What do you think of Wellsprings' 20-1 Cream?

Ask Dr. Jen

“I’d love to know your professional advice regarding Wellsprings’ 20-1 cream. I've been taking it for 8  weeks now.”

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Short Take

I’m not going to beat around the bush, I wouldn't recommend that anyone use this product.

Go On

Wellsprings appears to be a British Company that specializes in ”natural hormone health.” That is my first red flag, as a therapy isn’t good for you if it is found in nature nor is a therapy bad for you if it is made in a lab. It is beneficial if it has a favorable benefit to risk ratio. Period.

My second big red flag with the use of “natural” here is that none of the hormones Wellsprings claim to offer are actually natural, they are almost certainly made in a lab, which means they are semi-synthetic or synthetic. By definition, a chemical is natural when it is unchanged from how the raw material is found in nature. No one is picking estradiol from the estradiol tree and I am assuming they are not grinding up hog ovaries like they did back in the day.

And thirdly (a three part red flag before we even get to the discussion about the product is concerning), it is decidedly unnatural to use hormones in menopause. That doesn’t make it wrong, but the natural thing is for the ovaries to stop producing estrogen.

I despise the abuse of the word “natural”.

On to the product at hand, a “20-1 cream” that is supposed to be a combination of progesterone, estriol and estradiol.

I found this sentence in the product description particularly jarring:

“In most cases, when progesterone levels are right, the body has the raw materials to produce oestrogen, however in a small number of cases the body does not produce the oestrogen and it is for just such cases that Wellsprings have formulated 20-1 Cream.”

This is medical nonsense. Hormone levels are not related to having enough “raw materials”. Both estrogen and progesterone are made from cholesterol, and if you don’t have enough cholesterol to make estrogen, then you have already died because every cell in your body needs cholesterol to function. I’d email the company and ask them top translate this gibberish, but I’m just not interested in wasting my time.

Why am I so uninterested in anything this company has to say? Well, they quote Dr. John Lee as their wellspring of knowledge about topical progesterone (see what I did there?), but Lee was a non expert who I can best describe as someone who made up a fantasy world about progesterone. 

So the folks at Wellsprings are laboring under the fantasy that topical progesterone works, and we know that it does not. The molecule is not absorbed topically. If you want to learn more about that, I have a detailed post here. Topical progesterone is a scam. If you see anyone recommending topical progesterone you should not take medical advice from that person nor buy any of their products. Look, if they know that little about progesterone they should not be in the hormone business.

Also, this 20:1 ratio of estrogens to progesterone is just a number someone pulled out of their ass. This is literally some made up recipe with no medical backing. 

In addition, and this is very important, these types of hormone creams are essentially unstudied. It turns out compounding estrogens is quite challenging. The few studies we do have on compounded products show a significant percentage of these products contain more or less hormone than advertised. This is bad, as dosing should be precise. One study that looked at blood levels with compounded products found that very little was absorbed, meaning they probably do nothing, medically speaking, and are just a waste of money. However,  if some of the estrogen is absorbed, then the consumer risks endometrial cancer (cancer of the lining of the uterus), because absorbing estrogen and not progesterone (remember it can’t be absorbed across the skin) can cause this kind of cancer. 

My professional advice is that I would strongly recommend against using the 20-1 Cream from Wellsprings and I’ll add that recommending or selling topical progesterone is on my Top 10 list of menopause scams.