Eye-Opening: Does Seed Cycling for PCOS Work?

Dr. Pakhi Sharma (MBBS)
Dr. Pakhi Sharma (MBBS)

General Physician | 6+ years

Seed Cycling for PCOS
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When you tell people you have PCOS, you must be met with a plethora of PCOS advice right? From chamomile tea to cinnamon to fenugreek, hundreds of items lay their claim to curing PCOS. Then there is seed cycling for PCOS. Intrigued about what it is? Does it work? Read on to find out.

Contents:
  • blog_single_bullet_icon
    What is Seed Cycling?
  • blog_single_bullet_icon
    Seed Cycling: Claimed Benefits for PCOS
  • blog_single_bullet_icon
    How to do Seed Cycling for PCOS?
  • blog_single_bullet_icon
    Key Points to Remember Before You Start Seed Cycling for PCOS
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    Don’t Have Time To Read?
  • blog_single_bullet_icon
    FAQs
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What is Seed Cycling?

Seed Cycling is an alternative medicine practice of consuming different types of seeds at different times during your menstrual cycle to support optimal hormonal balance. It is considered a natural way to balance your hormones, boost fertility, and ease the symptoms of menopause. 

Seeds such as flax, pumpkin, sesame, and sunflower seeds carry certain fatty acids, vitamins, and nutrients that can help balance the levels of oestrogen and progesterone (female reproductive hormones).

May people claim that seed cycling works for Polycystic Ovary Syndrome or PCOS as well. However, seed cycling does not form a part of the treatment methodology for PCOS.

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Seed Cycling: Claimed Benefits for PCOS

Polycystic Ovary Syndrome or PCOS is characterised by an imbalance in your hormones where your body produces an excess of male hormones or androgens. Seed cycling is believed to help in normalising your hormone levels. 

Is seed cycling good for PCOS? While there are no studies directly linking seed cycling to hormone balance or even seed cycling and PCOS, it is stated that specific nutritional components in flax, pumpkin, sesame and sunflower seeds may play a role in supporting your hormonal cycle.

Follicular Phase 

During the follicular phase or the first phase of the menstrual cycle, pumpkin seeds and flax seeds are said to help improve your oestrogen levels by preventing excess production of oestrogen. 

Flax seeds contain lignans, which are phytoestrogens that bind to excess oestrogen. Pumpkin seeds are high in zinc, which may help balance progesterone levels in the body, as you move towards the second phase of your menstrual cycle.

Luteal Phase

During the luteal phase of your cycle, sesame seeds and sunflower seeds are believed to help boost progesterone production. 

Sesame seeds are a rich source of zinc, which is supposed to help boost progesterone production and also contain lignans that may help block the excess production of oestrogen. Sunflower seeds are rich in vitamin E, which is believed to help boost progesterone production and selenium, which helps reduce excess oestrogen. 

These seeds have nutrients such as vitamins and minerals that are beneficial to your health and the intake of these seeds is associated with reduced inflammation, cholesterol, and blood sugar levels. However, does seed cycling work for PCOS? There is not enough evidence to suggest that the doses of seeds and timings that are promoted in seed cycling provide any specific benefits for PCOS.

How to do Seed Cycling for PCOS?

Seed cycling is simple and easy. To begin with, you can incorporate 1 to 2 tbsps of pumpkin and flax seeds into your diet every day during the follicular period (the period from the first day of menstruation until ovulation) of your cycle. 

Once you ovulate, you can incorporate sunflower and sesame seeds into your diet during the luteal phase (the period that occurs after ovulation until your period starts) of your cycle. 

Day 1 to 14 of your cycle (Menstruation to Ovulation)

  • 1 to 2 tablespoons ground flax seeds every day
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons ground pumpkin seeds everyday

Day 15 to 29 of your cycle (Ovulation to Menstruation) 

  • 1 to 2 tablespoons ground sunflower seeds every day
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons ground sesame seeds every day

For those who do not have a regular menstrual cycle, such as menopausal and postmenopausal women, it is advised to use the phases of the moon as a guide to cycle dates, with day one of the cycle falling on the new moon.

Key Points to Remember Before You Start Seed Cycling for PCOS

  • Grind or chop the seeds (especially the flax and sesame) before use. This helps your body digest them.
  • It is always better to use raw (unroasted, unsalted) seeds for seed cycling. This helps ensure that the nutrients in them are intact.
  • Using organic seeds may help reduce the exposure to pesticides, continuous exposure to which can cause an imbalance in the hormones.
  • Make sure you store the seeds in a cool, dark place like the refrigerator or freezer to keep them fresh.

Don’t Have Time To Read?

  • Seed Cycling is an alternative medicine practice of consuming different types of seeds at different times during your menstrual cycle to support optimal hormonal balance. 
  • Seeds such as flax, pumpkin, sesame, and sunflower seeds carry certain fatty acids, vitamins, and nutrients that can balance the levels of oestrogen and progesterone and thus are believed to help manage Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS).
  • Seed cycling involves consuming 1 to 2 tablespoons of ground flax seeds and 1 to 2 tablespoons of ground pumpkin seeds every day during days 1 to 14 of your cycle. During days 15 to 29, you are required to consume 1 to 2 tablespoons of ground sunflower seeds and 1 to 2 tablespoons of ground sesame seeds every day.
  • It is believed that the lignans, zinc, selenium, and vitamin E present in these seeds work to balance oestrogen and progesterone levels and thus may help manage PCOS. 
  • While these seeds have vitamins and minerals that are beneficial to your health, there is not enough evidence to suggest that the doses of seeds and timings that are promoted in seed cycling provide any specific benefits for PCOS.
  • Start your PCOS management journey with Phable. Use the Phable Care App to consult India’s leading gynaecologists, endocrinologists, nutritionists, and dieticians; order medicines; book lab tests; and get real-time remote care from the comfort of your home. Check out our store to order healthy treats, weighing scales, fitness bands, and more! We also have a PCOS Management program that provides ‎360º care.

Frequently Asked Questions

There is not enough evidence to suggest that seed cycling can help manage PCOS and its symptoms. PCOS needs to be managed with lifestyle changes such as a healthy diet and exercise, along with medication, when prescribed.

You can start seed cycling for PCOS at the beginning of your 28-day cycle. Consume 1 to 2 tablespoons each of ground flax and pumpkin seeds during days 1 to 14 of your cycle and 1 to 2 tablespoons each of ground sunflower and sesame seeds during days 15 to 29 of your cycle. 

Dr. Pakhi Sharma
Dr. Pakhi Sharma, MBBS
(General physician, 6+ years)
An expert in obstetrics and medical emergencies, Dr. Pakhi Sharma, an alumni of Sri Devaraj Urs University of Higher Education and Research Centre, is a general physician working at Phablecare. She has 6+ years of work experience spread across gynaecology and obstetrics, family medicine, and medical emergencies at renowned hospitals and clinics.

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