Seed Cycling for Women
By Dr. Emily, ND
Natural hormonal balancing and optimizing natural hormone replacement
Many women experience difficulties with their menstrual cycles. Commonly, pain and premenstrual discomfort are among the problems women face with their periods. The body does not actually need to experience pain in the process of having a cycle. The discomforts that can happen during a woman’s menstrual cycle are all signs of a hormonal imbalance. Heavy bleeding, bleeding too frequently, bleeding infrequently, and pre-menstrual syndrome (PMS) are all signs of hormonal imbalance.
Some women may feel like they can just live through their terrible periods, suffering for a week or two out of every month. But if you knew that a hormonal imbalance could lead to the development of breast cancer, osteoporosis, cardiovascular disease, and Alzheimer’s disease would you be as likely to just live with the problems? Wouldn’t you want to do something about it now so you could live a happier, healthier, longer life?
Seed cycling can help restore a balance of hormones. Many women will still need some sort of bio-identical hormones to correct their problem; however, seed cycling can also help their hormone replacement work even better!
Most hormonal problems in women are caused by what is called estrogen dominance. Estrogen dominance can cover low, normal, or elevated levels of estrogen but means the level of progesterone is not high enough to balance the estrogen. Signs and symptoms of estrogen dominance include uterine fibroids, endometriosis, heavy bleeding, menstrual cramps, depression and anxiety, decreased sex drive, breast tenderness, PMS, headaches, and more.
There are many things in our environment and diet that elevate estrogen levels in the body. Plastics, car exhaust, soaps, and other chemicals can alter our estrogen levels. Hormones in certain dairy and meat products can also contribute to abnormal levels of estrogen in the body. Even foods that contain soy will cause an elevation in the body’s estrogen levels. Therefore it is quite common to see estrogen dominance.
Seed cycling uses the oils and lignans in seeds to promote balanced hormones. Lignans are chemical compounds found in plants that assist our hormone receptor sites so the hormones can do their jobs. The fatty acids contained in the oils of the seeds are the building blocks for our hormones.
There are two main phases of the menstrual cycle. The first half of the cycle is called the follicular phase which starts with the first day of the menstrual period and ends around day 14. The main hormone at play during this initial phase is estrogen. The second half of the cycle is called the luteal phase. The luteal phase starts on day 15 and goes until the onset of bleeding. The main hormone at play during this second phase is progesterone. Most women find they have difficulty during the second half of their cycle, but problems that occur during the first half of the cycle can also be due to a deficiency in progesterone. With seed cycling we focus on different seeds and oils during the first and second halves of the cycle.
Seed Cycling for Women
Phase 1: Day 1 of menses (the day you start bleeding) to day 14
1) 1-2 tablespoons of organic, raw, ground flax seeds, pumpkin seeds, or whole chia seeds (all high in omega-3 fatty acids which promotes healthy production of estrogen)
2) Fish Oil at least 3 grams of omega-3 fatty acids per day (make sure you get a high quality fish oil like the one offered here at Natural Bio Health
Phase 2: Day 15 of the cycle until you begin your next cycle
1) 1-2 tablespoons of organic, raw, ground sesame and sunflower seeds (both high in omega-6 fatty acids which promotes healthy production of progesterone)
2) Evening Primrose Oil (EPO) 500mg GLA
Finely grind the seeds to improve their utilization in the body. If you grind them ahead of time, store them in an airtight container in the refrigerator to preserve the oils.
Seeds can be added to smoothies, sprinkled on top of salads, or simply mixed in 1-2 cups of water. If you mix the seeds in water, make sure to consume it within about 10 minutes, otherwise the seeds will absorb the water making it quite thick.
If you are not having your period at all or are only getting it very infrequently, you may choose to do the seed cycle along with the cycles of the moon. In this case, you start phase 1 with the new moon and phase 2 with the full moon. There are a number of smart-phone applications available that track the phases of the moon. This can be extremely helpful in regulating the cycle.