It’s estimated that as many as 75% of women are affected with a wide range of symptoms associated with PMS. Symptoms as benign and annoying as feeling bloated; to more extreme discomfort with fluctuating mood swings, crying spells, breast tenderness, binge eating, chocolate cravings and headaches to name but a few. When extreme, these symptoms can present themselves a full 2 weeks before a menses.

The changes that occur in various hormonal levels during the menstrual cycle contributes to PMS. The cause for this disruption can be decreased levels of progesterone and an increase in estrogen. While estrogen is dominant the first half of your cycle prior to ovulation, progesterone should take the lead the second half of the menstrual cycle. They should function as yin and yang partners, so to speak.

Once ovulation happens, the benefits of an adequate output of progesterone are many. It increases libido, it’s a natural diuretic, it lessens anxiety & aids in sleep, supports your thyroid, helps build bones and prevents PMS. And if you’re trying to get pregnant, it’s essential for implantation of the embryo until the placenta is fully formed in the second trimester. The culprits of inadequate progesterone production are the usual suspects; a diet high in refined carbohydrates, trans-fats, excessive sugar, salt and alcohol. These all hinder the synthesis and production of various hormones. The various prostaglandins, which can decrease or increase inflammation depending on your diet can contribute to breast tenderness, water retention and cramping. Low nutritional status of vitamins and minerals also play a role in PMS and lowprogesterone.

For women interested in increasing your progesterone naturally the following changes have shown to be effective:

• vitamin C

• vitamin E

• l-arginine

• vitamin B6

• selenium

• vitex

• improving insulin sensitivity

• eliminating trans fats & choosing free-range,

• antibiotic and hormone-free animal proteins

• eating adequate protein and complex carbohydrates

• treating hypothyroidism

• weight loss when appropriate