How to Increase Your Progesterone Naturally

Updated: Feb 5

Natural Solutions for Low Progesterone to Try Before Taking Any Medications


The test results are in. It's official. You have low progesterone. Now what?


You’ve known for a while that something is off with your body. You've had irregular periods, your libido has slowly dwindled down to nothing, and you can’t sleep no matter how exhausted you are at the end of the day. Your body has been sending you messages and it’s time for you to listen.


It’s time to take control of your health and happiness. But you don't want to go on those medications prescribed by your doctor. But what other options do you have? Isn’t there a way to heal your body naturally?


The answer is: Yes! Here’s how...



How can you increase progesterone levels naturally?


The solution to low progesterone can depend on the cause of your low progesterone…


Are you under too much stress?


Are you exercising too much?


Are you lacking certain nutrients?


Are you underweight?


Do you have too much estrogen?


The good news is, you can try out a variety of different solutions with no adverse side effects. You can take back your health and start today.



Why do we need progesterone?


One main function of progesterone is to provide blood flow to the lining of the uterus during menstruation and pregnancy. Something called the corpus luteum releases progesterone in the ovaries.


This progesterone prepares the uterine walls for the possible implantation of a fertilized egg. When the egg does not become fertilized, progesterone levels drop. Your body sheds the uterine lining that was created by progesterone. This shedding is what you know as your period.


You can see how low progesterone levels would make it difficult for your body to build a healthy uterine lining. Without this healthy uterine lining, you have nothing to shed, so you do not have a period. Also, without a healthy lining, it is difficult for a fertilized egg to implant itself and grow to become a healthy fetus… which is why infertility and miscarriage are both symptoms of low progesterone.



What are the symptoms of low progesterone?


The most common symptoms of low progesterone are:

  • Missed periods

  • Low libido

  • Infertility

  • Miscarriage


One of these symptoms is probably the reason you suspected something was wrong in the first place.


These symptoms are most often consistent with low progesterone caused by stress. When cortisol levels in the body are too high, they replace progesterone hormones in the body.


(Check out previous blog posts for more information on cortisol symptoms and natural solutions for high cortisol.)


If you've been tracking your cycles, you may also notice a short luteal phase. This is the phase during which the progesterone creates the uterine lining. A short luteal phase is anything less than 10 days between ovulation and bleeding.


Some women may experience low progesterone due to increased estrogen levels. In this case, estrogen hormones are replacing progesterone hormones in the body. This is called estrogen dominance.


In women experiencing low progesterone due to estrogen dominance, symptoms may include:

  • Severe menstrual cramps

  • Low libido

  • Severe PMS

  • Headaches during menstruation

  • Mood swings

  • Bloating

  • Being overweight.


If you experience these symptoms, you may also want to focus on decreasing estrogen levels in the body.



Best Foods to Boost Progesterone


There are a few main vitamins that are associated with increased progesterone levels in the body. Vitamins from food are more easily absorbed by the body than those found in supplements.


If you do choose to take a supplement, be sure to do your research on what companies and products you can trust. Look for organic and go for products that have been tested by a third party. You can find this information on the companies’ websites, or the bottles will often state that they are certified by USP or NSF.



Vitamin B-6


Vitamin B6 is a hormone modulator. It helps the body to have the right balance of each hormone. If you're struggling with estrogen dominance, and therefore have low progesterone, having adequate levels of vitamin B6 could help to balance out these hormones.


A symptom of low progesterone can be miscarriages. Women with lower levels of vitamin B6 have a 50% greater chance of having a miscarriage, and will have a harder time becoming pregnant in the first place [3].


If you think you need to boost your vitamin B6, turn to the following foods:


If you have a banana for breakfast, snack on some pistachios, and make a salad for lunch with 1 cup of quinoa, ½ cup of chickpeas, and 1 cup of tomatoes, you’ll have your B6 needs met before you’ve even thought about dinner!



