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Natural Progesterone

by Dr John Lee, M.D.(more info)

listed in symposium - menopause, originally published in issue 27 - April 1998

A Transcript     Contents     Introduction: Dr Goodman     Dr Bond (Intro)     Dr Lee

Dr Bond     Q&A: Drs Lee and Bond     Dr Smallbone     Dr Griffin     Beth MacEoin

Q&A: Smallbone, Griffin & MacEoin     Leslie Kenton     Q&A: All     Exhibitors & Speakers



Introduction: Dr Sandra Goodman

Dr John Lee, from California, has been in private practice for almost 35 years, he has been teaching courses in optimal health for about a quarter of a century, and he is one of the leading pioneers in the clinical use of natural progesterone. He has come from California and has written two books about the subject, both of which are available during the breaks.



Knowledge that might Save your Life
I have been in practice for 34 years, I finished medical school at the University of Minnesota in 1955 and practised in Mill Valley, California until 1989, and as I hit age 60, I arrived at that point where I felt that I wanted to write books about all these things I had learned from my patients, and to teach, and I became interested in the progesterone problem in the mid-1970s. Just as Dr Bond mentioned, we had a crisis that women on oestrogen were acquiring cancer of the uterus at a rate 6-8 times greater than without the oestrogen.

This was the beginning of my interest in progesterone, and the more I used it, the more I learned about it – mostly from my patients, and then from research through the literature references. For example, if a patient reported that her fibrocystic breast cleared up and became normal, the librarian at our local hospital and I would review the available literature and find that yes, indeed, this had been studied very well, and that yes, indeed, progesterone does treat fibrocystic breast, a disease that happens when you have oestrogen-dominance and lack of progesterone, and that when progesterone is restored, the breasts come back to normal. This is well known. But it was not known to me because they had not taught that in medical school, and I thought I must have slept through a class, because the more I learned about it, the more I realised I should have been taught these things, and I thought it was my fault somehow. And then I discovered that all my colleagues were equally ignorant about natural progesterone. And apparently in the last 50 years, natural progesterone has been ignored by conventional medicine.

I felt almost obliged – some people say 'obsessed' – driven to write what I had learned about the use of progesterone in practice, and eventually in 1989 I decided to retire from actual practice in order to get the time to do this. It is a decision that I made which my wife was very uncertain about, but it is a decision that I now feel was the correct one, because I think it is important that women know, that they achieve the knowledge of what these hormones do – because choices are yours to be made. You should not leave these choices to doctors who have received the same medical school education that I did, and are not aware of these things. We are correcting the work of that American doctor that Dr Bond mentioned, Dr Wilson, who wrote that first book. I remember when that book came out – that was dynamite – Forever Feminine – but I am saying here that it was a mistake. I believe that the information you are going to hear and learn about progesterone from my books, and hopefully from this little talk might, indeed, save your lives.

Early Days with Natural Progesterone
As I mentioned, in the middle 1970s we had the problem of cancer of the uterus developing in women prescribed oestrogen, and yet we have all been taught that we treat osteoporosis with oestrogen and Vitamin D, Vitamin C, change of diet, quitting cigarettes, getting more exercise, etc. This was a cruel dilemma: because if we gave them the oestrogen, we increased the chance of cancer; if we did not give the oestrogen, we were taught that they would get a hip fracture and spend the rest of their life in a nursing home. It was very important that we find a way out, and it was about that time I heard about natural progesterone – that is progesterone identical to humans' – being available in creams. This was my first decision in this process: to advise women who could not take oestrogen because of their history of breast cancer or diabetes or obesity or vascular disorders; that we could try the progesterone and then we would follow them up.

Bone Mineral Density Tests
We had in the mid-1970s at the same time – something in Mother Nature keeps protecting humans – we had a new test which was the bone mineral density test: we could follow osteoporosis very well with new tests. With X-Ray alone, you cannot detect a change of bone density until it exceeds 30%. With the new techniques you could detect the change of bone mineral density of 3% or 4%. They were 97% accurate – of huge advantage. I was able to ask these women to go to the health food store, buy the cream and we would follow their bones. From the references that I had researched, I knew that progesterone in physiological doses had already been proved to be perfectly natural and perfectly safe. There has been no recorded side-effects. It had been in these creams for 30 years by the time I heard about it. I did not develop the creams, I had nothing to do with it, I came upon them by chance, by hearing a doctor talk about it. I have a few slides on osteoporosis.

