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How to use fasting to support Progesterone 

Let’s talk progesterone….my favorite hormone, because progesterone has a calming effect on the body and is the hormone that keeps estrogen in check. Progesterone is mainly produced in a woman’s ovaries and it’s levels naturally fluctuate around a woman’s menstrual cycle.

So, How to use fasting to support Progesterone?

As we approach midlife, progesterone begins to decline. So women over 40 or going through their menopause years will inevitably experience an up and down roller coaster and subsequent decline in progesterone as you go into postmenopausal years. If this might be you, I also recommend grabbing my new book, The Menopause Reset for tips and tricks on how to navigate menopause years with grace and ease. 

If not due to menopause, the other way progesterone gets out of balance is if you are fasting at the wrong times of your cycle. Women of any age need to be careful about this, saving longer fasts for Days 1-17. Doing too much fasting, at the wrong time in your cycle may lead to unknowingly depleting progesterone. 

A few telltale signs that you might have low progesterone are hot flashes, migraine headaches, spotting during your cycle, anxiety, agitation, fibroids and/or endometriosis. 

Is fasting good for women?

People ask me all the time, is fasting good for women? The answer is undoubtedly yes! We know that fasting supports and balances healthy hormones, based on the Hormonal Hierarchy. The key however is, women need to know HOW and WHEN to fast around hormones, because the reality is, women should be fasting differently than men. 

There are two hormonal peaks women must be aware of. The first is the estrogen peak around Day 14, when ovulation occurs. So if you are fasting and trying to get pregnant, you will want to step out of a longer fasted state, as you need insulin and glucose during this time. Remember, when you fast, cortisol goes up, which leads progesterone to go down. 

The second hormonal peak is with progesterone, around Day 21. The days leading up to this progesterone peak are the worst times to do a longer water fast, such as a 36 hour, 48 hour or 3-5 day water fast. Days 17-21 is your progesterone building window, when your focus should be on avoiding things that might tank progesterone. I’ll talk more about what you can during this time below. 

Creating a fasting lifestyle to support progesterone

Know that it is possible to create a fasting lifestyle that supports progesterone and healthy hormones, so that you can use fasting to your advantage. Here’s how you can do that. 

Between Day 1 and Day 17, you’re welcome to do all of the below types of fasting:

Between Day 21 and Day 28, the week before your period, you will want to avoid fasting so as not to deplete hormones. If you don’t have a cycle, timing may still matter. A Dutch Test hormone panel can help determine this. I love this test for all women because it helps give us insight into your unique hormonal state. 

What to add & avoid when building progesterone

During the progesterone building timeframe, again Day 17 through Day 21, you will want to avoid the following:

  • Avoid fasting for more than 15 hours
  • Avoid ketosis
  • Avoid longer fasts
  • Avoid carb restricted diets
  • Avoid strenuous exercise, running a marathon or pushing yourself with a hard workout
  • Avoid stress 

During this time you will also want to lean into foods that support progesterone, that might not be otherwise ketogenic foods:

  • Pumpkin
  • Beans
  • Squash
  • Tropical and citrus fruits 
  • Nuts and seeds
  • Andreas Seed Oils, we love the Pumpkin Seed Oil for progesterone (use code PELZ for discount), Flax Seed Oil will help with estrogen
  • Cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower, brussel sprouts 
  • Grass fed meat, we like ours from Grassland Beef or Crowd Cow

What kind of fasting for Progesterone

The ONLY fasts I recommend during the progesterone building time is Intermittent Fasting, fasting no more than 15 hours and Carnivore Fasting, again fasting no more than 15 hours. You may be wondering why a carnivore diet is acceptable during this time, and it’s because grass-fed meats are a great progesterone building food, so you may play with this fast. 

Other things you can do to support progesterone and lower stress (ie. avoid cortisol) are things like yoga, meditation and breathwork. Right now I’m loving Soma Breathwork by Niraj Naik, you might try his guided daily meditation on Spotify.

If you missed my other videos on fasting and hormones oxytocin, estrogen, testosterone and cortisol >> Watch Hormones & Fasting Playlist

2020-10-28T15:39:41+00:00Fasting for Women, Health|


  1. Agnes December 18, 2020 at 9:41 am - Reply

    Thank you for this amazing info, Mindy!
    Would that mean extended fasting is only good during the first 17 days of the cycle?

    Warm wishes,

  2. Jenny April 5, 2021 at 3:06 am - Reply

    Dutch test

    • Jessica Coots April 5, 2021 at 4:35 pm - Reply

      Hi there! You can find information on the Dutch Test at

  3. Ruth Fielding May 4, 2021 at 5:10 pm - Reply

    I’m completely confused? This says progesterone building days are days 17-21?? The other videos and info I’ve understood from Dr Mindy has always said progesterone building days were the lead up to your period? Days 21-28? Please clarify which is correct? Have I been doing it wrong all this time?

