Progesterone is a hormone in the body that helps regulate reproductive function. This hormone is what causes a woman to have menstrual cycles, ovulate and to maintain a healthy pregnancy when she conceives. It is a vital part of proper hormonal function and can determine if a women is fertile and can carry a child for a complete pregnancy.
Other roles of progesterone include acting as an anti inflammatory agent, regulating the immune response, normalizing blood clotting, and preventing endometrial cancer by regulating the effects of estrogen in the female body. If the human body does not produce enough progesterone in the female on its own, there are some effects. For example, progesterone helps to lower estrogen levels; so too low progesterone levels can lead to increased PMS symptoms and difficult periods for women. The woman may also experience mood swings and irritability.
How Progesterone Affects Fertility
Low progesterone is a primary cause of miscarriages. According to a study, 753 infertile women participated in 62 percent had low progesterone, which was found to be the main cause of their infertility. If there is not enough progesterone being produced to sustain implantation, pregnancy is unlikely. This can also be attributed to abnormal thyroid function. Even though the woman can ovulate and the egg can be fertilized, the endometrium is not prepared for implantation due to the lack of progesterone, furthermore even if implantation takes place, if there is not enough progesterone produced to sustain pregnancy, miscarriage can occur.
What To Do?
Ensure you are getting enough micro-nutrients. For optimal progesterone production the body requires adequate intake of B-Complex vitamins, in particular vitamin B6. The other key nutrient in progesterone production is magnesium.
Eat plenty of organic dark green leafy vegetables, almonds, eggs, meat, black strap molasses, seeds, nuts and beans. They are all good sources of B vitamins and magnesium.
Eat a serve of good quality organic protein, the size of you palm 3 times a day. Hormones are made of protein so you want to make sure you are getting plenty in your diet.
Foods rich in Progesterone
Wild yam is famous for containing hormone-like compounds that are very similar to progesterone, and may encourage the body’s own production of the hormone. Bear in mind that the sweet potato, a different vegetable, does not contain these compounds.
Egg yolks and dairy products both contain respectable amounts of true progesterone, but it is not known how directly they interact with the human body’s own progesterone stores.
Walnuts, whole grains, fortified cereals, and soy milk all contain large amounts of vitamin B-6, which may be essential for maintaining ideal estrogen-progesterone balance.
Zinc is thought to be essential to producing adequate levels of progesterone, so high-zinc foods like red meat, shellfish, chicken, and turkey can all increase progesterone levels.
Turmeric, found in curry, can increase the body’s progesterone levels, as can thyme and oregano. Including one of these in every meal may help to maintain good hormone balance.
Symptoms of Low Progesterone
• Irregular Periods: Your menstrual periods have gaps or inconsistent spaces of time between cycles.
• Spotting: You have occurrences of light pink to red mucus when you wipe between cycles.
• Clots: You experience clots during your menstruation.
• Weight Gain: You gain weight even when you haven’t made changes to diet and/or exercise routine.
• Memory Issues: You may forget things that seemed clear a few minutes ago, your thinking might be fuzzy.
• Vaginal Dryness: Your vagina is dryer than it should be; there isn’t mucus when there should be.
• Anxiety/Depression: You may have feelings of fear or sadness without basis. Worry about things that shouldn’t affect you strongly.
• Breast Sensitivity: Your breasts are sensitive and may ache if touched.
• Night Sweats: You wake up sweaty and uncomfortable in the night
If more than one or two if these symptoms seems familiar and occur at the same time you need to get a test for hormonal imbalance. This will help to determine what can be changed to resolve the problem.
Causes of Low Levels of Progesterone
• High Estrogen Levels: Higher estrogen levels can overpower the body’s hormones, throwing production of other hormones including progesterone out of gear.
• Chronic Stress: Chronic stress is stress is one of the causative factors of low levels of progesterone hormone in women.
• Lack of Proper Exercise: Exercise is essential to good overall health. Without it your body’s natural functions don’t get the proper signals they require to determine how best to maintain a healthy level of activity.
• Resistance to Insulin: A condition that doesn’t allow the body to use the insulin it makes. Associated with obesity, it can also play a part in low Progesterone levels.
• Lack of Proper Nutrition: When the body is starved of proper nutrition it is unable maintain itself. Certain foods may also help unbalance your hormones.
• Medication Interaction: Certain medications don’t interact well with each other and can have side effects that affect your body’s function.
• PCOS (Poly Cystic Ovarian Syndrome): A disorder caused by a lack of ovulation in a woman, this disorder causes issues with the interaction of hormones, ovaries and brain.