What It's About:
Join Loren Sofia, Functional Fertility Coach and owner of Innate Fertility, and Kitty Martone, gut-centric author, Functional Health Educator, CEO of Ona's Natural, and host of the podcast, ‘Stuff Your Doctor Should Know’, as they discuss everything you need to know about progesterone, including about bioidentical progesterone supplementation.
In this episode, you’ll learn about:
-What progesterone is
-Why progesterone is important (for pregnancy & beyond)
-How you make progesterone
-How to tell if you’re making enough progesterone
-How to tell if you don’t have enough progesterone
-The true meaning of estrogen dominance
-How to test your progesterone levels
-Tissue-bound estrogen & what you need to know
-Antepartum depression & postpartum depression
-Xenoestrogens & their impact on progesterone levels
-What is bioidentical progesterone
-If bioidentical progesterone the same as progesterone from hormonal contraceptives
-Who would be a good candidate for bioidentical progesterone
[00:00:00] Loren: Welcome to the Innate Wisdom Podcast. I'm your host, Lauren Sofia, Functional Fertility Coach and owner of Innate Fertility, and I'm honored to guide you through each episode where we'll cover not just fertility, but how to rediscover the innate wisdom of your body, restore your connection with your physiology, bioenergetics and metabolism, and get back in touch with Mother Nature and ancestral traditions.
[00:00:26] Loren: Thank you for joining me for another episode of the Innate Wisdom Podcast. On today's show, I'm excited to invite gut centric author, functional health educator, CEO of Ona's Natural, and host of the podcast Stuff Your Doctors Should Know, Kitty Martone, to understand everything about the amazing hormone progesterone.
[00:00:46] Loren: Progesterone is known as the pregnancy hormone, and yes, it's very important for pregnancy. In fact, one of the most common issues I see in my practice is women coming to me with low progesterone, and it's a shame because the way that progesterone is tested conventionally can provide very misleading results.
[00:01:03] Loren: And even just this small erroneous way of testing progesterone can lead to a lot of my labs look normal But I've been trying to conceive for six months or a year with no luck or I can get pregnant But I can't stay pregnant past seven or eight weeks That said, progesterone deficiency can be one of the many reasons for these issues regarding fertility and conception, not the only one, but it's not just about getting pregnant.
[00:01:29] Loren: Progesterone is a very important hormone for overall female wellness, including immune and thyroid function and mental health, just to name a few. I do want to preface, Kitty and I will be discussing bioidentical progesterone in this episode. However, I do want to caution you from getting wrapped up in the idea that progesterone supplementation will solve all your problems, because it won't.
[00:01:51] Loren: As a practitioner who has worked with hundreds and hundreds of women, like any supplement, progesterone won't be a good fit for everyone, and it's a hormone. There is a lot of foundational work and specific steps I help my clients take to prepare for this if it's something that they want to take or that we've identified as an opportunity.
[00:02:08] Loren: And that's because progesterone can be converted into estrogen as well as cortisol, just to name a few reasons. I wanted to share this disclaimer because even on social media, I get so many women reaching out to me all the time with various issues because they've misused bioidentical progesterone and are now dealing with XYZ issues.
[00:02:28] Loren: Now that that's out of the way, continue listening to learn what progesterone is, why it's important, how you can make it, how to tell if you have enough or too little, and so much more. Enjoy the show. Welcome to the Innate Wisdom podcast, Kitty. I'm so excited to have you here.
[00:02:45] Kitty M: Hey, I'm so excited to be here.
[00:02:48] Kitty M: Thanks for having me.
[00:02:49] Loren: It's an honor and a pleasure. So, I would love to kick things off by asking what your story is and, you know, to help the audience understand a little bit about how you got to doing the work you do today.
[00:03:02] Kitty M: Great. Yes. Well, the short story is that I, like so many other practitioners and people, People that are in this wellness field battled with my own health issues since I was born.
[00:03:15] Kitty M: And it was a real struggle. I dealt with ear, nose, and throat stuff. I was a preemie, I had meningitis, I had pneumonia, all these things right out the gate. And then of course, once I hit puberty and. It was compounded by extreme hormone imbalance. And of course, all the medications I had been on and really sort of snowballed into autoimmune issues and viral concerns, viral load, I like to call it.
[00:03:40] Kitty M: And then it just began to debilitate my life. And I lived in New Mexico and I traveled a lot. And then I decided I was going to move to California and pursue acting. But in that process, I really couldn't hold down a job because I was always really, really sick. So I started to naturally in Los Angeles, it's like there's a Reiki master on every street corner and somebody's doing acupuncture.
[00:04:08] Kitty M: The wellness field is very, very, very deep and easy to access here. And I met my husband who's a chiropractor. a wonderful sort of holistic chiropractor. He doesn't just crack you up. He has this whole look at the entire body and nutrition and whatnot. And I met him and he really changed my life and my perspective on how to get healthy and what it means to be healthy.
[00:04:32] Kitty M: And so. We got married and I started to pursue working with him and acting took a back seat and I started to study gut health. He worked with a bunch of children who have, are in the spectrum with cerebral palsy and all types of other imbalances. And I couldn't really help them with my education at the time, which was I had become a nutritionist.
[00:04:53] Kitty M: And I couldn't help them with that info. It was just too rudimentary and they needed a lot more help. And so I fell into the gut health world. And I started working with Donna Gates who wrote the body ecology diet. And I became her demo chef to teach people how to make fermented foods. And I went so far down this rabbit hole of alternative health that that became my life.
[00:05:18] Kitty M: And I became healthy gut girl. The only problem was That I was not able to carry a pregnancy. And so my hormones continued to plague me. The imbalances, no matter what I did, no matter how much I worked on my gut, I just could not get past six weeks and had multiple miscarriages. And that's when I found progesterone.
[00:05:40] Kitty M: But by then I was already in my early forties. And so I was still needing to work on my health. So I didn't ever get to use what I learned. On myself, basically, I had already gone into that geriatric phase of fertility or infertility. And that was a really sad story. But at the same time, it was this amazing career that has now blossomed into helping.
