Progesterone deficiency is an increasingly diagnosed problem in women of all ages in industrialized nations. The problem is often too much estrogen without enough opposing progesterone. In industrialized nations, women are exposed to xenoestrogens, chemicals and other environmental debris that aren't estrogen but act as estrogen, leading to hormonal imblance. This is especially true with a poor diet.
Many women choose to solve a progesterone imbalance with a natural progesterone cream, believing they are making a wiser choice than by using synthetic progestins; for example, birth-control pills. Although this is true, fighting a progesterone imbalance only with progesterone supplementation is often ineffective.
High levels of stress, affected by diet, can cause progesterone to absorb improperly. According to Dr. Ray Peat, Ph.D., who has researched the subject since the early 1970s, if a woman doesn't feel the effects of the progesterone (improved symptoms) with even 100mg doses, this indicates the problem may be thyroid-related or must be corrected with diet.
Peat says, “With a diet high in protein (at least 70 to 100 g per day, including eggs) and vitamin A (not carotene), I have found that the dose of progesterone can be reduced each month.”
Since progesterone can build up in your system over time, focus on a healthy diet and stress reduction to support the body and allow yourself to slowly wean off the progesterone.
Avoid too much refined sugar or starch. Eating a higher-protein diet lends itself to a low glycemic diet, but it's important that the other foods eaten are whole grains, fruits and vegetables, with a moderate amount of dairy. Eating a lot of protein and then junk food is counterproductive to healing a hormonal imbalance. Also limit your intake of sodium and avoid caffeine and alcohol.
Women with a progesterone deficiency experience PMS or PMDD and crave carbohydrates. While it's possible to have a progesterone deficiency without experiencing PMS, PMS is one of the primary symptoms of progesterone deficiency. When eating carbohydrates, eat only complex carbs. Simple carbs will only continue the craving cycle.
According to Marcy Holmes, certified menopause clinician, “In addition, your hormones and metabolism are interdependent. A diet high in simple carbohydrates and sugars can influence your insulin sensitivity, leading to insulin resistance and weight gain. Fat cells produce estrogen, so the more you have, the higher your levels of estrogen, which in turn can throw off your natural hormonal balance and exacerbate PMS.”
Beyond a more balanced diet, take a high-quality multivitamin with a multimineral, vitamin D, magnesium, and calcium.