These methods have been shown effective for increasing progesterone levels:
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- 750 mg vitamin C per day (increased progesterone 77% and improved fertility)
- 600 mg vitamin E (increased progesterone in 67% of patients)
- 6 g L-arginine (increased progesterone in 71% of patients)
- Increasing beta carotene (boosts progesterone levels in dogs and goats)
- Increasing vitamin B6
- Supplementing with Vitex Agnus Castus (increases progesterone and fertility)
- 120 mg Black Cohosh on days 1 to 12 (increases progesterone and fertility)
- Supplementing with selenium
- Consuming dairy products (shown to raise progesterone in men)
- Weight loss
- Avoiding overeating
- Improving insulin sensitivity (metformin increases progesterone levels 246%)
- Replacing saturated fat in the diet with unsaturated fat
- 80mg progesterone cream (shown to be as effective as 200 mg oral progesterone prescription)
- Eating a high protein, low carbohydrate diet
- Lowering TSH levels in subclinical hypothyroidism
Supplements That Raise Progesterone
750 mg Vitamin C increases progesterone levels by 77%
The concentration of ascorbic acid is reported to be much higher in human follicular fluid than in blood serum. This suggests that vitamin C may play a role as an antioxidant vitamin during folliculogenesis. After one cycle of Vitamin C (750 mg/day) treatment, serum progesterone levels were significantly elevated in the treatment group but not in the control group (From 7.51 to 13.27 ng/mL in the treatment group vs. 7.95 to 8.73 ng/mL in controls). Research has found that vitamin C supplementation caused improvement in 53% of luteal phase defect cases, whereas 22% of patients with luteal phase defect had spontaneous improvement.
Vitamin E increases progesterone in 67% of patients with luteal phase defect; L-arginine helpful for 71%
Patients with both luteal phase defect [serum progesterone concentrations < 10 ng/ml during mid-luteal phase] and low corpus luteum blood flow were given vitamin E (600 mg/day) or L-arginine (6 g/day) as a potential nitric oxide donor. Vitamin E improved corpus luteum blood flow in 83% of patients and improved serum progesterone in 67% of patients. L-arginine improved corpus luteum blood flow in 100% of patients and improved serum progesterone in 71%. In the control group, who received no medication to increase corpus luteum blood flow, only 9% improved in corpus luteum and 18% improved in serum progesterone.
Antioxidants intensify the action of progesterone
Vitamin C and vitamin E possess progesterone-like effect and act synergistically with progesterone on rabbit endometrium, when they were given together.
Beta carotene increases progesterone in goats
The beta-carotene supplemented goats depicted both the largest values for corpus luteum total number and serum progesterone levels, with no differences for volume corpus luteum between treatments. Results suggest a higher efficiency within the cellular-enzymatic groups defining the steroidogenic pathways in the beta-carotene supplemented goats, generating a larger progesterone synthesis.
Beta carotene increases progesterone in dogs
Dogs fed 50 mg of beta-carotene had significantly higher concentrations of plasma progesterone between d 12 and 26 compared with unsupplemented dogs. Dietary beta-carotene did not influence plasma estrogen and total uterine proteins. Therefore, beta-carotene is absorbed into plasma, corpus luteum, and uterine endometrium of dogs. Furthermore, dietary beta-carotene increased plasma progesterone concentrations during the menstrual cycle. It is possible that dietary beta-carotene may improve reproductive function in the canine.
Vitamin B6 acts similarly to progesterone
Vitamin B6 possesses progesterone-like effect but it does not intensify the action of progesterone. On the other hand, vitamin B12 and vitamin A exhibit no progesterone-like effect and do not affect the action progesterone when they were given together.
Vitamin B6 increases progesterone
Administration of vitamin B6 at doses of 200-800 mg/day reduces blood estrogen, increases progesterone and results in improved symptoms under double-blind conditions.
Vitex increases progesterone and fertility
After three months, the Panaxea Verdant-Vitex group demonstrated a trend toward increased mean mid-luteal progesterone. After three months, 26% treated vs. 10% placebo
Black cohosh (Panaxea Change) increases progesterone and pregnancy rate
Endometrial thickness, serum progesterone and clinical pregnancy rate were significantly higher when additional oral phytoestrogen (Cimicifuga racemosa) 120 mg/day was added to infertility treatment from days 1 to 12.
Selenium supplementation increases progesterone
Selenium supplementation did not affect the length of the estrous cycle, but it did increase the concentration of plasma progesterone in the estrous cycle. These results suggest the possibility that selenium contributes to the progesterone production of corpus luteum.
