Progesterone is a steroid hormone produced by your ovaries that affects your reproductive system, breasts and general growth and development. Progesterone is also the precursor of other hormones, including cortisol. Additionally, progesterone plays a role in pregnancy, menstrual cycles and mood behavior. You can naturally increase low progesterone levels through your diet and herbal supplementation. However, you should speak with a medical professional about the best way to treat low progesterone, and you should not take any herbal supplement without first speaking with a licensed medical professional.
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According to “What Your Doctor May Not Tell You About Menopause,” menopause is the primary cause of low progesterone levels. Once you reach menopause, your ovaries start lowering the production of sex hormones such as progesterone. Lower progesterone levels can cause side effects such as irregular periods, vaginal dryness, decreased fertility, sleep disturbances, hot flashes, increased abdominal fat, mood swings, loss of breast fullness and thinning hair. Other symptoms of low progesterone include acne, anxiety, dry eyes, panic attacks, mood swings, muscle spasms, constipation, fatigue, insomnia, water retention and high cholesterol. Additional causes of low progesterone include high estrogen levels, stress, diet, nutrition and exercise.
Food that Helps Raise Progesterone Levels
Turmeric is found in curry, and according to “Natural Hormone Balance for Women,” eating curry can help to increase your progesterone levels. Additionally, the spices thyme and oregano have the same property, and can raise your estrogen levels. Further, foods that contain vitamin B-6 can help maintain the estrogen-progesterone balance in your body. Foods that contain vitamin B-6 include walnuts, whole grains, fortified cereals and soy milk. Cherries, chicken, red meat and wild yams are also good boosters of progesterone.
Herbal Supplements that Raise Progesterone Levels
Herbal supplements that can increase your progesterone levels include phytoestrogenic herbs and non-estrogenic herbs. Phytoestrogenic herbs contain phytoestrogens, a plant-derived hormone that has properties similar to estrogen. Non-estrogenic supplements, on the other hand, have the ability to stimulate your hormonal glands to work more efficiently. According to “Dr. John Lee’s Hormone Balance Made Simple,” the Peruvian root called maca induces optimal function in your pituitary and endocrine glands, stimulating natural progesterone production. Additionally, the herbs chasteberry and black cohosh can also increase progesterone levels in your body. Don't take any of these herbs without your doctor's approval.
You have to take great care when treating low progesterone levels. Hormone imbalances in your body can react very sensitively to supplementation and have powerful effects on your body. Currently available clinical research does not support using natural herbs and foods to treat low progesterone levels. You should, therefore, always consult a doctor before treating low progesterone levels naturally, and only proceed with a natural treatment under the supervision of a physician.
- “The ACP Handbook of Women's Health”; By Rose S. Fife et al; 2009
- "Dr. John Lee's Hormone Balance Made Simple: The Essential How-to Guide to Symptoms, Dosage, Timing, and More"; John R. Lee and Virginia Hopkins; 2006
- "What Your Doctor May Not Tell You About Menopause: The Breakthrough Book on Natural Progesterone"; John R. Lee and Virginia Hopkins; 1996
- "Natural Hormone Balance for Women: Look Younger, Feel Stronger, and Live Life with Exuberance"; Uzzi Reiss and Martin Zucker; 2002