Vitamin C


Ladies, get your vitamin C!


Here's why: Women taking 750 mg of vitamin C every day were able to increase their progesterone levels by 77%! [4]


Here are some foods high in vitamin C you can start incorporating into your diet to start raising your progesterone levels today:





Zinc


Zinc is often thought of as the “testosterone mineral” in men. But zinc is equally as important in women. Lower zinc levels in women is strongly associated with lower progesterone levels [5].


Are you getting enough zinc? The recommended daily amount of zinc for women is 8 mg per day. Here are some foods that can boost your zinc levels and get those progesterone levels up at the same time.




Selenium


Selenium is sometimes overlooked when people look at their nutritional intake. But if you’re not getting the Recommended Daily Allowance of 55mcg per day, this could be the cause of your low progesterone [6].


Luckily, it’s pretty easy to get enough selenium. Eat half a brazil nut every day, and you have your selenium needs covered!



Herbs to Increase Progesterone


Chasteberry (aka Vitex)


Vitex is an herbal supplement you can take that stimulates the ovaries to produce progesterone. Consult a natural health practitioner for more information on how to best include Vitex into your progesterone boosting journey.


Vitex is often taken in the luteal phase of menstruation. This is the phase in which the progesterone is doing its job to build a healthy uterine lining.


When taking vitex supplements, women are able to produce normal levels of progesterone during the luteal phase. Women with short luteal phases are able to increase their luteal phase by five days [7].


To be honest, I did research on other herbs for increasing progesterone. But no other herbs seemed to have the research to back up their effectiveness!



The Importance of Stress with Low Progesterone


Let's talk about stress... I get it. You want to DO something to improve your health. But maybe, doing nothing would be the best solution of all!

  • Stop researching and worrying, and start taking naps.

  • Get together with a girlfriend.

  • Go for a walk.

  • Stop stressing about your progesterone! It is likely further contributing to your decreased levels of progesterone.


When your body is stressed, it shuts down anything that isn’t essential for survival in a crisis. Progesterone production and fertility are not considered essential by your body.


Think of your hormones as a pie chart. In a healthy body, a certain percentage of that pie is dedicated to each of your hormones. When your body is stressed, the cortisol piece of that pie gets bigger. if you're getting a double helping of cortisol, that leaves less room in the pie for other hormones. The progesterone piece of the pie becomes smaller.


If your symptoms include irregular periods, decreased libido, or anxiety... stress is most likely the culprit.


How do you decrease stress in a busy world?


Here's one I know I didn’t want to hear... stop exercising so much! Excessive vigorous exercise increases cortisol levels in the body. As we know, increased cortisol means decreased progesterone[1].


Just try. Give it a few months and see what happens. Replace those HIIT sessions with yoga sessions. Replace your interval runs with walks with a friend. Aim for working out 30 minutes 3 times per week. The rest of the week, dedicate to stress reduction.


Go outside.


Get enough sleep.


Meditate.


Get a massage.


Get together with a friend. Emotionally connecting with a friend significantly increases progesterone levels in the body [2].



If you’re struggling with low progesterone, it’s important to get to the core of the problem. Try out some of these solutions and see if you can help your body become healthier and more thriving than you ever dreamed it could be!





I’m Jillian. I’ve had my own struggles with low progesterone. But I believe in giving the body the tools it needs to heal itself. Naturopathic Doctors and other Natural Health Practitioners helped me do that. Now, I help them as a Health and Wellness Copywriter.


I help them save time, increase revenue, and make a bigger impact. If you’re a Natural Health Practitioner, I’d love to hear your business goals and see if I’d be a good fit to help! Schedule a free 15 minute consultation.




Resources:

  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25279689

  2. https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/06/090602171941.htm

  3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17478435

  4. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12909517

  5. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6723114/

  6. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6019139/

  7. https://www.thieme-connect.com/products/ejournals/html/10.1055/s-0032-1327831



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