[See Slide 1 below] This is a slide depicting bone mineral density in women from age 10 until age 80, and I want to point out something which is quite striking. As you know, your bones become more dense as you reach puberty; they continue to increase, and the peak is at age 35. After age 35, it starts downhill, at a rate of 1% to 1 1/2% per year. At menopause time (around 50) there is a more rapid and dramatic loss, of about 3% to 4% per year for a few years, and then it continues on at the same down rate as it did prior to the menopause.

John Lee


But do you see the implication of a woman's maximum, optimum bone mineral density at age 35? She is still making her oestrogen! She is still having periods! She is still following a good diet! She is still shuffling her kids around from school to playground, to dentist appointments and so on. She is still doing everything she did before. Then something changes in her body. She gets a little thicker around her thighs and her hips, her libido is not quite as roaring as it was before. Her husband is off doing other things in his work now. She is a little more uncertain about what the future is going to hold, and her bones are actually losing their bone mass. She does not know it, her doctor does not know it, but it is already under way. What is the only change that happened?

By strange coincidence, in the late 1970s, doctors were measuring the hormones in women and checking their bones with the new bone mineral density testing, and they found that this early beginning of osteoporosis is due to the fact that they are making less progesterone.

Something had happened to their ovaries so they are not ovulating every month, they are not making the egg every month, and even if they do ovulate and make progesterone, instead of making it for the whole second half of the month, they only make it for a day or two and then it fades. Something has happened to the ovaries of the women in industrialised countries, and it correlates exactly with the decline of progesterone.

In women who have osteoporosis, it has been found that their progesterone is low. And now, if you correct that, if you restore the progesterone, what happens? The bones get well again.

Hormonal Influences upon Osteoporosis
We know the mechanism of how it works. Within your bones there are little tiny channels called canaliculi, and there are little cells called osteoclasts that are constantly running around through the bone, looking for older bone that has become more crystallised and more likely to break. When it finds those little patches of bone, it dissolves them away. This is called resorption, and on their heels are waiting osteoblasts. As soon as the osteoclasts move on to some other section of bone, the osteoblasts move in and they make a better bone than was there before, and then it goes through a resting phase. These are stimulated by progesterone and testosterone! This one is held in check by oestrogen. So it is like a bank balance here: we have withdrawals and we have deposits. Oestrogen tries to slow the withdrawals and progesterone tries to increase the deposits; the new bone formation. So your resulting bone mass is merely a balance of the two factors.

Osteoporosis is not a disease of calcium deficiency. The highest incidence of osteoporosis is in countries that have the highest intake of calcium: Norway, Sweden, the United States – is that not amazing? And your doctor may try to tell you that it is due to lack of calcium. No! It is due to lack of progesterone stimulating these little guys that are making new bone. Osteoporosis is a disease of deficiency of new bone formation. Is that not amazing?

Now remember that first slide? For those women right around the menopause time, women in this stage might well benefit from low-dose oestrogen, or they might benefit from some herbs that are oestrogenic, or diet changes, because that sudden drop is due to a decline of oestrogen in your body, and that allows the first cells, those osteoclasts, to act more vigorously. And that can be slowed, and if it is slowed, then your body can accept it, and you will not have that bone loss there. But the rest of it is progesterone.

Progesterone for Osteoporosis
Now, I am going to show you just one example, because there are lessons to be learned from particular examples. When I first started showing my colleagues the results of using progesterone, they were very impressed because my patients increased by 10% – 15% in bone. My patients were 65 years old and all I did was give them the progesterone cream and their bones increased. Doctor after doctor has found the same thing. You do not need a double-blind study for all things.

