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Balancing Hormones Through Seed Cycling

Have you heard of seed cycling? Learn all about this delicious and easy way to bring your hormones back into balance naturally so that you can get relief from symptoms such as painful menses, bloat, acne, PMS and more.

What Is Seed Cycling?

Seed cycling/seed rotation is an old naturopathic therapy that utilizes nutrition, in this case seeds, to support the body’s production, detoxification, and metabolism of hormones with the intention of bringing the hormones back in balance.

Flax seeds and pumpkin seeds are taken in the first half of the cycle and sunflower and sesame seeds are taken during the second half.

How Does Seed Cycling Work?

When Hippocrates (The Father of Medicine) said, “Let Food Be Thy Medicine,” this is what he meant.

The first half of the menstrual cycle is estrogen dominant. The combination of flax and pumpkin seeds taken in the first half of the cycle work to detox any excess estrogen while priming the body for adequate progesterone production in the second half of the cycle.

Days 1-14 of Seed Cycling graphic

Symptoms Of Estrogen Dominance

Excess estrogen can be associated with the following symptoms

  • Breast tenderness
  • Mood Swings
  • Hair Loss
  • Weight Gain especially around the waistline
  • Fibroids
  • Endometriosis
  • Ovarian Cysts
  • Water Retention
  • PMS
  • Hair Loss

The second half of the menstrual cycle is supposed to be progesterone dominant. The combination of sesame and sunflower seeds taken in the second half of the cycle work to promote progesterone production.

Days 15-28 of Seed Cycling graphic

Symptoms Of Low Progesterone

Low progesterone levels manifest in symptoms like estrogen dominance plus

  • Short Cycles
  • Menstrual Cramps
  • Mid Cycle Spotting
  • Anxiety
  • Insomnia

How To Do Seed Cycling

Menstrual Phase And Follicular Phase Seeds

On day 1 of your cycle up until ovulation (approx. day 14) eat 1 tablespoon each of Ground Raw flax and pumpkin seeds. So that’s 2 tablespoons daily. Add it to your quinoa porridge, smoothies, sprinkle it on your salad, oatmeal, etc.

Ovulation Phase And Follicular Phase Seeds

From day 15 to 28/30 eat 1 tablespoon each of Ground Raw sesame and sunflower seeds. So that’s 2 tablespoons daily. Add it to your smoothie bowl, sprinkle it on yogurt, oatmeal, salads, etc.

How Each Seed Works To Benefit Your Hormones

Let’s take a closer look at each of the seeds in the seed cycling rotation and how they can benefit your body:

Flax Seeds

Seed Cycling: Flax Seeds

Flax seeds are high in Omega 3 fatty acids and lignans, a phytoestrogen that stops your body from producing excess estrogen.

How It Works: Once you have eaten flax seeds and it arrives in your gut, gut bacteria gets to work converting the lignans in flax to enterolactone and enterodiol. These go into your estrogen receptors and block them from creating excess estrogen.

Pumpkin Seeds

Seed Cycling: Pumpkin Seeds

Pumpkin seeds are high in Omega 6 fatty acids and zinc which is crucial for reproduction and healthy immune function.

Sunflower Seeds

Seed Cycling: Sunflower Seeds

Sunflower seeds are high in Omega 3 fatty acids and lignans which are anti

How It Works: What makes sunflower seeds important for the second phase of the cycle and set them apart from flax seeds is that sunflower seeds aid in the bioavailability of the Vitamin E found in sesame seeds.

Sesame Seeds

Seed Cycling: Sesame Seeds

Sesame seeds are high in Omega 6 fatty acids and Vitamin E which is essential for fertility.

Seed Cycling FAQs

Click the Question below to read the answer and for more information:

Who Should Do Seed Cycling?

Seed cycling is especially beneficial to women who experience any or all of the following:

  • Irregular periods
  • Painful periods
  • PMS (includes mood swings, bloat, headaches)
  • Heavy flow
  • Menopause symptoms such as hot flashes and insomnia
  • Symptoms of PCOS, Endometriosis and Fibroids
  • Balancing hormones post pill

Who Should Not Do Seed Cycling?

Women who are pregnant.

When To Start Seed Cycling/Seed Rotation?

In order to do seed cycling you must track your cycle. Ideally you would begin seed cycling on day one of your cycle, that is the first day of your period.

How Do I Do Seed Cycling If My Menstrual Cycle Is Irregular?

Seed cycling can be particularly effective at helping you to get your period back and regulating your cycle but first we must define irregular.

What is an Irregular Cycle?

Your cycle is considered irregular if it CONSISTENTLY varies by more than 8 days from cycle to cycle. Anywhere from 24-35 days is considered a healthy cycle of which 28 days is simply an average.

