What is Seed Cycling?
Seed cycling is a new trend that claims to support the relationship between hormones and seeds, but how is it supposed to work, and is it really effective?
Seed cycling is a natural method that claims to regulate menstrual cycles, hormone imbalance, and issues such as PCOS, PMS, and menopause. Essentially, the idea is that you eat certain seeds (like pumpkin or flax) during certain times of the month in order to regulate your estrogen and progesterone levels. This can be used for women who just feel off balance, or if you struggle with having regular periods, PMS, menopause symptoms, or even fertility troubles.
Why do women try seed cycling?
Many women take part in seed cycling because of claims that it’s a natural way to regulate their menstrual cycle and hormones. There are no injections, hard to swallow pills, or negative side effects.
How do you do seed cycling?
Supporters of seed cycling say that you’re supposed to eat about two tablespoons of ground seeds daily. The type of seeds will vary depending on where you are in your menstrual cycle.
- Phase One: the follicular phase occurs during the first two weeks of your menstrual cycle and requires a tablespoon of flax and a tablespoon of pumpkin seeds daily.
- Phase Two: the luteal phase is the final two weeks of your menstrual cycle and begins with ovulation. This phase requires a tablespoon of sesame and a tablespoon of sunflower seeds daily.
You can grind the seeds up and add them to smoothies, salads, scrambled eggs—the possibilities are endless!
How long does it take to be effective?
While the health benefits of consuming the healthy fats, antioxidants, fiber, and vitamins found in seeds can be seen and felt in days to weeks, changes in your hormones and menstrual cycle (if any) likely won’t be seen for a few months.
Is there research to support seed cycling?
There isn’t much research available to conclude that seed cycling is going to cure your PMS or help with PCOS or infertility, so we can’t say that we recommend it as a treatment. But unless you have GI problems stopping you from consuming seeds, you can get a lot of nutritional value from flax, pumpkin, sesame, and sunflower seeds.
- Flax seeds have lignans, compounds found in plants that bind to hormones like estrogen, and help with elimination, therefore aiding in the menstrual cycle and onset of ovulation. Flax also contains omega-3 fatty acids, which are great for hormone signaling and balancing.
- Sunflower seeds have selenium which can aid in hormone regulation during the end of the menstrual cycle. There is also a high content of vitamin E in sunflower seeds, which can improve progesterone production during the luteal phase.
- Pumpkin seeds contain lignans and are high in magnesium, a mineral that varies in amounts during different phases of the menstrual cycle.
- Sesame seeds contain lignans and are high in fiber, omega-3’s, and vitamin E. So sesame seeds aid in hormone signaling, hormone balancing, estrogen elimination, and progesterone production.
It may sound like consuming these seeds would support the seed cycling theory, however, there isn’t enough evidence to say that this method will work. What is most beneficial is the consumption of healthy foods including vitamins, minerals, and plant proteins to support a healthy fertility or PMS management plan, not so much the timing or amount of seeds you’re adding into your diet.
To sum it all up
Seed cycling refers to the intake of certain seeds during different phases of the menstrual cycle. The idea is that consuming certain seeds on this cyclical pattern can improve hormone regulation and production, therefore aiding in PMS, PCOS, and possibly, infertility problems. We do know that there are nutritional benefits to consuming seeds, and many of the seeds consumed for seed cycling contain compounds, vitamins, and minerals that can possibly aid in hormone regulation. Unfortunately, there aren’t many studies done on the effectiveness of seed cycling, so we don’t recommend relying on this method for hormonal imbalances or hormone-related disease. As always, if you’re concerned about your fertility, we recommend talking to a doctor.