[00:06:08] Kitty M: I just got a text yesterday from a girl. thanking me because she's finally pregnant. And so it's a bittersweet thing that I've landed into. This is my life now, getting women pregnant, knocking women up.
[00:06:21] Loren: A mother in a different kind of way. Exactly. Well, thank you for sharing. And I, I think you're right.
[00:06:27] Loren: It's so common to find practitioners that are practitioners because they've gone through their own health struggles. And I think what you're doing is amazing. So. Thank you. Yeah. I'm super happy to have you here. So you did mention progesterone and I would love to just talk about progesterone. This episode is all about progesterone.
[00:06:50] Loren: So just in case those in the audience don't know what progesterone is, can you tell them what it is and why it's important?
[00:06:57] Kitty M: Sure. I'll back up just a hair and put in something I forgot to mention, which is in that process of trying to figure out my hormone imbalances, I started Estrogen Dominant Support Group on Facebook.
[00:07:11] Kitty M: And I, in that process, met all these other women who were struggling and I was introducing them to progesterone because I had discovered it through a colleague. And it was miraculous for my fibroids and my bleeding and all these things. And a woman joined the group. And at the time I was promoting and endorsing any type of progesterone, anything we could get over the counter, I was endorsing it.
[00:07:34] Kitty M: And this woman joined the group and her name was Ona. And she said, a bunch of women introduced me to her and said, this is Ona. She makes her own progesterone. And I met her. She sent me some progesterone and she has. Had catamenial epilepsy, which is a form of epilepsy that's triggered by dramatic decline in progesterone and estrogen dominance.
[00:07:59] Kitty M: And this would create these incredible seizures. She had her whole life and she was able to sort of stave them off using progesterone, but she couldn't get a high enough strength through her medical doctors to. Have it be helpful and to also be affordable for her. So she decided, she was like, Oh, wait, it's not a regulated substance, which everyone thinks that progesterone and estrogen are, but they're not.
[00:08:23] Kitty M: So I can actually make my own. So she made her own cream Onas. She made different strengths and through that was able to help all of these women. And so we became friends. And that's how I then started to use her progesterone. And during that relationship, we started to talk about collaborating and she passed away due to complications with her heart and also with the catamenial epilepsy.
[00:08:50] Kitty M: And I guess during the pandemic, her partner and husband reached out to me and said, I didn't realize how much you had helped out the company. I'm wondering if you'd be interested in coming in and trying to save the ship from sinking because we're having some big problems. And so I jumped in and that happened two years ago.
[00:09:07] Kitty M: So yes. So now I've coupled and I've married all that life experience with now all this research and product development. And so I definitely know a lot about progesterone now, thanks to that. And thanks to Ona, who was a blessing for me. So progesterone. Progesterone is next to a hormone, vitamin D, is the oldest hormone that we know of.
[00:09:32] Kitty M: It's been around for a very, very, very long time, probably something like, I don't know, a long time, I'm not going to guess. And it's produced in almost Every mammal, and we make it mostly in our ovaries and men in their testes, but we also have it in our glial cells in our brain. We have it throughout the body in many places and it helps regulate blood sugar.
[00:09:55] Kitty M: It helps developing intelligence, building bone, building brain activity. And there's so many functions that it has, but. The most important function that progesterone has, because it's not just a sex hormone and it's not just a pregnancy hormone, it helps to regulate estrogen. They're bed buddies. They're bedfellows.
[00:10:17] Kitty M: Estrogen is mitogenic. That means it has an action of mitosis. It causes cells to divide and grow, like a fetus, like bone, like fibroids, like masses, like tumors. And the progesterone opposes it at all time. You can say that it regulates its action. It keeps it from doing these things roguely or randomly or dangerously.
[00:10:45] Kitty M: So I like to call estrogen the lion and progesterone the lion tamer. So that's what progesterone is and how important it is in the body.
[00:10:55] Loren: That's a great analogy, and thank you for breaking that down, because I think it's very cool to know how old it is, but also the relationships that it has with other hormones, especially estrogen, because I think when we think about hormones, we usually think about them, at least from a conventional standpoint, they're like compartmentalized.
[00:11:17] Loren: They stand alone. Your progesterone is your progesterone. It has nothing to do with your estrogen. When in reality... So many hormones work in so many relationships and ratios. So I think that that is really helpful to just call out. And I appreciate you elaborating on that and the analogy that you use. Yes.
[00:11:37] Loren: I think that that's so important. Estrogen is a driver of growth. And so really, as you were mentioning fibroids and things like that, and tumors, like any kind of growth is really driven by, it can be driven by estrogen or estrogen like compounds that work on the receptors. And so I think that's a really important thing to keep in mind because it's a common theme across any type of growth that you might go through, whether it's reproductive related or not.
[00:12:02] Kitty M: Exactly. Yeah, very well said. A lot of people really. think who know me and know of my group and don't know me well and don't know the group well, they would say that I am anti estrogen and that could not be further from the truth. I am absolutely, I love it. Estrogen is amazing. It is essential for life and it is astounding what Such a tiny little Pico particle can be capable of and it's incredibly potent and I respect its power very much to the point that I really think people need to be very careful in terms of supplementing it, in terms of understanding how it functions in the body, in the gut, in the liver.
[00:12:52] Kitty M: I think it's really important when working with hormones that people know exactly the power of estrogen. Mm hmm.
[00:13:00] Loren: And the power of estrogen, but also the power of any hormone you're taking, too. I think that's a good reminder. So you kind of touched on this, but I would love if you could describe how we as women make progesterone.
[00:13:13] Kitty M: Well, It's not much different from the way anybody, anything, any mammal makes progesterone, men too. It starts with cholesterol in everyone. And basically our body turns the cholesterol into the mother of all hormones, which is pregnenolone. And pregnenolone makes every hormone. And then the pregnenolone gets converted into progesterone.
[00:13:35] Kitty M: And then from progesterone is a cascade of many other essential hormones. So it makes cortisol and testosterone. and estrogen. And it doesn't do this randomly. It's not just spitting out, you know, making these other hormones randomly. It does it with intention. It does it specifically when it is needed. It donates to make those hormones as requested by the body, by the messengers in the body.
