How to Increase Progesterone Naturally

increase progesteroneHow 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
  • Miscarriage

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How to increase progesterone naturally

  1. Ensure you are getting enough micronutrients.
  2. For optimal progesterone production the body requires adequate intake of B-Complex vitamins, in particular vitamin B6.
  3. The other key nutrient in progesterone production is magnesium.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. Chart your cycles, to see if your temperature rises in the second half of your cycle.
  7. 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
  • Oysters
  • Flax seeds
  • Spinach

Foods rich in Magnesium;

  • Leafy greens
  • Avocado
  • Dark organic chocolate
  • Beans
  • Most nuts and seeds

Foods rich in B6;

  • Wild salmon
  • Bananas
  • Organic free range Chicken breast
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Garlic

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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About the Author Iva Keene MRMed. ND.

Iva Keene MRMed. ND. is an internationally recognized Natural Fertility specialist and accredited Naturopathic Physician who has helped thousands of couples with fertility problems through her published information and personalized coaching programs. Her Free Fertility Coaching mini-course uses her research and clinical experience to help you be more empowered, more fertile and have a healthier baby.

  • I am really impressed after reading the above article. I will like Iva Keene to help me answer this question. I really nead a baby to call my own. I hardly mensturate, and when i do, it come out very well. i was once told i have low progesterone and have not take any drug for that. I am currently takem some suppliments like (1) Evening Primrose, Female Herbal Complex and women pack (comprises of some vitamines). All in a way to see if i will mensturate naturally. I mensturated last December 17 and up till now, i have not see signs of blood. Please what is the way out? Thank you.

    • Hi Ljeoma,

      I advise that you have further tests to rule out PCOS and find the cause of your condition. Warm regards, Iva

  • Loveness

    My Gynecologist told me that l have PCOS and gave me some birth control pills to take for two months so that it could regulates my period, after l finished taking it for two months my period only came two times and it stopped. So l have not seen period in almost four months now. l am kindly asking if there is any way l could help my self naturally to bring my period back. This condition really makes me uncomfortable, or should l keep on taking the birth control pill. Please advise l am worried and confused. Thank you in advance for you response.

    • Hi Loveness,

      Yes, you can control PCOS naturally with
      diet, lifestyle and adequate supplementation.

      For full PCOS protocol please refer to the NFP
      program here:

      I’d be also happy to offer you a phone consultation with me, you’ll
      find more info in the above link as well.

      Warm regards,


  • fki

    hi ,i was having issue with my periods since 2 years now..but strange thing happend a few months back when i woke up in the morning i was unable to walk due to the severe pelvic pain and i had blood coming with the urine.this happened only once and after that the pelvic and lower abdonmal pain was still there severe at doctor told me that i have PCOS my left ovary is effected and the cysts are moving towards right not going through any treatment right now..please guide me what to do

  • Rime

    It is v useful nd osam. I h’ve my period problum nd high fsh level. Can i concieve?

  • Rime

    I ‘m totaly impressed. Plz Iva give me the sugession .

  • Mar

    I really like your website. I have one question. Iva, what do you think of natural progesteron therapy when having low progesteron?
    Kind regards,

    • Thanks Marina, boosting progesterone with food and supplements is the best way, as this forces your body to make it’s own progesterone. Sometimes progesterone is low if the overall egg quality is poor, so rather than focusing on boosting progesterone a better approach would be to boost overall egg quality. All the best, Iva

  • Ali

    I’m confused about one thing: aren’t dark leafy greens goitrogens, which effects thyroid function negatively? From my blood work my fertility specialist thinks I’m hypothyroid — hence, I’ve been avoiding them. Personally, I think I actually have low progesterone. My periods are shorter and lighter, I have dark circles under my eyes, and my nails are becoming more brittle. Is there something I can do to boost both (thyroid and progesterone) simultaneously?

    While determining the cause(s) of my fertility issues has been a definite struggle, I’m so glad I came across your site Iva! It’s been very informative. My naturopath is also pleased to see that I’m educating myself and still hope to conceive naturally.

    Many thanks!

    • Thanks Ali! Hormones all depend on each other, so you don’t need to fix all at once. Start with thyroid function, one they thyroid is happy ovaries will be happy and will make adequate levels of estrogen and progesterone. Check out the article on hypothyroidism for more tips. All the best, Iva

      • oh, dark leafy greens are full of great nutrients and enzymes, so the benefits outweigh the goitrogens if any are present in minute amounts. eat seaweed or Kelp to help address your thyroid. Iva

  • pn

    Hi Iva,

    Very useful information. i have PCOD and taking the metformin tablet and going for follicular study.
    this is my 3rd cycle. for the past 2 cycles , the egg is not matured. is this an big issue , i want to conceive soon.


    • Hi PN,

      It takes 120 days for eggs to mature from their primordial form, so you need to be given your body everything it needs to mature healthy eggs during that time and remove everything that has been shown to have negative effects. For more info please see the NFP program or book a phone consultation with me. All the best, Iva

  • Clare

    Iva. I have been trying to concieve for 10 cycles, 1 was an early miscarriage. I ovulate every month according to my temperature chart. My Luteal phase seems to be short, between 8 and 11 days, on average about 10. I follow a paleo diet and eat mostly all organic. I exercise 5-6 times a week. What can you suggest I eat more of, or what supplements that could increase my progesterone levels ?

  • nadia

    anything specific to eat or specific pre-natals to take to increase progesterone during first trimester pregnancy??

  • anonymous

    Hi I have an issue related my periods. Actually my periods come for 15 days after every 1 1/2 months. Doc diagnosed me I said I have hormone imbalance and ovary cyst problem. I want a baby so doc gave me clomid. I got brown blood spotting from 10th july to 21st july afterthat I got my periods from 22nd july to 5th august. And I took clomid on 5th day of my periods means from 26th july to 30th july. but now I m bleeding again in every evening or night beacause last sat on 20th aug I went for ride in summer festival. when I get off from ride I noticed my periods/blood is coming with clots. I think I was scared when I was in ride. please tell me why I m bleeding? is it normal?

  • Nia

    I read that whole milk actually increases pregnancies so its funny to read the opposite here. I wonder how old the article is since it lists items not usualy found in milk these days.