How to tell if you need to increase progesterone for a successful pregnancy? In this article we’ll look at natural ways to increase progesterone. Low progesterone is a primary cause of miscarriages. According to a study 753 infertile women participated in, 62 percent had low progesterone, which was found to be the main cause of their infertility. In such cases one should strive to increase progesterone naturally before reaching for hormonal support.
What is progesterone?
Luteal phase is the post ovulatory phase characterized by increased progesterone production which is also called the secretory phase. During this phase corpus luteum (the left over of the burst follicle which released an egg during the ovulation) is producing progesterone, which is preparing the endometrium (the inside lining of the uterus/womb) for implantation, should the egg become fertilized. If there is not enough progesterone being produced to sustain implantation pregnancy is unlikely. This can also be attributed to abnormal thyroid function and the role it plays to increase progesterone. There is a gradual increase in progesterone over the course of secretory phase of the cycle.
How do low progesterone levels lead to infertility?
Even though the woman can ovulate and the egg can be fertilized, the endometrium is not prepared for implantation due to the lack of progesterone. Furthermore even if implantation takes place, there is not enough progesterone produced to sustain pregnancy and miscarriage can occur. Which is why it is important to increase progesterone levels before your next conception attempt.
Signs and symptoms of progesterone deficiency
- Spotting before periods
- Breast tenderness
- Sugar cravings
- Irregular periods
- Ovarian cysts
- Water retention
- Low body temperature
- Irregular periods
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How to increase progesterone naturally
- Ensure you are getting enough micronutrients.
- For optimal progesterone production the body requires adequate intake of B-Complex vitamins, in particular vitamin B6.
- The other key nutrient in progesterone production is magnesium.
- Eat plenty of organic dark green leafy vegetables, almonds, black strap molasses, seeds, nuts and beans. They are all good sources of B vitamins and magnesium.
- Eat a serve of good quality organic protein, the size of you palm 3 times a day. Hormones are made of protein so you want to make sure you are getting plenty in your diet.
- Chart your cycles, to see if your temperature rises in the second half of your cycle.
- Avoid dairy and non organically grown meat and eggs. Animal products are the highest source of hormones in the human diet. One study found that a major source of animal derived estrogens in the human diet are milk and dairy products, which account for 60-70% of the estrogens consumed.
We usually associate dairy and drinking milk with calcium, and never think about what else we may be consuming along with the calcium (and dairy, by the way is not the best source of calcium). Here is a list of hormones which have been found in cows milk:
Prolactin, somatostatin, melatonin, oxytocin, growth hormone, lutenizing releasing hormone, thyroid stimulating hormone, estrogens, progesterone, insulin, corticosteroids and many more. Do you think an excess consumption of all these hormones could disrupt your own hormonal balance? You bet!
Most of these hormones are found in the animal, but many are also given to the cows by the farmers to make them grow big and fat, so that they get more money when they sell the meat. Charming!
Foods that increase progesterone naturally
The following foods can help you increase progesterone naturally as they are rich in zinc, magnesium and B6 the crucial building blocks of progesterone.
Foods rich in Zinc;
- Pumpkin seeds
- Grass fed beef
- Flax seeds
Foods rich in Magnesium;
- Leafy greens
- Dark organic chocolate
- Most nuts and seeds
Foods rich in B6;
- Wild salmon
- Organic free range Chicken breast
- Sweet potatoes
Also make sure to include food sources of good quality saturated fats which are necessary for cholesterol production. Cholesterol is used to produce steroid hormones like progesterone, estrogen and testosterone. Low fat diets can can predispose to depletion of steroid hormones. Good sources of fat are grass fed butter, coconut oil and MCT oil and fermented cod liver oil.
In general, eat a diet abundant in organic fruit and vegetables, nuts and seeds, good quality fats and protein sources and drink 2L of filtered or mineral water a day (I personally use and recommend the Aquasana drinking water system and this shower filter). Consult your naturopath if you wish to take supplements. Practitioner grade supplements are of higher quality then over the counter products and you’ll get better value and result for your money.
If you have low progesterone, take these steps to help increase your progesterone and increase your chance of a healthy pregnancy. What are your thought on this common fertility issue? Have you tried to increase progesterone naturally? What was your experience with natural remedies for increasing progesterone and which ones did you use? Would love to learn more about you and your experiences.
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