The Diabetes Media Foundation is a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt nonprofit media organization devoted to informing, educating, and generating community around living a healthy life with diabetes. April 18, 2015 by Donielle Baker 23 Comments Vitex (also know as chaste tree) is often said to be great for fertility, but is it for everyone? And make sure you scroll below the video to grab her top fertility tip and a three-day fertility menu!
Kelly LeGendre, the creator of The Fertility Fix program, is a licensed acupuncturist and herbalist who has been helping women grow their families naturally for over a decade. Not an exact transcription, so check out the video for the entire conversation, but here are some of the main points from our talk! It works on the hypothalamus to stimulate dopamine production and when dopamine is up, it suppresses prolactin which has a cascading effect to raise progesterone. It can be useful in women with progesterone deficiency issues, but Kelly always tries to use other options to raise progesterone first.
Vitex does have a slight estrogenic effect, but it tends to raise estrogen and progesterone at the same time. Kelly uses it primarily for luteal phase defects (where the second half of the cycle after ovulation is too short). It’s also important to know that dopamine and progesterone have the same precursor hormone, pregnenolone. Lifestyle – Pregnenolone is also used to produce cortisol, and if you have high levels of stress for a long period of time, the body uses this precursor for stress instead of progesterone production. Women tend to gloss over this recommendation and move on to more exciting remedies, but reducing stress, and figuring out better ways of dealing with it, are really important and make a big difference. Diet – Consuming a lot of vitamins and minerals as well as good fats is important in hormone production. Sugar needs to be cut out as it can cause the body to preferentially produce serotonin instead of dopamine. PCOS responds so well to diet and lifestyle changes that those should be primary in those experiencing PCOS.
Alcohol extracts the constituents from the plant so tinctures are going to be your best bet. It’s important to work with someone who knows the herb well as they can figure out the correct dosage for your situation. No known contraindicated herbs for vitex, but maca seems to be another overused herb right now. The concern with going off of it abruptly is that vitex is artificially getting your body to produce progesterone and if you stop taking it without using supplemental progesterone it could make miscarriage more likely. Vitex and breastfeeding – should you take it while breastfeeding and does it reduce milk supply? I also focus on LOTS of veggies to provide necessary vitamins and minerals, plus the micronutrients and fiber that are needed to break down and remove surplus hormones and other endocrine disrupting toxins from the body.
Sugar, alcohol, and caffeine have been proven to have negative effects on endocrine balance, so I recommend excluding them completely while trying to conceive. Meat, eggs, and dairy should always be grass-fed and organic to avoid added hormones and maximize good fats, and fruit and veggies should be organic when feasible.
Melissa’s got a quick primer on her website, plus links to recipes and a few meal plans with more detailed info and shopping lists here . If you have any questions concerning vitex that we didn’t answer, please feel free to ask in the comments and we’ll get it answered as soon as we can! June 4, 2012 by Donielle Baker 11 Comments When looking to balance your hormones, it’s important to consume enough foods that properly nourish your body, especially those high in vitamin B. And Vitamin B6 is actually one of the most important in the set of B vitamins, as it helps regulate your hormones. Being deficient in B6 can cause irregular menstrual cycles, a progesterone imbalance, as well as poor egg and sperm development.
The B vitamins are also water soluble, meaning that you eliminate what you don’t use and they are not stored in the body long term like the fat soluble vitamins. Personally, I’ve taken a B complex vitamin (B vitamins should be taken together for better absorption) along with a pre-natal vitamin when I need to. Eating to much sugar, and you may think you don’t eat many sweets, but simple sugars are in most processed foods! So by reducing the ways that cause our bodies to use up the vitamin B we’ve been able to get throughout the day while we also increase the right foods in our diet we can give our bodies what they need to help support hormone balance. And while increasing your daily intake of Vitamin B, please note that it could take at least a couple of months to really notice a difference as it can take some time to balance the hormones.
Donielle contacted me recently because so many of her readers were complaining of having a low body temperature – something that is very common, practically universal, among women with standard menstrual and fertility issues. While I could soften it and explain the particulars of the science and massage you into accepting that the advice I have has validity, I think it might be best if I just keep it simple. The quick explanation of the problem at hand is that if the human body goes through the supply of something faster than it is being delivered, the body down-regulates metabolism to slow down the rate at which it burns through stuff (namely calories and nutrients). In a world in which we have developed serious calorie phobia, carbohydrate phobia, fat phobia, couch potato phobia, saturated fat and cholesterol phobia, and more – almost all women in today’s society have grown so accustomed to actively eating below appetite, with dietary restriction, and exercising vigorously that they don’t even realize that they are basically engaged in disordered eating. This is particularly harmful to women who are already coming into the world with a suppressed metabolism, which is becoming increasingly common due to our nutrient-poor diet, the dieting our mothers did (kids of dieting mothers have a known increased risk of obesity and type 2 diabetes), chronic physiological stressors, and countless other factors. To make a long story short, if you have a reduced morning body temperature (this is the most important time to check as this is the best indicator of your absolute lowest metabolic rate), cold hands and feet (another powerful indicator of low metabolism), or other signs of a low metabolism (constipation, frequent infection, yeast issues, chronic fatigue, low sex drive, abnormal menstrual cycle, thinning hair, puffy eyes or water retention, poor fingernail growth, poor strength, hypoglycemia, and others) – the typical modern approach of beating yourself into submission with dietary restriction (even just being a health nut) and lots of “cardio” exercise will take you much farther away from a healthy metabolism. Keep in mind that the metabolic rate – the active thyroid in your system being a primary factor in your metabolic rate, determines the rate at which pregnenalone is converted to progesterone – the pro-gestation hormone.
