Are you struggling with low progesterone symptoms? Are you tired of taking medications that pack along multitude of side effects? Well, here is the good news! You are not alone in the fight against a low progesterone level in your body, and there are numerous ways to increase progesterone naturally. No medications. No side effects.
And in this post we will check them out. You will learn about the functions of Progesterone, how it becomes low, best foods, lifestyle and Ayurvedic natural remedies to increase progesterone naturally. Let’s get started!
What is progesterone?
Progesterone is produced by the ovary, placenta, and adrenal glands in women and a small amount is produced by the adrenal glands in men.
It is a hormone that is involved in the menstrual cycle and pregnancy.
If we break down the word “progesterone”, we come off with two parts: “pro-”, which means “for” and “-gesterone,” which relates to gestation, that is pregnancy.
So, progesterone is a for pregnancy hormone. It supports and promotes pregnancy. Whether you get pregnant or not, once it’s the right time in your cycle, progesterone levels will rise.
Progesterone in Pregnancy, Fertility and Menstrual Cycle
During ovulation, an egg is released from its follicle. The remnant of the follicle becomes the corpus luteum. This corpus luteum takes up the role of progesterone.
Progesterone levels peak about this time. It aids in maintaining the inner lining of the uterus in a thickened state. If pregnancy occurs, the corpus luteum becomes corpus luteum of pregnancy and continues producing progesterone.
Therefore, the endometrial lining of the uterus continues to remain in the thickened state, and this helps with the implantation of the fetus.
However, if pregnancy does not occur, the corpus luteum degenerates, and progesterone production drops. This reduces the level of available progesterone.
If progesterone has dropped, it becomes difficult to keep the uterus in that built-up state. Therefore, the thickened endometrial lining is shed, resulting in menstrual flow.
In this way, progesterone levels fluctuate through the menstrual cycle, waxing and waning, peaking, and dropping again.
Aside from preparing the womb for implantation, progesterone also plays vital role in overall health of a woman.
Role of Progesterone
- It helps in improving the PMS i.e. premenstrual syndrome.
- Progesterone is an antidepressant and helps in easing anxiety issues.
- Promotes bone building, helping to keep weak bone conditions as osteoporosis at bay.
- Protects against breast cancer, uterine cancer, and other types of cancer.
- Plays a role in regulating blood sugar levels.
- It is important in maintaining overall health.
- Progesterone pills can be used to treat hormonal imbalances like in PCOS.
Now, this is how it’s supposed to be. That is normal. But of course, things don’t always go like clockwork.
Sometimes, progesterone levels can become too high or too low. Here, we are focusing on low progesterone symptoms and how to naturally increase progesterone.
What Causes Low Progesterone Symptoms
First, what can cause low progesterone levels? It could be several factors, including:
- Menopause: which is a normal part of aging.
- Problems with the ovaries
- No ovulation and Anovulatory cycles: in which case there is no follicle remnant to become the corpus luteum.
- Excess cortisol due to stress
- Excessive weight or very low Weight
Low Progesterone Symptoms
When you have a low progesterone level, your menstrual cycle will be affected for sure, alongside a host of other symptoms. Some of them are touched on here.
Estrogen and progesterone are arguable the two most important ‘female hormones.’ They balance each other out. As a result, when you have low progesterone levels, estrogen has the stage. It becomes dominant. Estrogen dominance comes with its own host of symptoms, which include the following:
- Increased risk of breast cancer;
- Breast or ovarian fibroids;
- Varicose veins;
- Weight gain around the hips;
- Period Cramps
- Mood swings;
Though other factors can trigger estrogen dominance (like menopause), a decline in progesterone levels is often implicated.
Progesterone is supposed to peak and then drop during your menstrual cycle. It is part of the cycle. When progesterone is chronically low, there can’t be a normal cycle. This results in irregular periods.
3. Infertility and Miscarriages indicate low progesterone symptoms
Low progesterone levels can also cause infertility. The reason is similar to that above.
