This article looks at the best supplements to naturally raise progesterone levels to permanently clear acne and banish PMS for good. Read on to get the complete list of natural supplements that can help raise progesterone levels.
PMS IS NOT NORMAL
Did you know it’s not normal to suffer from PMS symptoms? It’s crazy that women assume that PMS is ‘normal’ and is something that women have to deal with on a monthly basis when in fact it’s your body crying out to you for help! The reason your struggling with acne, headaches, cramps and crankiness is because of an unbalanced ratio of progesterone in relation to oestrogen. You can read more about why progesterone is to blame for your acne and PMS here.
Experts can pin-point two key reasons as to why this hormonal imbalance is more common now than ever before: diet and stress levels.
Young women today are under so much more pressure to succeed which means we’re hustling more than ever. Our daily routines are packed full of jobs, meetings, deadlines, working out, social events and life admin so we’re constantly guilty of burning the candle at both ends. And our diets? There has never been so many pre-packaged, low-nutrient processed foods available, making us a generation of stressed out, nutrient depleted women! It’s no wonder so many of us are developing acne, menstrual issues, digestive discomfort, depression, anxiety and even infertility.
Unfortunately, this has led doctors to prescribe ‘sticky plaster’ treatments such as antibiotics, Roaccutane, laxatives, birth control and pain-relief to reduce the symptoms meaning that the root cause is never addressed and symptoms come back, or get worse, once conventional treatment is stopped.
Whether we’re stressing out about work, relationships or our bodies if we want any chance of correcting our hormonal imbalances we have to work extra hard on creating some time for self love and relaxation and feed our bodies with all the right nutrients to successfully raise progesterone levels for optimum health and hormone balance.
BEST SUPPLEMENTS TO RAISE PROGESTERONE NATURALLY
If you’ve been working on your diet, stress levels and the tips outlines in my previous post and not had significant improvement with your symptoms then you may need some additional supplementation to help raise progesterone levels naturally.
Stress, birth control, antibiotic use and improper digestion can all affect our ability to utilise and absorb certain vitamins and minerals so if you’re highly stressed, suffer from digestive discomfort or have come of antibiotics or The Pill within the last year then you may well need some additional supplementation to help your body rebalance.
No matter what your hormonal imbalances are, everyone suffering with acne will benefit from taking vitamin C, zinc, magnesium and a B complex everyday. These 4 are the essential vitamins and minerals that can help clear skin, improve liver function and correct hormonal imbalances.
Vitamin C is great for your skin and health (read my post about it here) but it’s also a really important vitamin for balancing your hormones as a study has shown that 750mg of vitamin C taken every day for six months can considerably increase progesterone levels.
Now you may think you eat enough fruit and veg on a daily basis to get enough vitamin C, but it’s much harder than it sounds and even a diet rich in fresh fruit and vegetables may not be enough to raise progesterone naturally. Let me explain…
On an average day, I get through roughly:
- 1 chunk of ginger
- 1 celery stalk
- 2 pears
- 1 lime
- 1 cup of blueberries
- 2 carrots
- 1 sweet potato
- 2 cups of kale leaves
- ½ broccoli bunch
- ½ cup of greens
- ½ avocado
- 1 date
Now to me, that seems like a helluva lot of fruit and veg, but do you know how many milligrams of vitamin C that is?
Only 315mg! I’m not even half way there!
I personally don’t think I could consistently double what I’m currently eating on a daily basis and while boosting my vitamin C intake with wholefood powders such as Camu Camu or Acerola could up my levels slightly, I find it a heck of a lot easier (and cheaper) to supplement with a pure vitamin C powder (I use this one).
Zinc is essential for hormonal health and it is extremely important for the production of adequate levels of progesterone as it plays an important role in the ovulation process.
As well as being important for hormone health, Zinc is also involved in wound healing, inflammation control, metabolism of testosterone and vitamin A function, meaning it plays an vital role in other areas of hormone management and acne healing too! Just remember to look out for absorbable forms of zinc such as zinc picolinate or zinc orotate! My favourite is the Thorne Zinc Picolinate, but I’ve also used the Now Zinc Picolinate.
In a 2010 study, zinc showed promising results in a 12-week double-blind investigation. Patients taking part in this study reported a significant decrease in papules and cysts – almost 79% of the patients had an 80-100% improvement.
Magnesium plays a vital role in over 300 enzyme reactions throughout our body, including helping to maintain a healthy hormonal balance! As well as balancing blood sugar imbalances and hormones, supplementing with magnesium can be a really effective way to combat digestive issues such a constipation, reflux as well as stress, anxiety and fatigue – all of which can be linked to acne!
If you suffer from constipation, insomnia, stress, anxiety or fatigue along with skin issues and hormone imbalances then supplementing with the right type of magnesium alongside a standard dose of Magnesium Glycinate could improve these symptoms even quicker:
- Constipation – Magnesium Citrate
- Stress/Anxiety/Insomnia – Magnesium Threonate
- Fatigue – Magnesium Malate
I take 300mg of Magnesium Glycinate (1 capsule at breakfast and 1 capsule at dinner) every day and if my digestive system is feeling a bit sluggish I will take extra Magnesium Citrate for a few days to help speed things up.
