3 Natural Ways to Boost Progesterone
And start reducing insomnia, anxiety, and mood swings right now!
Did you know that after the age of about 35, the hormone progesterone begins to decline in women? While this is a natural and normal occurrence, if that decline occurs very quickly, or there are extreme fluctuations, we can experience a variety of uncomfortable symptoms, from insomnia to anxiety. Fortunately, there are natural ways to boost your progesterone levels, reduce your symptoms and start feeling like yourself again!
What is progesterone?
In short, Progesterone is a hormone that plays a critical role in the female reproductive system. It helps to regulate the menstrual cycle and prepares the uterus for pregnancy. And, even in menopause, it has critical functions. It is important for helping to balance estrogen levels, mood regulation, maintaining bone density, supporting healthy sleep patterns, maintaining healthy skin by supporting collagen production and hydration, having a positive impact on libido and sexual function, and helping regulate the nervous system. Maintaining healthy and balanced levels of progesterone is essential for overall health and well-being in women of all ages.
Here is a list of the most common symptoms of low levels of progesterone:
Migraines or frequent headaches
While many women believe, or are told, that there is nothing that can be done to balance our levels of progesterone, or that hormone replacement therapy is the only option, there are actually many natural ways we can boost and balance progesterone levels.
Here is a quick overview of three simple things we can do to encourage our bodies to produce more progesterone naturally.
One of the best places to begin is through nutrition. Increasing your intake of Vitamins C and B6, as well as the minerals Magnesium and Zinc can help to boost progesterone production naturally.
Vitamin C plays a crucial role in regulating progesterone production by supporting the functioning of the adrenal glands. These glands produce progesterone alongside other hormones. Additionally, vitamin C acts as a cofactor in the conversion of cholesterol to pregnenolone, a precursor to progesterone. By enhancing this conversion process, vitamin C helps ensure sufficient progesterone levels in the body. Moreover, vitamin C's antioxidant properties protect the ovaries from oxidative stress, further contributing to the maintenance of progesterone balance. Including vitamin C-rich foods or supplements in your diet can be a natural way to support healthy progesterone levels.
Foods rich in vitamin C include citrus fruits, strawberries, mango, papaya, watermelon, tomatoes, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, cabbage, and spinach.
Vitamin B6, also known as pyridoxine, plays a significant role in regulating progesterone production through its involvement in various enzymatic reactions. It supports the synthesis of steroid hormones, including progesterone, within the ovaries. Additionally, vitamin B6 aids in the conversion of 17-hydroxyprogesterone to progesterone, a crucial step in progesterone production. By ensuring these processes function optimally, vitamin B6 helps maintain adequate progesterone levels in the body.
Including vitamin B6-rich foods like these in your diet can be a natural way to support healthy progesterone production and hormonal balance: organ meats, fish, poultry, egg yolk, dried beans, peanuts, walnuts, banana, prunes, potatoes, cauliflower, cabbage, and avocado.
Magnesium plays a vital role in regulating progesterone production by acting as a cofactor in various enzymatic reactions involved in hormone synthesis. It supports the conversion of cholesterol to pregnenolone, a precursor to progesterone, in the body. Additionally, magnesium helps to improve insulin sensitivity, which has a positive impact on hormone balance, including progesterone. By ensuring an adequate supply of magnesium, you can support the natural production of progesterone, contributing to overall hormonal health and well-being.
Foods high in magnesium include dark green vegetables, almonds, pecans, cashews, brazil nuts, seeds, legumes, brown rice, avocado, dark chocolate, and dried apricots.
Zinc also plays a crucial role in regulating progesterone production by supporting the enzymatic processes involved in hormone synthesis. Like vitamin B6, zinc aids in the conversion of 17-hydroxyprogesterone to progesterone. Additionally, zinc helps maintain the health of the corpus luteum, a temporary endocrine structure that produces progesterone during the menstrual cycle. By ensuring an adequate intake of zinc, you can support the natural production of progesterone, contributing to hormonal balance and overall reproductive health.
Including zinc-rich foods such as these in your diet can be an effective way to promote healthy progesterone levels: seafood, wheat germ, spinach, seeds, nuts, dark chocolate, beans mushrooms, and quinoa.
Stress is at the root of hormone imbalance. Here are some ways we can boost progesterone by reducing stress.
Mindfulness, the practice of being fully present and aware of the present moment, has been shown to reduce the body's stress response. When we practice mindfulness, we activate the parasympathetic nervous system, often referred to as the "rest and digest" mode, which counteracts the "fight or flight" response triggered by stress. By calming the nervous system, mindfulness helps lower cortisol levels, the primary stress hormone.
The reduction of cortisol is vital for boosting progesterone because cortisol and progesterone share a common precursor hormone called pregnenolone. When the body is under chronic stress, it prioritizes the production of cortisol over other hormones, including progesterone. This imbalance can lead to progesterone deficiency and can exacerbate hormonal issues.