Scenario A:
So let’s say your cycle length is usually 31 days but this month you had a death in the family which brought on sudden stress around the time of ovulation. You can expect that your cycle may be longer than usual if the stress delayed ovulation. This is NOT an irregular cycle.

Scenario B:
If however one month your cycle is 40 days then the next 49 then 27 etc. etc., you can consider that this IS an irregular cycle.

Why is My Cycle Irregular?

There are so many reasons why your cycle can be irregular and without knowing your FULL health history it’s impossible for me to determine but irregular cycles can be due to:

  • elevated stress levels from a sub-optimal diet and other negative stress triggers
  • over exercise and under eating
  • PCOS
  • if you’re just coming off hormonal birth control
  • peri- menopause
  • thyroid irregularities

Also if you’re a teen who has just started her menstrual cycle it’s pretty common to have irregular cycles as your body gets into the rhythm of things.

How To Do Seed Cycling If Your Cycle Truly Is Irregular

If your menstrual cycle is truly irregular meaning as described above it does not fall into the cycle length of 24-35 days AND varies by more than 8 days from cycle to cycle then you would generally ‘disregard’ your own cycle length and follow the moon cycle of 28 days in hopes of coaxing your own cycle to fall into place. Check a moon calendar and start seed cycling with either the full or new moon whichever is closest.

• Phase 1 seeds – New Moon
• Phase 2 seeds – Full Moon

If your cycle started off as irregular and since seed cycling has ‘normalised’ you can choose to stop using the moon calendar and follow your own cycle. The choice is yours!

I have given you all the information I know on seed cycling now the decision is yours to make. You know what’s best for your body.

Can I Eat Other Nuts And Seeds While Seed Cycling?

You may eat other nuts and seeds but if you are to see the benefits of seed cycling it’s best not to eat the seeds from one phase in another. So you could eat say chia seeds throughout your cycle but you wouldn’t want to eat flax seeds during the second half of your cycle for example.

Does Seed Cycling Work?

I have personally seen the benefits of seed cycling so I can confidently say that yes it does work!

Most women in my practice have seen massive improvement in their symptoms when following seed cycling for at least 3 cycles. That said seed cycling is not a magic bullet. A healthy diet and lifestyle are needed if you are to see an improvement in your symptoms. Don’t go sprinkling these seeds on your Mcdonald’s and expect it to work.

Can I Do Seed Cycling If I Am Estrogen Dominant?

If you are estrogen dominant that does not mean that you need to completely eliminate plant based estrogens such as flax. The issue with estrogen dominance is not that you have too much estrogen but that there is an inability to effectively break down and excrete estrogen. Women need estrogen for healthy menses, breasts, skin and hair. Flaxseeds are pretty remarkable in that they can increase estrogen or block estrogen depending on the needs of your body. That said there are women who don’t do well on flaxseeds. My advice would be to give seed cycling a try and keep a journal of your symptoms. That’s the only way to know if its for you or not.

Are There Any Side Effects To Seed Cycling?

Seed cycling is a gentle a noninvasive food as medicine therapy. The only potential side effect is that whole seeds can cause digestive discomfort for some. (This is why we grind the seeds) By consuming the seeds ground you will GREATLY minimize any chances of digestive upset, which is really nothing compared to the long-term risk factors involved in taking the pill or other artificial hormonal therapies. If you decide to give it a try, make sure you keep track of your symptoms in a journal so you can exactly determine if seed cycling works for your body.

Do I Have To Grind My Seeds For Seed Cycling?

Flax seeds and sesame seeds MUST be ground as they are just too tiny to be broken down completely by your teeth. You can get away with not grinding pumpkin seeds and sunflower seeds if you’re good at chewing but if you’re going to be grinding the other two seeds anyways you might as well. Of course, if you’re adding your seeds to a smoothie then the blender will break them down and you don’t need to grind them beforehand.

How Do I Eat Seed Cycling Seeds?

I understand that remembering to eat your daily dose of seeds might be challenging at first so
here are some ideas to get you started.

Sprinkle seed cycling seeds on

  • Oatmeal
  • Salads
  • Toast
  • Pancakes
  • Fruit
Blend seed cycling seeds into:

  • Smoothies
Swirl seed cycling seeds into

  • Overnight Oats
  • Chia Pudding
  • Yogurt

What’s important to remember is that in order to see the real benefits of seed cycling your seeds should be taken RAW and GROUND. So, any seed cycling recipe where the seeds are cooked, baked etc isn’t truly seed cycling.

Seed Cycling Information La Grange | (708) 497-2441