HOW TO BOOST PROGESTERONE NATURALLY
Progesterone is a rather wonderful sex hormone. Responsible for regular, healthy menstrual cycles, helping us to chill out and maintain healthy pregnancies, progesterone needs to be shouted about a hell of a lot more than it is.
Low progesterone looks like the opposite of all these things, from irregular cycles or missing periods, hair loss, reoccurring headaches and issues around mood and mental health.
Progesterone is alive and kicking during the second half of our cycle (luteal phase) when levels rise to maintain the endometrium (with or without egg implantation). When it drops, that lining sheds, and you welcome that time of the month. If implantation has occurred, progesterone and oestrogen remain high to build and maintain a healthy home for baby. Progesterone is also likely linked to GABA, our calming neurotransmitter and when the sex hormone is lovely and abundant, so is GABA.
so, how can we BOOST it naturally?
RADICAL REST + SELF-CARE
You don’t need to tell us twice. Putting aside time every single day to focus on self-care and relaxation is crucial for balanced hormones. When cortisol (one of our major stress hormones) is chronically high, it influences and can even lower progesterone.
If you’re experiencing irregular cycles or other symptoms of low progesterone, then taking time out and focusing on radical rest is always the first place to start.
This looks different on everyone, but our go-to ways to nourish the nervous system include:
- Swapping out taxing and exhausting high-intensity workouts for low and slow (yoga, walking, barre, swimming etc.)
- Create and fall in love with a calming morning routine, away from electronics and stressors. Have breakfast in bed, light a candle and meditate before you start your day.
- Create the ultimate wind-down routine to improve sleep quality and thus, aid in progesterone levels.
- Get in quality, restorative sleep and aim for at least 8 hours
- Practice deep breathing throughout the day with a real focus on breathing out.
- Remove/ limit exposure to external stressors such as household cleaning products, screens and toxic people.
- Consider soothing supplements and herbs such as ashwagandha, Rhodiola, L-theanine, lemon balm and magnesium. Always consult your health practitioner first.
LIMIT TOXIN EXSPOSURE
Eliminate toxic household cleaning products and significantly reduce your toxic load from plastics, cosmetics and pollution. This also includes heavy metals that have antagonist effects on the other minerals in our body that we need to support that lovely balanced ratio of progesterone to oestrogen. Overall, we want to consider limiting endocrine-disrupting chemicals as much as we can.
Grab an air purifier and give your makeup bag an overhaul. Consider switching to natural cleaning products that can be just as effective. Opt for smaller fish that have less chance of carrying heavy metals – such as mackerel and sardines.
SUPPORT OESTROGEN DETOXIFICATION
When oestrogen is dominating and resides in a more potent state, progesterone takes a back seat. Therefore, when optimizing progesterone levels, in most cases, its always helpful to deep dive into oestrogen too.
We want to first ensure that we’re working on packaging up oestrogen in the healthiest way within the liver and then excreting it thoroughly. Supporting both the liver and the gut are essential in this process.
Support your liver through incorporating lots of dark green leafy and cruciferous vegetables, adequate hydration and incorporating liver supporting staples such as milk thistle, dandelion root and burdock. We also want to make sure we’re limiting the things that distract the liver from doing its main job of detoxifying hormones and toxins, such as sugar, alcohol and processed foods (AKA, all the fun things - sob).
Support the gut with a diet full of a range of different plants to feed the healthy bacteria and limit inflammatory foods and sugar. Aim for at least 30g of fibre a day, including prebiotic sources, opt for a probiotic and incorporate fermented foods.
PROGESTERONE SUPPORTING NUTRIENTS
Ensuring that not only are we consuming a wide range of endocrine supporting nutrients but that we are sufficiently absorbing and utilising thems a non-negotiable.
To support both healthy progesterone levels and an optimal luteal phase length we want to be focusing on the following nutrient, from both diet and supplementation:
- Vitamin D
- B-Vitamins, in particular B6
- Vitamin C
As well as the essential micronutrients, focus on balancing those macronutrients to balance blood sugar and support the synthesis of healthy hormones.
Incorporate a decent amount of healthy fats, both monounsaturated and saturated as cholesterol is actually a precursor for our sex hormones, so we still need to include it in our hormone healthy diets. Ensure every meal has a protein source and healthy carbohydrates such as sweet potatoes and whole grains.
Whilst balancing blood sugar requires that we think mindfully about those carbohydrates (messy blood sugar levels leads to high insulin levels which in turn, has a knock-on effect on progesterone), we still need to include them. When carbohydrates are omitted completely, it is a form of stress on the body that thus, can lead to low progesterone and other unbalanced hormones.
Whilst ultimately, balanced hormones and a healthy, optimal luteal phase are down to consistency around supportive lifestyle and diet adjustments, but there are a few tools to help you along the way:
- Red raspberry leaf, taken in supplement form or in a tea, to support progesterone levels and luteal phase length.
- Vitex, can in some cases, be a successful herb to help balance that oestrogen to progesterone ratio. We recommend having a full hormone panel done before taking and those with PCOS may want to avoid due to its LH stimulating effects.
- Maca, another “hormone balancing hero” you’ve most likely heard of. When taken over time, it may increase progesterone, but those with anxiety or panic disorders may want to steer on the side of caution, due to its excitatory effects.
- Increase foods rich in L-arginine, mostly found in animal protein, in the second half of your cycle to promote the production of progesterone.
- Support the thyroid, specifically throughout the luteal phase, with selenium, iodine and L-tyrosine rich foods. Opt for brazil nuts, sea vegetables, chicken, seafood and whole grains.
- DIM can be supplemented with or found naturally occurring in cruciferous veg. It works to support the liver and balance out high oestrogen levels.
glow market and the content provided are not intended to treat, diagnose, cure or prevent any disease. All material on glow market and The Scoop is provided for educational purposes only. Always seek the advice of your doctor and/ or another qualified healthcare provider for any questions you have regarding a medical condition, and before undertaking any diet, exercise or other health-related programs.