John Lee


[See Slide 2 above] This is a lady in Pennsylvania. I met her once at a conference in Washington, D.C. We were there protesting some FDA action. And years later, in 1992, she was 74 years old and she woke up with terrible pain in her back – she had a spontaneous collapse of one of her vertebrae. She had gone through the menopause in her mid 40s, so it had been almost 30 years that she was deficient in progesterone. She was a health nut, though – she ate all the right stuff, she had all the right supplements, she exercised, she did everything fine, she looked 10-15 years younger than her age. She had never been on oestrogen because her sister tried it and died of breast cancer. And here she is at 74 in perfectly good health, only her bones instead – see these numbers here: 40, 56, 54, 72, 80 it should go 100, 1.2, 0.9, 90, 100 ,111 and so on – normal bone in someone her height would be over 100 – and here she is (this is her here) at about 46. She has lost over half of her bone. Half of her bone mass is missing, and of course she was told to go on oestrogen: she refused. She was told to go on fluoride, and fluoride does not make stronger bones, it makes slightly more dense bones, but it does not make the bones stronger – it is a poor quality, it is foreign, and it actually increases fracture rate, and she had known that. And she was told to go on Fosamax, one of those new pills that is supposed to stop the osteoclasts from resorbing bone, they are anti-resorbing, but has nothing to do with her case – she has not been making bone for 30 years!

She said "No" to all of that; she said "I am going to use natural progesterone – I understand Dr Lee is working on that." I had not written my book yet: I wrote my book in 1994. So she called me and she said "What would you do?" and I said "I would take progesterone cream – you are doing everything else fine, just add the progesterone cream." Her husband is a Ph.D. medical scientist, her son is a doctor, and she has a doctor, who sent her to a different doctor: an orthopaedist; and then a radiologist: and they all told her "There is nothing in the books that shows that progesterone helps bones." She said "I do not care, I have Dr Lee, he is not stupid; he is not dumb and crazy." She wanted to try it. Her husband said "Well, then you will have to get a bone mineral density test in six months. We want to show you that it does not work."

In six months, her bones had increased considerably – this is six months. Then they went to eight months more or ten months more and it was still increasing. And then it went down, and then up again, and over here, her husband wrote a little note: "Lower value at 23 months possibly due to nerve block administration." Well, I did not know anything about the nerve block administration, so I called her doctor. I was going to tell you that when I showed my colleagues in California that other people had responses like that, they said that they could not believe it, and they thought it was a placebo effect; the effect of my personality on them! And my response always was "If it is a placebo effect, it is a damn good placebo effect, because your bones actually get stronger." So in this case, by telephone, the placebo effect was working two years later!

I called her doctor, and he said that he had felt left out of the loop, so he gave her three injections of long-acting methylprednisolone, which is a cortisone – and cortisone inhibits the action of progesterone by competing at the receptor sites! These hormones work by binding to a receptor site and carrying a message to the nucleus and the cell responds. The cortisone was blocking the progesterone, which is further proof that the progesterone had been working! When they went back on their progesterone, it picked up again, and now they are testing her hips, and they are getting stronger, too. When she goes to the hospital to get her next test every year – her doctor sends me a new one every year – all the secretaries from the other doctors' offices all come over to see what the result is going to be! Because they have never seen it in their practice for their doctor.

The Fosamax Myth
Her doctor still sends her Fosamax advertisements! And look, she has gained 37.9% new bone in four years! There is no treatment that is as good as this! By any other agent! After seeing hundreds just like this – thousands, I should say – this is what I found in my practice: a 15% increase in those on progesterone; those that were limited to oestrogen had about a 1% or 2% gain, and then it stayed there, and eventually that they began to lose; and this is the loss of 11/2% per year. Over three years women would lose 41/2 % of their bone.

This is standard: this is what happens in most doctors' offices and this is what happens in people with progesterone on average. Not everybody goes up. Everything in medicine is multi-factorial: there are many other factors. Whether you can digest the calcium in the diet; whether you can utilise Vitamin C correctly; make sure you are not metabolically acidosis; make sure you are not having somebody give you too much thyroid or cortisone – there are 30, 40, 50 factors. So if someone does not improve on progesterone – which is in the minority – you then have to function as a detective to find what other factor is missing.

A recent study in January in the New England Journal of Medicine – compared Fosamax with oestrogen and progestin. It is a medicine which is number eight in a line of similar medicines which have all failed – all previous seven have failed. They are called diphosphonates or bisphosphonates. They are ingredients in the bath tub powder that you use to get the grey line off the bath tub that forms. The grey line is dead skin cells and it plasters itself on the enamel of the bathtub, and is difficult to remove. They have a drug – a chemical – that eats human cells, so they add it to the bath powder, and that is a bisphosphonate.