Go at least 12 hours straight per day without food – you don’t want to be overeating for more than half the day. Note – you will probably not feel well when you start doing this, but will feel bloated, hungover, and extremely fatigued and drowsy. Matt Stone, author of 7 books, is an independent health researcher who emphasizes the dangers of dieting and restricted and restrained eating of many varieties, and raising metabolism naturally. Note from Donielle – I use the iBasal* for checking daily basal temperatures and love that it also keeps track of my cycle and fertile days for me.
December 8, 2011 by Donielle Baker 159 Comments Progesterone is, of course, very important to our hormonal health and reproductive system. During the luteal phase of the menstrual cycle, progesterone is produced by the collapsed follicle until either the period begins (which then marks the start of a new cycle and lower progesterone levels) or until the placenta takes over for producing the progesterone during a pregnancy. One of progesterone’s most important functions is to cause the endometrium to secrete special proteins during the second half of the menstrual cycle, preparing it to receive and nourish an implanted fertilized egg.
If a pregnancy occurs, progesterone is produced in the placenta, and levels remain elevated throughout the pregnancy. Stress increases levels of cortisol, which blocks progesterone from its receptors in the body. Using huge amounts of supplements over the long-term may result in another imbalance in the body.
Our bodies release mood and energy enhancing chemicals (like adrenaline) to fight allergic responses to food – we are hooked on what we’re allergic to! If you’ve been found to have low progesterone, how did you go about fixing the problem?


April 20, 2011 by Donielle Baker 23 Comments Reader Question: I have been trying to get some information on bioidentical progesterone cream use for short luteal phase issues and can not find information anywhere. One of the reasons progesterone may be to low, is that there may be to much estrogen in the body and the first thing to look at is the weight of a woman {groan}. A diet high in sugar and refined carbs also does a number on the balance between estrogen and progesterone!One main reason why is that our bodies are dependent on vitamin B6 to help process carbohydrates. I think that there are a lot of things you can do with whole foods to help a body heal, but it does take time. It’s also important to think about the B vitamins as a whole, whether you are supplementing or trying to boost intake through only foods. My reproductive endocrinologist & immunology specialist told me that treating LPD is treating a symptom, and the root cause of low progesterone in the luteal phase is insufficient estrogen in the ovulatory phase. I have been fighting with this since my first miscarriage almost 4 years ago, and it’s not easy! Natural fertility tips, recipes for fertility, and natural living information to help you be the healthiest you can be.New? After the birth of her son (who was conceived while following the first iteration of The Fertility Fix plan!), she left her acupuncture practice to focus on helping make motherhood a reality for other women worldwide. Women don’t realize what a huge effect stress has on their hormone levels, but it takes whatever else is happening inside your body and amplifies it. Magnesium, zinc, B6, and vitamin C can all help in the production of progesterone and its precursor hormones.
Normally Kelly recommends about 30-40 drops per day in water, upon waking, and on an empty stomach. Women with early menopause or premature ovarian failure may have good results with it, but if a woman has low progestersone the last thing they need is more estrogen in their systems. The herbs are trying to naturally balance while the prescriptions are trying to take over and do what needs to be done so it’s counter-productive. But it has traditionally been used to increase milk supply in the immediate post partum period, and yet at others times it can be used to reduce prolactin levels – it all depends on the individual situation so check with a practitioner that knows the herb.
You need plenty of good fats and protein to create the hormones needed to conceive and sustain a healthy pregnancy, so I try to include a wide variety of them.
Cruciferous veggies are especially good for helping the body eliminate excess estrogen, so I try to include some everyday. In it, she outlines what she calls the “weekly cook-up”, where you basically spend an hour or two once a week grilling chicken, browning ground beef, prepping veggies, and making a few sauces, then all week-long all you have to do is throw a few things in a pan with a little oil and some spices, and voila—dinner is done in 10 minutes flat!
