By: Angela  Joy

Seed Cycling is a known as an effective method for balancing hormone levels and optimizing female health. The Seed Cycle Protocol involves four seeds that each hold specific benefits which promote proper hormone detoxification and production. These seeds are recommended during specific times of the menstrual cycle.

Seed Cycle

Why Do the Seed Cycle Protocol? 

You may be interested in the Seed Cycle Protocol for a number of reasons!

  1. You are not menstruating (or you have an abnormal cycle). If you are NOT menstruating, the seed cycle protocol supports your body’s ability to properly detoxify the hormones that are too high (re-circulating and causing harm) in addition to the hormones that may be too low (most likely as a result of the high levels of other hormones, or due to stress, anxiety, environment, chemical or toxin exposure, among other things, etc.) If you are not menstruating, you will need to follow the protocol in-conjunction with the cycle of the moon. This is explained better below.
  2. You are experienced PMS symptoms. PMS symptoms can range from: food cravings, mood swings, back pain, abdominal cramps, bloating, severe fatigue, heavy bleeding, light bleeding, and more. So many women experience these symptoms and believe that this is their “normal.” However, this is not meant to be normal. This is an indicator (your body’s check engine light) letting you know that something is not quite right; pointing straight to your hormone levels.
  3. You are interested in conceiving! It is a great idea to regulate your hormone levels before beginning the conception process. This may avoid any potential issues relating to attempts to conceive. Hormone imbalance is a huge cause for infertility. Therefore, a great first step to getting your body into a healthy state before pregnancy would be following the Seed Cycling Protocol (in addition to following a healthy, nutrient-dense, fiber-rich diet.

In summary, seed cycling, when done consistently 3-4 months, can support the re-balancing of the menstrual cycle.

Seed Cycling Can be Effective in:

  •  Eliminating abnormal hormone-related symptoms, such as:
    • painful cramps
    • heavy bleeding
    • mood swings
    • acne
    • PCOS
    • painful breasts, tenderness
    • Endometrial symptoms
    • And much more
  • The protocol is also recognized as a safe, healthy way get your menstrual cycle back!
    • Sometimes, when women lose their cycle they rejoice and don’t say much because they don’t have to deal with it. (I am victim to this!) I lost my cycle for almost three years.
    • If you have not had a period for over three months in a row your doctor may diagnose you with Amenorrhea (no period). Amenorrhea can be due to a number of things (stress, hormonal imbalance, low body fat, athleteci
    • Potential negative effects of not having a menstrual cycle can include; infertility, osteoperosis, and endometrial cancer.
  • And lastly, supporting fertility and a healthy pregnancy.
    • Note: Do not begin new supplements before talking with your doctor, if you are currently pregnant or if you have been diagnosed as infertile.

Seed-Cycling-for-Hormonal-Balance-graphic

How to Follow the Seed Cycle Protocol

Not Menstruating

Option 1. Follow the cycle of the moon: If you do not currently have a menstrual cycle or your cycle is completely irregular
  • Begin phase 1 at the start of a new moon.
    • A) 1 tbsp of each, pumpkin and flax seeds during the first 15 days of the cycle
    • B) 1 tbsp of each, sunflower and sesame seeds, days  15 to 30, or adjust to the length of your cycle

Promoting Ovulation when Amenorrheic:

*In this circumstance you want to promote ovulation.
Ovulation is most important, even if you are not menstruating yet. A good way to know if you are ovulating would be to track your symptoms and cervical fluid. I recommend tracking this information in a cell phone APP created for menstrual cycle tracking.
I do not know if you are familiar with evaluating your cervical fluid, but this is a great skill to learn as a woman. This is especially important when you are trying to conceive. 
Cervical fluid is different during each phase of the cycle. Not all fluid is “ovulation” or the egg.
Cervical fluid

Menstruating Regularly

Option 2. Follow your menstrual cycle
  • A) The first 15 days or so of your cycle (before ovulation): Eat 1 tbsp of each pumpkin and flax seeds, every day
  • B) The second half of cycle, the 15 days begin at ovulation and end at end of menstruating. Eat 1 tbsp of each sunflower and seasame seeds daily
Seed-Cycle