The researchers are giving it in these pills to people, because it also inhibits the osteoclasts that are absorbing bone, and therefore (theoretically) it should work when people are 50-51 years old and going through menopause, to block this resorption of old bone. The study was done in England, Europe and the United States – a huge study – for only two years. This is the loss in the bones that occurs in people age 50-51 who are not being treated at all; and this is what happens to the Fosamax group. No change, no improvement, no nothing – it just holds it.

Here is what happens when you use an old-fashioned treatment with a little oestrogen and a little progestin which is very much like progesterone; progesterone is better of course, but this is a synthetic version, and it is one which is used in Europe very much like real progesterone, but not quite as good. They gained about 2% in two years; and the Fosamax people were less than 1%; and the ones that did not have anything, less. You see the Fosamax people? They lost over 1% or 2% at a time in their life when the Fosamax should have been the prime treatment! Fosamax is a sham, it does dissolve human cells; there are over 200 cases in England already where it has dissolved holes through people's oesophagus and stomach!

This is the oestrogen and progestin; and this is the hip with oestrogen and progestin – far better; than Fosamax and these are the untreated ones. My point is: none of these match real progesterone, but they are all better than Fosamax. And they want to sell you $100,000,000 worth of Fosamax to regain the cost that they had in getting it cleared by the officials to make it legal!

I want to point out one thing here: the source of the oestrogen in Premarin, as Dr Bond said, is in pregnant mares' urine. Isn't that nice?

The Genius of Russell E. Marker
The source of progesterone, on the other hand, was discovered in 1934. There are fats in plants called sapogens/saponins – which means the fats, we have the word 'sap' – and this fellow, Russell E. Marker was a young scientist at the time hired to find a source of progesterone. There is no progesterone in plants; there is no cholesterol in plants. But he found a technique in 1934; he puzzled out the precise molecular structure of many sapogenins – those are the fats – and he devised a method he named after himself – 'The Marker Degradation Method', which is still used today – of converting and re-shaping one of these molecules into one identical in structure to progesterone – identical! It is progesterone!

That is the name of the same compound synthesised from cholesterol. We synthesise ours from cholesterol, he learned how to synthesise it from plants. Prior to that it cost $36,000 a pound, in the midst of the depression, that would be $3,600,000 a pound now. Because they had to get it from the ovaries of pregnant sows. It took 10,000 sows to get enough progesterone to fill one of the jars of the cream (like Pro-Gest being sold). And when he discovered that, he refused to patent it. He did not want anyone to have exclusive rights to use his technique, and the price fell to $7 a pound! Is that not something? He then tried to form a company; he helped form Syntex and they robbed him: they did not pay him for his services and he went back to Pennsylvania where he became a professor and taught there until he was 92 years old, and died in February 1995.

John Lee


[See Slide 3 above] He went on to make many, many more discoveries about things to do with plant products, but this is where all of your hormones come from: all the hormones your doctors use – the cortisone, the testosterone, the oestrogens... even the digitalis, the digoxin, comes from Dr Marker's technique for converting plant fats into molecules identical to the need of these medications. Is that not amazing? And the pharmaceutical companies will not sell real progesterone because it cannot be patented: Dr Marker ensured that that would happen, you see. Is that not good?

So, what do they do? They have to create some technical advance that they can patent, like the oestrogen patches – the oestrogen is not patented: the patch is patented! And now they have a progesterone cream which is in an adhesive gel that never existed before, and the company has that and they now have FDA approval in the United States to sell their progesterone cream, and they are going to advertise that they are the only ones... but the only thing that they had patented was the adhesive gel, and I do not think it is going to find much patient acceptance. Because they are selling it as a vaginal adhesive gel! My mind boggles at the idea of things that could happen to that!

HRT: The Real Cause of Heart Attacks

I want to spend some time showing you what is important and what is not important. Cardiovascular disease is the number one cause of death for both men and women. We are all familiar that in men, they get heart attacks that kill them when they are 40-50 years old. And it is twelve times higher than the second highest cause of death, and men die off of heart attacks very early. Go to some nursing homes or retirement centres: it is all the widows left, you may notice.

