Natural Ways to Increase Progesterone : Ah, progesterone, estrogen’s less popular — but equally as important — sister! Progesterone is a reproductive hormone which plays a role in many emotional and physical functions that we’ll dive deeper into later. Most importantly, though, progesterone plays a huge role in reproduction as the “pregnancy hormone.”
Progesterone is a critical piece of the pregnancy puzzle for those that are trying to conceive. Keep reading on to learn more about how to increase your progesterone levels!
Why is progesterone important?
Progesterone is a key menstrual cycle hormone in the female reproductive system. It is produced after ovulation by the empty follicle that released the egg that cycle.
In the first half of your cycle, estrogen will thicken the uterine lining. After ovulation, the second half of your cycle, progesterone then will stabilize the lining and make sure that it is “sticky” so that it can receive an embryo (a.k.a. implantation) and support a pregnancy.
Progesterone is an important hormone for many reasons. It helps to regulate our moods, helps with a better night’s sleep, and can even increase your energy levels. Besides all this, it also plays an integral role in pregnancy – the hormone creates a healthy environment in the uterus so that an embryo can thrive.
If you’re trying to conceive, ensuring a healthy progesterone level can help increase your chances of successfully conceiving. In order for successful implantation to occur, progesterone needs to remain elevated after ovulation through the oh-so-important implantation window.
Luckily, there are plenty of methods to help you improve your progesterone levels naturally!
Can I increase my progesterone levels naturally?
While methods for naturally increasing progesterone are, well, natural, we always recommend testing your levels before treating to ensure you’re getting to the root issue. Something like a PdG test — which measures the urine marker of progesterone — can help you know where your post-ovulatory levels stand.
Herbal supplements are products that are derived from plants and/or their oils, roots, seeds, berries, or flowers. Certain types of these supplements can be used to help treat low progesterone. Some of these herbs include maca, vitex (also known as chasteberry), and ashwagandha.
If you can, we recommend finding an herbal supplement with all three of these ingredients that specifically promotes progesterone production during the second half of your cycle. Prior to taking these supplements, make sure to consult with your doctor to understand what the best option is for you.
As always, a good diet and nutrition is very important to our health and promoting a healthy hormone balance. Additionally, many foods can promote progesterone production, such as:
- Whole grains
This simple and yummy tactic can promote hormone balance and boost progesterone levels! Seed cycling involves eating specific seeds during the phase of your cycle.
Your cycle is split into two different phases: the follicular phase and the luteal phase. During the first half, the follicular phase, you should eat 1 tablespoon of ground up flax and pumpkin seeds daily. This will promote a healthy level of estrogen.
After ovulation, the luteal phase begins. During this time, you should eat 1 tablespoon each of ground up sunflower and sesame seeds. These seeds will boost the production of progesterone.
Maintain a Healthy Body Weight
For all things hormone balance, it’s typically beneficial to maintain a healthy body weight. Fat levels that are extremely low or extremely high can affect the production of progesterone, which in turn can mess with your hormone balance.
Stress can impact our lives in so many different ways, one of those factors includes your progesterone levels. Another important hormone other than progesterone is called cortisol; this is called the “stress hormone.”
Basically, stress triggers cortisol production and, when you are extremely stressed, your body needs more cortisol. The adrenal gland will “steal” other hormones to create more cortisol, including progesterone. Progesterone is not necessary to survive meaning it’s one of the first hormones to be converted into cortisol.
The more stress your body is fighting, the lower your progesterone levels may be. We know — reducing stress is much easier said than done. However, simple practices can go a long way, so we encourage you to find what works best for you.
With the right tools, you can ensure healthy progesterone levels and a healthy hormone balance!
Dr. Amy Beckley, PhD, Founder of Proov and inventor of the first and only FDA-cleared test to confirm ovulation and ovulation quality at home
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