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Seed Cycling for Hormone Balance
by Emily Linehan on June 02, 2022
If you’ve struggled with adult acne you’ve likely become increasingly frustrated and you aren’t alone. Adult acne is actually very common in women and in many cases a hormone imbalance can be a significant trigger. *Several women struggle with hormonal imbalances and the varying effects it can have not only on their skin but also in regards to fertility, their menstrual cycle, PCOS and more. In an effort to address the issue, a trend called ‘Seed Cycling’ has been growing increasingly popular.
What Is Seed Cycling?
Seed cycling is a gentle way to balance your hormones throughout the two phases of your menstrual cycle by utilizing the nutrients found in seeds. By boosting estrogen in the first phase and progesterone in the second phase, seed cycling is believed to help relieve PMS, increase fertility, ease pain from conditions like ovarian cysts, endometriosis, and PCOS, and regulate irregular cycles.
It can be an effective, natural method for women who are menstruating, pre-menopause, postpartum, and post-menopause
How it Works
Seed cycling has two phases that correlate with the phases of your menstrual cycle.
Phase 1 | The Follicular Phase
The Follicular Phase is the first half of your menstrual cycle, beginning on the first day of your period and ending on ovulation (typically around 14 days). The goal of seed cycling during this phase is to assist with boosting estrogen levels. This can be done by consuming 1 tablespoon of Hemp Seeds and 1 tablespoon of ground Pumpkin Seeds daily. In addition to consuming the seeds, adding a high-quality fish oil supplement daily can be beneficial as well. Be sure to always check with your doctor first before taking supplements!
A lack of estrogen can affect the skin in various ways, including a decrease in collagen, elasticity, oil production, and the ability for skin to hold onto moisture. It can also lead to skin becoming dry, thin, less supple, and make fine lines and wrinkles more obvious.
Too much estrogen may also be a problem, therefore I recommend seeing a hormone specialist to identify which specific hormones are out of balance and how to get them in order.
Phase 2 | The Luteal Phase
The second phase, or Luteal Phase, begins right after ovulation and ends on the last day of your cycle. During this phase your focus is on balancing progesterone levels which can be done in a similar format as Phase 1, just with different seeds. During this phase you’ll want to consume 1 tablespoon of Sunflower Seeds and 1 Tablespoon of Ground Sesame Seeds daily.
In addition to studies showing that Sunflower Seeds may help boost Progesterone, they are also high in Vitamin E, which in forms such as tocopheryl acetate can combat free-radical damage and be very hydrating.
The seeds can be consumed however you like, but my personal preference is to include them with my favorite smoothie, which you can find the recipe for below -
- Steamed and frozen zucchini, cut into half circles (you could use frozen cauliflower rice too!)
- Frozen berries (my favorites are blueberries, raspberries and blackberries)
- 1 scoop of Bone Broth Protein Powder (my favorite is Designs for Health PurePaleo Collagen Protein Powder)
- 1 scoop of Hydrolyzed Collagen (my favorite is Further Foods Collagen Peptide Powder)
- Add your ground seeds based on where you are in your cycle
- Blend with water or non-dairy/non-soy milk of your choice!
- 1 scoop of Green Powder (the one that is acne safe is Amazing Grass Amazing Trio)
- 1 packet of Four Sigmatic Mushroom Coffee (Lion's Mane and Chaga or Cordyceps and Chaga)
- 1 TB of unsweetened, raw cacao nibs
Unfortunately seed cycling is not an overnight fix. It can take several cycles (3-4 months) before you begin to feel changes. In addition, seed cycling is not meant to be used as a cure for serious health or hormonal conditions, however it can be a powerful, yet gentle and natural way to support your hormones, regulate your cycle, and soothe a variety of side effects caused by hormonal imbalance. Even if it doesn’t work for you, assuming you have no allergies adding the extra nutrients found in these seeds is great!
*Disclaimer: If you are experiencing hormonal acne symptoms in adulthood or suspect that you may have a hormonal imbalance, you should get tested by your doctor for proper diagnosis. I always recommend you see a specialist before self-diagnosing and taking any herbs, supplements or vitamins.