The body is constantly producing tiny molecules known as hormones. They’re produced in various glands located in the body and travel through the bloodstream until they make contact with an organ that needs it. Without these hormones, our body wouldn’t function as intended.
Although hormones are produced in both male and female bodies, certain hormones might be more present in one rather than the other. This is especially true with sex hormones — female sex hormones are largely found in women, while male sex hormones are largely found in men.
Ensuring your body has the right amount of these hormones is extremely important. Anything too high or too low could cause a wide range of health concerns. Luckily, there are a variety of things you can do to help return these levels back to normal. We’ll explain in more detail below.
So, what is progesterone?
Progesterone is one of the most prominent female sex hormones and belongs to a class of hormones known as progestogens. It’s mainly produced in the corpus luteum of the ovaries but is also produced in smaller amounts by the adrenal glands and placenta (during pregnancy).
The corpus luteum forms after ovulation occur and the ovarian follicle collapses — this is when the egg matures during the menstrual cycle, opening the door to possible fertilization. That’s why progesterone production is a key contributor to what helps you get and remain pregnant.
The body produces progesterone from cholesterol and it affects the uterus, vagina, cervix, testes, breasts, brain, blood vessels, and bones. Progesterone levels remain low throughout the follicular phase but start to peak during the luteal phase until the menstrual period begins.
Symptoms of Low Progesterone Levels
Progesterone plays an important role in the female body, but many females might experience low levels of progesterone from time to time. This can halt normal growth during early pregnancy and can even lead to a miscarriage in more serious cases — which no one wants.
Some of the warning signs and symptoms of low progesterone include long periods, spotting before a period, fertility issues, an irregular menstrual cycle, estrogen dominance, fluid retention, and weight gain. It can also be caused by elevated prolactin levels, hypothyroidism, or PCOS.
If you suspect your progesterone levels are low, your doctor can request a blood sample to measure how much progesterone is in the blood. If levels are low, your doctor will need to diagnose the root of the problem so they can find a solution to increase progesterone levels.
How to Increase Levels of Progesterone
The good news is there are a variety of nutrients that act as progesterone supplements when your levels are low. While food doesn’t contain progesterone directly (since it’s a hormone, not a nutrient), certain nutrients can help your body produce progesterone at a much higher rate.
Let’s take a look at six of the most prominent nutrients that can help you increase levels of progesterone in the body:
It’s known that progesterone and estrogen have a symbiotic relationship. With that said, high levels of estrogen can lead to low levels of progesterone. Since fiber can help reduce estrogen levels by giving the body less time to absorb it, this can indirectly help increase progesterone.
Some foods that are high in fiber include oats, whole grains, flaxseed, quinoa, beans, broccoli, potatoes, nuts, dried fruits, berries, artichokes, chia seeds, and avocados.
Another nutrient that can help you naturally increase progesterone levels is Vitamin B6. Also known as pyridoxine, Vitamin B6 is necessary for a variety of functions in the human body. In fact, some research shows that high levels of Vitamin B6 can reduce miscarriage rates by 50%.
Foods that are high in Vitamin B6 include salmon, lean chicken breast, sunflower seeds, turkey, fish, dried fruit, lean pork chops, tofu, bananas, beef, potatoes, and avocados.
Zinc is a mineral that plays an important role in a variety of functions in the body. For example, it’s essential to the health of your ovaries and pituitary gland. It also increases the production of follicle-stimulating hormones, which results in ovulation and increases progesterone.
Some foods that are high in zinc include oysters, crab, beef, pork, lobster, cashews, chickpeas, nuts, lentils, hemp seeds, chicken leg, tofu, oatmeal, and low-fat yogurt.
Many people know Vitamin C for its benefits to the immune system, but that’s not the only thing it does in the human body. In fact, some research shows that high levels of Vitamin C can increase progesterone levels in females. For example, 750mg of Vitamin C can increase progesterone by 77%.
Some foods that are high in Vitamin C include Kakadu plums, acerola cherries, guavas, rose hips, chili peppers, yellow peppers, thyme, parsley, blackcurrants, oranges, broccoli, kiwi, and kale.
Of all the nutrients that play a role in hormone regulation, magnesium is one of the most prominent. It regulates the pituitary gland, which is a gland that produces follicle-stimulating hormones, luteinizing hormone, and thyroid-stimulating hormone — all of which increase progesterone levels.
Some of the foods high in magnesium include dark chocolate, avocados, nuts, legumes, whole grains, tofu, seeds, fatty fish, bananas, spinach, kale, and other leafy greens.
L-Arginine is an amino acid that plays an important role in nitric oxide production. Nitric oxide is a molecule that helps improve vasodilation — the widening of blood vessels — which improves blood flow and circulation. Since this ensures the proper function of the corpus luteum and the ovaries, it can help increase progesterone production.
Some of the foods high in L-Arginine include protein-rich foods, turkey, pork loin, chicken, pumpkin seeds, soybeans, peanuts, spirulina, dairy, chickpeas, lentils, and salmon.
Visit our supplements shop for other natural ways to increase progesterone, including:
- Femarin – Femarin is a unique blend of botanicals formulated to provide targeted support for a comfortable and balanced menopausal transition.
- CDG EstroDIM – CDG EstroDIM includes the combined power of two metabolites to support estrogen balance and breast and prostate health.
- AdrenaMed – AdrenaMed® GL50 is a concentrated, balanced glandular formula with adaptogenic herbs, vitamins, and minerals designed to promote a healthy stress response. This advanced formula was designed with select B vitamins involved in adrenal hormone production to support adrenal health.
Contact Dr. Hagmeyer Today!
If you believe you’re suffering from low progesterone levels, Dr. Hagmeyer can help. With the proper testing, we can see just how much progesterone your body is producing. From there, we can diagnose the issue and find an effective solution to normalize those levels.
Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you improve progesterone levels for a healthier-functioning body.