Seed Cycling for Hormone Support

Seed Cycling (1080 x 500 px) (1)

Seed cycling is the practice of utilizing nutrient-specific seeds to help regulate hormonal production and output during your menstrual cycle. I recommend getting nutrients as much as possible from food sources, in order to heal the body and support it’s many cycles and processes. While there are many factors involved in disrupted cycles, using the powerful vitamins and minerals held within seeds can be a step in the direction to support balanced hormone levels, reduce PMS symptoms, boost fertility, and stimulate (if absent) or regulate (if irregular) your menstrual cycle.

The first ~2 weeks of the menstrual cycles is the follicular phase, beginning at menstruation – the first day you bleed. During this time, seed cycling uses flaxseeds, which are phytoestrogens – a natural compound that have hormone-like effects within the body. Flaxseeds also contain lignans, which can bind excess estrogen and support ovulation (the dividing line between the follicular and luteal phase). Pumpkin seeds are rich in magnesium and tryptophan, which can provide the added benefit of improved sleep — a major player in healthy hormone production and regulation. They are also rich in Zinc, a mineral integral to hormone balance and fertility because of it’s support in progesterone production. Both pumpkin and flaxseeds are rich in Omega-3 fatty acids, which are supportive of cardiovascular health, inflammation reduction, and healthy cell integrity.

The second ~2 weeks of the menstrual cycle is the luteal phase. During this phase, the nutrients in sunflower seeds (like Vitamin E and selenium) boost progesterone production, detox the liver of excess estrogen, and support the thyroid. Phase 2 also uses sesame seeds, which are also rich in lignans (regulate estrogen levels from getting too high or too low), Zinc (progesterone production), and Vitamin E (which is necessary for hormone production and follicular function). An additional benefit of sunflower and sesame seeds is that they may help reduce PMS symptoms like breast tenderness and cramping.

Who is seed cycling for?

Humans operate on many cyclic patterns, menstruation being one of them. A woman in any phase of life can use seed cycling to help regulate natural rhythms that are intended to be experienced on a regular basis. This means that anyone from teens to post-menopause can benefit from this practice. Seed cycling can be especially effective for someone with irregular or absent periods, PMS symptoms, or coming off birth control and experiencing post-birth control syndrome (like extreme mood shifts, acne, and brain fog).

Timing seeds with your cycle

In general, you do Phase 1 for ~14 days – beginning on the first day of bleeding and until you ovulate. Once you ovulate, you switch to Phase 2 for the remainder of your cycle, until you start bleeding again and the cycle begins anew. In general, a healthy cycle is between 21-35 days. Any shorter or longer, would fall into the category of “irregular”, and not having a period at all would be considered “absent” (peri- or postmenopausal women fall into this category).

In the case of irregular or absent menstruation, you will follow the moon cycles to help gently nudge your period (or hormones in general) into a healthy rhythm. For this, start Phase 1 of seed cycling on day one of the new moon (treat this similar to “day 1” of the follicular phase). On Day 15, you will switch to Phase 2 – the equivalent of the luteal phase. On day 28, start over at Phase 1.

Phase 1:

Days 1-14 of your cycle (or menstruation to ovulation, or new moon to full moon)

  • 1-2 tablespoons ground flaxseeds
  • 1-2 tablespoons ground pumpkin seeds

Phase 2:

Days 15-28 of your cycle (or ovulation to menstruation, or full moon to the next new moon)

  • 1-2 tablespoons ground sunflower seeds
  • 1-2 tablespoons ground sesame seeds

Incorporate seed cycling into your daily routine

Ideally you would use raw and freshly ground seeds (to reduce their oxidation – which can produce inflammation in the body). Grind the seeds with a coffee or spice grinder, and store in an air-tight container in the freezer (grind 1 cup at a time to provide convenience, without over-producing batches).

I like Beeya, which has pre-ground blends for the two phases. You simply refrigerate the bags once they are delivered to you, and then seed cycling is as easy as consuming 1-2 scoops for the corresponding phase you are in.

Ground seeds can be incorporated into many daily foods, such as:

  • Smoothies
  • Mixed into yogurt or oatmeal
  • Chia seed pudding
  • Sprinkle on toast, salads, or soups
  • Homemade granola

Hormones matter to all people, in all phases of life. Not only do we need healthy hormone production, utilization, and elimination for menstruation, they are also imperative to fertility, pregnancy, postpartum healing, and into/throughout the menopausal transition. Try seed cycling for yourself and drop me a line to let me know how it supported your health journey!


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