Seed cycling

Seed Cycling: A simple way to support optimal hormonal balance

Estrogen and progesterone are the essential hormones that regulate a woman’s monthly cycle. The menstrual cycle divides into the follicular phase and the luteal phase. The follicular phase begins on the first day of your period and goes until ovulation; in a regular cycle, this happens on cycle days 1-14. The luteal phase starts from ovulation until the next period, typically cycle days 15-28. In the follicular phase, estrogen is the predominant hormone responsible for growing an egg to be ovulated. It was preparing the uterine lining for implantation. Once an egg ovulates, progesterone levels rise, and estrogen slowly declines. This rise in progesterone requires supporting a healthy pregnancy. But if there is no fertilization of the egg, progesterone eventually falls, and the cycle begins again.

Although these hormones control our menstrual cycle, they affect every system in the body. We function at our best when these hormones are at optimal levels. While we have an imbalance between estrogen and progesterone, we can see symptoms of PMS. Irregular or painful periods, acne, changes in mood, and anovulation, to name a few! If you have any of these symptoms of hormonal imbalance, seed cycling is something you can start incorporating. Add to your daily routine to begin taking control of your hormonal health.

What is Seed Cycling?

Seed cycling integrates different seeds into the diet at times in the menstrual cycle to support optimal hormonal balance. Aside from anecdotal reports and clinical experience, there are no randomized controlled trials on the exact seed cycling protocol. However, we know that food has a powerful impact on the body. The idea behind seed cycling is that seeds have different ratios. It contains essential fatty acids, vitamins, and nutrients that support the body’s production. Its release and metabolism of our sex hormones, estrogen and progesterone. The seeds you are going to use are flaxseed, pumpkin, sesame, and sunflower seeds. These seeds contain lignans that help balance estrogen by binding the hormone to ensure proper elimination. It is inhibiting estrogen reabsorption back into the system. 

Flaxseeds are:

Additionally, sesame seeds have been studied in women with irregular cycles and initiated a period. Moreover, sunflower and pumpkin seeds will utilize to reduce breast cancer risk in postmenopausal women. Assume their phytoestrogen activity. Thus, we can confidently say these seeds have clear hormonal impacts. Using them at the right time may relieve symptoms of hormonal balance that come with the cycle.

How to Use Seed Cycling

The seeds are rotated based on the phase of the cycle. It is essential to understand your monthly process to know when you will be incorporating which sources. If your cycles are regular, this protocol should start on day 1, the first day of your period. If you have absent or irregular cycles, the process can follow this protocol according to the phase of the moon cycle. It means you would start phase 1 of the protocol on the first day of the new moon. Then, start the second phase 14 days later, with the full moon.

PHASE 1:

Follicular Phase (Day 1-14, or until ovulation): This is the estrogen phase of your cycle

Each day:

  • One tablespoon freshly ground raw, organic flaxseeds, and
  • One tablespoon freshly ground raw, organic pumpkin seeds

PHASE 2: 

Luteal Phase (Day 15 (about)-28, or until your period): This is the progesterone phase of your cycle

Each day:

  • One tablespoon freshly ground raw, organic sunflower seeds, and
  • One tablespoon of freshly ground raw, organic sesame seeds.

Since seeds are high in healthy oils, the fatty acids can oxidize quickly, becoming rancid. It is why it is best to grind them as you use them or grind enough for two days maximum (I use a coffee grinder). Store them in an airtight container and keep them in the fridge or freezer to maintain their freshness. You can add the seeds to smoothies, salads, oatmeal, or you can enjoy them right off the spoon.

I advise my patients to try seed cycling for a minimum of 3 cycles, as it takes time to notice changes. Seed cycling is a safe and gentle tool you can easily incorporate into your daily routine on your path to happier hormones. A hormone imbalance can be tricky to deal with if you are experiencing any symptoms of hormonal imbalance for longer than three cycles. It is a good idea to see your healthcare provider understand the reason for your concerns. You may require a more targeted approach to your treatment, and seed cycling can use alongside most treatments! I love seed cycling. It is a tool you can use at home to take your hormonal health into your own hands.

If you’re ready to take it one step further, try my hormone balancing meal plan that you can access here for free.

If you are ready for an individualized approach to treating your hormonal concerns, I’d love to work with you! Contact me for an appointment or book online here.

To health & happy hormones,

Dr. Bronwyn

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WRITTEN BY:

Dr. Bronwyn is a naturopathic doctor in Toronto, Ontario with a clinical focus in Women's Health. She works with women transitioning off the oral contraceptive pill and those with specific fertility concerns, to reach a state of hormonal balance or in preparation for a healthy pregnancy. Dr. Bronwyn is passionate about empowering women to reclaim their hormonal health, to enable a full and vibrant life.

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