At the start, we talked about how progesterone helps to maintain the inner wall of the uterus. Initially, estrogen causes a build-up of nutrients and thickens this wall.
Progesterone keeps the wall in that state to facilitate implantation. However, if progesterone is not available, this uterine wall doesn’t remain in that ‘prepared state.’
Consequently, implantation is difficult, if not impossible. This results in miscarriages in many cases.
4. Weight Gain and Cellulite
You can gain weight just because you have your progesterone levels are low.
If you try to shed weight, eat the right diet, go on intermittent fasting, exercise as recommended, etc, you will keep having the opposite result if progesterone is low in your body.
Here is another thing you should note.
With low progesterone, your body is unable to burn fat. Rather, you keep using glucose and glycogen reserves. When that has been used up, you resort to breaking down muscle tissues. It can even result in cellulite eventually.
Keeping a hormonal balance is key to maintaining a healthy weight.
5. Fluid retention, Saggy Skin, and Bone problems
Progesterone is a natural diuretic. A diuretic is a substance that increases the amount and frequency of urination.
So, if you lose this diuretic effect of progesterone, you retain water and sodium. This can lead to edema and swelling of the body tissues.
You can notice swollen arms, feet, puffy faces, heavy and sore breasts, etc.
When your skin keeps getting stretched by excess fluids, it begins to sag.
Also, progesterone normally helps to maintain the skin and stimulate collagen production. With low levels of progesterone, this benefit is lost.
Progesterone also helps in building bones. Unfortunately, when there is not enough progesterone, this doesn’t happen.
6. Mood swings, Anxiety, and/or Depression
Progesterone affects your neurotransmitters, particularly gamma-aminobutyric acid(GABA).
GABA has a soothing effect on the brain. If progesterone is low, GABA is also not what it should be. This causes mood swings, anxiety, and depression.
7. Hot flashes and Night Sweats
One of the reasons women experience hot flashes in menopause is because of estrogen dominance, which is a result of low progesterone.
Progesterone pills are taken to manage that. Naturally, progesterone helps to prevent hot flashes and night sweats.
How to Naturally Increase Progesterone Levels?
Thankfully, all of those effects listed above are avoidable. You don’t have to experience them. And if you are right now, you need not worry. There are cost-effective, all-natural remedies to reverse low progesterone.
Without further ado, let’s get to it.
1. Foods and nutrients to increase progesterone naturally
Many times you have heard, “You are what you eat.” It is not just a cliche. It is true in many regards. Your choice of foods can help you naturally increase progesterone.
Here are some dietary tips to boost your progesterone levels:
Eat lots of fibers
Remember that estrogen and progesterone work together and balance each other out. If you can reduce estrogen levels, progesterone can work more effectively.
How do fibers help? Some foods you eat contain natural estrogens (phytoestrogens), and the longer they stay in your gut, the more estrogen will be absorbed from them.
Fibers help to stimulate gut movement and ensure that food is moved out from the gut before much estrogen is absorbed.
Sources of fibers include:
Sex hormones, like progesterone, are made from proteins, fats, and cholesterol.
Therefore, to optimize hormone production, you need to include healthy fats in your diet. This ensures you have enough raw materials available for hormone production.
Women who are on a low-fat diet are liable to suffer from hormone deficiencies.
How do you ensure you eat the right fats? Eat fats from natural sources. Some are as follows:
- fatty fish
- coconut oil,
- fatty fish,
- seeds (sesame, pumpkin, sunflower),
Avoid highly processed fats, trans fats, hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated oils, etc.
Magnesium plays a huge role in hormone regulation. It does this by affecting the pituitary gland, which is nicknamed the master gland.
This pituitary gland produces follicle-stimulating hormone(FSH), luteinizing hormone(LH), and thyroid releasing hormone(TSH), which affect the production of estrogen and progesterone.
Where can you get Magnesium from:
- Dark Chocolate(the darker the better)
- Whole Grains (e.g. whole grain brown rice, )
- Nuts and Seeds
Zinc affects both the ovaries and the pituitary gland, which are involved in producing progesterone. It causes the pituitary gland to produce FSH.
