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Seed Cycling: Should You Try It for Your Menstrual Cycle?

Seed Cycling: Should You Try It for Your Menstrual Cycle?

 Seed Cycling: Should You Try It for Your Fertility?Seed cycling is gaining momentum in the natural health world to help balance hormones and improve the menstrual cycle. You may be thinking seed what? Cycling, oh I don’t do that at the gym! Know that seed cycling is all about eating certain seeds (yes, the foods) in your daily diet at specific times throughout the menstrual cycle. It’s being recommended for everything from hormone related acne, to PMS, menstrual cramps, irregular cycles and infertility, but how does it work? Can seed cycling really benefit fertility?

It’s important to keep in mind that natural therapies like seed cycling are nutritionally supportive choices and that it may take time to reap the rewards. In addition, for complex fertility issues, seed cycling may be only one of the avenues you need to pursue for renewed health and fertility. Still, seed cycling is very easy to do, and enhances your Fertility Diet with essential fats!

Seed Cycling Basics

The basic concept of seed cycling is simply to consume flax, pumpkin, sesame and sunflower seeds at specific times during the menstrual cycle to promote hormone balance and support the phases of the menstrual cycle.

Here’s why it works:

1) Lignans in seeds have gentle phytohormone activity, which help to eliminate excess estrogen, a common concern linked to genetics, excess body fat and chemicals in the environment.

2) By balancing estrogen levels, seed lignans help to encourage healthy hormone balance.

3) Seeds are an excellent source of essential fats, which your body utilizes in its own natural hormone production.

  • During the follicular phase (the first half of the menstrual cycle), flax and pumpkin seeds are used to balance excess estrogen and encourage progesterone production for normal ovulation. Flax seeds are an especially rich source of lignans that bind to excess estrogen to help the body eliminate it. Pumpkin seeds are used for their essential fats and zinc content, important for progesterone production.
  • During the luteal phase (the second half of the menstrual cycle), switch to sesame seeds and sunflower seeds. Sesame seed lignans help balance excess estrogen, but are not as potent as the flax seeds used in the first phase. Sunflower seeds offer natural selenium content for liver support and hormone regulation as the menstrual cycle comes to a close.

How To Use Seed Cycling To Fit Your Cycle

We know there are many varying cycle lengths and each woman may ovulate on a different cycle day.

  • For women with 28-30 day cycles, start your follicular seeds from cycle day 1 (the first day of your period) to around day 14 (or whenever you know you ovulate). Switch to luteal phase seeds after ovulation (around day 15 to day 28 or 30).
  • If a 20-24 day cycle is normal for you, chart your cycle and follow the seed cycle recommendations for your specific follicular and luteal phase patterns.
  • For women with irregular cycles, experts from Laura’s Natural Life suggest beginning your follicular seeds at the next full moon and switching to the luteal seeds 14 days later. Click the following link for our guide to BioRhythmic Lunar Fertility Charting if interested.

Tips for Seed Cycling

1. Invest in a good grinder (a coffee grinder used only for seeds/nuts works great).

2. In order to benefit from the oils and lignans, buy organic, raw, whole seeds and grind them immediately before adding them to your favorite foods choices. Otherwise, your seeds may pass through your digestive system completely undigested.

3. Aim to consume 2 tbsp of ground seeds daily, using equal amounts of the suggested seeds for each phase of the menstrual cycle you’re in.

4. Fresh ground seeds can be added to many delicious foods! A few of our favorites: Fertility Smoothies, yogurt, oatmeal or homemade granola bars, homemade salad dressings too.

5. If you’re using raw seeds, you can soak them overnight for easier digestion. After soaking, rinse them and drain well, then dry roast them in the oven for 10 minutes at a heat no higher than 300o fahrenheit.

6. Seed oils become rancid over time. To preserve the freshness of your seeds, store them in the refrigerator or freezer, especially if you’re grinding more than one serving of each seed at a time, and use them as needed.

Seed cycling round-up

Be consistent and give it time. Experts suggest it takes at least three complete menstrual cycles to experience changes and benefits from seed cycling. It’s a good idea to note your symptoms in a journal. I also recommend Charting your Cycle to see if you experience changes in your follicular and luteal phases.

Seed cycling is a convenient, affordable and nutritious choice to encourage healthy hormonal balance. Additionally, while we are still only learning about seed cycling, it may offer benefits with few (if any) drawbacks for fertility. Try it for yourself and share your story with us. We’d love to hear your feedback and experiences!

References

  • A Beginner’s Guide to Seed Cycling: How to Balance Hormones Naturally. (2017). Retrieved from: http://www.laurasnaturallife.com/latest/
  • Hall, A. (2014, April). Seed Cycling for Hormonal Balance. Retrieved from: http://theherbalacademy.com/seed-cycling-for-hormonal-balance/
  • Iris. (2015, Oct.) Seed Cycling: Your Way To Happy Hormones. Retrieved from: https://www.cycleseeds.com/single-post/2015/10/11/Seed-Cycling-your-way-to-happy-hormones

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[-] 23 Comments
  1. Hi,

    I would like to try this for excessive bleeding (too many days). I was wondering if you measure the seeds (2tbsp) before grinding or after grinding? Also you mention roasting seed, should we grind seeds after roasting or just eat 2 tbsp roasted seeds?
    Thank you for such a great article!

    • Hello!