Dietary Changes that Increase Progesterone
Replacing saturated fat with unsaturated fat boosts progesterone
Mean plasma progesterone concentrations were higher in cows fed flaxseed (high in omega 3’s) and sunflower seeds (high in omega 6’s) than in those fed saturated fatty acids.
Higher protein intake, lower carbohydrate intake associated with higher progesterone
Serum progesterone levels were positively correlated with protein intake and negatively correlated with percent carbohydrate in the diet.
Progesterone is found in dairy products, but not very much
The group measured salivary progesterone levels in 17 male volunteers at baseline and 24 hours later after consuming three servings of high-fat dairy foods (2 tablespoons butter, 2 ounces cheese, and a quart of premium ice cream) between morning and afternoon. The procedure was repeated a week later. Salivary progesterone increased 22 to 116 percent in all subjects both times after 24 hours of a high-fat dairy product diet. (Average progesterone in men is 0.181 ng/ml, while the average progesterone in a healthy early pregnancy is 32 ng/ml, so an additional 0.2 ng/ml is probably insignificant). Dr. Goodson said males were chosen because their normal concentrations of progesterone are lower and less cyclic than in females and hence an effect would be easier to measure. Because progesterone dissolves readily in fat, it should be absorbed more efficiently in high-fat products. Foods that were 70% to 80% dairy fat contained 175 to 300 ng/mL of progesterone (.175 to .3 mg/liter; oral progesterone is usually prescribed in 100 mg to 200 mg doses), they found. The amount of progesterone in 200 mL of ice cream would be approximately one-one-hundredth of a pharmacological adult dose of 2 mg.
Overeating lowers progesterone
The present experiment was conducted to evaluate the effects of feeding allowance level on reproductive hormone secretion in early gestation gilts. Progesterone levels were the lowest in the high feeding group (fed 2x maintenance diet).
Weight loss increases progesterone and leads to resumed ovulation in 87% of patients
Before and after a weight loss of at least 5% of initial body weight we analyzed LH, FSH, estrogen, prolactin, testosterone, DHEA-S, oral glucose tolerance test and progesterone, weight, BMI, waist/hip ratio and total body fat percentage. The mean weight loss was 9.5 kg, which represents a weight loss of 10.96% from initial body weight, with 26 patients (86.6%) resuming spontaneous ovulation. The women’s mean plasma testosterone, LH, estradiol and DHEA-S decreased significantly and there was significantly increased on progesterone.
Lower body weight associated with higher progesterone in ovulating women
Increased body weight was associated with decreased progesterone levels, even in ovulatory women.
Other Ways to Increase Progesterone
Improving insulin sensitivity increases progesterone levels 146%
A significant negative correlation was observed between insulin and progesterone and between progesterone and LH concentrations, and a positive correlation was observed between LH and insulin. The study further demonstrated a significant enhancement in luteal progesterone concentration (4.9 ng/ml vs 16.97 ng/ml) in PCOS women treated with metformin. The results suggest that hyperinsulinemia/insulin resistance may be responsible for low progesterone levels during the luteal phase in PCOS. The luteal progesterone level may be enhanced in PCOS by decreasing insulin secretion with metformin.
80mg/day progesterone cream is as effective as 200mg/day oral prescription in increasing progesterone
Twelve healthy postmenopausal women received 200-mg oral progesterone capsules once daily for 12 days or progesterone cream 40 mg twice daily for 12 days. At steady state (day 12 of each phase), whole-blood samples were collected over 24 hours (oral progesterone) or 12 hours (topical progesterone) and assayed for total progesterone concentration. No significant differences were found in dose-normalized 24-hour progesterone exposure comparing the cream to oral capsules (median AUC(0-24) 12.5 ng x h/mL vs 10.5 ng x h/mL, respectively). In light of the potential risks associated with long-term progesterone use, the authors question whether topical progesterone products should be available OTC.
Lowering TSH levels increases progesterone
In infertility patients found to have mild or subclinical hypothyroidism, after treatment with 50-150 micrograms l-thyroxine daily for at least 4 to 6 weeks, elevated prolactin values significantly decreased in 9 out of 12 patients and testosterone levels slightly decreased in 5 out of 8 patients. An improvement of the cyclical ovarian function could be observed by the significant increase of the average progesterone concentration in the luteal phase.
Zinc helps prevent hormonal imbalance and fibrosis conditions because it plays an important role in hormone production and balance. Zinc helps to increase progesterone levels and lower estrogen. The American Zinc Association states that as a woman ages, she may undergo dietary or hormonal changes which could affect her zinc status. For example, excess estrogen can lower serum zinc levels and women who are estrogen dominant or using estrogen replacement therapy should check to be sure their zinc intake is adequate.
Pak J Pharm Sci. 2009 Apr;22(2):150-4.
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