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Seed Cycling for Fertility: What is It, Does It Help in Balancing the Hormones?

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A study with 119 women in their reproductive age tested the correlation between hormonal imbalance and rising risks of infertility. The study found that the hormonal imbalance caused infertility rate was 96.6%. Out of this, 71.6% was due to excessive production of luteinizing hormone, while 42.9% was due to excess prolactin.

We had to lay down the figures to emphasize how gravely hormonal imbalance is tied to a woman’s fertility (sometimes, even for men).

Seed cycle is a trending treatment type that helps manage hormonal imbalance, premenstrual syndrome, and even the wary symptoms in menopausal women. So, what exactly is seed cycling for fertility? Does it regulate hormonal imbalance? This article shall walk you through all those basics.

Also Read: Unexplained Infertility: Do You Really Need an IVF or IUI?

What is Seed Cycling?

Seed cycling is a prevalent holistic and naturopathic mode of treatment for regulating hormonal imbalance in a woman’s body. The claims from this remedy suggest that it works by targeting two primary reproductive hormones in the bloodstream – estrogen and progesterone.

Proper methods promote regulation of the estrogen levels in the first half of the menstrual cycle while the second half focuses on progesterone.

The synced consumption of the “prescribed list of seeds” in tandem with the menstrual cycle not just regulates the hormonal imbalance it contributes to treating a range of diseases that occur due to hormonal imbalance in the body.

Seed cycling alleviates symptoms of polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), acne, irregular menstrual cycles, etc. The remedy has significant impacts on improving one’s overall well-being. Seed cycling has major benefits or improves fertility chances and manages post-menopausal symptoms like night sweats, hot flashes, etc.

Also Read: Menstruation problems: Causes, Treatment, and When to see a doctor

What Happens During Seed Cycling?

Seed Cycling happens in two phases – Phase I and Phase II.

Typically, it involves consuming a mix of seeds during the first two and last two weeks of the menstrual cycle. Keep in mind that the impacts of seed cycling aren’t limited to promoting fertility. Since this manages and regulates hormonal imbalance, it is ideal for menopausal women.

Here is a quick breakdown:

PhasesType of SeedsDaysProportion of Consumption
Phase – I (Follicular Phase)Flax seeds, Pumpkin seedsFirst 13-14 days of the menstrual cycleOne tablespoon of each seed, either ground or whole, in smoothies, oats, etc.
Phase – II (Luteal Phase)Sunflower Seeds, Sesame seedsFourteen days to the first day of the next period.One tablespoon of each seed, either ground or whole, in smoothies, oats, etc.
For Menopausal WomenSame as aboveUse the phases of the moon as a guide. Day 1 is considered to be on New Moon.Same quantity as above.

Seed cycling is a naturopathic remedy that takes a few months to show results. You can’t expect results to show after a week or a few days of seed cycling. Naturopathic experts suggest waiting a few months before seeing the rightful results.

Seed Cycling – Mode of Action

Since seed cycling is a naturopathic remedy, it isn’t surprising that its scientific approaches are inconclusive. Some studies support this remedy; however, there need to be more conclusive studies to assert its impact on a woman’s fertility.

The primary reason behind the effects of seed cycling is the abundant availability of phytoestrogens in the seeds. All the four seeds used in seed cycling have high phytoestrogen levels, which spikes the body’s estrogen levels upon consumption.

The availability of phytoestrogens is the maximum in the flax seeds; hence it is consumed the first two weeks of the menstrual cycle. The intake of phytoestrogens mimics the functions of naturally produced estrogen in the bloodstream, regulating the menstrual cycle in the process.

Besides phytoestrogens, the zinc from pumpkin seeds elevates the progesterone production in the bloodstream, preparing the body for the later phase of the menstrual cycle. The lignans from the sesame seeds control excess estrogen production in the second phase of the menstrual cycle.

Phase – I

Flax seeds → Phytoestrogens → Increase Estrogen levels

Pumpkin seeds → Zinc → Elevates Progesterone production

Phase – II

Sunflower seeds → Vitamin E → Boost the progesterone levels

Sesame seeds → Polyphenol → Restricts excess estrogen levels

Also Read: OZiva HerBalance for PCOS: What Does the Research Say, Is It Good or Bad, Side Effects and More

Does Seed Cycling Work?

Seed cycling asserts the regulation of hormones in the female body using phytoestrogens and lignans present in the seeds. The mode of action is pretty straightforward and backed by science due to its overall impact in regulating one’s fertility.

Ideally, it is the lignans in the seeds that show significant benefits.

The lignans from the sesame seeds and flax seeds, after consumption, are converted to mammalian lignans of two formats – enterolactone and enterodiol. These phytoestrogens have similar functions and modes of action to the estrogen produced in the female body.

Studies have even found a correlation between flax seeds and regulated menstrual cycles in women. However, since several studies supporting seed cycling are inconclusive, reaching a 100% guarantee is difficult.

A handful of studies have found promising benefits of seed cycling with cancer prevention instead of hormonal regulation. Seed cycling is more of a support remedy and not the primary mode of treatment for hormonal imbalance, as fertility specialists suggest.

Conclusion

Seeds and nuts have a range of healthy fats and nutritional benefits that curtail many negative impacts on the body.

However, the sole reliance on seed cycling for fertility isn’t ideal, primarily because of its limitations. The scientific evidence to support the positive impacts of seed cycling on fertility is weak. That doesn’t mean it is entirely void. Several fertility specialists suggest including seeds and nuts in one’s diet to improve overall well-being. However, it is a form of accessory support and not the primary treatment option, as we mentioned.

FAQs

Reference:

1-  Overview | SciAlert 

2-  Seed Cycling – Mode of Action | NCBI

3-  Does Seed Cycling Work? | NCBI

4 – Does Seed Cycling Work? | NCBI

This content has been reviewed by Srujana Mohanty who is working in scientific & medical writing and editing since 2018. She is also associated with the quality assurance team of scientific journal editing.

Somapika Dutta (B.Sc Physiology, Honours)
Somapikar holds Bachelors Degree in Physiology from University of Culcutta. She has 6+ years of experience writing in different niches, including health, tech and lifestyle. An animal enthusiast and a raging foodie, experiencing life - one day at a time.

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