Eating a varied diet is also very important since different foods contain different nutrients, this way you guarantee to get the vitamins and minerals your body needs. But the amount of B6 in them are not enough to help boost your body’s stores of the nutrient, sometimes only giving you a few milligrams a day. Since I’m notorious for making women hot, yeah baby, and I even have a “Hot Chicks Club” for all the women who have obtained a consistent waking luteal phase body temperature of 99 degrees Fahrenheit or higher… I guess I’m the go-to guy on this issue. There are other factors involved, most of them hereditary in nature (but can still be overcome with the right approach). If you consistently have a body temperature below 98 degrees F when you wake up in the morning (rectal temps being the most reliable), you can fix this. Emphasize the more calorie-dense unrefined carbohydrates like root vegetables, fruit, and grains in particular, but also eat a satisfying amount of meat, fat, dairy products (milk is incredible for body temperature), and whatever else that you find enjoyable.
Dairy products, red meat, and coconut products are the best source of dietary saturated fats. While eating a lot, sleeping a lot, and avoiding excessive exercise is inherently de-stressing, it also pays to spend time doing something that you find leisurely or enjoyable and mentally and physically relaxing, which is highly individual. If implantation does not occur, estrogen and progesterone levels drop, the endometrium breaks down and menstruation occurs. The combination of high estrogen and progesterone levels suppress further ovulation during pregnancy. John Lee and highly recommend it to anyone needing to know more about natural hormone balance. Progesterone, like all other steroid hormones, is synthesized from pregnenolone, which in turn is derived from cholesterol (source) so making sure you have adequate consumption of dietary cholesterol is very important. The herb vitex (learn advice from an expert on vitex) is also helpful as it works to lower estrogen and raise progesterone simultaneously. A diet low in conventional meats and animal products, as many times the hormones given to them act as estrogens in the body. Eat plenty of protein each day with each meal – hormones need protein for production. A woman’s body has to produce enough progesterone to support the pregnancy until the placenta is developed enough to take over.
Our fat cells help to produce and carry estrogen in the body, when we are overweight, we’re more apt to have higher estrogen levels. Breastfeeding keeps our prolactin levels higher, thereby keeping the progesterone levels low.
Lack of sleep and healthy foods (both hard to get when taking care of a baby) can cause stress to these organs. Make sure the diet is void of refined sugars and carbs, and full of healthy fats (butter, evoo, coconut oil), a variety of veggies and fruits, and good wholesome dairy. But I also think that getting in real folate and vitamin B’s is essential and should be looked at prior to, or along with, any supplementation.
Not only does it help lower prolactin levels, it helps to balance out the estrogen:progesterone ratio as well. Especially if it’s been a few months of adhering to a whole foods diet and supplementation. I would try to heal the body via whole foods and correcting imbalances first, because it is more than just progesterone that is probably out of whack, there is a whole series of hormones.
Kelly uses a research-based approach to naturally optimize fertility through a combination of functional nutrition, lifestyle modification, and herbal medicine.
Stress increases insulin resistance, interferes with thyroid function, lowers progesterone, makes it more difficult for your liver to break down excess estrogen and other toxins, and causes inflammation by impacting gut health. But once we can get them ovulating through dietary changes, then we can look at progesterone levels and see if they have any luteal phase problems. This is especially true for low dopamine-type depression, the symptoms of which include apathy and having a really hard time getting excited about anything. If you would like to find out more about the basis of why the following information works so well (and I have 30,000 comments on my website confirming that it does indeed work very well – for raising body temperature, restoring menstruation, improving fertility, and many other metabolism-related disorders), I have put out several materials on it – the best and most recent being Diet Recovery: Restoring Hormonal Health, Metabolism, Mood, and Your Relationship with Food. When metabolism increases, your chances of conception and a successful pregnancy skyrocket. Eating more than you want to eat is what forces your body to get out of its low metabolism rut. I believe this practice can make the body more responsive to the hormone leptin, probably the most important hormone in fertility (because it raises thyroid and progesterone).
You can resume getting more vigorous exercise once your body temperature is fully restored.
You should eat these preferentially over nuts, seeds, vegetable oils, avocado, and other plant fats – as well as pork and poultry, when possible.


It also plays a very large role in maintaining a pregnancy, so being progesterone deficient can have drastic effects. Progesterone also encourages the growth of milk-producing glands in the breast during pregnancy.
He discusses at length why we may be low in progesterone and how to use a natural progesterone cream to help rectify the issue. When your adrenal glands are fatigued (due to frequent physical, emotional, or mental stress) the precursor to progesterone (DHEA) is used to make cortisol instead of progesterone.
Losing weight is neither fun nor easy, but even losing 10% of your body weight (should you need to lose any) can help balance out hormone production. Weaning usually solves this problem within a few months, though the age of the baby should be taken into strong consideration as nursing through the 2nd year is still important.
