This article looks at how you can naturally increase progesterone levels for balanced hormones, easier periods and acne free skin!
In my previous post I talked about how low levels of progesterone are pretty much to blame for most of your hormonal symptoms – from acne and period pain to sore boobs and anxiety! It’s also a major player when it comes to your fertility and maintaining a healthy pregnancy.
When googling ‘low progesterone levels’ you’re more likely to come across hundreds of articles about fertility, miscarriages and pregnancy rather than blog posts on acne or PMS – however they’re all really closely linked. As a career driven 20-something, starting a family may seem like a million miles away, but if you’re struggling with missing, irregular or difficult periods, painful cramping mid-cycle or ovarian cysts along with your acne, then it’s time to start giving your ovaries some extra love and start understanding how your skin issues and fertility could be more closely linked than you thought. If you’re suffering with persistent acne along with your hormonal imbalances, then rebalancing your hormones is the most effective way of saying goodbye to acne and PMS for good! Did you know it’s not normal to suffer from PMS symptoms? It’s true! You can read more about it in this post here.
I could go on about this for ever, but the key point is – as soon as you start supporting your lady bits and treating the deeper, underlying cause (i.e your hormones), instead of attempting to treat your skin with only topical creams and prescriptions or antibiotics, you’ll see dramatic, long-term improvements with you skin.
HOW TO NATURALLY INCREASE PROGESTERONE FOR ACNE FREE SKIN
Alongside a healthy diet rich in nutrients, there a many others ways to support hormonal healthy and increase progesterone naturally. While some people will need specific supplementation to raise progesterone levels (read my post here), many women just require a few lifestyle changes that can be implemented today!
This is probably the most common, yet most overlooked, reason for unhappy hormones. If you read my previous post, you’ll know that cortisol (the stress hormone) competes with progesterone and progesterone always, always loses the fight!
Even if you’re doing everything else right – if your stressed like hell, then no amount of green juices or supplements will prevent your adrenal glands using up your progesterone stores to make cortisol and adrenaline.
Studies have shown that simple deep breathing can help to balance your hormones, even if it’s just 15 minutes a day! If you’re like me and struggle with self-meditating because your brain is constantly on switched on. Try some guided meditation apps such as Calm, Headspace or Walking Meditations.
After stress, one of the easiest ways for our hormones to go gaga is by not getting enough shut eye! If you suffer from sleep deprivation or are going to bed late and not waking till lunchtime, it could be one of the key reasons your hormones are imbalanced and you’re feeling like crap! When you sleep, your body repairs, detoxifies, regulates hormones and adjusts blood sugar levels and in order for our bodies to fulfil these functions properly, the brain must pass through four different levels of sleep cycles. My lovely friend Georgie has written a fab article on sleep cycles here.
To maximise hormone function while you sleep, try to get to bed by 10 p.m. Hormone experts claim that one hour of sleep between 10 p.m. and 2 a.m. is the equivalent to two hours of sleep before or after these time slots!
INCREASE PROTEIN INTAKE
L-arginine, an amino acid which is found in high quality protein sources, is a vital key component for a number of physiological functions that can improve female fertility. These functions include increased blow flow and circulation to the genitals, uterus and ovaries to:
- Optimise egg production
- Create a better environment to allow the implantation of a fertilised egg.
- Improve the production of cervical mucous.
- Increase libido in both men and women
In fact, according to one study, regular supplementation of L-arginine resulted in 33% of women, previously diagnosed as infertile, to conceive naturally. Another study showed 71 percent of women taking daily L-arginine (6g) increased progesterone levels
Where can you find the best sources of L-arginine? Turkey is by far the best source of L-arginine with one turkey breast containing 16g of L-arginine while one chicken breast contains 9g, 1 cup of pumpkin seeds contains 7g and a cup of cooked chickpeas or lentils contains 1.3g.
In addition to following a healthy, whole foods diet rich in health fats, studies have shown that some supplements and herbal extract are worth keeping in your home to help support optimal hormonal health. Studies have shown that vitamin C and E can increase progesterone levels and zinc, magnesium, B vitamins and DIM can all successful boost progesterone production and support overall hormonal health.
EAT YOUR BRAZIL NUTS
Selenium is a great supplement if you suffer with acne and PCOS. An Italian study showed that supplementing with 200-400mg of selenium per day had the potential in increase progesterone levels. When it comes to acne, selenium also provides promising results as it dramatically increases antioxidant levels. One study in 2012 showed that selenium reduced acne count by 40% when supplemented over an 8 week period.
Instead of taking another expensive supplement, try eating 3 Brazil nuts a day – they’re completely natural, food-source and just 3-4 Brazil nuts will provide you with your daily dose of selenium!
If you’ve tried all the above for a minimum of 3-6 months and haven’t seen any improvement in your hormones or acne then you may want to try a bioidentical progesterone cream to naturally increase progesterone levels.
Some people can use natural progesterone cream to ‘kick start’ their own progesterone production but others may need to supplement with natural progesterone to relieve their symptoms on a long term basis as their bodies aren’t able to produce enough progesterone on their own. Natural progesterone creams have been shown to be highly effective in helping to increase progesterone levels as they have the same molecular structure as the substance your body produces.
A fellow PCOS fighter and natural living blogger Janny Organically is one helluva inspiring woman and mother who herself tried for two years to kick start her progesterone production via healthy eating and supplementation but when nothing worked, she looked into BHRT – Bioidentical Hormone Replacement Therapy and finally found relief from her symptoms. You can read more about her journey here.
If you’re planning on beginning a course of progesterone cream then like with all treatments, do your research first! Remember to only use it on the last 14 days of your cycle – ovulation to 1st day of period, apply to thin layers of skin such as inner arms, chest and neck and never use more than the recommended dose stated on the pack as this could cause bigger hormone imbalances. If you currently struggle with amenorrhea (absent periods) and are unable to track back from your cycle then simply pick a date and go from there by applying the cream for 14 days, then break for 14 days etc.
These progesterone creams are some recommendations of ones that give the correct dosage per pump (20mg) and don’t contain any hormone mimicking parabens:
Serenity Organics Progesterone Cream (US based, available worldwide)
Biovea Progesterone Cream (Europe/UK)
Kokoro Health Balance Creme (US based, international shipping available)
Kokoro Health Balance Creme (UK distributor)
Have you been able to naturally increase progesterone levels? What treatments did you find the most effective for boosting progesterone? Let me know in the comments below!
Peace, Love & Clear Skin