By engaging in mindfulness practices like meditation, breathwork, or gratitude practices, we can effectively manage stress levels and promote the natural production of progesterone. Lower stress levels allow the body to allocate resources to produce progesterone, contributing to hormonal balance and overall well-being.
Being in nature has a remarkable ability to relieve stress and promote the production of progesterone. When we spend time in natural environments, such as greenspaces, forests, or by the ocean, our bodies enter a state of relaxation, reducing cortisol levels and mitigating the harmful effects of stress. Studies have shown that exposure to nature can lower blood pressure, heart rate, and anxiety levels, fostering a sense of calm and well-being.
This reduction in stress is crucial for boosting progesterone because chronic stress can disrupt the delicate hormonal balance in the body. As mentioned earlier, high cortisol levels can interfere with the production of progesterone, leading to hormonal imbalances and related symptoms.
By immersing ourselves in nature regularly, we support our body's ability to produce adequate levels of progesterone. The soothing effects of nature positively influence the endocrine system, encouraging hormonal harmony and overall reproductive health.
Engaging in gentle movement, such as dance, yoga, or tai chi, offers a powerful way to relieve stress and promote the production of progesterone. When we practice these forms of natural movement, we activate the body's relaxation response, which helps to reduce cortisol levels and induce a sense of calm.
By alleviating stress through gentle movement, we create a more conducive environment for the body to naturally produce progesterone.
Furthermore, gentle movement practices are often associated with improved blood circulation and enhanced overall well-being. These positive effects can contribute to the body's ability to maintain hormonal balance, including optimal progesterone levels.
Incorporating gentle movement into our daily routine can be an effective way to support hormonal health, regulate the central nervous system, and promote overall physical and emotional well-being.
Herbal remedies have been used throughout human history and can be potent allies in balancing progesterone naturally.
Vitex stimulates the pituitary gland, which is a master gland that regulates sex hormone production and helps to normalize progesterone levels. Vitex is believed to work by stimulating luteinizing hormonal production and inhibiting follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH), which results in an elevated progesterone level and a more balanced estrogen level.
Vitex is also used for problems associated with the menstrual cycle. These include premenstrual tension, premenstrual acne, breast tenderness, constipation, fluid retention, insomnia, and migraines. It can also help with some of the psychological challenges, such as cravings, anxiety, depression, and irritability.
A 2009 study showed that green tea can be an effective way to strengthen bone metabolism and decrease the risk of bone fractures, especially in women experiencing menopause.
Green tea is also full of antioxidants, some caffeine, and EGCG.
EGCG boosts metabolism, helping to fight the weight gain many menopausal women experience. EGCG is known to possess antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, which can help reduce oxidative stress and inflammation in the body. High levels of oxidative stress and inflammation have been linked to hormonal imbalances, including decreased progesterone levels. By reducing oxidative stress and inflammation, green tea can help support the proper functioning of the endocrine system, including the production and regulation of progesterone.
Additionally, some studies suggest that EGCG may directly influence certain enzymes involved in progesterone production, potentially contributing to maintaining healthy progesterone levels.
Adaptogenic herbs such as Rhodiola, Maca and Ginseng are known for their potential to help the body adapt to stress and promote overall balance in the endocrine system. By reducing the harmful effects of chronic stress, these herbs contribute to hormonal harmony, including the proper functioning of the reproductive system and support for progesterone levels.
Additionally, adaptogens' ability to enhance the body's resilience to stress aids in reducing cortisol levels, which as we mentioned earlier is highly implicated in an imbalance in progesterone production.
Dandelion is a superior support herb and strengthener for the liver, which is the control center for hot flashes. Dandelion helps improve digestion, helps relieve headaches, and also helps with blood sugar regulation. Since the liver is the major organ that metabolizes, detoxes, and filters our hormones, it can become sluggish during the menopausal phase. Dandelion can play a critical role in nourishing and supporting the liver to do its job efficiently and effectively. There has also been research showing its potential in increasing progesterone levels specifically.
Cinnamon is not just a tasty herb, but is a potent ally for hormonal regulation. It is one of our best herbs for balancing blood sugar levels and improving insulin sensitivity. Cinnamon contains bioactive compounds that can not only enhance insulin sensitivity but also improve glucose metabolism, promoting more stable blood sugar levels, which contribute to hormonal balance, including the production and regulation of progesterone. Recent studies have also shown that Cinnamaldehyde, a major active constituent of Cinnamon, can progesterone production directly.
Maintaining healthy progesterone levels is vital for the overall well-being of women navigating peri-mid-post menopause. By incorporating simple lifestyle changes, such as practicing mindfulness, spending time in nature, and engaging in gentle movement, women can effectively reduce stress levels and promote the body's natural progesterone production.
Considering essential nutrients like vitamin C, B6, magnesium, zinc, and exploring the potential benefits of green tea may offer additional support. Herbal remedies like vitex, dandelion, and adaptogenic herbs have been used for thousands of years, in some cases, to support hormonal regulation.
By empowering ourselves with knowledge and embracing these natural approaches, we can take ownership of our hormonal health and step into the next chapter of our lives with vibrant health, vitality, and confidence!
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