How to Balance Hormones Naturally with Seed Cycling

Being a Holistic Nutritionist, one of the questions I frequently get asked is how to balance hormones naturally. A whole foods diet, blood sugar balance and optimal endocrine function are at the foundation for hormonal balance and by far the most important starting place, but there are other ways to support the fluctuating hormones that ebb and flow throughout the month as well. One way to balance hormones naturally is with seed cycling

What is Seed Cycling?

Seed cycling is simply eating specific seeds at specific times throughout the month to balance hormones. Seed cycling can be used for both women AND men. By adding flax, pumpkin, sesame and sunflower seeds to your diet at the right time, you can support your body in binding and eliminating excess hormones and increasing deficient hormones. Cool, huh?

How to Balance Hormones Naturally

How Does It Work?

Seeds contain nutrients that are the precursors to our body’s hormone production. 

Flax and pumpkin seeds support the estrogen dominant time of the month while sesame and sunflower seeds support the progesterone peaks. 

Flax and pumpkin are both full of Omega-3s which allow our hormones to get where they need to be by maintaining healthy cell receptor sites. Flax also contains plant phytoestrogens called lignans that act as antioxidants and block extra estrogenic activity in the body. In fact, even though flax seeds contain phytoestrogens they actually prevent and regress hormone-associated cancers like breast and prostate cancer [source 1 and 2]. Both sesame and sunflower seeds contain Omega-6 fatty acids and stimulate progesterone production and are also high in zinc, which is necessary for overall reproduction. Sunflower seeds are particularly high in selenium, which is crucial for thyroid hormone conversion and liver detoxification. 

It’s All About Balance

Stress, xenoestrogens, toxins, pesticides, processed foods, endocrine disrupting chemicals, not enough sleep and birth control all affect our hormones. Imbalanced hormones can wreak havoc on our lives. 

Symptoms of hormonal imbalance:

  • PMS symptoms
  • low sex drive 
  • infertility
  • fatigue
  • mood swings
  • depression
  • excess abdominal fat
  • sleep issues
  • thyroid disorders
  • adrenal issues
  • insulin resistance
  • PCOS
  • endometriosis
  • excessive sweating

As women, we’ve accepted painful and hard to deal with PMS symptoms like bloating, cramping, back pain, migraines and fatigue as normal. These symptoms we’ve come to know as just ‘part of the deal’ aren’t actually normal at all, but a sign of imbalanced hormones.

The real cause for PMS is simply this: Your hormones become unbalanced, your estrogen levels increase and progesterone levels decrease, either relatively or absolutely. – Dr. Mark Hyman, How to Eliminate PMS in 5 Simple Steps

 For a woman’s cycle it is important to have the right amount of each hormone, not too much, not too little. If a woman has too much estrogen it can cause depression, PMS symptoms and irregular periods. If she has too little estrogen, it can cause her not to ovulate at all. A high level of estrogen in relation to progesterone is also linked to several issues such as infertility, endometriosis, excess abdominal fat, low libido and even breast cancer. Progesterone deficiency has also been linked to irregular periods as well as fatigue, PMS symptoms, and miscarriage. You need the right amount of progesterone to conceive and sustain a pregnancy. You can use seed cycling to help regulate these hormones and bring them into balance naturally. Did I mention how cool this is? 

How to Seed Cycle

How to Balance Hormones Naturally

For Women

Start seed cycling on the first day of your menstrual cycle. If your cycle isn’t regular or you don’t have a cycle, use the days corresponding to the phases of the moon. It has been studied that the female menstrual cycle and phases of the moon correspond so this is a way to gage it if your cycle isn’t regular.

From Day 1-14 of the menstrual cycle (or new moon to full moon)

  • 1 Tbs. per day of ground flax seeds
  • 1 Tbs. per day of ground pumpkin seeds

From Day 15-28 of the menstrual cycle (or from full moon to new moon)

  • 1 Tbs. per day of ground sesame seeds
  • 1 Tbs. per day of ground sunflower seeds

How to Balance Hormones Naturally

For Men

Start seed cycling using the phases of the moon. Men’s seed cycle is the opposite of the women’s

Full moon to new moon

  • 1 Tbs. per day of ground flax
  • 1 Tbs per day of ground pumpkin seeds

New moon to full moon

  • 1 Tbs. per day of ground sesame
  • 1 Tbs. per day of ground sunflower

How Long Does It Take to See Changes?

Just like with everything hormone related, it takes about 3 months of consistency to see huge improvements, although a lot of people see changes right away. 