Before the women die, they too begin dying of heart disease, so by the time they die, almost the same percentage have died of heart attacks as men! But when men die, if you do autopsies, you find that the arteries to their heart – the coronary arteries – are clogged with cholesterol. When women die of a heart attack, you do not find that. They are not clogged with cholesterol. At most, they are only 20 – 25% moderately obstructed with cholesterol, but not enough to block the flow of blood to the heart. They are dying of a different disease! And when they do get an attack, they die quicker and any sort of treatment is less effective. Women claim that is because there has not been any research on it; that women are neglected – when they get chest pain and die the doctor does not treat them as well. I do not think that is true: I think the doctor does what he thinks is right, but he thinks he is treating a male heart attack! There is something different happening.

Let us pose it as a puzzle: how do you kill a woman if you could not clog up her coronary arteries with cholesterol? And kill her with a heart attack? You have to arrange for those coronary arteries to go into spasm, so the 20% little obstruction becomes 100% obstruction by the arteries going into spasm. Think of that. Does that happen? You bet it happens! It happens because we are human! If somebody slaps your face, your arteries go into spasm. If you get a letter in the United States from the Internal Revenue Service, your heart goes into spasm. If somebody says something wrong about your child, your arteries go into spasm. If you walk out of here and find that your car has been dented, your arteries go into spasm – that is the way we are; we respond to stress that way. The interesting thing is that conventional medicine has used pig hearts as the comparison – as the heart model – to study, and pig hearts do not have coronary arteries that go into spasm! They are using the wrong animal model! The pig heart does not care!

Scientists at the University of Oregon last year had been using monkeys – Rhesus monkeys – and they do have arteries that go into spasm. And they had discovered that they could make an extract from the platelets in the blood that would cause the arteries to go into spasm. So they said "We have a model now – we can found out why women die." They applied to the National Institute of Health for a grant and they got it, and they did this study.

These are the coronary arteries – imagine the heart is in this black box, and they put some dye in the coronary artery so they could actually see the dye as it goes through the coronary artery, and see that it is nice and wide open. So the next step, after showing that they could do angiograms on Rhesus monkeys, they then had to make post-menopausal monkeys. And monkeys do not go into menopause – as long as they live, they are able to procreate (as they say). And so they removed the arteries from the monkeys to create post-menopausal monkeys. Then they gave some of them HRT with progesterone and some they gave HRT with medroxy-progesterone acetate which is what most women take, called Provera. Medroxy-progesterone acetate – that is what they give to you on the National Health Service, along with your oestrogen. And so they had monkeys that ended up with progesterone and monkeys that ended up with Provera.

They first gave a dilating test to show that there was no spasm going on initially, and they showed that there is nothing blocking the flow of blood through here. So far, so good. Then they gave the spasm medicine that they got from the platelets and they created a spasm here that stopped the flow of the blood through the artery – there is no blockage here; there is no cholesterol plaque and look what happened a minute or two after the spasm medicine: those arteries went into such spasm the blood could not go through, and if they could not correct it, the monkeys die within 10 minutes. That is the deaths of women.

And they gave the dilating medicine, and they were able to bring it back a little bit and keep the monkeys from dying. They did not want the animal rights group down on their neck for killing monkeys in Oregon. So they were able to protect that. But they showed that the ones on medroxy-progesterone acetate – the Provera – would easily have died if anything were to stimulate a spasm of their coronary artery. This would not respond to any sort of heart medicine that doctors use for males. It has nothing to do with the cholesterol in her serum or plasma.

Progesterone Protects Against Heart Attacks
Look what happened to the ones on progesterone: this is the dilating line and this is where they gave the spasm medicine – plenty of good blood still flowing through that artery! So they gave a triple dose – three spasm stimulators – a triple dose, and that is the worst that they could get: the monkey never turned a hair! Is that not something? Good old HRT is the number one cause of death of women in the UK.

If you had a choice of which one would you want: HRT with progesterone, or HRT with medroxy-progesterone acetate. I do not believe that there is anyone who would choose the Provera! So the Member from Conventional Medicine – this was presented a year ago June in Maine at the annual meeting of the American Cardiology Society – and Conventional Medicine got up and said "Oh, well, these were just monkeys!" And so the people were able to say "Yes – you are the one that uses the pig hearts, remember?"

