In my opinion, progesterone is one of the most under estimated of the sex hormones. We hear a lot of talk about the role of oestrogen but it is the ratio of these two hormones not being balanced that has a significant effect on our bodies and symptoms. Levels drop significantly as our body goes through the perimenopause and that is one of the reasons for all the symptoms that can be experienced.
Progesterone is one of the sex hormones that stimulates and regulates various functions in our body. It is the building block for the production of some of our other hormones and without it we would have no menstrual cycle or reproduction. It is produced in the ovaries, the placenta (when we are pregnant) and also the adrenal glands and its main job is to ensure your body is prepared for conception and pregnancy and regulate your menstrual cycle. It also plays a key role in your libido.
Your menstrual cycle
Progesterone’s most important role is to prepare the tissue lining of the uterus to receive and nourish an implanted fertilised egg during the second half of the menstrual cycle. If implantation does not occur, oestrogen and progesterone levels drop, the lining is shed and menstruation occurs.
As our bodies move away from our child bearing years our reproduction slows, as do our hormones, and become less predictable. The lack of ovulation means our progesterone levels are low which can cause emotional and physical changes in a woman’s body, including irregular menstruation and heavy bleeding.
Symptoms that your progesterone levels are low include:
- Low libido
- Mood changes
- Low energy
- Anxiety and depression
- Heavy bleeding or flooding
- Irregular periods
- Severe PMS
- Hot flushes and night sweats
- Headaches and migraines
How to Boost Levels Naturally
There are many ways that you can help to increase your progesterone levels naturally without having to resort the contraceptive pill or hormone replacement therapy. Here are the main ways that you can manage:
- Plant Sterols help to promote production of progesterone. Nuts, seeds and avocado are all good sources.
- Magnesium helps to boost liver function which promotes the production and secretion of progesterone, as well as excreting excess oestrogen. You can get this mineral from green leafy vegetables, nuts and pumpkin seeds.
- Vitamin B6; sufficient intake is needed to produce progesterone and menstruate and ovulate on schedule. Beans, red meat, poultry, fish, bananas, spinach and tomatoes are all good sources of this essential vitamins.
- Vitamin C helps to increase progesterone levels naturally. It is also really important for adrenal function and reducing stress levels. When we are stressed our adrenals converts progesterone to use as cortisol which reduces levels. Include peppers, kiwi fruit, lemon and citrus fruit in your diet to boost levels.
- Chasteberry (otherwise known as agnus castus) helps to balance hormones levels by increasing progesterone levels and reducing oestrogen.
If you are struggling with these symptoms and would like to find out more about managing them naturally, then why not book a complimentary Heal Your Hormones Strategy Call with me here.