[00:14:01] Kitty M: And so of course, With women, we have our phases of our cycle. And so during those phases, the progesterone and the estrogen take their turns dominating. And the height of the luteal phase is when we make the most progesterone. But even so, I always like to remind people that it's that dance I'm talking about where they oppose one another happens all the time, regardless of how high your levels are or low your levels are.
[00:14:30] Kitty M: That, that dance is profoundly important to hormone balance in the body is that they're always opposing one another. And that's, I think a really big misconception as well with estrogen and progesterone is that estrogen dominance means too much estrogen. And that is not necessarily the case. You can have extremely bad symptoms of estrogen dominance and have quite low levels of estrogen.
[00:14:59] Kitty M: Because it's dominating progesterone at the wrong time. It is taking over and creating, wreaking havoc. So that's, I think, a really important part.
[00:15:10] Loren: Yes, I totally agree. And this just goes to show, it's not just about the level of estrogen or progesterone that you have. It's again, the relationship that they have with each other.
[00:15:25] Loren: It's so much more powerful and important to pay attention to because that's why you can't really spot. treat these things either necessarily you have to understand the relationship between the two because if you are only looking at your estrogen levels and you are low but you are also relatively low in progesterone and Your estrogen was much higher than it and you go to supplement estrogen because you see a deficiency But you're not paying attention to the progesterone.
[00:15:52] Loren: You're gonna cause a lot more problems for yourself
[00:15:54] Kitty M: Yes. Yes. And this can't be more clear than what's happening with menopausal and perimenopausal women right now, where they're looking at their blood levels and saying, Oh, well, you certainly have no estrogen. Let's give you estrogen. And since you're already in menopause, we don't need to worry about protecting your uterus anymore.
[00:16:12] Kitty M: So let's not even give you progesterone. And so they're just giving them progesterone anyway. So that very well said. I mean, it's. One of the biggest problems right now, I think, with perimenopause and menopausal women's hormonal health.
[00:16:26] Loren: Yeah, it's definitely something I see as well in my practice. So, I guess this is a great segue because how can you tell if you don't have enough progesterone?
[00:16:37] Loren: And this could be a complete deficiency or it could go back to that relationship with estrogen and progesterone where you might have enough progesterone but not enough in relation to estrogen.
[00:16:47] Kitty M: Yes, this is a multifaceted question and answer, but it's important because blood labs don't tell the whole story, right?
[00:16:57] Kitty M: You need to know what this individual person is doing with their hormones and are they favoring healthy pathways in the body or are they favoring potentially dangerous inflammatory pathways in the body? So, I think the biggest signs of low progesterone, it's almost better to say, are those symptoms of excess estrogen.
[00:17:27] Kitty M: Like, it's because of the estrogen that you're getting the symptomology. It isn't because of the progesterone, right? It's because of the estrogen that's dominating. Like you said, you could have low progesterone. So really, The signs would be excess estrogen and that can look like anything from heavy clotting and bleeding to irregular periods to fibroids, cysts, polyps, miscarriages.
[00:17:58] Kitty M: Even just one miscarriage could be a sign. Insulin resistance. Honestly, the list is so lengthy that we could spend a long time talking about it. When you start to. Dig at it. We realize, wow, like with women, they'll say, yeah, I mean, I've had those, I've had those migraines. I've had that insomnia, the hair shedding, the low libido, the vaginal atrophy, all of those things that appear to be to some people, low estrogen are actually the imbalance of the two.
[00:18:29] Kitty M: So almost any hormonal symptom is going to be an indication that progesterone is low, but. It's also other things, like there's gut related issues, skin related issues, again, hair shedding, insomnia. So it doesn't always look like period cramps and bleeding and irregular periods and things like that. The list is really, really long.
[00:18:52] Kitty M: So I always say to people, besides the gut health work that I'm so passionate about, If you can afford to test multiple ways, not just blood serum, but if you can afford to do a dried urine or 24 hour urine, which is the gold standard these days, then go for that because you're going to get two pictures of what's going on with your hormones.
[00:19:15] Kitty M: But if you can't afford to test, that's okay also, I think, because you can go off of symptoms. We can deduce what's going on, even if you have high estrogen. And your progesterone is low, it's going to exhibit, we're going to see that in your symptoms. And so we can act accordingly based on that. Does that make sense?
[00:19:38] Loren: Absolutely. Yes. Yes. And I think that's a great point as far as testing goes, because the typical testing done for progesterone is just one time during the luteal phase of your cycle. And as you probably well know, progesterone pulses. Not only throughout your luteal phase, but also throughout the day as well.
[00:19:59] Loren: You're just getting one snapshot, just one point, and it could change completely, and it's not giving you a clear picture. And so, if you really want to test those dried urine tests, they're my favorite. Also, your body can tell you enough. Sometimes , it's just about tuning in.
[00:20:18] Kitty M: Mm-hmm. . I love the Dutch, the precision analytical.
[00:20:21] Kitty M: Dutch. I know Genova and Z R T, I think both have dried urine labs as well. And I like them because they show, and even though I still say they're not the whole picture, they're just not. Unless you took a dried urine, a 24 hour urine and a blood lab every day. Of the month, that's still not going to be a completely whole picture of what's going on, but still it gives us pieces to the puzzle to be able to look and see what you're doing with your hormones, which I think is just so important because you can go ahead and take a blood lab and it'll say, you're fine.
[00:20:59] Kitty M: You've got your progesterone, your estrogen is fine. Well, why am I having this clotting? Why am I having these different heavy symptoms and a bad cycle come to find out that. at the liver, you're not conjugating well, you're not favoring healthy pathways. And that's not something that a regular blood lab is going to show you.
[00:21:18] Kitty M: So I really love the Dutch and tests like that. I personally just got finished taking five different labs. I'm off of hormones. I took all these labs because I'm trying to show with the help of a few other people, like Georgie Dinkoff, the independent researcher, Georgie Dinkoff, he says, Menopause is not a state of low estrogen, and that just makes every single medical doctor's head pop, right?