And they did not know that here in London at the Institute of Heart and Lung Research Peter Collins was not testing pigs or monkeys, he was testing women. He did not do such a dramatic test in the sense that he was going to kill women to prove that it does this, but he did a very, very good test. He took post-menopausal women who were not on HRT and he had them do a treadmill electrocardiogram. They walked on the treadmill until the electrocardiogram showed that there is a little strain – a little ischaemia – in that the heart cannot keep up with getting the blood through the coronary arteries, and you can see it as a change in the electrocardiogram, so you would stop. But he found out how much energy we use – how much exercise they had to do to develop any sign of ischaemia.

Then he sent the people back to their doctors and said "Put this lady on HRT with Provera." And they came back a month or three months later after being on Provera, and they did the same treadmill electrocardiogram. And in a very short period of time, they showed that their exercise tolerance had been reduced way down. Already their coronary arteries were tightening up. So he sent them back to their doctors and said "Switch to HRT with real progesterone."

And they came back a month later: now they could walk all day, and they were not only better than they were when they were on Provera, they were better than they were when they were on any HRT at all. The progesterone that they needed was now helping their hearts. This was published and presented at the same conference: I am sure you all saw it in the newspapers: two sets of scientists prove that progesterone is good for the coronary arteries, right? Wrong! Not a line appeared in any news report! Instead they came out claiming that oestrogen was good for preventing Alzheimer's!

I looked up the original study: twelve bag ladies from Manhattan could not remember one day from the next – they are eating out of garbage cans and sleeping over hot air vents and living in the alleyways. It turns out they had poor short-term memory. And they went to a clinic with upscale ladies who were successful in business who were stopping by to get their oestrogen prescriptions – they had good short-term memories. And they related it to the oestrogen! This is called 'selection bias' – they selected a group with obviously good short-term memories and a group who were obviously bad. I wrote to the authors and I said "Why don't you go to a bridge club: measure the short-term memories of the ladies playing bridge? I'll bet it's better than the other ladies' and you could then claim that playing bridge will prevent Alzheimer's!" This is called 'science' today. Can you imagine?

Apoptosis and Cancer
I want to get on to the biggie: Cancer. I have here the 28 January 1998 AMA Journal. Every time I go to give a talk and I want to say something new, Mother Nature is watching over my shoulder and always puts a good article for me in my hands. This is about a subject called apoptosis – how many people know what apoptosis means? A few – more that I would have thought – you are ahead of us in the United States! The article is entitled 'To die or not to die?' They are not talking about people dying, they are talking about the cells in your body: for your body to remain healthy, you must have cells that are developed by proliferation – one cell divides to make two, they live for a certain period of time, and when their function is over, they are supposed to die and be eaten up by macrophages because new cells are coming along. Your white blood cells only live for about 21/2 days. Your red blood cells only live for 120 days. Your skin is being made new all the time and the old skin sloughs off. You have to go to the barber shop to cut your hair. You have to cut your fingernails. All the lining cells of the mucosa from your sinus down through your bronchial tubes, they are dying and being replaced by new ones. The way to health is to keep a spot ready for new cells coming along. If you do not have the cells die on time – apoptosis is where they are supposed to die on time: it means 'a falling away' – when you have an eyelid that does not rise but stays down, it is called 'ptosis' of your lid – it has fallen down – apoptosis means 'a general falling away'.

This is what happens, and here is an article saying that our role on cancer, of trying to stop proliferation, is a failure – to find a medicine that kills cancer cells by stopping them proliferating – cancer cells are tough little buggers – that medicine will kill many, many normal cells throughout your body; stop normal systems – you will die from the chemotherapy, instead of dying from your breast cancer, you will die from a complication of the therapy!

But it is not working. The new rationale is that cancer growth is a factor of cell proliferation in excess, or a deficiency in apoptosis. The cells are not dying on time – they are hanging on, and they are becoming cancer cells. The studies of the last 2-3 years have been to find out why the cells do this. You have 70-80 trillion cells in your body, and it turns out the apoptosis is not an instruction to the cell from outside – it is not an instruction from some centre in your body: it is built into the cell. There are genes in the chromosomes, in every cell, telling it what the right time is to die, so it can be replaced by the new cells so you can maintain your health. The trick is to find ways to get the cells to return to normal apoptosis.