I’ve been practicing seed cycling for over a month now and I already see some changes. I’m having fewer breakouts (hooray!), fewer PMS symptoms, and fewer migraines. I am excited to stick with this regimen and see how my body continues to heal and find balance. – From Creative Simply

Tips

  • Seeds do go rancid fairly quickly, especially when exposed to air so make sure to buy seeds in a closed bag rather than the bulk bins, unless you you know your store has a fast turnover for bulk items.
  • Buy your seeds whole and raw and use an inexpensive coffee grinder to grind them. This is for freshness and digestibility. Whole flax seeds pass right through our bodies undigested, so make sure to grind ’em to get the benefits! 
  • Store your ground seeds in the refrigerator or freezer to keep them from going rancid. If you opt out of using a grinder and buy pre-ground, make sure to store those in the freezer or fridge as well.
  • You can add sesame, sunflower, pumpkin and ground flax to smoothies, salads, soups, raw treats and bars, etc. and eat tahini (ground sesame seeds) in hummus or spread on toast with raw honey, use ground flax as an egg replacement, and eat raw pumpkin and sesame seeds as a snack.
  • You can also keep it simple and make a pumpkin + flax ground mix each week for two weeks, then a sunflower + sesame ground mix each week for two weeks and just add the 2 Tbs. to smoothies, salads, oatmeal, yogurt, nut milks everyday.

Cheers to happy hormones!

Rama2

Have you ever tried seed cycling and had success? Tell us about it in the comments?

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How to Balance Hormones Naturally w. Seed Cycling!

 

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Note: If you eat a crappy diet, skip breakfast, are stressed out and don’t sleep well, seed cycling will not fix your hormones alone. You must address the foundation for having balanced hormones first while also including seed cycling as a way to balance hormones naturally. You can always email me if you need some support. I take do clients. Rama @ befreshlygrown@gmail.com



51 Comments

  • Do you have any suggestions for menopause. I go thru periods of hot flashes and being emotional and then it will kind of fade away….and then suddenly come back, this time with some weight gain. Yikes!

    • I would suggest looking into seed cycling, Maca, and Vitex Chaste Berry.

    • Zahra says:

      Hello! I’ve followed this and am on day 28 (as in I should get my period) but I havent yet. Do I restart the cycle and eat the flax again? Or should I continue with sunflower/sesame seed until I get it? If I take flax/pumpkin seed again….what happens if I get period in the middle of it?

  • Wow, Rama, this is a really fun and exciting article. I have so wanted to correlate my body with the moon more and this adds to my store of knowledge on the subject. I really appreciate your knowledge and guidance with this totally new information. I will look forward to doing this!

    • Thanks, Megan! I just think if folks are already adding seeds to their smoothies, might as well bit a bit intentional about it and help our hormones out, right? 😉

  • I’ve tried seed cycling before, but I never did it for long enough. I am interested in trying it again. I’m so fascinated by the concept!

  • Loriel says:

    This is so cool! I never knew you could balance your hormones with seeds.

  • Karen says:

    Seed cycling sounds very interesting. We probably do this but never had a ‘label’ for it. I would LOVE to invite you to talk about this on my Wellness Wednesday with Dr. Karen webinar! Thx for the information!

  • Jill says:

    Hi I am 40 years old and have PCOS. I’ve tried to use vitamins and supplements to help with this but still struggle with weight loss, facial hair, loss of hair and annoyingly long, heavy periods. Do you have any suggestions on what type of vitamins and supplements would help me out? My biggest concern is weight loss. I feel like I’m always struggling and when I do lose weight, which is very difficult, it is so so very hard to keep it off. Any suggestions would be great. Very interesting about the seed cycling. Had no idea such a thing existed. Thanks so much in advance!!

    Jill

    • Hi, Jill. I would definitely say set up an appointment with me so I can give you the best comprehensive recommendations. There is so much I would need to know before coming up with a diet/supplement regimen. You can email me at befreshygrown@gmail.com.

  • Ana says:

    hi Rama, I’m interested in seed cycling, I have PCOs since 3 years ago and I have lot of hair loss, facial acne and gain wight. This is my nightmare, actually I have a brakeout and it’s really heavy for my life, my doctor changed Diane 35 to Bellaface pills because Diane 35 cause me liquid retention and people used to ask if I was pregnant :(, any comments about the succeed about seed cycling?

    • Hey, Ana. With all of that going on and without doing a full intake on you these are the 4 things I would recommend:

      1. Keep seed cycling, it takes awhile for the effects to kick in

      2. Make sure you’re eating a whole foods, organic as possible, unprocessed food diet if you aren’t already (that is huge in hormonal balance)

      3. Look into Maca powder (1 tsp./dy.): http://amzn.to/1iFtAIH

      4. Probably the most effective thing that is incredibly supportive for the things you mentioned: Essential oils and specifically Progessence Plus, which Young Living makes. You can get them through me if you want, but Google ‘Progessence Plus Young Living’ then click on images and you will get a good idea of what it does. I seriously can’t say enough about this product for supporting healthy hormones.

