Low Progesterone … There is no magic bullet

You’ve been diagnosed with low progesterone and you’ve changed your diet but you’re still exhibiting signs of deficiency.  What is a girl to do?
There is no “magic bullet” for low progesterone just like there isn’t one to make you lose fat.  There are, however, a number of supplements and herbs that can help you balance out your progesterone level.
One of the things I quickly learned in school was that there is no “one size fits all” treatment for anything.
Before I discuss specific options, I need to address a couple of things.  First and foremost … are you taking a good probiotic?  Gut health is the first thing we need to look at.  If you don’t have a healthy gut, there’s a good chance you’re going to have health issues.  Genestra and Progressive both carry good, affordable, effective products.  What your specific needs are will determine which product is best for you.
The other really important area to look at is your liver’s health.  That is one very busy organ.  It performs over 500 duties in your body so if it’s sluggish or overwhelmed, it could use some help.  Even something as simple as drinking fresh, organic lemons in your water will help boost your liver’s detoxification abilities.  Milk Thistle and St. Francis Hepato DR tinctures are also awesome options.  Please keep in mind that I’m not talking about serious liver diseases.  For those, you need to go to your doctor, find out what’s going on exactly and then see a naturopath and/or nutritionist for additional support.
Adrenal support can help immensely.  If you’re under a lot of stress, a good adrenal support (like AOR’s Ortho Adapt) will help to balance hormones.  High cortisol levels can lower progesterone levels so if you get the cortisol under control with adrenal support which contain adaptogens, this will help rebalance your progesterone levels.
Nutritional Supplements
 vitamins
Vitamin C  is a powerhouse vitamin.  Not only can it improve progesterone levels, it’s also one of the best antioxidants (think cancer prevention) available.  It keeps your eyes working well, boosts immunity and increases longevity and who wouldn’t want that???  Since it’s a water soluable vitamin, you’ll just pee away any excess.  I highly recommend between 1-2  grams of vitamin C per day, depending on your health and size.
Herbal Medicine
 spoons and spices
Chasteberry (aka Vitex, chaste tree or chaste tree berry) is the best known herbal remedy for increasing progesterone levels which is important during all phases of a woman’s life.  Chasteberry helps relieve PMS symptoms, increases fertility and helps ease the symptoms of perimenopause and menopause.  There are numerous ideas as to why this works involving brain chemicals and/or opioid receptors, but the bottom line is, Chasteberry works.
Bladderwrack, which is an edible brown seaweed, has been used for thousands of years in Ayurvedic medicine and is effective if you have a shortened menstrual cycle.  Bladderwrack is not, however, recommended if you have any type of thyroid condition as it contains iodine.
Saffron is a safe option for depression, painful periods and PMS.  Saffron has been used for thousands of years.  It’s very effective at treating depression and has been shown to be as effective as Prozac.
Maca Root is another option.  It increases fertility, balances hormones, boosts your immune system, increases energy, stamina, memory, focus and even sexual function!  Maca is an adaptogen so it helps your body cope with the never-ending stressors in our life.  Another benefit of maca is its relatively high amount of absorbable plant-based nutrients, including protein, fibre, calcium and magnesium among others.
It is very important that before you go self-prescribing and trying any of the above (with the exception of Vitamin C), please go to your doctor, get bloodwork done and find out what your hormone levels are doing.  It isn’t enough just to look at the numbers themselves (my doctor actually told me this), you need to look at them in context and especially the estrogen to progesterone ratio.  Symptoms are something else that need to be looked at.
If you know that you have a hormone imbalance, or if you’re not happy with your doctor’s diagnosis, please contact a naturopath or nutritionist for further treatment.  I think a know a pretty decent holistic nutritionist who can help you.  I can hook you up with her here.

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