Your Guide on How to Increase Progesterone Naturally
As a woman, you know the importance of progesterone. It’s often called the “pregnancy hormone” because it’s required for optimal fertility and helps to maintain a healthy pregnancy. What you may not know is that low levels of progesterone can also cause symptoms like irregular and heavy periods, PMS, PMDD, androgen excess, and migraines. Luckily, there are some simple ways to increase your progesterone naturally.
What is progesterone?
Progesterone is a hormone that prepares the uterus for pregnancy, allowing an embryo to implant after it’s been fertilised. Progesterone is produced after ovulation, that is once the egg has been released from the ovary. This is then known as the luteal phase of the menstrual cycle. About 36 hours after ovulation progesterone will increase basal body temperature. If you are not pregnant, progesterone levels will drop 12-14 days after ovulation and cause your bleed to begin.
Progesterone really helps to regulate the menstrual cycle. That’s why women with PCOS have an irregular cycle, because they do not ovulate regularly. Progesterone also has other important functions, it helps support healthy bones, muscles, and heart and brain function.
What are symptoms of low progesterone levels?
If you don’t ovulate regularly or have low progesterone, it can cause:
- – Irregular periods or no period at all
- – Spotting before your period
- – Infertility
- – Miscarriage
- – PMS
- – PMDD
- – Depression
- – Anxiety
- – Brain fog (a lack of mental clarity)
- – Weight gain
- – Carbohydrate cravings
- – Breast tenderness
Looking for other causes of infertility? Check out my 4 causes of infertility article.
What is an optimal level of progesterone?
If you want to know how do I increase my progesterone levels? First we need to know what an optimal level of progesterone is. The optimal amount of progesterone varies from person to person but in clinical practice I look at ranges above >4 nmol/L to confirm that you have ovulated that cycle. With regards to fertility, I’m looking for a minimum of 30 nmol/L of progesterone to be able to support a pregnancy. If you have low levels then there are things you can do to increase them naturally. Click here to read more about hormone test results.
How do I increase my progesterone naturally?
If you have low progesterone levels and want to increase them naturally, there are a few things you can do.
First off, Vitex, otherwise known as Chaste Tree Berry, is one of my go-to herbs when increasing progesterone, BUT it is not for everyone. Once I have tested my clients hormones I will know if vitex is the right herb for them. This is because in addition to increasing progesterone, vitex can also increase oestrogen. This is an issue if you already have high oestrogen.
Second: Flax seeds are an amazing dietary strategy that that help increase your progesterone levels. Flax seeds contain lignans, lignans have been associated with improvement in increased progesterone and luteal phase length. Aim to consume 30 grams a day of freshly ground flax seeds for best results.
Thirdly: Implement stress management techniques weekly. This can include techniques like exercise, journalling, breath works, meditation, gardening, crocheting, or anything that relaxes your nervous system and centres your thoughts. This is because stress negatively impacts your progesterone levels in several ways. Through increasing cortisol and prolactin, and decreased lutenizing hormone.
Lastly: Add some omega 3’s to your diet! Long chain omega 3’s (EPA and DHA) from either fish or algae supplementation can have beneficial affects on your hormones and progesterone levels. Research shows that omega 3’s decrease the risk of not ovulating and are also associated with higher concentrations of progesterone. Many people don’t eat enough fish, if this is something that doesn’t appeal to you, then I suggest taking a good quality supplement.
Now you know how to increase your progesterone naturally!
Progesterone also plays an important role in regulating menstrual cycles, fertility, and pregnancy. If you have low progesterone levels then this can cause symptoms such as PMS, PMDD, infertility, and miscarriage. If you’re looking for help with how to understand your hormone levels then book in for a 1:1 consultation so you can start improving your hormone health today.