      Essential oils link here: http://freshly-grown.com/essential-oils/

      Feel free to email me with any questions: befreshlygrown@gmail.com

      Best,
      Rama (rayma)

  • Terri says:

    I have been going hur hot flashes and nothing seems to work when would I do the seeds?? I have tried all kinds and the only thing that works and not great is preprogrammed hate to put this in my body but it’s to a point where my weight is stuck and so are the hot flashes HELP!!

    • Hey, Terri. The seed cycling takes awhile to notice a difference so keep at it, make sure you’re eating a whole foods, organic as possible, unprocessed food diet (that is huge in hormonal balance), look into Maca powder: http://amzn.to/1iFtAIH and definitely check out Progessence Plus and essential oils for support from Young Living. You can get them through me if you want, but Google ‘Progessence Plus Young Living’ then click on images and you will get a good idea of what it does. I am personally loving it!

      Essential oils link here: http://freshly-grown.com/essential-oils/

      Best,
      Rama

      my email: befreshlygrown@gmail.com

  • Bhawna says:

    Hie Rama, Thanks for such an informative article. I am a 22 year old girl having PCOS since age 16, and I have been struggling with depression too, for about 2 years now. I am really interested in seed-cycling and going to try it out, but I have a query. I stopped taking my hormonal medications a year ago and haven’t had periods since. I notice spotting occassionally so I guess I should just start taking seeds with the phases of moon? Thanks. 🙂

    • Yes, try seed cycling for sure. I am a holistic nutritionist and one of the things I’ll never forget in school is my prof said “PCOS is how insulin resistance shows up in women.” There is a LOT you can do to reverse some of this and get your hormones balanced. A lot. I do take clients if you ever want to work with me on some of this stuff. 🙂

      Best to you, girl.
      Rama (rayma)

  • kate says:

    Hello,
    I´m 40yo and problems with hormones- low oestrogen, low progesterone, low ovarie-working, but according to my blood-tests, I m not in menopause yet. After using hormonal contraception for 15years, I had no menstruation for about 10month and since I have used Natpro progesterone cream, I have had very irregular or no menstruation, but still something. I have also colitis ulcerosa and osteoporosis, so it is no good for this also, I need hormonal-working to build bones. I´m on Gaps-Paleo/PHD diet, which helps me with my bowels very well. At first, I used about 200mg of progesterone every day until the first menstruation occured last year, now, I use abou 60mg/day for about 3weeks-sometimes less, when the bleeding occures, I stop it for a week. If it could be, I want to get pregnant still, /even, it is not very real :)/ so it would be better to balance my hormones more naturally and maybe for bones it would be better than Natural progesterone cream – because I don´t know how much is converting from it to needed oestrogen. But I watch my calorie-intake – and 2TB of these seeds is very high in calories – and I´m afraid of putting on weigh. Do You have some experiences about weight gain during this protocol? Or does it balance hormones, so weight gain doesn´t occure? Sorry for my English, I´m not so good in it 🙂

    • Hey, Kate! If you would like to do a consultation I am a Certified Holistic Nutritionist and I take clients. You can email me at: befreshlygrown@gmail.com

      I would not worry about calories and calorie counting. When you’re fueling your body properly and balancing your hormones by balancing your blood sugar, anchoring your carbs, etc. you won’t have to even think about calories and you will feel great. It takes time if things are out of balance, I experienced this after having my 2nd and everything was off. It has taken time, but with the right foods, supplements, essential oils and de-stressing you can get your hormones back on track!

      Best,
      Rama (rayma)

  • Karen J says:

    I love this seed cycling idea and will also say that for those of you who want to try something else amazing? I had great results with an energy worker who balanced my hormones using remote healing. Quite amazing results. i posted the website above. Karen J

  • Nancy says:

    Can I replace the Flax Seeds with “Good Karma Flax Milk” ? It’s made from Cold Pressed Flax Oil.

    • That is a great question! I have never heard of seed cycling with the oil so I can’t recommend it, but you could always try and see if you get a benefit.

      • Caroline says:

        I have been using sesame oil for the luteal phase guess what I got my period on 28th day in 7 yrs. Will try ur method. I use coconut oil for the follicular phase.

  • Ruby says:

    If I’m on the birth control pill will this still work just as well?

    • It may or may not since birth control pills are already messing with your natural hormone flow.

  • Samantha says:

    Hi Rama,

    I suffer from hypothalamic amenorrhea (no period for 7+ months since stopping birth control) and I was interested in starting seed cycling to hopefully balance my hormones. For the past few weeks I’ve cut back on intense cardio and am trying to gain weight. I make homemade pumpkin seed milk and was wondering if that could me messing with my estrogen levels. If so, I’ll probably make the switch to almond milk.