Understanding the Benefits of the Seeds

Follicular Phase (1-15 days): Pumpkin and flax seeds 
(Phase begins after menstruation and lasts until ovulation)
  • *Binds excess estrogen and encourages progesterone to release after ovulation.
  • *The lignans in flax bind the excess estrogen protecting against hormone-related cancers. Pumpkin seeds are high in zinc which support progesterone development for post-ovulation (which is key!!).
  • *It is also a really good idea to eat cruciferous vegetables during this phase (broccoli, cauliflower, brussel sprouts, kale, etc.) these are high in fiber and support excess estrogen detoxification.
  • *These seeds are also high in OMEGA 3 Fatty Acids. Omega 3s are essential in this phase.
  • Optional: Incorporate extra virgin cod liver oil or fish oil at 1000-1500 mg (EPA and DHA) daily during this cycle to boost omega 3 fatty acids (I often recommend 400 EPA and 600 DHA daily) These essential fatty acids have so many benefits, including decreasing menstrual pain, cell production and joint health, among many other things.
Luteal Phase (15-30 days): Sesame and Sunflower Seeds
(This phase begins at ovulation and lasts through the end of your cycle)
  • *Decreasing estrogen and increases progesterone during this phase
  • *The sesame and sunflower will block excess estrogen, they also contain many benefits specifically lignans, selenium, and vitamin E which are needed to support the luteal phase of the cycle.
  • *The selenium is beneficial in support the liver’s ability to detoxify excess hormones in this phase, promoting optimal levels.
  • *The vitamin E in beneficial in decreasing menstrual pain by relaxing muscles. It also supports balancing hormones, specifically progesterone and prolactin. It also may be supportive in building up the uterine lining while promoting blood flow to the uterus. Vitamin E is often recommended among those experiencing sever menstrual pains in addition to those with fibroids (as it may support decreasing fibroid production).
  • *This phase is OMEGA 6 Fatty Acid dominant. Therefore, sesame and sunflower seeds are high in omega 6 fatty acids.
  • Optional: Evening Primrose oil (which contains GLA, an important Omega 6 fatty acid)
Healthy superfood: pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, flax seeds and chia
Adding these seeds into your diet: What do I do with the Seeds?
*All seeds are recommended in the form of Organic, Unhulled, and Raw.
The seeds can be ground up and added into meals. Or, they can be eaten in whole form.
A good trick is to add the seeds for the day into a smoothie. This way you don’t taste them as much and you don’t have to grind them up separately.
If you do grind them up in advance, be sure to seal them in an airtight container and store in the refrigerator. Avoid buying pre-ground seeds to AVOID the seeds going rancid and thus losing their beneficial properties.
Some other ideas for adding the seeds into your day might include: Granola, Granola bars, oatmeal, Seed bars, Seed cake, and or adding into cooked dishes. However, you do want to emphasize eating the raw version whenever possible. I personally really like the Go Raw bars, such as the one listed below.
Go Raw
How Long Does the Seed Cycle Protocol Take to See Results? 
Seed cycling generally takes 3-4 months before any improvements to your menstrual cycle occur. However, in some cases it may take less/more time.
How Will I Know it is  Making a Difference?
Ways to check the impact would be testing daily body temperature, tracking PMS-related symptoms (pain, headaches, weight, acne, cravings, mood/mood swings, bloating, cramps, breast tenderness, etc.), and lastly the regularity of your menstrual cycle.
Birth control app
Helpful Tip:
It is very important to track your cycle during this time. I recommend downloading an APP such as: Clue, Flo, Ovia, Kindara, Cycles, there are many others. You want one that will track symptoms, cervical fluid and body temperature (body temp is an added bonus, you may need to purchase a separate thermometer for this feature).

I use Flo and I like it a lot. Using an APP to track your cycle can be a very effective tool when working to regulate your menstrual cycle and when the time comes you are ready to conceive.

Using one of these APPs along with a thermometer can also be used in place of birth control! It is called the Fertility Awareness Method (FAM). The APP called Natural Cycles has been approved by the FDA as an effective method for birth control
~ https://nbcnews.to/2XN0RYB

Progesterone Deficiency:
Can often be the cause, or related to, hormonal issues and symptoms. The graphic below provides further insight. Following the Seed Cycle Protocol can be beneficial as well. However, talking to your GYN would also be beneficial.
Progesterone Dominance

Understanding Your Hormones and Menstrual Cycle

These are two great images to help you grasp a better idea of what is actually going on during your menstrual cycle. So many woman have NO idea how it all works. Note the normal changes of the different hormones during the different phases of the cycle. Following a healthy diet and lifestyle can support the balance of these hormone levels therefore optimizing this process.

Mesntrual CycleMenstrual Cycle Visual

 

Another Option: Eating for Each Phase of the Cycle

If you are really interested in supporting this menstruation process through the foods that you eat, you can look into eating for each stage of the cycle, see image below and link.

Food for Each Phase

*Link here: https://www.theglowingfridge.com/balancing-hormones-part-two-foods-cycle-phase/

This is not something I have personally tried, however it is another avenue to consider if you are trying to optimize your female health. 🙂

More information on herbs and food that support each stage of the menstrual cycle that you may be interested in: 

Herbal Information Menstrual Cycle

 

Wishing you the best in your health journey.

❤ xo