Wondering how to increase progesterone naturally? You’ve come to the right place.
Progesterone is a hormone that is essential for a number of important body functions—including healthy pregnancy—and many women want to know how to increase progesterone to get pregnant. Increasing progesterone can also ensure a woman feels her best during her entire reproductive cycle, including balancing mood and energy levels.
If you think you might have low levels of progesterone, read on.
What is Progesterone?
Progesterone is a steroid hormone that is primarily secreted in the ovaries in women and the testes in men. However, it is also secreted in other parts of the body, including in the brain and adrenal glands.
To get into a little bit of science details: the body uses cholesterol to make pregnenolone, and then converts pregnenolone into progesterone. But the process doesn’t stop there, because progesterone is a precursor to other hormones, such as estrogen and testosterone, among others.
In other words, progesterone is itself a building block to essential hormones in the human body—and is critical to both males and females.
In fact, progesterone plays a part in a great many functions within our bodies. It helps regulate blood sugar, build bones and maintain healthy brain activity. Of course, it is most well-known for its role in the female reproductive cycle.
Let’s go a little deeper into the role progesterone plays in pregnancy.
Progesterone to Get Pregnant
Progesterone is an essential hormone for the reproductive process. It is the hormone that tells the body to prepare for possible pregnancy and is critical for building up the walls of the uterus to support a fertilized egg to grow into a child.
Progesterone is released after ovulation in preparation for implantation of the fertilized egg into the uterus. If no egg is fertilized and implanted in the nutrient rich uterine lining within 14 days, progesterone levels decline and the lining will shed—also known as menstruation.
If the egg is fertilized, and pregnancy takes place, progesterone levels will continue to increase, as it has several important roles in the baby-growing process. For example, progesterone stimulates the growth of blood vessels to supply the womb with food for the fetus and it strengthens the uterus to prepare for labor.
So, if a woman’s body isn’t producing enough progesterone, the uterus won’t be able to support an embryo—if it is even able to implant. If low progesterone (or an estrogen/progesterone imbalance, which we’ll talk about below) is the cause for infertility, a woman will likely want to know how to increase progesterone to get pregnant.
How to Increase Progesterone Naturally?
There are several considerations when planning how to increase progesterone naturally. Lifestyle changes are perhaps the biggest factor, although they can be harder to implement and take longer to feel the effects. For example, reducing stress is important for overall health, including maintaining healthy progesterone levels.
Natural progesterone supplements can help support you in these lifestyle shifts—but more on that later. First let’s examine what you can do to assist your body in achieving and maintaining long term health—including, of course, healthy progesterone levels.
When you’re stressed out, your body will use its resources to produce more adrenalin and cortisol to handle the stress. The problem is that the building materials used to make adrenalin and cortisol are the same as those used to make progesterone. And if all the resources are being used to make stress hormones, there will be none left for essential progesterone production.
To reduce stress try spending more time in nature, meditating or taking time to simply do nothing—just sit and watch the world. If possible, it’s also valuable to remove the primary sources of stress.
Progesterone and Diet
Diet is paramount when it comes to naturally increasing progesterone. While no foods contain progesterone, the building blocks for this hormone can be found in the nutrients of a balanced diet. By considering your diet, you can be sure you’re getting enough of the critical nutrients your body needs to produce sufficient amounts of progesterone.
Some of the essential nutrients for progesterone production include:
- Magnesium: Magnesium is a mineral that supports and directs the pineal gland in the production of Follicle-Stimulating Hormone (FSH). FSH causes the production of the corpus luteum, which produces progesterone and is essential for ovulation. Without magnesium, the pineal gland can’t produce FSH and ovulation may cease to take place—which leads to less progesterone being produced. Find magnesium in spinach, fish, avocado and dark chocolate (over 70%), among other foods.