[00:21:44] Kitty M: Because that's not what they think. And he's trying to prove that when we reach perimenopause, which is absolutely true, our progesterone declines rapidly. And our estrogen, instead of staying in circulation because it's not being opposed any longer, progesterone is not guiding it along and regulating it, like we mentioned, what does it do?
[00:22:05] Kitty M: Its job is to go into tissue and divide and grow. So why would it stay in circulation? And it's just going to, what, disappear all of a sudden because you're in menopause? It's just going to Go bye bye. No, it's going to most likely, your rational brain tells us it's going to move into, because it's no longer being tamed by the lion tamer, and it's going to go into tissues.
[00:22:28] Kitty M: And so he has this steroid analysis tissue, steroid analysis using hair that has some great, studies behind it right now showing like the last three months in my case of hormone tissue levels. Now we know my blood spot, my urine, all these other tests are going to show that I have very, very low levels of hormones, especially cause I got off of all the hormones and we're going to see what the hair tissue says.
[00:22:55] Kitty M: So it's pretty interesting. There's so much to learn about the hormones that we don't know and that so many quote unquote experts are claiming to know. And then can't give us answers when we have this rash of cancers and perimenopausal women and heart disease and bone loss. Oh, it's estrogen. It's estrogen.
[00:23:17] Kitty M: How can that possibly be lack of estrogen? Anyway, I'm going off into the weeds.
[00:23:23] Loren: That's so interesting about hair hormone analysis. I personally do hair tissue mineral analysis in my practice along with the dried urine. This can give us major clues about hormone levels and I do find that a lot of estrogen quote unquote deficiency, as you were talking about too, is Usually estrogen's stuck in the tissues, and Dr.
[00:23:43] Loren: Rapi talks about this a lot, so there isn't much being metabolized, so there isn't anything really to see in the blood or the urine, but once we start to work together, these things start to shift, and you can actually see the mobilization of estrogen on the labs.
[00:23:57] Kitty M: Yeah, I mean it's unfortunate because, you know, it's hard to look at a woman, I'm sure for these doctors and see them suffering and give them estrogen and now they have their libido back or they're not having painful intercourse or whatever it may be.
[00:24:15] Kitty M: And say, sorry, we can't do that. I know you feel better in this way, but you might be causing bigger problems in this way. I get that. I get that. And that's why I think really strict guidance with estrogen is very, very important because it might be necessary, but also we want to know how was your hormonal life prior to perimenopause?
[00:24:37] Kitty M: You know, if you had no issues, you know, I think it's safe to say that if you were pushing your estrogen down unhealthy pathways and you were converting, let's say, your progesterone into cortisol because of your inflammation levels or obesity or whatever, it's pretty safe to say that once you take the estrogen, it's going to do similar things that you did with the estrogen prior.
[00:25:01] Kitty M: Why would that change? It wouldn't. So what you're doing is very smart. And we're going to have to talk later about this because I don't really have someone who does hair tissue mineral analysis to send my people to, because I think that's really important what you just said about mobilizing it. So that's the big problem is how do we get it out back into circulation and it can't just be progesterone.
[00:25:28] Kitty M: I know that for sure. There has to be a multitude of other things that need doing including making sure you don't continue to push that estrogen. down those unhealthy pathways, right?
[00:25:40] Loren: Thank you for that. And are you familiar with Moreland Robbins work from the Root Cause Protocol? Because the way that your body treats excess estrogen is very similar to the way your body treats excess iron.
[00:25:50] Loren: It actually sequesters it in the tissues and this is due to it not having its counterpart. So for estrogen, that's progesterone and for iron, that's copper and vitamin
[00:25:59] Kitty M: A. Yeah, I was talking to Morley about this actual topic and we were saying iron, estrogen, PUFA. and histamine. They're like little circus animals that hang out together and they're always together.
[00:26:15] Kitty M: And that's so interesting. Yeah, I agree. Thank you for that Kitty.
[00:26:20] Loren: So how can you tell if you have enough progesterone?
[00:26:23] Kitty M: Pregnancy used to be. Used to be a time when women were blissed out. They used to call in my lifetime, maybe even part of your lifetime, it used to be called progesterone was the happy hormone because women were so joyful when they were pregnant.
[00:26:46] Kitty M: They might've had some morning sickness, but it wasn't common to see hypermensis gravidarum, you know, like severe, severe morning sickness because progesterone was so abundant in these women's bodies. My mom and her mom and everyone before that. But along comes xenoestrogens, in my opinion, which really made progesterone kind of extinct in a way.
[00:27:15] Kitty M: It was too busy opposing, we don't really know, but opposing these foreign compounds and being converted to cortisol. And then women were estrogen dominant. Um, getting pregnant and then having miserable pregnancies. I don't know. I have a lot of clients who are pregnant right now and it is really difficult to keep them happy and balanced.
[00:27:38] Kitty M: And I know a lot of women come to me when they're pregnant and they are just miserable. And in my group, when they talk about it, like it was the worst time of my life, I was a hot sweaty Whale that was puking constantly and the description of what they went through or what they're going through is so sad.
[00:27:55] Kitty M: And when I tell them progesterone used to be the happy hormone and they're like, there's no way it makes me miserable. It makes me cranky. It makes me sleepy. So we know. That when progesterone is adequate, you don't have those symptoms. Not just when you're pregnant, all the time. If you've got enough progesterone to oppose your estrogen, to supply you with adequate cortisol, to supply you with adequate testosterone, you're balanced, you're harmonious, you're not going to be having nightmare periods.
[00:28:28] Kitty M: you're also not going to be having like no period, right? You're going to have a healthy cycle. You're going to be thriving. You're going to be sleeping through the night. If you need to lose weight, it comes off relatively easily. It's not this stubborn weight gain that hangs around your adipose belly, right?
[00:28:46] Kitty M: Yeah, it's balance. Enough. Progesterone equals no estrogen dominant symptoms.
[00:28:55] Loren: Hey, it's Lauren. Do you wanna learn how to increase your progesterone naturally? Learn my proven M C U method, the exact steps, nutrients, foods, supplements, lifestyle habits and more. That has helped hundreds of women maximize their progesterone levels naturally. I teach you this in Conscious Conception, my pregnancy prep e course, which has a lesson completely dedicated to helping you boost your progesterone.
