Why Yam Is Not Progesterone in Disguise

If you know anything about progesterone you know about the long-running confusion about taking yam cream instead of progesterone so let’s try to clear it up.


Since the 1940’s scientists have been using wild yams, soya beans and other plants from the tuber family to extract plant sterols (oils & fats) that make USP progesterone in the laboratory.

We know that wild yam creams containing diosgenin appear to have a ‘oestrogenic’ effect on the body, but there is no scientific proof that these creams when applied to the skin (or ingested in tablet or powder form) can be converted by the body into the hormone progesterone.

Why is this so? Well, because the active ingredient [diosgenin] is not bio-identical to the progesterone molecule found in the body, hence these wild yam extract creams cannot do the work of progesterone.

Why are bioidentical progesterone creams different?

To obtain bio-identical, natural-to-the-body progesterone it needs to be synthesised from the yam to be converted into diosgenin in a laboratory with the aid of an enzyme.

There has long been confusion about taking yam cream instead of progesterone. Many have believed that it is a good substitute, but nothing could be further from the truth as yam simply does not convert in the body to progesterone as studies have shown.

Unlike synthetic oestrogen and progestins (chemical versions of progesterone), bioidentical natural progesterone is not a drug and it does not have any side effects associated with it. You can use this product knowing that it is safe.

Scientific studies have shown time and time again that for any natural progesterone cream to really be effective and increase the progesterone levels in your blood stream, there are two important factors. Firstly, a truly effective cream must contain bioidentical natural progesterone, not wild yam extract. Secondly, a truly effective cream must contain a minimum of 400mg of natural progesterone per ounce.

This confusion seems to have easily arisen because the synthetic natural progesterone is actually made from the Wild Mexican Yam plant extract but this does not contain the same benefits as the natural hormone. Progesterone is an essential hormone for women and when low, then s symptoms of oestrogen dominance and related menopause conditions can arise.

Helpful information:

Signs of oestrogen dominance, where progesterone levels are not sufficient to balance the oestrogen in the body, can be helped by supplementing with bioidentical progesterone cream. Women on HRT for example are often very high in oestrogen and when not balanced by progesterone the result is often weight gain, anxiety, mood swings and hot flushes at menopause.