      Raw seeds are soaked, then roasted before grinding, and the aim is to consume 2 Tbsp of ground seeds each day.

    • Thank you! One more question, is it ok to do other things for hormone balancing like use essential oils topically at the same time, or will it interfere (thyme oil, clary sage) Can we take a fish oil supplement every day also (for other reasons)

      Thanks for such an informative article!

    • Hello again!

      Essential oils can be combined and should interfere with the actions/benefits of seed cycling. And yes, a fish oil supplement is fine to take while seed cycling and using essential oils.

  2. Thanks for the helpful article, I have been seen cycling for six months and it has helped. I have a regular 28 day cycle. I ovulate earlier than mid cycle. Should I switch the seeds when I ovulate or stick to 14+14? Happy hormoning 🙂

    • Dear Kat,

      We are glad this article is helpful. The article’s author Sarah shares that it is known to be best to follow the cycle “stick to 14+14”.

  3. Hi – me again. I haven’t really be able to locate any encapsulated whole pumpkin and flax seeds. But what if i made my own? Ground up the seed and placed the recommended dosage in a capsule. That should work as well?

    Your help is much appreciated!
    Lesa

    • Hi Lesa!

      It most certainly would I think. Do try to encapsulate them quickly after grinding, while keeping the ground flax in particular cool. It is said that the benefits of flax can decrease quickly after grinding. I grind a large batch and keep it in the freezer to prevent this.

  4. Hi,
    I have PMDD and i’m about 2 1/2 months into seed cycling. So far the results have been great! I have a dilema. I’m traveling out of the states in a few weeks and i’m wondering if a pill replacement for the flax seed and pumpkin seed would work ok? Any help advice would be much appreciated!

    • Dear Lesa,

      This is so great to hear!

      If you can find encapsulated whole pumpkin and flax seeds, then this should work. The author and I think it’s best to avoid products that are the oil or an extract of the seed… using the whole seed is best.

      Safe, happy travels!

  5. Hi, I just went off the pill after ten years and have been doing 2 tbsp of flaxseeds, 2 tbsp of pumpkin seeds and 1 tbsp of chia seeds every day. I just learned about seed cycling, what is the difference between just doing flax and pumpkin every day and switching to sunflower/sesame seeds? My main concern being off the pill is acne. Thank you!

    • Hi Leslie!

      Scroll back up to Seed Cycling Basics: Here’s why it works: #3. Sesame and sunflower seeds aren’t as potent as flax seed and sunflower seeds offers a bit of differing support and the cycle ends and another is about to begin.

  6. Does heating the seeds after soaking them destroy any benefits use for seed cycling?

    • Dear Emily,

      Dry roast raw seed in the oven for no more than 10 minutes at a heat no higher than 300o fahrenheit is fine and will not damage any beneficial nutrients.

  7. I have irregular periods and am trying to conceive. I started seed cycling this cycle and my follicular phase was the longest ever. I’m thinking about switching over to the lunar cycle as recommended, but I don’t want to mess with my luteal phase just in case I’m ever pregnant. Should I start pumpkin & flax on the first day of my menstrual phase then switch to sesame & sunflower on day 14 no matter when I ovulate (I’m tracking via temping, cervical mucus, OPK)? Or should I start pumpkin & flax today with the new moon (I am ~7 days to my menstrual phase)?

    • Dear Michelle,

      Thanks for reaching out to the team! I’m so sorry you’re having this challenge. Irregular cycles can be very frustrating. It’s ok to follow your normal seed cycling plan for irregular cycles.

      Seed cycling is a very safe, flexible approach. You can switch to your luteal phase seeds after your known ovulation day, or you can switch to them earlier (around day 14) if your follicular phase is very long.

      The seeds really just help to support the body properly metabolize the hormones of each phase. It is quite gentle.

      I hope this helps!

    • Hi Michelle!
      Did you have any success with getting a more regular period cycle and/or conceiving?
      Thanks!

    • I have the same situation. So if my cycle is super irregular, I just stick with 14 day/14day seed rotation no matter what my cycle is doing in order to regulate it? Do I switch to flax/pumpkin seeds at the end of the first 28 days even if my period hasn’t started??

    • Dear Sarah,

      It is best to try this yes!

  8. Please were can i get the seed cycling?

  9. There are several controversial articles online that say flax seed actually has estrogenic effects that are harmful for women with fibroids. How can it be both harmful & helpful at the same time?

    • Dear Anne,

      Flax seeds do contain small amounts of phytoestrogens. Phytoestrogens can bind weakly to estrogen receptor sites in the body. What is important to understand is that in order to promote healthy estrogen balance within our bodies, we have to consider how herbal phytoestrogens protect us from harmful xenoestrogens (toxins), which come from human-made chemicals (herbicides, pesticides and fertilizers to name a few) and are found in conventional foods, personal and body care products, paper products… a great many of the things many use in their daily lives. Xenoestrogens may cause estrogen dominance. They are “excess estrogen”. Excess estrogen in one of the main culprits in causing not only fibroid growth, but also hormonal imbalance which then causes disordered ovulation, etc. When the body has properly detoxified from toxins (fiber from flax seeds) and excess estrogen properly metabolized, our good, beneficial hormones are able to connect with hormone receptor sites and benefit various body systems and maintain hormonal balance (while working to prevent fibroid growth).

      I would not say that consuming flax seeds is harmful personally.

      I hope this is a helpful explanation!