[00:29:19] Loren: And if you're dealing with things like anovulation, short luteal phases, or luteal phase defects, you will learn the exact steps for addressing this too. Not to mention, I teach you how to figure out if you're a good candidate for bioidentical progesterone supplementation, and exactly how to supplement it safely, and I provide you with access to self order the right progesterone lab tests and guidance on how to interpret them.
[00:29:42] Loren: Visit innatefertility.org/get-pregnant to learn more. And if you're loving the episode, please make sure to leave a review. Now back to the show. Yeah, I've actually even witnessed an uptick in antepartum depression, and I don't know if it's just the field that I'm in by default. I get these questions, but I get a lot of women reaching out to me on social media that I haven't worked with before, but they're just so lost and desperate for answers.
[00:30:11] Loren: And just to clarify, antepartum depression is not postpartum depression, but depression during pregnancy, and I think there's something there too.
[00:30:18] Kitty M: Yeah, I think so. Absolutely. I mean for me, it's not even a question because you know, I have my head buried in this work every day. Well for the hormone stuff at least eight years now, maybe nine years and it's so clear to me.
[00:30:34] Kitty M: So when I speak to Doctors, medical doctors, gynecologists who have a medical degree, they've been doing this their whole life. And I'm like, yeah, but the tissues, the estrogen in the tissues. And they just look at me like, who cares about the estrogen in the tissues? What about the misery of this woman? But when I look at it, I'm like, but yes, because as a collective, as a whole.
[00:30:57] Kitty M: All of us women, you know, I don't want to go down the same route that my mother has gone down and my sister have gone down. I don't want to go down those roads that my aunts have gone down. And I know that there are many things missing. And I think it's this misunderstanding about the power of estrogen.
[00:31:16] Kitty M: And yeah, I mean, there's quite a few studies showing that. In fact, Dr. Dalton, Katerina Dalton, who's the mother of progesterone, they call her, once a month I think was her first book. In that book, they're doing studies in the 70s and 50s on women who were suicidal, finding that something like 50, 60 percent of women who attempted or committed suicide were all in their luteal phase.
[00:31:48] Kitty M: Where progesterone was not dominating when it should have been. And estrogen was taking over. Women who were incarcerated for theft and battery and things like that, same thing. So it's so easy for me to then look at all of this and see a woman who's pregnant, who's struggling with all of these different things from hemorrhoids to yeast infections to dental problems to insomnia to heartburn and just go estrogen.
[00:32:16] Kitty M: It's the estrogen. So it's the xenoestrogens. We have been riddled and saturated with these xenoestrogens in our lifetime, in the lifetime before us and the generation before us, just saturated with these microplastics and BPAs and glyphosate and all of these things. So to me, I feel like progesterone is desperately trying to do its job and it can't.
[00:32:41] Kitty M: Because it's in such demand to oppose all of these foreign things. That's obviously my opinion, but it seems very obvious to me. I
[00:32:51] Loren: think there's a lot to unpack there. Thank you for that. I think the estrogen dominant society is definitely a problem for sure, like all the xenoestrogens we're being exposed to.
[00:33:00] Loren: And I also think, and please, those listening, don't try to interpret this in any kind of way, but We're experiencing a shift where more women are in the workforce, but they're also expected to be just as productive in the home on top of their work. And there's also this other side where there's disappearance of community and the village that has been so critical in supporting the woman healing postpartum and the raising of our children too.
[00:33:25] Kitty M: Well, let me throw this in there. I would venture to argue and say that even the societal changes have happened because of hormone imbalance, the lack of people wanting to care for the elderly and to care more for pregnant women. Even these things, even the way our medical system is run, to me, that sounds like an estrogen dominant system.
[00:33:49] Kitty M: You know, a system that is not in balance. Oh, Georgie said this in my podcast recently, he said, basically he breaks it down from politics to societal behavior, to health, to metabolism. And it's so brilliant. And I really think that that's exactly what you're saying. How in the point where we're not taking care of our elderly?
[00:34:13] Kitty M: We're just sticking them in homes. How did that happen? And Hey, sometimes that has to be, there's no judgment there, but there is like, wait a minute. What broke down there that these homes are even the way that they are, unless you've got lots and lots of money to be able to support that. So I think it's all part of the same problem.
[00:34:35] Loren: Yes, it can really be an environment that doesn't lend itself well to optimal progesterone production. But the good news is that there are so many things you can do to naturally increase your progesterone levels too. And I just want to mention that in case anyone is spiraling right now.
[00:34:48] Kitty M: That brings us back to Morley Robbins and our magnesium burn rate.
[00:34:51] Kitty M: You know, our stress levels, our stressors, our low grade infections, our PTSD, our trauma, our exposure to chemicals and all these things are burning our magnesium and that’s the most important mineral to make progesterone and malabsorption at the gut. How are we even supposed to absorb our magnesium if we have leaky gut from all the cortisol that cycles off into our gut?
[00:35:16] Kitty M: It's just a vicious cycle that can be overwhelming. And I always end up hearing myself like Debbie Downer, like people, your listeners are going to be like, Whoa, lady, this is scary talk. But there's something you can do. You can do something about it. You can start and take steps to start to correct things and quickly too.
[00:35:39] Loren: So can we talk about bioidentical progesterone? What is that exactly for the audience?
[00:35:43] Kitty M: So, bioidentical progesterone is a molecule that is made from, there's a few sources, wild yam, yucca, certain types of cactuses, soy, that carry this plant sterol called diosteanin. I think I say that right? But I always say it wrong.
[00:36:04] Kitty M: So I'm not sure. Diosteanin is a plant sterol. From that plant sterol, they can take it into a lab and they can synthesize out progesterone and make it micronized like into a powder form. And from that. We know from Dr. Ray Pete's work. The best way to make then a supplemental bioidentical progesterone is to then dissolve that powder into a vitamin E source, usually soy or sunflower or a nato, and then dissolve that and then add that to a carrier cream or use that by itself.