- This is another mineral which tells the pineal gland what to do and is critical for FSH production (and thus progesterone). And Zinc deficiencies are incredibly wide spread. Make sure you’re getting enough by eating shellfish, mushrooms, pumpkin and sesame seeds, potatoes, peas and green beans.
- B6: Studies have indicated that Vitamin B6 increases progesterone levels in women and decreases chances of miscarriage. Get enough B6 in your diet by eating sunflower seeds, sweet potato, turkey, fish, milk and eggs.
- Vitamin C: Vitamin C has also been shown in studies to lead to increased levels of progesterone in women. Get Vitamin C by eating bell peppers, fruit (especially citrus), broccoli and tomatoes.
- L-Arginine: L-Arginine is an amino acid which supports healthy blood circulation. This in turn supports a healthy corpus luteum. And we already know that a healthy corpus luteum will lead to healthy progesterone levels. Find L-Arginine in high protein foods such as lentils, salmon and chicken.
- Reduce Estrogen
When thinking about progesterone, we usually also need to consider estrogen. The two hormones work together and in relation to one another. When estrogen levels are much higher than progesterone, it’s called estrogen dominance. Estrogen dominance can lead to a laundry list of uncomfortable symptoms, such as breast tenderness, poor sleep, PMS, weight gain and fatigue. To avoid excess estrogen, there are few things you can do. Maintain Healthy Weight: Weight gain leads to estrogen production because fat cells produce estrogen. Thus, being overweight can lead to fertility issues.
- Avoid Xenoestrogens: Xenoestrogens are manmade estrogens that can be found in plastics, skin products, etc. They act like estrogen in the body, filling receptors, and can lead to estrogen dominance. The goal is to minimize the amount of exposure to xenoestrogens as much as possible. You can do so by avoiding any products with synthetic fragrance or phthalates, avoiding plastics (especially heating and eating out of plastics), and avoiding foods that have been sprayed by pesticides and chemicals (think organic). Also, when choosing meats, be sure to get hormone free.
Remember, a balance of hormones is what we’re going for. Lowering excess estrogen will give progesterone a greater influence within the body.
Right! So we’ve covered three things that can address root causes for hormone imbalance and make significant long term shifts in the progesterone balance in your body: reduce stress, manage your diet, and reduce estrogen. But what else can you do to really drive change in your progesterone levels? Read on.
How to naturally Increase Progesterone with Supplementation
Ok: so you’re wondering how to naturally increase progesterone with greater efficiency beyond the lifestyle changes mentioned above? Supplementation might be right for you.
Supplementing with a cream, gel or capsules will have a great immediate impact, bringing your hormones into balance more quickly. Then you can use the lifestyle shifts to maintain your hormonal balance moving into the future.
First, a caution: When supplementing you’ll want to be sure you’re supplementing with progesterone and NOT progestin. Progestin is a synthetic form of progesterone—and though it will fit into the same receptors as progesterone, it can have serious negative consequences. And if you came here to find out how to increase progesterone to get pregnant, you definitely want to avoid progestin. It is not safe for pregnancy and can cause birth defects.
Ok—now that that’s out of the way! What do you want to look for in a progesterone supplement?
Bioidentical progesterone is a good place to start. This means it is identical to the progesterone naturally found within our human bodies—and thus totally safe.
Then, look at the ingredients. Do you recognize the words on the label—or are they easy to look up and translate into herbs and plants you recognize? Or are they foreign and synthetic sounding?
Now consider strength: the strength of the progesterone cream you choose will be dependent on how out of balance your hormones are. If you have extreme estrogen dominance, a 10% progesterone cream might be right for you. If it’s a minor imbalance, the 2% strength is probably better.
If you’re unsure, get a hormone test to find out what your levels are and speak to a doctor.
Hopefully this article has answered some of your questions about how to naturally increase progesterone. Combining supplementation with lifestyle changes will set you onto a path of healthy progesterone levels and balanced hormone regulation. And remember, you can always talk to a doctor or health professional for personalized advice.
*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration.
This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, or prevent any disease.