FSH causes maturation of follicles with eventual ovulation. After ovulation, there is a corpus luteum to produce progesterone. Thus, zinc helps to naturally increase progesterone.
Sources of zinc:
- Lean Beef
- Seafood (e.g. oysters, shrimps, shellfish)
- Squash Seeds
- Nuts (e.g. cashew nuts)
Vitamin C helps boost progesterone levels and corrects problems with the luteal phase of the menstrual cycle.
The average daily recommended intake of vitamin C intake is 75mg. It might be difficult to overdose on vitamin C, but not impossible. To avoid this, do not exceed 2000mg of vitamin C in a day.
Vitamin C can be found in:
- Yellow Peppers
- sweet potato
- Camu Camu (Peruvian berry)
Women with higher vitamin B6 in their blood have 50% less risk of miscarriage. B6 plays a role in increasing progesterone. It also reduces estrogen dominance by helping the liver break down byproducts of progesterone.
You can get vitamin B6 from the following food sources:
- Sunflower Seeds
- Dried Fruit
This is an amino acid that can be found in protein-rich foods. L-Arginine is useful for making nitric acid. Nitric acid in turn improves blood circulation and optimizes the functioning of the corups luteum and ovaries.
L-Arginine can be taken in:
- Pumpkin Seeds
- Lean Beef
2. Ayurvedic Herbal Remedies to Increase Progesterone Naturally
Ayurvedic medicine applies herbs to address various health conditions. Some of these herbs are particularly beneficial for low progesterone symptoms. Examples are:
- Evening primrose oil,
Before taking any herbs, ensure you consult your doctor or an Ayurvedic professional to help guide you.
3. Lifestyle tips to Increase Progesterone Naturally
Maintain a healthy body weight
Excess body fat leads to the production of excess levels of estrogen. The ovaries are not aware this is happening, and so there will be no complementary progesterone production to balance it out.
As a result, you are headed for low progesterone signs and symptoms. Here’s an excellent post on how to reduce body fat with Ayurvedic diet and lifestyle.
When you are stressed, cortisol levels in your body increase. Progesterone can be converted into cortisol. In addition, high Cortisol levels suppress natural production of both Estrogen and Progesterone in your body.
Also, cortisol and progesterone compete for the same raw materials to be produced. Thus, more cortisol means there will be less materials available for producing progesterone.
All these factors cause there to be low progesterone levels when you are stressed. Thus, when you reduce stress, you will experience a significant boost in your levels of progesterone.
Regular Exercise but do it moderately
Excessive exercise can stress you out, and then you’ll have all the trouble with cortisol again. Take frequent walks, perform light exercises and meditate.
Phytoestrogens are Estrogen rich foods. They are excellent food sources to balance hormones naturally and specifically address the symptoms of low Estrogen.
However, if you are experiencing significantly low progesterone levels, then you should consume phytoestrogens (specifically soy products) in moderation.
Reduce your caffeaine intake
Excessive caffeine can lead to estrogen dominance. Optimally, you should not take more than 400mg daily. For someone trying to conceive, you should take even less, no more than 200mg of caffeine daily.
Manage your blood sugar
Excess sugar levels increase insulin in the blood. This might result in insulin resistance. Insulin resistance further causes an increase in blood sugar, causing weight gain. High insulin leads to high cortisol, and weight gain causes increased production of estrogen.
Track your progesterone levels
This will help you stay conscious of your progesterone and avoid hitting the critical low points.
Here, you have learned about low progesterone symptoms. You’ve also seen how to naturally increase low progesterone levels.
Nature has blessed us with a lot of gifts, and we should use them optimally.
Now we want to hear from you. Are you struggling with low progesterone symptoms? If yes, then what are you currently doing to support your health and which natural ways do you find the most effective?
Do write to us for any queries and feedback. We will get back to you the soonest.
Wishing you vibrant health!