[00:36:40] Kitty M: The reason it's called bioidentical progesterone is because it is identical to the progesterone that our own bodies make. As opposed to progestins, which I think we'll probably talk about are not identical to the one our bodies make. And we can go down that road later if you want. And so this bioidentical progesterone then from usually wild yam, which is not to be mistaken for wild yam extract.
[00:37:07] Kitty M: There are a lot of creams out there that are made from wild yam extract, which is a great. type of adaptogenic extract that can be put into a cream or oil. And it can help women with mild hormone imbalance. Our bodies can't convert that wild yam extract. It can't remove the diostean and the plant sterol, and it can't convert it to progesterone.
[00:37:30] Kitty M: Our bodies cannot do that conversion. So unless it says, progesterone on the actual ingredient label, most likely it's not progesterone. Can be helpful, but it might also not touch your estrogen dominant symptoms. So the wild yam extract, let's say with Onas, we use wild yam. And then we dissolve it into a carrier oil.
[00:37:54] Kitty M: Right now it is soy and people have concerns about that. Well, if you're allergic to it, absolutely. You should not use that. There are plenty of other creams and products that use sunflower. And you can check that out. I would like to make one that's made with a nato, which is a type of seed. So onus takes a dissolved progesterone and then adds it to a cream.
[00:38:18] Kitty M: So onus has the Luna Oil, which is just the pure oil concentrate. And then we also have three different creams. So the 3%, the 10%, and 20%, the strength is not the same as dosing. So when you hear someone say, 5 percent strength. That means that one drop or one pump of 5 percent cream, no matter what brand it is, 5 percent of that pump or that drop is going to be progesterone.
[00:38:49] Kitty M: The rest of it is going to be the carrier cream and oil. So that means that when you have one pump of say 20%, 20 percent of that is going to be progesterone. So people say, well, why don't we just use the 20%? And the reason is because progesterone. infamously, is very difficult to absorb. It just is. That's just the nature of progesterone.
[00:39:14] Kitty M: Unfortunately, estrogen is not the same. Estrogen is the complete opposite, of course. But progesterone is extremely difficult to absorb. A lot of experts like Dr. Lee, who was very famous for his work with progesterone, say the most absorbable form is through the gut. But that's not necessarily true these days, because why?
[00:39:36] Kitty M: Because of leaky gut, because of how pervasive gut issues and malabsorption, and now this issue with PUFA. right? PUFA in the intestinal lining and how women are getting nauseous or people are getting nauseous from the consumption of vitamin E. Something's going on with our guts that's not allowing that absorption to take place.
[00:39:57] Kitty M: And I don't know, I think it has something to do with a lot of. polyunsaturated fat in the gut. And anyway, another subject. So that's what bioidentical progesterone is. And it's not a controlled substance. It is over the counter. You cannot patent it. In fact, the only type of patent that was able to be Filed on progesterone was done by Dr.
[00:40:19] Kitty M: Ray Peet. And what he did is he let the patent lapse and he kept it under his name and now he's passed and it'll never be able to be changed, which is making multiple percentages of progesterone available to anyone who wants to make it. in any form at any strength. So that's pretty awesome. The FDA could change their mind about this and we'll see.
[00:40:43] Kitty M: But for now, anybody can make progesterone. It's hard to get the micronized powder and et cetera, but it's really accessible to us. And back to the absorption, 20% Can be a little harder to absorb than a lower strength cream. For some reason, we don't really know why, but if you get a compounded cream from your doctor.
[00:41:08] Kitty M: in those little tubes, the clickers, those are almost always in 2 percent or 3 percent and they stay at the lower strengths because they seem to be easier to absorb. So that's the issue with strength. So it's also kind of the difficulty with progesterone. is like, well, what do I use? How do I know what strength to use?
[00:41:29] Kitty M: I always say err on the side of the lower strengths at first. And once you realize, Oh, Hey, I do really well with this. I don't want to be using so much cream all the time. I'm going to go for the 10 percent or the 20%. and see if I can't absorb that just as well. And a lot of women do. A lot of women love the 20 percent because they're just like one little pump and they're done for the day.
[00:41:50] Kitty M: So it's so individual and that's probably the most difficult thing about my job is trying to help women figure out what's best for them.
[00:42:00] Loren: Awesome. And can you explain for the audience, how is bioidentical progesterone different from the progesterone that you get from, let's say, a hormonal birth control pill?
[00:42:09] Loren: And I think some people might be surprised to understand that there is actually a difference.
[00:42:14] Kitty M: I'm going to, for once in my life, try and approach this from A non conspiratorial position, because I always feel like the pharma industry intended on the things that have happened. So I'm going to not take that position and see how it goes.
[00:42:32] Kitty M: Okay. So you'll be my first person I speak to. I'm just trying to be a conscientious observer, repeating the things I've learned. So for some reason. Many years ago, I think it was probably in the 40s, pharma decided that they were going to try to mimic progesterone in order to find a pill or something that would do the work of progesterone in the body.
[00:42:58] Kitty M: And it worked, they used the diostrin that we talked about, and from it they made estrogen and testosterone as well. And it was a really cool discovery, but then when they started to manipulate the molecules, because they couldn't take a plant based something and then turn around and sell it as a drug, they had to make a drug.
[00:43:20] Kitty M: So they tried to make an identical version. clone of the natural plant sterol and they tried to make an identical version as a drug and that was the progestin or Progestogens, but they at the time didn't know that it had all these adverse effects What it does do that is the same as progesterone is it seems to protect the uterus as progesterone does but at the cost of an increase of risk of spontaneous abortion, congenital abnormalities, if taken by pregnant women, fluid retention, epilepsy, migraine, asthma, cardiac and renal dysfunction, depression, breast tenderness, nausea, insomnia, cancer, and a drop in progesterone levels.
[00:44:05] Kitty M: Now that's not my list that actually comes from what. They listed as side effects to progestogens. So they found this out in a very difficult way by, of course, women getting these things. Then they started making estrogen from horse urine from a pregnant mare called Premarin. And so now we have these two non identical hormones that women are ingesting and wreaking havoc.