Many Vitex supplements contain other herbs as well, so before taking check to make sure that all herbs taken, match your symptoms.
If a couple is actively trying to conceive and the woman has a short LP or known low progesterone levels, I’d be hesitant to not use a progesterone cream. The outline is tailored to my recommended 1,200-1,399 calorie range, so if your calorie count is different, yours will look slightly different.Monday through Friday, I did two yellow containers at dinner (meal 5).
No matter how much you clean up your diet, if your stress level is still through the roof, your health (and fertility) will suffer. I highly recommend going through the following steps to anyone looking to get pregnant – whether having problems or not. It is very common for people of all ages, male and female, to see increases in body temperature from as low as 95F to 98F and above in less than 30 days. If our mothers were exposed to it, it can cause dysfunction in her daughters ovarian follicles. It has a steroid called diosgenin that is taken from the plant and is converted into progesterone by changing the cellular structure.
While all natural progesterone within the cream is the same, the other ingredients in it make a big difference.
A 24-hour adrenal saliva test can show you what your cortisol levels are throughout the day and may be helpful is helping you heal the body. I have my own feeling on trying to conceive while breastfeeding, but vitex has been shown (in some women) to help lower the prolactin levels enough to boost progesterone. I personally know many women who have successfully used progesterone creams that helped save pregnancies that looked like they may be at risk. Once I conceived, I used everyday till 10wks (because I had miscarried the pregnancy b4) when I allowed the midwife to try the heartbeat on a doptone. My green container was also a double for lunch.Here is a 7 day sample of how I would approach 21 Day Fix meal prep. Some creams and lotions actually contain xeno-estrogens – kind of contradicting what the cream is meant to do! It’s a slow process, depending upon how low your progesterone levels are to begin with, but there IS hope!
Then I weaned off it as the baby had implanted so my progesterone production was sufficient. To make cooking easier I would have 2 servings of the yellow container at dinner.Click here to download an excel template for making your own meal plan. Beeyoutiful’s cream contains just coconut oil, jojoba oil, avocado oil, extra virgin olive oil infused with organic wild yam root, organic comfrey root, and cayenne, 1000 mg USP progesterone, sweet orange essential oil, rosemary essential oil, candelilla wax, beeswax.
You might notice that for some food groups, I have less foods listed than the number of portion cups allowed for the day. It really is the best way to stay on track with your diet (and ultimately, spend less money too!)For the 21 Day Fix diet, you should be eating mostly whole foods. This means the majority of your grocery shopping will be done around the outer perimeter of the grocery store, which is always where all the good stuff is hidden.I used this grocery list for the 21 Day Fix by printing it out and making a note in the margins of how many servings of each container I needed for the week. Studies show that starting your day off with a nutritious breakfast is one of the biggest factors of success not only in your diet, but in your life in general.It also makes filling a red container super easy.
It is about being healthy on the inside AND outside.495 Comments Kelly July 5, 2014 Reply Can you substitute Shakeology with just normal protein powder? In the comment, it seemed as though the person felt like if they drank a shake they would get amazing results, so I replied “Whole foods are always going to be best.
I like to describe Shakeology as the missing link that fills in nutrtional gaps, but it is never going to make up for a poor diet”. A lot of people think shakes or pills can make or break results, I don’t feel this way, in the post I say that the shake is not a requirement.
I never say anywhere that the shake is the best option, I said whole foods are the best investment.
It is hard for me to have a highly varied diet, I have to meal prep most of my foods, I’m just to busy and I wind up eating a lot of the same foods.
I would not spend money on a shake that contained these ingredients no matter the price or would I recommend others to.
Bethany Naomi February 14, 2015 Hi Bethany, I am in the same boat as Kelly in which I can not afford the shakes AND the fix .
And if you aren’t able to purchase the shakes, just make sure to fill its place with a healthy lean protein. Bethany Jamie April 1, 2015 Reply Actually I believe Shakeology is the best out there and nothing else can compare to it. Thanks Carol Bethany Lyn March 2, 2015 Reply Hi Carol, Unfortunately, you really need fresh or frozen fruit.
Canned fruit has nearly no nurtitional value as the canning process destroys most of the nutrients. Bethany Mary March 24, 2015 Reply Carol, I just wanted to add that anything you do is better than doing nothing. They might have a city program like Good Food Box Program that offers delivery of fruits & vegetables, weekly, bi-weekly or monthly. The people I see that get the best results are those who follow the diet as is and push themselves in the workouts. Bethany Lelayna August 22, 2015 Reply Hi Carol, I just wanted to let you know that stores like Shop Rite and Stop & Stop offer delivery programs for people who cannot get out to the grocery store. You would also count any other foods that you add with their corresponding colored containers. Also will using lactose free products (yogurt(sadly there is not a lactose free greek yogurt. I know there is a coconut greek style and it is NOT good at all) and milk) make a difference?



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