What is Progesterone?Progesterone is a steroid hormone produced by the corpus luteum, a temporary hormone-secreting structure in the ovary. The hormone progesterone plays an important role in the menstrual cycle and in regulating the early stages of pregnancy.
Progesterone stimulates blood vessels in the uterine lining to produce nutrients to nurture the embryo when the egg is fertilized. It is also responsible for preparing the uterine lining for implantation and for maintaining the endometrium for the pregnancy's duration. Since this is the case, if there is not enough progesterone to sustain implantation, pregnancy is unlikely.
How do Low Progesterone Levels Lead to Infertility?According to a study, 753 infertile women participated in, 62% had low progesterone. In this study, their low progesterone was identified as the main cause of their infertility.
Even if a woman ovulates, the endometrium will not be prepared for implantation because of low progesterone levels. However, even if implantation does happen, miscarriage can occur if there is not enough progesterone to sustain a pregnancy.
What Are the Symptoms of Progesterone Deficiency?Low progesterone levels may be caused by abnormal thyroid function. It may also be the consequence of high estrogen levels, stress, poor ovarian function, or increasing age. Having the following symptoms may indicate low progesterone levels:
- Spotting before periods
- Breast tenderness
- Sugar cravings
- Irregular periods and shorter cycles
- Ovarian cysts
- Water retention
- Low body temperature
7 Ways To Increase Progesterone Naturally
- Make sure you're getting enough micronutrients in your diet.
- For optimal progesterone production, the body requires an adequate intake of B-Complex vitamins, especially vitamin B6.
- Include more magnesium in your diet. Take magnesium supplements as recommended by your doctor.
- Eat plenty of organic dark green leafy vegetables, almonds, blackstrap molasses, seeds, nuts, and beans.
- Eat a serving of good quality organic protein, the size of your 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.
Prolactin, somatostatin, melatonin, oxytocin, growth hormone, luteinizing releasing hormone, thyroid-stimulating hormone, estrogens, progesterone, insulin, corticosteroids and many more. Excess consumption of all these hormones could disrupt your own hormonal balance.
Most of these hormones are found in animals, 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.
Other Ways To Naturally Increase Progesterone LevelsIn addition to the above, there are other things you can do to help boost your progesterone levels naturally:
- Reduce stress. When under stress, the body produces stress hormones like cortisol. Since the body prioritizes the production of cortisol when your body's under stress, the adrenal glands may convert progesterone into cortisol. You can reduce stress by increasing physical activity, meditating or through breathing techniques.
- Avoid strenuous exercise. While exercise is great in helping you maintain ideal body weight, intense physical activity may cause anovulation.
- Maintain a healthy weight. An increase in body fat leads to the production of more estrogen in the body, which in turn may cause an imbalance in your progesterone levels. Keeping a healthy weight can help correct this hormonal imbalance.
Foods That Increase Progesterone NaturallyThe following foods can help you increase progesterone naturally as they are rich in zinc, magnesium, and B6 the crucial building blocks of progesterone.
ZincAn important fertility mineral, zinc is essential in maintaining hormone balance in the body. Zinc plays a role in pituitary function. Zinc regulates hormones like FSH and LH and also affects progesterone production. Foods rich in Zinc:
- Pumpkin seeds
- Grass-fed beef
- Flax seeds
MagnesiumOne of magnesium's functions in the body is to assist in progesterone production. This nutrient also helps regulate the production of cortisol and helps manage the body's stress levels. Foods rich in Magnesium:
- Leafy greens
- Dark organic chocolate
- Most nuts and seeds
Vitamin B6One of the main benefits of vitamin B6 is to keep the corpus luteum healthy and prevent luteal phase defect. Since it is the corpus luteum that manufactures progesterone, Vitamin B6 is key to progesterone production because of its benefits to the corpus luteum. Foods rich in B6:
- Wild salmon
- Organic free-range chicken breast
- Sweet potatoes
Low-fat diets can predispose to the depletion of steroid hormones. Good sources of fat are grass-fed butter, coconut oil, and MCT oil and fermented cod liver oil.
It Is Possible To Increase Progesterone Naturally!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).
Consult your naturopath if you wish to take supplements. Practitioner grade supplements are of higher quality than 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 is 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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