Low Progesterone? 5 Easy Steps to Increase your Levels
As previously discussed in my last post, progesterone is vital for preparing and maintaining pregnancy, especially during the early stages. Progesterone also aids in proper thyroid functioning, and has anti-inflammatory effects in the body, especially in the brain.1,2
Low progesterone have been linked to the following conditions:3
- Miscarriage, especially recurrent miscarriages
- Pre-menstrual syndrome (PMS)
- Insulin resistance
- Brain, breast and endometrial cancers
- Autoimmune diseases
There are several ways to naturally increase your progesterone without taking bio-identical hormones or supplements. One of the principles of naturopathic medicine is “First, do no harm”. Start with these 5 simples steps for a natural treatment to boost your progesterone.
- Avoid exposure to hormone disruptors
Our environment contains several endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs) that impair our body’s hormones, interrupt ovulation and reduce egg quality.4 Although BPA has been banned from baby products, it is still present in many everyday household items including plastic containers, water bottles and the lining of canned goods. BPA is a potent endocrine disruptor, potentially harming important hormonal pathways necessary for fertility. Whenever possible, heat foods in glass containers and use natural body products. In addition, try to buy organic canned foods as they do not contain BPA.
2. Sleep in a dark room to optimize melatonin production
Melatonin is a powerful antioxidant that is secreted during periods of restful sleep. Melatonin has been shown to improve fertility and it increases during the luteal phase of your cycle. Research has demonstrated a positive correlation between higher levels of melatonin and increased concentration of progesterone.5 Getting enough good quality sleep can help increase progesterone levels. For starters, sleep in a dark room; you should be unable to see your hand in front of your face. If you use an alarm clock, turn it away from you. This is necessary because when light hits your skin, it disrupts the circadian rhythm of the pineal gland and hinders the production of melatonin. If you need to use the bathroom at night, avoid turning on the light if possible.
3. Increase consumption of zinc rich foods
Although zinc is often cited as an important mineral for boosting testosterone, its importance in female fertility should not be overlooked. Zinc plays a crucial role in the maintenance of the corpus luteum and subsequent progesterone production.6 Eating two tablespoons of pumpkin seeds daily is an easy way to increase the zinc in your diet.
4. Manage your stress levels
The precursor to all steroid hormones in our body is cholesterol. It is converted into pregnenolone, which is used to make progesterone and cortisol. Under high periods of stress, we experience what is called the ‘progesterone steal’. More pregnenolone is used to make cortisol, our stress hormone, which lowers our progesterone.7 Finding healthy ways to manage stress in your life can help keep cortisol low and boost progesterone levels.
5. Reach for foods high in Vitamin B6
Vitamin B6 is necessary for proper progesterone metabolism. It is readily used in the body during periods of high stress or prolonged exercise. In addition, the birth control pill depletes B6, and often results in a deficiency of this important vitamin. Good sources of B6 in your diet include chickpeas, wild salmon, chicken, grass-fed beef and bananas.8
Have you been diagnosed with low estrogen? Read my blog on 8 steps to increase your estrogen naturally HERE.
- Rothchild I, Rapport, R. The Thermogenic Effects of Progesterone and Its Relation to Thyroid Function. Endocrinology. 1952, 50(5):580-583
- Pettus E, Wright D, Stein D, Hoffman S. Progesterone treatment inhibits the inflammatory agents that accompany traumatic brain injury. Brain Research. 2005, 1049(1):112-119
- Dr. Nora Pope, ND. (2017) Cycle Charting & Progesterone BHRT. [Webinar]. Retrieved from https://health-local.com/articles/2920/cycle-charting-progesterone-hrt
- Diamanti-Kandarakis E, Bourguignon J, Giudice L, Hauser R, Prins G, Soto A, Zoeller R, Gore A. Endocrine-Disrupting Chemicals: An Endocrine Society Scientific Statement. Endocrine Reviews. 2009, 30(4):293–342
- Abecia JA, Forcada F, Zúñiga O.The effect of melatonin on the secretion of progesterone in sheep and on the development of ovine embryos in vitro. Vet Res Commun. 2002. 26(2):151-8.
- White Lotus Clinic. Natural Fertility Boosters for Luteal Phase Defect. http://www.whitelotusclinic.ca/blog/dr-fiona-nd/how-to-improve-the-luteal-phase-maintaining-early-pregnancy/ Published 2013.
- Chinedum O , Chukwudi E, Ndidiamaka A , Daniel C , Samuel U, Okwudiri N. Effect of Pre and Post Academic Examination Stress on Serum Level of Cortisol and Progesterone Circulation amongst Students of Nnamdi Azikiwe University Nnewi Campus Anambra State, Nigeria. International Journal of Tropical Disease and Health. 2014. 4(1): 62-69
- Alisa Vitti. How to Use B6 When You have a Progesterone Deficiency. https://www.floliving.com/benefits-of-b6/ Published 2016.