In the exercise for hormone balance scheme of things you are not a textbook exercise prescription. Progesterone is a trick to figure out sometimes. The signs can be similar to adrenal fatigue, premenstrual syndrome, or just the chronic fatigue you’ve learned to tolerate. This episode I dive into exercise for hormone balance and how it relates to progesterone.
What it is and what it does:
Anti-inflammaty hormone Calming, soothing effect Raises serotonin levels in the brain Helps cope with depression and insomnia Poor progesterone could be the forgotten hormone. Estrogen and testosterone and cortisol steal the attention. Because of that, this may be news to you. During menopause low progesterone levels can occur.
Estrogen dominance occurs when progesterone is low – since these two need to be on a balanced relationship.
Symptoms of low progesterone:
Tiredness Irritation Anxiety Weight gain Bloating Depression Headaches Body not functioning well, more seriously, cancer Spotting before your period should start. That can be caused by other things so you may want to check with a physician about the reason. Therapeutic solutions:
Progesterone therapy, pills or oil compounds
Taking your temperature daily can help if you’re still ovulating.
Progesterone rises after ovulation, and stays up until your next period (about 11-14 days). If your temperature doesn’t rise or stay up (a short phase), then you could have a progesterone deficiency.
In You Still Got It, Girl and the After 50 Fitness Formula for Women course you will chart your temperature (along with half a dozen other measures) for 30 days to check hormone fluctuations and thyroid function.
You can test using progesterone strips.
Reasons for low progesterone:
High estrogen Lack of physical activity and unhealthy nutrition Insulin resistance Chronic stress Medications - hormone therapies and steroids, oral contraceptives, and some other medications block production of progesterone. Age – between 35 and 50 estrogen levels drop by 35 percent but progesterone levels plummet by as much as 75 percent. Estrogen dominance can cause:
Stomach pains Hot flashes Mood swings Weight gain Progesterone oils can be massaged into the skin, injected into muscle, or taken in pill form. Like most things, more is not better. Work with a doctor if you’re at the point lifestyle modifications haven’t helped to you have medical supervision.
Natural progesterone boosts
Eat more foods with zinc, selenium (brazil nuts), magnesium (details below)
Vitamin supplements – especially B and C
Rest to deal with stress - focus on yoga, restorative exercise to replace all or most of your high intensity training. Shorter and fewer bouts of HIIT and short but effective weight training along with nurturing walks, restorative yoga, and rest is best.
No foods contain progesterone but you can eat foods that help your body increase progesterone levels.
Eat foods that help reduce excess estrogen.
Reduce your stress levels and you naturally increase progesterone.
Body fat produces excess estrogen, so losing fat is a focus, but avoiding high stress means of doing it is key.
Potentially, the intuitive option of cutting calories, trying to exercise more may contribute to worsening symptoms as you increase cortisol and chronic stress on your body. It’s a collective measure of your mental, physical, and emotional stress that matters.
What I find works well for women who love to exercise is having a plan. When you’re sick and tired of being sick and tired, or putting on belly fat and bloating, it is easier to accept that what you’re doing isn’t working. Surrender to a plan that supports you feeling better – filling that hole that’s been dug – so you can get your energy back by balancing your hormones.
Be sure your diet is rich in foods containing these micronutrients:
Magnesium: dark leafy greens, pumpkin seeds, fish (mackerel), brown rice, dark chocolate Vitamin C: kiwi, dark green leafy veggies, yellow peppers, broccoli B6: sunflower seeds, pistachio nuts, fish, turkey Zinc: cooked oysters, lean beef, pumpkin seeds, cashews L-Arginine: turkey, chicken, pumpkin seeds, chickpeas Vitamin E: almonds, sunflower seeds, shrimp, olive oil Other things to consider:
The herb Chasteberry: Avoid if you’re taking hormonal birth control or trying to get pregnant
Progesterone cream: natural with no plant estrogens, Mexican yam cream or wild yam, and look for something enriched with vitamin E
Foods that increase estrogen dominance: (avoid these)
Sugars Sweeteners Preservatives Artificial colorings Plastics – including bottled water, plastic wrap on food, never microwave food in them or leave water bottles in the car exposed to sunlight and redrink, Just sitting for a long time plastics start to break down and the chemicals leech into...