Emerita to see if they added something to it that I should know about and this is a look at what is in it: Water (Purified), Tocopheryl Tocopheryl Acetate (Vitamin E), Aloe Barbadensis (Aloe Vera) Leaf Juice, Carthamus Tinctorius (Hybrid Safflower) Seed Oil, Panthenol, Glycerin, Prunus Amygdalus Dulcis (Sweet Almond) Oil, Glyceryl Stearate, Cetyl Alcohol, Sodium Behenoyl Lactylate, Stearic Acid, USP Progesterone, Phenoxyethanol, Caprylyl Glycol, Sorbic Acid, Citrus Aurantium Dulcis (Orange) Oil, Citrus Medica Limonum (Lemon) Peel Oil, Carbomer. Free of parabens, mineral oil, petroleum or animal products and has not been tested on animals Okay - that looks the same - and all good for sure - so why the new warning. Well - this is what I found. There was a proposition put in place in 1986 called: Proposition 65, the Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act of 1986. It was enacted as a ballot initiative in the state of California and was intended by its authors to protect California citizens and the State's drinking water sources from chemicals known to cause cancer, birth defects or other reproductive harm, and to inform citizens about exposures to such chemicals. It requires that that Governor annually posts a list of chemicals “known to the state to cause cancer or reproductive toxicity .” Progesterone is on the list. Just a word about Progesterone - it is a necessary hormone to keep bones "renewing" themselves to stay healthy. Studies show as a women goes through menopause and is no longer ovulating - therefore getting cyclical progesterone - that she is likely to lose about 20% of her bones density within the first 5-7 years. Here's a clue why - it takes a long bone 5-7 years to rebuild itself - small bone 3-5 years. Without the cyclical hormones that aid cells in the bone in building up and breaking down bone, the bone starts to lose it's density. Back to Proposition 65... the study done to add progesterone to the list used synthetic - let me repeat SYNTHETIC PROGESTERONE - Progestins and and other progestagens (progesterone-like compounds). Also using other steroid hormone derivatives (mainly synthetic estrogens) and many different methods of administration. Progestins and other synthetic progestagens are not necessary for building healthy bone! - Progestins and progestagens are similar in molecular structure to progesterone, but when they bind to progesterone receptors, their effects are usually much stronger and more likely to cause abnormal physiologic responses. Furthermore, the majority of the studies concerning the health effects of these progesterone derivatives involved combinations with synthetic estrogens! There were very few studies mentioned in the 2004 document that used exclusively bio-identical progesterone (like the Progest cream). The doses of progesterone ranged from 10-1000 times the dose usually recommended by manufacturers of progesterone creams. All of the studies cited in the OEHHA document used either oral, injected, or suppository forms of hormones; none was conducted using transdermal creams. This is an important consideration because hormones absorbed through the skin are metabolized differently than hormones that are administered via other routes.
So you understand now that the study that was run did not use the proper mode of application or even the bio-identical natural progesterone in practical dosing. There are companies such as Emerita that are trying to get this removed from the list of carcinogens - however - in the meanwhile you can take a sigh of relief! -