Progesterone is a gestational steroid hormone that naturally occurs in the female body. Being a “precursor” hormone, the body can convert it into other steroid hormones. It’s made in the ovaries and adrenal cortices, prepares the uterus lining for a fertilized egg, and during pregnancy is produced in the placenta. Increasing progesterone levels can regulate the menstrual cycle, encourage contraception or replace hormones lost during menopause.
- Skill level:
- Moderately Easy
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Things you need
- 150 IU vitamin E supplements
- Beta-carotene supplements
- Soymilk, tofu or miso
- Progesterone cream, pills, suppositories or injections
Take a vitamin E or beta-carotene supplement to stimulate your natural production of progesterone without taking a product that actually contains progesterone. Dr. David G. Williams, a leading authority on natural healing, and author of the long-running "Alternatives" newsletter, recommends a daily dose of 150 IU of vitamin E; but be careful, because increasing that to 300 to 600 IU can actually lower progesterone levels instead.
Increase your intake of soybean-based products. According to nutritionist Linda Ojeda, soybean products like soymilk, tofu and miso contain phytoestrogens, and are dietary sources of the female hormones progesterone and estrogen. She thinks that Japanese women have very few menopausal complaints because they regularly consume soybeans.
Look for progesterone-boosting products made with natural progesterone, usually from plant sources, rather than the synthetic progestin, if the above measures aren’t enough. Progestin was originally developed because progesterone isn’t absorbed well when taken orally, and it’s quickly metabolised by the liver. Birth control pills are often still made with progestin. However, while natural progesterone still needs to be synthetically processed to be properly absorbed by the body, there are far fewer negative side effects associated with naturally sourced progesterone than with progestin.
Apply a skin cream made with natural progesterone, often extracted from soy or Mexican wild yams, although some are made from cow ovaries and are specifically geared to women who still have ovaries. Creams are a popular choice to increase progesterone, since they’re easy to apply, natural and absorb well. World-renowned nutrition expert and bestselling author Ray Sahelian, M.D., recommends massaging ¼ to ½ tsp. of the cream into a smooth area of your skin, such as your face, throat, chest, abdomen or wrist. Pre-menopausal women should use it in cycles of 14 days on, then 14 days off, stopping when menstruation starts. Menopausal women should use it for 21 days, then stop for seven days before repeating the cycle.
Try a pill, vaginal suppository or injection if you don’t like the cream. Progesterone pills should be taken with food to enhance absorption, which takes one to four hours. Vaginal suppositories are sometimes mixed with cocoa butter or propylene glycol, and absorption peaks four hours after use. Injections made from progesterone oil reach peak absorption after 12 hours; they often last for 12 weeks, and are used as contraceptives.
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