Our bodies need adequate amounts of vitamin B6 to maintain proper levels of progesterone so when we lack this essential vitamin it could decrease our progesterone levels. B vitamin are also needed to aid liver function and break down oestrogen – if our livers aren’t able to metabolise and filter out oestrogen properly then we end up with a build up of excess oestrogen which upsets the delicate oestrogen/progesterone balance.
While vitamin B6 is the key vitamin you need to raise progesterone levels, B vitamins work better together in the correct ratio so a quality B complex is recommended. Although it’s uncommon if you supplement with a quality product in the correct dose, too much, or the wrong type of vitamin B can cause pimples. Vitamins B6 and B12 are linked to triggering acne when taken in crazy doses so read the labels and look for high quality B vitamins and avoid B supplements containing fillers, additives and cyanocobalamin (look for methylcobalamin instead!) My favourite B-Complex is this one from Thorne.
Like L-arginine, vitamin E also increases blood flow to the uterus and ovaries which can lengthen the second half of your cycle and increase egg quality. In the same study as the L-arginine research, it found that women treated with 600mg of vitamin E per day improved progesterone in 67% of the women.
If you’re looking for a vitamin E supplement, I recommend gettingone that contains Tocotrienols as well as Tocopherols. Most vitamin E supplements will just offer Tocopherols but these may not be as effective as you need the full spectrum of all 8 vitamin E compounds for maximum benefits. Vitamin E prevents your sebum from oxidising which makes it an excellent choice for acne as when your sebum oxidises, it causes a hardened plug, clogged pores, bacteria overgrowth and finally inflammation and pimples! Getting plenty of vitamin E from food is easy but if you struggle with super oily skin or persistent acne that doesn’t really improve with a healthy diet, then you may benefit from a vitamin E supplement. The one I use and recommend is this one from Life Extensions.
Having low progesterone levels doesn’t always mean you’re lacking in progesterone. When it comes to the progesterone/oestrogen ratio, balance is key. You could have normal levels of progesterone, but if you have too much, or excess oestrogen in relation to progesterone, you can still be classified as having low progesterone. This hormone imbalance is also known as ‘oestrogen dominance’. The pill, environmental toxins, poor elimination, liver congestion and vitamin B deficiency are just some of the ways that oestrogen levels can increase and leave you with low progesterone levels. One of the most effective supplements to combat excess oestrogen is Diindolylmethane, or DIM. DIM is a natural, food-based supplement derived from cruciferous vegetables like cauliflower and broccoli and is thought to help balance hormones by effectively regulating oestrogen metabolism.
DIM supplements aid your liver in detoxifying bad, synthetic oestrogen from you body and restoring a healthy balance of good oestrogen. Alongside promoting healthy oestrogen metabolism, there is also evidence that DIM supplements may be have anti-androgen properties which will also help in the fight against acne!
Some people will say that the best brands are ones that use a patented form of DIM called BioResponse. It’s supposed to be better absorbed by the body but I’ve actually had great results with this brand which doesn’t use BioRespones DIM. Brands that use BioResponse DIM include the famous EstroBlock, Nature’s Way and Accumax. Don’t get me wrong, Estroblock can do wonders for acne – but it’s very expensive (between $29-39/£23-£28 per month) whereas Best Natural DIM Complex is just $14/£16 for 2 months. All I can recommend is doing your own research, reading Amazon reviews and choosing a DIM supplement you think will be right for you.
Agnus Castus, also known as Vitex, Chaste Tree and Chasteberry, is one of the most effective supplements for correcting hormonal deficiencies, particularly if you suffer with low progesterone and excess oestrogen.
Agnus Castus has been a popular herbal remedy for regulating the female reproductive system since ancient time and has been long used as an alternative treatment for regulating periods, treating amenorrhea (absence of period), dysmenorrhea (painful periods) and easing menopausal and premenstrual symptoms, including acne!
Whilst Agnus Castus is a powerful herb that has incredible hormone balancing qualities, it isn’t an overnight cure. You will need to take Agnus Castus consistently for 3-4 months before you start to notice improvements. The reason Agnus Castus is a ‘slow and steady’ supplement, is because it encourages your own body to produce its own progesterone rather than replacing or adding with synthetic hormones.
Unfortunately Agnus Castus is unsuitable for those who are deficient in oestrogen and those who are on the contraceptive pill. The pill, and other hormonal medications work by deliberately altering and unbalancing your hormones. Agnus Castus works hard to rebalance your hormones which could prevent the medication from working.
Have you managed to raise progesterone levels naturally by supplementing with any of the above vitamins or minerals? Let me know your stories in the comments below!
Peace, Love & Clear Skin