    Thanks!
    Samantha

  • Joy says:

    I’m thinking of trying this as we are just planning to start trying to conceive. I’m thinking my progesterone is a little low, so I’m wondering, if I do get pregnant do I keep taking the sesame and sunflower seeds continuously to help?

    Thanks!

    • You sure can! Another product which is phenomenal is Progessence Plus from Young Living. It is fantastic for boosting natural progesterone and it’s not in a cream, which can accumulate in fatty tissues. It’s a serum. You can get it through my essential oils link above or I can help you look into it if you want to email me: befreshlygrown@gmail.com

      A lot of my gal friends have really had some great success using it and it’s a pure source. -Rama

  • Nalogirl says:

    Aloha Rama,
    I had a chocolate cyst removed 4 years ago and have been on non-stop birth control pills (period every 4 months by taking placebo). I hate being on birth control (I’ve gained 30 lbs since Ive been on it in addition to other side effects) but my gyn acts as though it is the only option. I recently went to a naturopath who suggested seed cycling. I’m scared to take the risk of going off BC and having another cyst but really want to get off the birth control. Any thoughts??

    • I can’t tell you what to do specifically as I am not a doctor, but I would definitely start balancing hormones with a whole food diet. I would start by doing a Whole 30 to reset your body and clean up everything, I would use specific essential oils like Young Living’s Endoflex and some others that help balance the Endocrine/hormone system, I would use Progessence Plus, which helps with everything hormone related: better sleep, weight loss, hair, mood, etc. drink lots of water, exercise and incorporate maca into your diet and lots of coconut oil. I take clients if you want to schedule a 90-minute intake because I would want to take a look at your entire history and what is going on currently, but there is a lot you can do to support your body that is NOT synthetic hormones.

      My email: befreshlygrown@gmail.com

      Best,
      Rama(rayma)

  • Jenny says:

    Is it going to mess up the balancing if I eat more than the recommended 1 Tbl of each seed per day? Say 2 Tbl of pumpkin seeds, instead of 1 Tbl, or is that more of a minimum amount to see the affects? I usually put 1-2 Tbls of chia seeds in my smoothie each day as well. This shouldn’t conflict, correct? Thank you for this information!!

    • I think you should be fine! Everyone is different so just pay attention to your body and how you feel.

  • Donica says:

    I have had a hysterectomy and take estradiol and anti-depressant for balance. Would seed cycling help me to get off of these medicines?

    • I can’t answer that as I am not a doctor, but you can definitely try to seed cycle to support and balance your hormones.

  • Amanda says:

    Hello Rama! Great article! I’m seriously thinking of trying this as I’ve had hornone and female issues for years now. Two doses of HRT have not helped a bit. Can I use ‘seed meal’ to do this? Thank you.

  • kay says:

    Hi question, I have fibroids would doing seed cycling and maca help to reduce the size of my fibroids?

  • maria says:

    Can I use chia seeds instead of flax seeds?

  • Nicole says:

    Hi there. Can I take macs daily while seed cycling regardless of where I’m at in my cycle? I’m on my 3rd month of seed cycling and was hoping I’d feel more balanced by now. What about evening primrose oil?
    Thanks

  • Nicole says:

    Maca*

  • Tabitha says:

    Do you soak the seeds first? What about dry roasting them, will that change the nutrients?

  • Angie says:

    Hi. i am having difficulty figuring out when to use the progessence plus when seed cycling. Do I use it through my entire cycle or just the second half along with the sunflower and sesame seeds for a progesterone boost? Thanks!!!

  • Myrtle says:

    Hi, am 28 yr old female suffering from PCOD..and my Doc prescribed Femilon and am using it….Can I use seed cycling simultaneously? Does it interfere with OCP

  • Katie says:

    First off I love the seed cycling. I have been doing this for the past 6 months and it has works tremendously! I am very pleased with the results. However I just found out that I have food sensitively/allergies to the flax and pumpkin seeds so I was wondering if there are other seeds to replace those that will have the same affect.
    Thanks!

    • I don’t know of other seeds that do the same. I have often wondered the same!

  • Allison Heaton says:

    hello. I’ve been a seed cycling for over a year. But it seems as soon as I started I started gaining weight we’re talking about an average of 10 pounds that I just have not been able to shake. I gave up seed cycling for a couple weeks and I instantly noticed that my cycle came back with a vengeance! however I’m reading some articles about Hashimoto’s and certain food groups and I just came across something that said I should be avoiding sesame! May I just do sunflower seeds on day 15??

  • A says:

    Hello! I’ve followed this and am on day 28 (as in I should get my period) but I havent yet. Do I restart the cycle and eat the flax again? Or should I continue with sunflower/sesame seed until I get it? If I take flax/pumpkin seed again….what happens if I get period in the middle of it?

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