Increasing Progesterone with Food (important for PCOS, hypothyroidism, and autoimmunity)
To understand how to "boost" progesterone, we must first ask how progesterone is created and where progesterone is created within the body. When does progesterone production occur? During ovulation, when an egg drops down to become fertilized.
The Corpus Leteum (an endocrine gland within the ovary, made from a follicle that housed a maturing egg) is responsible for most progesterone production.
In short, during ovulation, an egg is released from a dominant follicle. Following the release of the egg and subsequent fertilization, the follicle seals itself off and forms what is known as a corpus luteum. This mass of cells helps produce the hormone progesterone during early pregnancy.
While there is a time + a place for progesterone supplementation (especially during many pregnancies, and as women get closer to menopause), it's best for your overall health if you dig deeper and address the root cause of low progesterone.
Often, women have low progesterone because they lack the nourishment that the corpus luteum needs to form correctly month after month. Some of these primary nutrients include vitamin A (retinol), zinc, vitamin C, magnesium, copper, and b-vitamins (especially vitamin B6).
3 Foods to Support the Corpus Luteum, Which Will Raise Progesterone
Beef liver contains vitamin A in its proper form and contains copper and vitamin B6 in easily absorbable forms. Liver can be consumed ground and added to ground beef, in capsules (desiccated), or frozen and swallowed raw if frozen for 2 weeks (there is still a risk with consuming raw animal products, but many who have strong stomach acid can do well with the raw method).
Tropical fruits contain copper and vitamin C, along with trace minerals that will fuel the body to create a corpus luteum that will produce enough progesterone to support the body into the menstrual phase. Pineapple, kiwi, mango, and passionfruit are some of my recent favorite ways to enjoy tropical fruits!
Zinc from seafood (oysters, shrimp, wild-caught fish) will be very supportive of progesterone levels. Zinc increases FSH (follicle stimulating hormone) and causes ovulation to occur. To produce progesterone, we must be ovulating. By supporting FSH, we are supporting the follicular phase to lead into a successful ovulatory phase. Tip: try swapping out chicken a few times a week for shrimp and oysters. A great swap for pasta noodles are rice noodles or cassava noodles, and a great swap for chicken (just to change things up, there's nothing wrong with chicken!) is a combination of oysters and shrimp. A squeeze of lemon, a dash of cayenne, and a little bit of parmesan will add a lot in terms of flavor and add extra nutrients/antioxidants into the mix.