They have found the genes – the main gene that tells the cell not to die is BCL-2. The BCL-2 gene increases cell proliferation and delays apoptosis. If that is dominant, that means you are going to develop cancer. Gene P-53 reduces cell proliferation and increases apoptosis. That is the one that protects you from cancer, and that is the point of the AMA article: it is all about those two genes. They say the future of successful cancer therapy is going to be to find out what controls these genes. Well, guess what?

Oestrogen Increases Cancer Risk;
Decreases Cancer Risk

 Research is already completed to show oestrogen upregulates gene BCL-2. Bad news! Progesterone downregulates gene BCL-2 and upregulates P-53 – the good one! The conclusion is: oestrogen increases cancer risk, and progesterone decreases cancer risk. Now, friends of mine say "John, we don't read that in any of our medical journals – where are you getting this stuff?" Well, all you have to do is get away from the conventional medical journals, go to MedLine, and key in searches for BCL-2, upregulation of P-53, downregulation of BCL-2, the roles of oestrogen and progesterone – there it is: there are twelve references already available – one from China, published in their Cancer Society in 1997; France, published 1986, 1994, 1994; in Italy, Europe 1996; South America 1995; England – right here – 1996; – there is no absence of references. The absence is in the conventional medical journals and the doctors who read them!

John Lee


[See Slide 4 above] I want to show you something else: one month ago, I was invited to go to a conference, sponsored by the National Cancer Institute, entitled 'Oestrogen as endogenous carcinogen in the breast and prostate'.They have found that the oestrogen that you make if it is dominant; if it is devoid of progesterone to balance it; if you are not eating right; if you are not eating the beans that have the sulphated amino acids; if you are eating the trans fatty acids instead of essential fatty acids: if you are eating wrong and have oestrogen dominance, this is what happens: endogenous carcinogens in the breast and prostate. The metabolic waste products of oestrogen turn into one of the most vicious carcinogenic agents ever known.

Oestrogen is the Cause of Cancer
This is not outside, this is not from Mars, this is not from factories, this is not from somebody poisoning you – this is unopposed oestrogen. You see, something has happened in this century, and that is women have lost the ability to make the progesterone which your grandmothers had. They had 28 speakers, from Karolinska, Sweden, from the Mayo Clinic, from the top cancer research centres from around the world – 28 speakers all showing that oestrogen is the cause of the cancer!

And some of them showed how additional oestrogens from the petrochemical companies that you are exposed to can add to the burden. These are the things that actually damage the ovaries so you do not make the progesterone – and the damage, by the way, does not occur when you are an adult. The symptoms show up when you are an adult – the damage occurred when you were 18 days old in your mother's tummy. 18 days old as an embryo. If she ate some hamburger with DDT, if she ate some flour that was from grain that had been sprayed with petrochemical insecticides – she is not damaging her body – she is damaging the baby she is carrying. That baby's damage does not show up until she is 30 or 35 and gets her breast cancer. Is that not something?

All this is known, and it was all there in this two-day conference in Washington, D.C., sponsored by the National Cancer Institute one month ago. You all saw that in the paper, right? Wrong! Not a line! Nothing in the news. Nothing on the radio. Nothing on T.V. Nothing! What comes out, is the 20-year-old news that Tamoxifen can slow up the rate at which you get breast cancer, but Tamoxifen is too toxic to use as a medicine, because it itself causes endometrial cancer, blindness, liver disease, and blood clots to form in your brain and in your pulmonary circulation, and the deaths of the side-effects after 5 years of use exceed the benefits for any breast cancer defence.

This is Dr Cavalieri. I want to show you, so you get an idea of how unopposed oestrogen is the enemy. He calls oestrogen the 'angel of life and the angel of death'. It is the angel of life, because it helps to prepare the uterus so that a fertilised egg can survive, become an embryo and you can have babies and life can go on. But if unopposed oestrogen – see, it is never unopposed, even at the beginning, as there should always be progesterone there – progesterone received its name because it is essential for that fertilised egg to survive. From the time of fertilisation to the time the baby is born is called 'gestation time' – the hormone that protects you and protects the baby and allows the baby to develop during gestation time is called the pro-gestation hormone: 'progesterone'.