  4. Gillian Guin May 10, 2021 at 10:50 am - Reply

    I agree with Ruth. I’m confused now about the timeframe. What is different about days 17-21 and days 21-28. I thought the window where we changed our eating was days 21-28.

  5. P Lewis August 15, 2021 at 8:53 pm - Reply

    I completely agree I am confused as well as other videos talk about day 21 to 28 progesterone building time as fast upto day 21.

  6. I. Soto October 17, 2021 at 3:43 am - Reply

    I just started and was also my understanding that 7 days before my cycle was my progesterone building timeframe. Please please please clarify. Thank you.

  7. paula hunt October 19, 2021 at 11:54 pm - Reply

    Hi there. Have watched many of your videos Mindy, and thank you for the hints and direction you have given me to leading a intermittant fasting lifestyle.
    But. I was under the impression that this video was going to tell me about post menapausal progesterone on intermittant fasting diet. However, this is all related to people who still have a cycle. When is my day 17, when I shouldn’t excessively fast, keep calm, do my yoga, and eat pumpkin? Am I just completely out of sink with my body, and should know this without a period? Thanks. Paula

  8. Kristy November 30, 2021 at 12:33 am - Reply

    As Paula said, I’m also here for post meno hormone building progesterone day in the 5 1 1 plan. Five IF days, one protein cycling day and one hormone builder.
    Thank you!

  9. Karyn Burch February 14, 2022 at 3:08 pm - Reply

    When I search Progesterone all I can find is information about low progesterone. I had a saliva test done and my progesterone is at 495! Normal range is 40-80. An ultrasound revealed a complex ovarian cyst size. My NPR has me on birth control for 2 months. My cortisol levels were 6-8 Am=37 (high) 11-1 pm=11 (high), 4-5 pm= 10 (high), 10-midnight =4 (normal). Total Cortisol Output =62 normal range 22-46. I am 41 years old and don’t feel like myself and I just want help!

  10. Amoraea O'Duir November 13, 2022 at 10:36 pm - Reply

    Hi. It’s super disappointing that Mindy has yet clarify the many-times expressed confusion above. I’m writing because I share the same confusion and am seeking clarity because of persistent symptoms. I purchased the book *The Menopause Reset* and in it, Mindy clearly states that the progesterone surge to support by *eating progesterone building foods without counting macros* is from day 21-28. The foods listed in the book do not include the cruciferous veggies which are listed above; those are actually listed under estrogen building foods for days 12-15. Soooooo…..not sure about the timeframe of fasting and *eating for your hormone, either, which could explain why I haven’t really seen any notable results yet?

  11. Sadaf January 16, 2023 at 5:45 am - Reply

    How can I lose weight in the days leading up to my period. If no fasting and exercise- I find it hard to lose weight. Are women able to lose weight during this time? I thought progesterone allowed weight loss.

  12. Ebony March 3, 2023 at 9:08 am - Reply

    I would say do extended fasts up until a few days before you normally ovulate. Cut them down to intermittent fasting that are 12:12 (fasting:feeding) or 14:10 on the remaining days of your cycle. Progesterone goes into overdrive right after ovulation due to signaling of the corpus luteum… which is the “scar” left from the egg when it bursts through the ovary. This is what causes thickening of the uterine lining. The fertilized and implanted egg then takes over this signaling process once implanted so that progesterone continues to support the implanted egg throughout the remainder of the pregnancy, if not implanted the lining will shed and the cycle will begin again. For everyone hormones can be different and also respond differently. An example of that would be with PCOS. As with someone with PCOS that has insulin resistance, extended fasts may help trigger ovulation. When doing fasting, I would recommend having hormone levels monitored throughout your cycle by a reproductive endocrinologist to ensure your individual levels and the response of your body to fasting.

  13. Amanda March 7, 2023 at 1:32 pm - Reply

    I am also confused! I just read the new book, and it says to do shorter fasts during days 11-14 and then no fasting 20-28 (or the start of your cycle, whichever is shorter). Other days are OK for longer fasts. Maybe I read it wrong?

  14. Roselyn March 21, 2023 at 3:58 pm - Reply

    Hi. I’m on progesterone based medication, Visanne for Endometriosis treatment and no longer get my period. What type of fasting would you recommend?
    Thank you!

  15. G Horsley April 10, 2023 at 3:53 pm - Reply

    What if you are already on HRT. What are the best fasting methods to follow?

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