Progesterone is a crucial hormone in our body, helping in everyday activities. It is the cure for low sex hormones and menopausal symptoms in women. Moreover, progesterone fights off gynecological disorders and supports pregnancy and fertility. Women with hormone imbalance mostly experience it due to low progesterone levels. However, most women do not realize it as a cause for this disparity. Today, we will discuss how women should combat low progesterone levels, how to increase progesterone, the consequences of low progesterone levels, and much more.
Introduction to Progesterone
Before we tell you how to increase progesterone, you need to know in detail what progesterone is and what it does. Although progesterone hormone is present in both men and women, it plays a greater role for women. Released from the ovaries, it is a sex hormone, vital for conceiving and maintaining pregnancy. The word breaks into ‘Pro,’ meaning promote, and ‘Gesterone,’ denoting gestation or pregnancy. Progesterone releases from the Corpus Leteum – the remains of the ovarian follicle.
Depending on the fertilization and ovulation, progesterone takes two different paths each month. After ovulation, if the egg does not fertilize, progesterone rises and then falls. It is because the body does not need the hormone to prepare for pregnancy. Contrarily, if the ovulated egg has fertilized, then the progesterone rises to thicken the uterine lining that helps in pregnancy. The uterine lining then soon sheds into a period.
When trying to conceive, progesterone is a crucial hormone to facilitate the entire process. With a low progesterone level, you’re likely to face troubles conceiving. The need to understand how to increase progesterone becomes more noticeable because it later helps in breast development and breastfeeding.
Production of Progesterone
Before diving into how to naturally increase progesterone, let’s quickly take a look at how progesterone gets produced. Commonly, the adrenal cortex and the gonads, consisting of the testes and ovaries, produce progesterone.
During pregnancy, the production of progesterone results from the ovarian corpus luteum in the first ten weeks. In the later phases, mostly after the tenth week, the generation switches to the placenta, which then supplies the required progesterone level.
Consequences of Progesterone Imbalance
If you lack progesterone, you’ll face trouble during pregnancy. At each stage of pregnancy, your body must maintain a normal progesterone level to facilitate that phase. This level increases as the pregnancy progress. The normal progesterone level at each stage is:
- First trimester: 11.2-90 ng/ml
- Second trimester: 25.6-89.4 ng/ml
- Third trimester: 48-300 ng/ml
If your progesterone level does not fall in the given range in the respective periods, it means you’re facing a progesterone imbalance. You can confirm the difference through a test.
Following are some effects associated with low progesterone levels.
1. Pregnancy Issues
A normal progesterone level can get you through the pregnancy stage smoothly. Progesterone keeps the uterine lining in place for 14 days of your cycle, so that a fertilized egg can attach itself to the uterus’s wall and the pregnancy can continue.
A very low level of progesterone can lead to troubles in conceiving, premenstrual syndrome symptoms, and severe periods.
2. Excessive Estrogen
Estrogen and progesterone keep each other in control. It means a progesterone imbalance would come with excessive estrogen. This imbalance can lead to mood swings, bloating, weight gain, painful and difficult periods, ovarian fibroids, cellulite, and other problems.
3. Mental Unease
Progesterone is an antidepressant hormone, meaning its absence brings mental problems. Low progesterone levels can lead to dull mood, anxiety, and depression. Mostly, you’ll have trouble sleeping and would want to look for ways on how to increase progesterone to overcome insomnia.
4. Excessive Fluid
Progesterone has the characteristic to stop the cells from retaining water, as it’s a natural diuretic. With a low progesterone level, the cells begin to retain too much fluid. This excessive fluid then leads to symptoms such as sore breasts and swollen skin, forcing you to find ways on how to increase progesterone.
5. Weight Gain and Skin Issues
Another important function of progesterone is to burn the fat stored for energy. Therefore, the absence of progesterone can increase your weight abnormally. Furthermore, progesterone imbalance can cause the involvement of glucose in your bloodstream. It can lead to cellulite generation, tearing of muscle tissues, and other issues.
Progesterone is also an essential hormone for skin health, as it promotes the production of collagen. Low progesterone level means lack of collagen, leading to skin problems such as loose and saggy skin.
Progesterone Treatments with Foods and Supplements
Having seen the consequences of progesterone imbalance, you’d want to maintain the normal level to avoid facing any of the problems associated with it. However, since progesterone is a hormone, foods do not contain it. Instead, some foods contain vitamins and minerals that may increase progesterone production.