[00:44:30] Kitty M: In many ways, but hey, they're not getting pregnant. They're have their choice and decision to not get pregnant, but at what cost ultimately. So progestins are not identical to progesterone. They're not identical to what our body makes and they have all these adverse effects. So the birth control pill does not trick your body into thinking it's pregnant.
[00:44:52] Kitty M: What it does is it causes medicated menopause. It disrupts the communication between your pituitary And your ovaries and literally it makes you sterile. So there's so many things wrong with that, including as it said, it drops your own progesterone levels. But until they really understood that they still called it progesterone in the studies in the papers.
[00:45:19] Kitty M: So when you go back and you look at the literature from those times, all the studies, and there weren't many, sadly, all of them, the ones that were there were not discerning. They were not saying progesterone and progestin. They were just calling it all progesterone. And this continued to happen. In fact, Katerina Dalton in her books, she says, there were countless times where these doctors who were the head of these different studies were saying, guys, listen, doctors.
[00:45:47] Kitty M: They were sending out papers and memos to people saying, please stop confusing progestin and progesterone. This is a problem because they're very much not the same. And the perfect way to determine that and to tell that and to prove that right here right now is would you ever give a pregnant woman the birth control pill?
[00:46:07] Kitty M: No, because she could miscarry or she'll have abnormalities in the baby. Done. End of story. End of subject. There is nothing similar about these two, but it continues. And to this day, I'm sure you get it all the time. In my group daily, women will say, I'm on progesterone. Should I raise my dose? What kind of progesterone are you on?
[00:46:29] Kitty M: I have the Marina coil. I'm on this particular pill and they'll name a brand of pill. And. We have to go through it again, guys, that's not progesterone. Before was the most difficult part of my job. This is probably the most like aggressive. Like I have to be aggressive with this. I want to be aggressive about getting the word out with the difference and with doctors.
[00:46:53] Kitty M: Doctors, stop calling the pill progesterone. Stop it. It's incorrect. And it's actually borderline criminal. It would be like calling a Xanax a vitamin. No. No. So it needs to stop. And I think it is. I think it's changing.
[00:47:11] Loren: Yes, totally. And I think it's Dr. Jolene Brighton who has pointed out that progestins are not only not the same thing as progesterone, but the molecule is actually more similar to testosterone.
[00:47:23] Kitty M: There is an argument to be made in regards since you brought up testosterone and Georgie talks about this, which is that even testosterone is getting a bad rap, getting blamed for what really is just estrogen. What's happening with testosterone when people have elevated levels of testosterone and again, they're pushing it down unhealthy pathways.
[00:47:43] Kitty M: What's it doing? It's aromatizing into estrogen, so it really isn't even the testosterone that's. causing the problem. People are like, I've got PCOS. My testosterone is too high. How do I get it down? And I say, get your estrogen down and get your stress under control because that's what's going to stop your very, very valuable testosterone.
[00:48:01] Kitty M: In my opinion, I personally, from what I read with Georgie and everything I've studied, I don't think it's wise to try to block your testosterone. We have to stop it from aromatizing. There again lies the issue of stress, toxic exposure, xenoestrogens, right? Comes back down to that, that estrogen, in my opinion.
[00:48:23] Loren: I think anything we put in our bodies, we need to be fully informed about.
[00:48:27] Kitty M: I mean, it's the same with anything though, isn't it? It's the same thing with supplementation. I didn't really have that perspective until I had Dr. Tyler Pansner on my show. He had a good argument for regulating vitamins and supplements, and I didn't like that at all, but I was like, gosh, you know, we have to be careful.
[00:48:46] Kitty M: We're adults and we're being given this really cool opportunity to self medicate, if you will, to handle our own health, to manage and become responsible for our own health. We can't be willy nilly about it. We can't just be listening to just anybody. I don't want people to just listen to me. I want you to go look up what I've said.
[00:49:06] Kitty M: Go look it, go look it up. And if you catch me in saying something incorrect. Message me. I want to know, you know, and correct me. Like, don't just say, oh, well, Kitty Martone said that the mini pill or whatever. Like, this is just information. We're just messengers, and we have to be responsible for our own health.
[00:49:25] Kitty M: We really do.
[00:49:26] Loren: Thank you so much, Kitty. So who do you think would be a good candidate for bioidentical progesterone? I personally, in working with hundreds and hundreds of women clinically in my practice, There's definitely a specific profile and certain steps I take to make sure that this person is a good fit and this person will respond well, but I'm just really curious to hear from you what you think.
[00:49:48] Kitty M: This is funny because I'm just thinking about it as now as the CEO of Ona's Natural, I have to be careful about what I say and how I say it because we sell estrogen and it would be in my best interest. Um, But I know that that's not a safe thing to do, but when it comes to progesterone, I genuinely believe from my studies and the experts I've interviewed and all of the people that I've spoken with and literature that I've read that progesterone is.
[00:50:23] Kitty M: benign and safe and can be given and I have given and recommended to pets, to infants, to children, to young adults, to children with autism, to children with epilepsy, to adults with epilepsy, to men with prostate issues, to men with gynomastia. Honestly, I really believe that when it comes to hormone imbalance, just about anyone Would be a candidate for, at the very least, inquiring with your medical professional about it and bring some literature with them that says, Hey, I heard this works on epilepsy and my daughter has these and when it's around her period, they get worse.
[00:51:09] Kitty M: Do you think we could experiment? And I also am not opposed to someone saying, you know what, I'm going to try it anyway because we've done everything. And my kid has been bedwetting his whole life and I think he does have adrenaline dominance and I'm going to try it because that's how safe I think it is.
[00:51:25] Kitty M: Can you have reactions to it? Sure. I've got people on magnesium that are bedridden sometimes because they have such bad reactions. I've got people who have gotten neuropathy from B6. I've seen people put themselves in the hospital from doing a liver flush. We have to be adults about this and know that there are repercussions to just about anything.
[00:51:44] Kitty M: But when it comes to progesterone, I wholeheartedly believe that it is safe. They have yet to do a study finding an overdose limit. They have used it to sedate animals because it does have a side effect if you push it down this particular pathway, the alpha pathway, and you make the metabolite or more of the metabolite allopregnenolone, you can get totally sleepy, maybe nauseous.
