If you suffer from irregular periods, PMS, an under-active thyroid, lumpy breasts, or have difficulty getting pregnant, it could be a sign that you need to increase low progesterone levels. If your body doesn’t produce enough progesterone levels, you will have problems with your reproductive system. So, it’s essential to make sure that your progesterone hormone levels are in balance with other hormones. Fortunately, there are many ways to naturally increase low levels of progesterone and resolve the health issues that they cause.
A hormonal imbalance can cause an estrogen dominance which results in lowered levels of progesterone. During your monthly cycle, your ovaries produce progesterone and estrogen. After ovulation, more progesterone is produced to prepare the uterine lining for a fertilized egg to be implanted. If this doesn’t happen, progesterone levels drop and the endometrial lining is shed during menstruation. You can find more information about the role of progesterone in our body as well as symptoms of low progesterone in my article about the warning signs of low progesterone.
Some of the ways to boost levels of progesterone naturally include natural progesterone creams, using herbal supplements, and making positive lifestyle changes. Also, vitamin C, vitamin B6, magnesium, and zinc all help to increase the body’s production of this important female hormone.
Let’s look more closely at what you can do to increase low progesterone levels in your body. This will help to restore normal hormonal balance and reduce the unpleasant symptoms of an estrogen dominance.
Natural Ways to Increase Progesterone Levels
There are no foods that naturally contain progesterone, however, there are certain foods that have a positive impact on progesterone levels in the body.
Vitamin C can help to increase progesterone levels if you have a progesterone deficiency. Vitamin C is an important antioxidant which helps to boost your immune system and help fight off infections. Vitamin C also stimulates collagen production which is essential for the healthy formation of tissue.
A study published in the American Journal of Research Communication found a positive link between vitamin C supplementation and increased levels of progesterone. The researchers found that vitamin C helped to increase endometrial thickness and increase progesterone concentration. The study also noted that the antioxidant effect of vitamin C can help reduce infertility and maintain a healthy pregnancy.1
You can help boost your progesterone levels by incorporating into your diet more foods that contain vitamin C. Some of the best natural sources of vitamin C are citrus fruits, red bell peppers, kale, broccoli, kiwi fruit, berries and papaya.
Another way to get more vitamin C to increase progesterone is by taking supplements. The National Institute of Health recommends that adults take 75 to 90 mg a day.2
Another vitamin which has progesterone-boosting properties is vitamin E. The body needs vitamin E to protect organs, tissues, and cells from damage by free radicals. It is also an important vitamin in keeping your immune system strong and helping to prevent chronic diseases developing.
The fact that vitamin E can help to boost progesterone levels was shown in a study published in the Journal of Ovarian Research. Researchers found that when patients were given vitamin E, almost three-quarters of them had a “significant” increase in progesterone levels.3
According to the National Institute of Health, some of the best sources of vitamin E are wheat germ oil, various nuts and seeds, and green leafy vegetables. You can also take vitamin E oil as a supplement as part of a healthy, balanced diet.4
Foods containing vitamin E are also some of my top foods to balance your hormones naturally.
Zinc can help to boost progesterone levels in your body. Zinc is an important mineral that the body needs to fight viruses and infections.
Studies have shown that zinc also has a direct role in the production of progesterone. A study from Denmark found that the proper dosage of zinc can stimulate excretion of progesterone in the body. However, taking too much zinc seemed to inhibit progesterone production.6
According to the National Institute of Health an average adult needs between 8 and 11 mg of zinc each day. Most of the time, we get enough zinc in our diets. Most meat, seafood, and beans are rich sources of zinc.7 Pumpkin seeds are also a great source of zinc and they are readily available and easy to eat.
L-arginine is an amino acid which is essential for healthy blood vessels and helps to keep your cardiovascular system in good shape. The reason for this is that L-arginine provides nitric oxide to the body which helps to increase blood flow. One of the uses of L-arginine is to help keep a woman’s reproductive system functioning properly.
The Journal of Ovarian Research found that supplementing your diet with L-arginine helps to increase levels of progesterone. The researchers reported that 70% of participants benefited from L-arginine because their progesterone levels increased between monthly cycles. Menstrual blood flow was improved in everyone that took L-arginine.3
According to doctors at WebMD, natural sources of L-arginine are red meat, poultry, seafood, and dairy products.8 Eggs are another source of L-arginine and they are one food that can help boost your sex drive.
Natural progesterone cream
Natural progesterone cream is a great way to boost your progesterone levels. Natural progesterone cream is much safer to use than synthetic creams to increase progesterone. This is because it tends to be much closer to the natural progesterone that your body needs. Most natural progesterone creams contain wild yam extracts. These contain a compound called diosgenin which is converted into progesterone.
Studies into the effect of wild yam extract on progesterone receptors have found that they have a positive effect. A study published in the American Journal of Chinese Medicine found that wild yam extract cream helped to increase progesterone in the body and inhibit the spread of breast cancer cells.9
Before using a natural progesterone cream, you should see your doctor to check your current progesterone levels. This way you can avoid creating a hormonal imbalance in your body.
Vitex (agnus castus)
Extracts from agnus castus (also called the chaste tree or chasteberry or, sometimes, just vitex) is an effective herbal supplement to boost low progesterone levels.
Agnus castus extracts can help to reduce many PMS symptoms and has been shown in studies to be as good as or even superior to pharmaceutical drugs that help treat PMS. The journal Planta Medica published a study showing that agnus castus extracts increase progesterone.10 Other studies have shown that chasteberry extracts can stimulate progesterone production and help reduce mastalgia (breast pain associated with your menstrual cycle).11
Fermented soy products
You can also increase low progesterone levels naturally by eating more fermented soy products. This can be very helpful in case of menopause when progesterone levels drop significantly. Regularly eating fermented soy products can help to boost your progesterone levels and help prevent many menopause symptoms.
The Asia Pacific Journal of Clinical Nutrition showed that fermented soybean products like miso, natto, and tempeh can boost progesterone levels. The researchers said that supplementing your diet with fermented soy products also helped to lower cholesterol naturally. They concluded by saying that “dietary fermented soybean had favorable effects on progesterone and cholesterol.”12
Know what to eat to balance progesterone levels
In this article, we have already looked as some of the great healthy foods that are available to increase low progesterone levels naturally. However, it is also good to limit foods that tend to increase estrogen levels.
Some foods to avoid to help keep your hormones in balance are:
- Processed foods.
- Excess amounts of caffeine and alcohol.
- Try to avoid non-organic animal products.
- Avoid environmental estrogens (Xenoestrogens) found in plastics, skincare products and pesticides.
Keep healthy weight
Maintaining a healthy weight is a great way to keep your hormones balanced and make sure that you don’t suffer from low progesterone levels. Losing extra pounds is necessary for a healthy heart and enjoying a general feeling of well-being. Keeping a healthy weight can also help increase your chances of conceiving.
A study from Mexico found that women who were obese experienced reproductive abnormalities and anovulation (when no ovulation occurs during the menstrual cycle). Women who lost about 10% of their body weight found that ovulation returned and their levels of progesterone were increased. The researchers concluded that “even a small weight reduction and a decrease in total body fat percentage improve the hormonal profile.”