Let’s find out some natural ways to boost progesterone:
Vitamins and Minerals
The first way to increase progesterone is through vitamins and minerals. Below we’ll go over some minerals that can stimulate the growth of progesterone.
Magnesium is a natural way of increasing progesterone. It is a mineral necessary for many enzymatic reactions and aids with nerve functioning and muscle protein synthesis, as well.
A study reveals a negative relationship between magnesium and estrogen. As magnesium levels rise, estrogen tends to fall. If you recall, there’s also an inverse bond between estrogen and progesterone. It means that an increase in magnesium could indirectly lead to a higher progesterone level.
Seeds, nuts, legumes, fish, and leafy greens are a great source of magnesium.
This water-soluble vitamin is ideal for the overall reproductive system. Vitamin B6 supports protein metabolism, lipid metabolism, cognitive development, and gluconeogenesis. Research indicates that increasing vitamin B6 could lead to reduced estrogen levels, and hence increase progesterone. Good sources of vitamin B6 include fish, turkey, dried fruit, and sunflower seeds.
Zinc is another mineral that plays a vital role in strengthening the reproductive system. Furthermore, it affects ovaries and pituitary glands, which are essential for progesterone production.
A study claims that zinc can increase the number of binding sites on a progesterone receptor. Good sources of zinc include seeds, nuts, meat, poultry, seafood, and pumpkin and squash seeds.
Vitamin C is another water-soluble vitamin that helps increase progesterone levels. It offers numerous benefits ranging from maintenance of skin and tissue, wound healing, to immune system improvements.
Research unveils that increased vitamin C can lead to higher progesterone levels in premenopausal women. You can find vitamin C in red pepper, broccoli, sweet potato, kiwi, strawberry, citrus fruits, and cantaloupe.
Diet and Sugar Levels
Do you want to know how to increase progesterone naturally? Then, simply maintain your diet and sugar levels. Here are some steps you can follow to maintain a proper diet.
Consume More Healthy Fat
Include more healthy fat in your diet to increase progesterone levels. In the fatty acid chain, unsaturated healthy fats have at least one double bond. A study reveals that higher consumption of healthy fat can cause increased progesterone levels and decreased anovulation.
Look to enhance the use of olive oil, fish, seeds, nuts, and avocadoes in your diet; they’re an excellent source of healthy fat.
Reduce Caffeine Intake
While studying how to increase progesterone, remember to reduce caffeine intake
a stimulant drug that strengthens stress response in the body. Stress and progesterone imbalance have a relationship
reducing the stress could lead to a natural boost in progesterone levels.
Manage Blood Sugar
Without balanced blood sugar, your body may become hypoglycemic or hyperglycemic and in turn stimulate stress, which can lower progesterone.
Balancing blood sugar can allow the body to retain stable levels, and decrease stress. It is one of the natural ways to increase progesterone.
If you are looking for ways to kick sugar out of your daily diet? Check out our guide on how to do sugar detox effectively and live healthily by retuning your mind and body.
The lifestyle you follow can also aid you to increase progesterone. Here are some suggestions you can implement to naturally boost progesterone levels.
Manage Your Stress
As discussed before, the more stressed you are, the lesser will be the progesterone level. Therefore, managing stress is an excellent way to increase progesterone. Family problems, job environment, overthinking, and many other reasons can lead to stress. Dedicate some time to your hobbies, take frequent breaks when working, eat and sleep well, and talk about your problems with others to subdue the stress.
Make Time for Exercise
The key point to remember here is that progesterone production requires gentle exercise. However, avoid too little or too intense a workout. Indulge yourself in gentle exercises such as walking, moderate swimming, and riding a bike that doesn’t run you out of your breath.
Gentle exercises can help maintain desirable body fat percentage, affecting progesterone production. For a healthy menstrual cycle, most women need at least 17% body fat to retain normal hormone function.
Progesterone is a crucial hormone that assists in the everyday functions of the body. Most importantly, progesterone supports fertility and pregnancy in women. If you fall below the normal level, you must find out how to increase progesterone. The best way to boost progesterone is by taking a natural approach. You can increase it through vitamins and minerals, controlling your diet and sugar level, and practicing a supportive lifestyle. However, we suggest taking professional medical help to maintain appropriate progesterone levels and experience a smooth pregnancy process.