Herbal Supplements to Support Progesterone Production

Written by: Dr. Amy Beckley, PhD, Founder and Inventor of the Proov test the first and only FDA-cleared test to confirm successful ovulation at home.

Written on 11/24/21

Living and feeling your best means having a healthy hormone balance! Low progesterone is a common hormonal imbalance many people with uteruses experience, especially when trying to conceive.

The good news is that there are many ways to maintain normal progesterone levels. One way is via herbal supplements. And we’re excited to introduce you to an herbal supplement of our very own! (But we’re getting ahead of ourselves.)

What is progesterone and why is it important?

First things first, a quick progesterone refresh. Progesterone is one of the two main female sex hormones and, together with estrogen, plays important roles in cycle health and reproduction.

Progesterone keeps a low profile during the first half of your cycle, but rises after ovulation occurs. Progesterone levels should ideally remain elevated throughout the mid-luteal phase, also called the “implantation window.”

Sometimes called “the pregnancy hormone,” progesterone prepares the lining of the uterus for implantation, i.e. when an embryo finds a comfy place to attach to the wall of the uterus. Without enough progesterone during the implantation window, it can be more difficult for implantation to successfully occur.

Once implantation occurs, progesterone creates a healthy uterine environment in which the embryo can grow and thrive.

herbal supplements to support progesterone production

Once implantation occurs, progesterone creates a healthy uterine environment in which the embryo can grow and thrive.

However, progesterone’s importance stretches far beyond reproduction. Here are some other ways progesterone impacts our lives:

PMS

PMS or premenstrual syndrome is a common condition affecting our wellbeing and emotional balance during the last few days of the luteal phase, leading up to our period. Studies show that low levels of progesterone contribute to worsen PMS symptoms, and also report relief and better hormonal balance when offered progesterone supplements.

Mood

Mood can be closely related to our hormonal balance and one of the hormones that can impact it is — you guessed — progesterone! This hormone has a calming effect on the brain, and lack of it may cause anxiety.

Sleep

Sleep can be influenced by both estrogen and progesterone. Along with being relaxing, progesterone also has a mildly sedative effect and promotes better sleep.

Skin

Skin loses its glow and tightness as we get older. A decrease in progesterone as we approach menopause may contribute to this. The famous “pregnancy glow” is due to increased progesterone levels during pregnancy, whereas suboptimal levels lead to dry and dull skin.

How do I know if I have low progesterone?

As we mentioned, progesterone levels remain low in the first half of your cycle, but we should see an increase after ovulation, specifically during the implantation window. During that time, you’ll want to see your levels over several days to ensure they remain elevated for long enough.

Until recently, progesterone blood tests served as the standard for testing levels. However, a single progesterone blood test only shows levels at that one time. This can be problematic for two reasons:

  1. Progesterone levels need to remain elevated for the entire four-day implantation window. It’s totally possible to have levels rise, then drop later on, which can impact chances of conception.
  2. Studies show progesterone levels fluctuate hour by hour. This means testing at two different times on the same day could give you vastly different results.

To see an average of your progesterone levels in blood, you’d need to get several blood draws over the implantation window and take the average of these results. Uh, multiple needles? Ouch!

Luckily, there’s a cheaper, non-invasive way to assess your implantation window and luteal phase: PdG testing! PdG (pregnanediol glucuronide) is a urine marker of progesterone. Studies show PdG levels in first morning urine correlate to an average of all progesterone levels from the previous day.

herbal supplements to support progesterone production

Proov Confirm is the first and only FDA cleared PdG test to confirm ovulation quality at home.

Proov Confirm is the first and only FDA cleared PdG test to confirm ovulation quality at home. Our patented testing method recommends testing daily on days 7-10 past peak fertility (i.e. a positive LH test) to confirm high quality ovulation did in fact occur.

We like to see 3-4 positive PdG tests (with a positive on day 10 past peak fertility) to confirm high quality ovulation, which means ovulation occurred and PdG levels remained elevated throughout the entire implantation window.

Less than 3 positive PdG tests, or 3 positives with a negative result on day 10 past peak fertility, may be a sign that you’re a touch light on PdG. In this case, ovulation likely occurred — meaning conception is possible — but boosting your PdG levels can help increase your chances of successful pregnancy.

Which herbal supplements support progesterone production?

If your Proov Confirm results fall into the second bucket, this could be a sign your levels are in need of a little extra support. While we always recommend consulting your doctor to determine the best next steps for you, here are a few herbal supplements you can consider:

Vitex (chaste berry)

Vitex — also called chaste berry — is known for supporting natural progesterone production, healthy estrogen levels, and hormonal balance. In a regular cycle, it’s LH’s job to tell the ovary to produce progesterone after ovulation.

In many cases, if you’re not producing enough progesterone after ovulation, it’s because your LH signal isn’t strong enough to encourage the ovary to continue producing progesterone. Vitex stabilizes this LH signal so your ovary knows to keep producing progesterone.

Note that it is not recommended to take vitex every day of your cycle; this can cause hormonal imbalance. Instead, you should only take it for the last 15 days of your cycle.

Maca

Maca is an old Peruvian plant that has been used for years as an aphrodisiac by both women and men, as it supports libido and testosterone production. Many people consider maca a “hormonal adaptogen,” meaning it adapts to your body’s unique hormone needs.

Additionally, like vitex, maca supports the LH signal that stimulates your ovary to produce progesterone after ovulation. 

Ashwagandha

Ashwagandha is a herb traditionally used to relieve stress and promote wellbeing. Studies show ashwagandha promotes healthy cortisol (the stress hormone) production. Cortisol, in turn, impacts progesterone production.

Here’s what’s happening in your body: when we have high levels of cortisol, this tells our body we are under high amounts of stress, whether that be from work, over-exercising (think marathon training or Crossfit), or — back in the day — a dinosaur chasing us.

This tells our body that it’s not the best time to conceive because, using that last example, we might be eaten by a dinosaur. Our body then inhibits reproductive functions, like progesterone production, making it more difficult to conceive.

Ashwagandha maintains normal cortisol production so our body knows it’s a good time to have a baby.

Can I take all three herbal supplements at once?

Yes, in fact you can! You can do so with our newest Improovment: Luteal Love!

herbal supplements to support progesterone production

Luteal Love herbal blend contains vitex, maca, and ashwagandha to support your body’s natural progesterone production.

Luteal Love herbal blend contains vitex, maca, and ashwagandha to support your body’s natural progesterone production. We recommend taking one to two capsules daily for the last 15 days of your cycle, or as directed by your healthcare professional*.

If you have low progesterone levels, herbal supplements are a great option for supporting your body’s progesterone production. Always consult your doctor before adding supplements to your regimen!

*Note: Luteal Love is not to be used during pregnancy. If you are on fertility medications, please talk to your doctor before using. 

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“Hormone balance plays a huge role in fertility, and understanding what’s going on with your hormones doesn’t have to be such a mystery.

It’s actually way easier than most people realize.” 

— Amy Beckley, Proov Founder