Monday, December 08, 2003

Wild Yam: Hormone Balancing and Breast Enlargement

Creams, lotions and nutritional supplements with Wild Yam extract are a big hit now. They are recommended as a natural solution to hormonal problems and for breast enlargement. How do they work, and can Wild Yam really help?

Hormonal system is a complicated mechanism that regulates the way your body functions. Food, stress, even day schedule can affect this system and, by that, the way you look and feel. Two hormones whose balance is so important in a woman's body are estrogen and progesterone.

Estrogen is a name for a group of hormones that take part in regulating woman's reproductive system. They are produced by ovaries. As soon as an ovary releases an egg, it starts making estrogen to prepare (thicken) the inner lining of the uterus for pregnancy.

Progesterone is a hormone that is produced by the follicle after ovulation. It keeps the inner lining of the uterus ready to receive a fertilized ovum, and later provides the nurturing for the development of the embryo. If the egg was not fertilized, progesterone encourages the uterus to shed the lining, and the result is menstruation flow.

If the body lacks estrogen, it uses progesterone to produce more estrogen. On the other hand, progesterone counteracts the effect of estrogen. The key is the balance of these two hormones. Too much of either one can cause health problems.

Most women experience lack of progesterone, not estrogen. In addition to estrogen made by the body, we receive doses of estrogen with meats and dairy (farm animals are given this hormone to gain more weight).

Symptoms of estrogen dominance are irregular menstrual flow, hot flashes, cramping, mood swings, migraines - to name a few. Excess estrogen is also associated with endometrial problems, including endometrial cancer. Sufficient levels of progesterone can prevent these problems. Interesting enough, in one study patients who were given natural progesterone showed an increase in bone density, which means that progesterone prevents and even reverses osteoporosis.

Natural progesterone has a structure similar to that of human progesterone and is made form plant fats - saponin and diosgenin. Wild Yam is reach in diosgenin, so it became the most popular source of natural progesterone.

However, it is a common mistake to think that Wild Yam constituents are converted into progesterone by a human body. It does not happen. Progesterone can be derived from a Wild Yam plant, but only in a lab.

So why do people still find Wild Yam creams helpful?

Diosgenin found in Wild Yam is a phytoestrogen, and it closely resembles human progesterone. Due to this similarity, the body reacts to it as if it were progesterone.

Because they are not the same as human hormones, phytoestrogens are far less potent which results in slower effect but safer use. Phytoestrogens do not cause any side effects. Unlike estrogen which, when in excess, is associated with endometrial cancer, phytoestrogens do not evoke cell growth.

Many people question the effectiveness of topical application.

Our skin has the ability to absorb elements that come in contact with it. These elements travel with the blood flow or accumulate in tissues. Nicotine patches and essential oil blends work this way. The benefits of it are obvious: nutrients and vitamins do not travel through the digestive system and liver, where they can be broken down and lose their effectiveness. Diosgenin becomes nearly useless after it is processed by the liver.

On the other hand, when it is applied to such areas as breasts, inner thighs and belly, it easily penetrates the skin. When it is accumulated in breast tissues, it makes fat cells a little bigger, which adds fullness and roundness to the breasts. It does not increase the number of cells, therefore there is a limit to size increase, and it depends on the number of fat cells already present.

After phytoestrogens get into the blood flow, they cause mild estrogenic effect. In other words, they "draw attention" of cell receptors and lock on them preventing real estrogen from producing significant and often undesirable effect. That is why women who suffer from PMS, cramping, menopausal discomfort will benefit from Wild Yam cream. Before the breast enlargement effect was discovered, Wild Yam had been used to treat these complaints for hundreds of years.

Whether you want to balance your hormones, or to add fullness to the breasts, creams with Wild Yam and natural progesterone can be a part of the solution. The results will depend on your actual hormone levels. Sometimes, additional food supplements will be necessary for hormone balancing and faster results.

Disclaimer: The above statements were not evaluated by the FDA. Always consult your doctor for professional advice.

(C) Natalie Katsman 2004 Natalie Katsman is a co-founder of where you can find fine quality aloe vera products for beauty and well-being and subscribe to HealthySkin Newsletter filled with beauty tips, recipes and information on herbal healing, skin care and cosmetic chemistry.


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