Balanced and optimal reproductive hormones are both a reflection of our overall well being, as well as essential to support optimal wellness. What we are referring to here specifically is estrogen, progesterone and to a lesser extent testosterone. A simple and somewhat surprisingly effective protocol that can really help to support balanced hormones and cyclical health is Seed Cycling. Seed cycling is a natural, safe and relatively simple way to balance hormones, addressing menstrual cycle irregularities and fertility. It involves ingesting different seeds during the different phases of the menstrual cycle. The various benefits of the seeds address all the systems related to balanced and healthy reproductive hormone production. This is useful both for bleeding and post-menopausal women. This therapy is also very helpful when taking or coming off of hormonal birth control. One of the reasons that I so love this therapy, is that it directly connects us to our cyclical nature, it requires us to be present with and aware of where we are at within our cycles and to learn about the differences, body, mind, heart and spirit between the different phases of our cycle.
So to start, what are the ways that hormone imbalances show up:
- PMS Symptoms: Pain, Bloating, Migraines, Breast Tenderness
- Often related to estrogen dominance
- Cyclical Mood Swings: Reproductive Hormones have direct effects on Neurotransmitters.
- Estrogen is a Serotonin Agonist, meaning it increases production and receptor sensitivity of Serotonin. Too high of estrogen can lead to increases in Serotonin which can exacerbate anxiety.
- Progesterone is a GABA agonist, meaning it increases production and receptor sensitivity of GABA.
- Cyclical Acne: Some women will notice increased breakouts at different phases in their cycle, most commonly around ovulation (Day 13-14) and in the premenstrual period (Day 25+). Related to detoxification issues/estrogen dominance and/or high androgens (Testosterone).
- Heavy Bleeding, Breakthrough Bleeding: Often related to estrogen dominance and progesterone deficiency.
- Irregular Periods (Short or Long Cycles): Short cycles are most often related to low progesterone and/or thyroid disorders, whereas long cycles are common with PCOS.
- Sleep Disturbances: Common with low progesterone (and low GABA) in the latter part of the luteal phase.
- Fertility Challenges
How to Seed Cycle
What You Need:
- Organic Raw Whole Brown or Golden Flax Seeds
- Organic Raw Pumpkin Seeds
- Organic Raw Sesame Seeds
- Organic Raw Sunflower Seeds
- Optional Add on:
- High Quality EPA/DHA Fish Oil
- High Quality Evening Primrose Oil
What are some of the Benefits:
- Flaxseeds and Sesame Seeds are rich in Lignans, which are phytoestrogenic. Lignans help to balance estrogen, meaning if estrogen is high they are anti-estrogenic, if estrogen is low they help support estrogenic effects in the body. Often there is an excess of estrogen and estrogenic stimulation in the body, with a relative deficiency in Progesterone, so this helps to balance the Progesterone: Estrogen Ratio.
- All of these seeds are high in Linolenic and Linoleic Acids, which help production of anti-inflammatory and antispasmodic prostaglandins reducing menstrual cramping and abnormal menstrual bleeding.
- All of the seeds are high in Fiber, which assists in proper elimination of waste from the digestive tract. This is important in hormone balance as dietary fiber reduces the reabsorption of estrogens in the colon.
- Sunflower seeds are high in Selenium, a trace mineral essential for liver detoxification and thyroid function. Sunflower seeds are also high in Vitamin E and folate which are important for overall health which directly supports a healthy menstrual cycle and particularly healthy maturation of the egg.
- All of these seeds are high in Magnesium which is important for overall health, reduces cramping, alleviates depression and supports many biochemical reactions in the cells required for hormone production and balance.
- Sesame, Pumpkin seeds and Sunflower Seeds are all high in Zinc. Zinc is often deficient and essential for immune function, healthy skin, healthy egg development, and the production of sex hormones and thyroid hormones.
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