But if you have unopposed oestrogen – oestradiol that Dr Bond was mentioning, oestrone, they are changed in the liver to what is called 4-catechol-oestrogen with an additional hydroxyl group for the biochemists here, and that can be methylated and be safely excreted, but in women who use margarine and trans fatty acids, who lack sulphur groups and the amino acids and don't eat beans, it changes form. It becomes an oestrogen-3-4-quinone which leads directly to DNA binding, mutation, and cancer. It is one of the most carcinogenic componds ever known to man or woman. He was the main speaker in the morning of the meeting in Washington DC. This is the culmination of 25 years of his work. Let me show one little test done right here in London.

This is Doctor Mohr: 25 years ago Dr Mohr asked the top three surgical hospitals in London to measure the progesterone and oestrogen levels in women having breast cancer. He chose the worst possible case – node positive patients. The cancer had already spread from the breast, all he did was measure the progesterone on the day of surgery. He called one group >4 ng/ml. This is not high progesterone, this is a normal physiological dose and there are other women more of them who had low progesterone on the day of surgery. 18 years later the survival rate of those who had better oestrogen and better progesterone on the day of surgery, survival rate is about 68 – 70% . Eighteen years later the survival rate of those that were low is less than 40%, down around 35%. This is a 100% improvement just by having your surgery on the time of the month when you are making progesterone.

Imagine if Dr Mohr had followed these patients along and provided the progesterone when it fell at any stage in their life. This is like what I did, in the same year that he started, I started giving progesterone to my patients for their bones. I chose the patients because they couldn't take the oestrogen because they already had breast cancer. It has now been 20 years. None of these patients who have been on progesterone have died of breast cancer.

Think of it, the odds are supposed to be one out of nine of women in general and these are women who already had breast cancer. Why do you suppose they are not here giving these talks, it is because I think it will save your life. I don't represent any of the companies, I don't make any money selling any cream. In my book I list all the companies that make what I think is the right amount. I want to make one comment.

Correction to Lancet Report re. Pro-Gest Cream
In Lancet yesterday, there is a report that somebody gave some Pro-Gest cream to some patients and found that it did not raise their blood levels. I have to tell you a little bit about how this happened. This an argument that came up 25 years ago and it was resolved 20 years ago, I don't know why it is coming up again. When progesterone is made by the ovary, it is a fat soluble compound. To make it soluble in the serum the ovary wraps it in protein. That therefore, can be sent to the liver where the liver will open up the protein envelope and turn the progesterone into something excreted in bile. It is carried in the blood only when it is wrapped in protein. When it is wrapped in protein it is not biologically active, only about 1 – 9% of it ever gets to be biologically active. When you absorb it through the skin it is not wrapped in protein, it is real progesterone and it is picked up on red blood cell membranes and it circulates there and not in the plasma and the fact is the saliva contains mucin and mucin allows fat-soluble things to fall into it and to be their simple filtration and if you want to know how much progesterone is absorbed you don't measure the plasma, you measure the saliva, and knowledgeable scientists have been doing this now for 10 years.

This is the way the World Health Organisation measures hormone levels, the saliva method because they are measuring the biologically active level. They are not measuring the protein bound amount because it doesn't get in the saliva, it doesn't get into the cells, it only is sent to the liver for excretion. It is foolishness on the part of these authors to have measured it in the plasma which is the watery non cellular part of the blood. For 10 years we have known that the way to measure it is in saliva and also they mention that progesterone is found to contain only 200mg in the 2 oz jar. You should know that the manufacturers have a high quality control and it is 960mg. The people who sell it in the United States, they do a quality control and it is 960 mg, the people who buy it here in the UK to sell to doctors for prescriptions they are required by law to do a quality control test and measure the progesterone level and it is done at a credentialled laboratory and it is 960mg per 2 oz jar. Why is it that some laboratory worker in Sheffield Hospital found only 200 mg? It is clear that she either wasn't measuring Pro-Gest cream or she was using a technique that gave inaccurate results. Isn't that amazing? The same cream has 3 stages where it is tested before it every gets to anybody and it is always 960mg.


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About Dr John Lee, M.D.

John R. Lee, M.D., recently retired from private practice after thirty years. He now teaches medical professionals and lay audiences about hormone balance and health.

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