[00:52:13] Kitty M: So there is that. You can also get diarrhea from Mag Glycinate, I mean from Mag Citrate, that's the gauge that I use. So when people say, don't mess with your hormones, I'm like, well, my hormones are messing with me and I'm going to try to do something here. So you have to just be responsible for your own choices and you have to educate yourself and be a critical thinker.
[00:52:34] Kitty M: And I think almost anyone with hormone imbalance would be a great candidate to, at the very least, inquire about progesterone for your imbalances.
[00:52:44] Loren: So what's one thing you would like to share with the audience that they can start doing today to unlock the innate wisdom of their bodies?
[00:52:52] Kitty M: I know you're going to think I'm going to say progesterone, but I'm not.
[00:52:58] Kitty M: I really think that progesterone is not a magic bullet, nor is any other supplement. I think that our bodies are beautiful machines that are divinely created to heal themselves and to function optimally. We're designed to survive, but we can certainly learn to thrive. And I think that One of the really basic things is, are you eating enough and are you eating in the right balance?
[00:53:27] Kitty M: Because I think that's something that I never knew about myself and always figured that I was doing correctly because I was healthy gut girl. You know, of course I was doing everything right with my gut and my health and my diet. Nope. It's worth tracking your food intake. What are you eating and are you getting enough fat and protein and carbohydrate or are you under eating protein and overeating fat and healthy carbohydrates?
[00:53:52] Kitty M: So progesterone isn't a magic bullet, right? We're blessed to have access to it the way that we do, but there's just no substitute for nutrient dense food, daily mild exercise. And I'm saying this to, I'm assuming women with hormone imbalance at any age, daily mild, daily mild, not weekly CrossFit, right?
[00:54:15] Kitty M: Daily mild exercise and activity. And I think prayer and peaceful quiet, we have to find peaceful quiet. We don't have that anymore. As fun as it is to get on TikTok and scroll away and it feels like you're checking out, that's not peaceful quiet, right? And I'm guilty. So we can't heal our bodies without those basic things that we were designed to, to do, which is acquire nutrient dense food, rest, keep calm, manage our stress levels.
[00:54:46] Kitty M: Those things, and then we can talk about progesterone and testosterone and all the thousands of dollars of supplements in your cupboard, but let's do those basics first before the cleanses and the flushes and you know, are you eating enough and what is it that you're eating? And are you eliminating the waste from that?
[00:55:05] Kitty M: You know, how's your gut health? Those things I think are profoundly important. You can spend a whole year just on that stuff and get very, very, very far. Before you even have to touch hormones and supplements, in my opinion,
[00:55:20] Loren: I think that's a really important point because a lot of the people listening might be thinking, Oh, my goodness, I need to go out and buy some progesterone immediately and start taking them that will solve all my problems.
[00:55:31] Loren: And I think that if you think about this, in the conventional way that we've been conditioned and trained to think about supplements and medications. That is probably your first thought, but I encourage you to kind of undo that conditioning because I think that it's really important to have the foundations, and without the foundations, no supplement is going to help you in the way that you want it to.
[00:56:00] Loren: That's why it's a supplement, and I think that's just a really important point to hit home on.
[00:56:05] Kitty M: Yes, exactly. I love that because people think like the magic bullet concept, you know, while I'm taking magnesium, I'm taking the B vitamins. Why aren't I A, B, C, D, E? Possibly because you haven't covered those foundational basics, super important.
[00:56:24] Kitty M: And those basics, what used to take a wheelbarrow of supplements to bring balance or to even get a little bit of balance. With those basics in place, a thimble of supplements, a squirt of 3 percent cream, and not 800 milligrams of slathering it on and, you know, all of a sudden, everything you're doing becomes more effective because you've got your machine working optimally or as best as it can.
[00:56:56] Loren: Thank you so much, Kitty. So how can people find you?
[00:56:59] Kitty M: Probably the Estrogen Dominance Support Group in Facebook. It's a private group, so Answer all the questions and you will magically be let in and introduce yourself to me. Let me know that you heard me on innate wisdom podcast and then also healthy gut girl underscore on Instagram and I have a healthy gut girl tick tock and Oh, I'm starting a healthy gut girls mighty network and that can be looked up online.
[00:57:25] Kitty M: It's just getting started. Oh, and stuff your doctor should know is my podcast and that's on all podcast platforms.
[00:57:32] Loren: Yes, and we can't forget Onas right kitty.
[00:57:35] Kitty M: Onas, us.onasnatural.com. We have really cool loyalty program going right now. I don't just want to sell products. I want to create the community, the awareness so that people have the guidance they need.
[00:57:49] Kitty M: And I'm giving you that link to the progesterone handbook, the progesterone supplementation handbook for your listeners. I don't want you to be lost. I want people to be able to jump into Onas and have resources there if you don't have Facebook. Thank you. And you can't join the group. I want there to be access for you to feel like you're in this community of mostly women who are supporting each other with their experiences and their knowledge and all of the data and literature and resources and things that I'm learning.
[00:58:18] Kitty M: So yeah, own us for sure. Kitty,
[00:58:21] Loren: thank you so much for our conversation today and really thank you for the work that you do. It was such a
[00:58:26] Kitty M: pleasure. Oh, I do too. And thank you for the work you do as well. I really appreciate you.
[00:58:34] Loren: Thank you so much for listening to the innate wisdom podcast. If you enjoyed today's episode, please leave us a review and share the podcast with someone who you think might benefit. If you're new here, we can't recommend enough that you take advantage of my free resources, like the Get Pregnant Yesterday Checklist, Psycholiteracy Guide, Prenatal Primer, and Sperm Booster Manual.
[00:58:53] Loren: And if you're trying to conceive now or in the near future, I invite you to join my Pregnancy Prep eCourse, Conscious Inception. Make sure to follow me on Instagram too. at innate underscore fertility and consider joining my newsletter to receive exclusive content related to fertility and so much more.
[00:59:09] Loren: A friendly reminder, the content shared on this podcast is for informational purposes only and should not be a substitute for the advice provided by your doctor or other healthcare professional. It is not intended to be, nor does it constitute healthcare or medical advice.