Whether you are still menstruating (regularly or not), or you are in perimenopause or menopause, the simple method called “seed rotation” can help.
What is seed rotation?
When a naturopath first told me about the seed rotation method (also referred to as “seed cycling”), I was skeptical that such a simple method could be that transformative for so many women. Even though naturopathic schools teach this method in their curriculum, to my surprise, I had not heard of many women using it.
I still remember the first client I tried it with – she had heavy 20-day periods that would completely deplete her. She was anemic, miserable, helpless and paralyzed in her life. She didn’t want to get on birth control pills (which her doctor told her was her only option). She was looking for more natural ways to normalize her cycles.
The other big surprise came when I started using seed rotation with women going through perimenopause and menopause. Many started reporting the reduction of hot flashes, night sweats, and better sleep.
This is when I knew that seed rotation was more than just an innocent use of random seeds.
Here is the key idea: Seed rotation can be used to boost estrogen levels in the first part of your cycle (called the follicular phase) and progesterone levels in the second part (called the luteal phase).
Women in perimenopause and menopause will also benefit from this method – more on that below.
What conditions can it help?
Seed rotation can be used by anyone experiencing symptoms of estrogen dominance (can be menopausal women, too)
- Irregular periods
- Heavy flows
- Terrible PMS (bloating, moods, pain, energy, headaches)
- Breast lumps
- Thyroid Nodules
- Fibrocystic and painful breasts
- Low thyroid issues
- Hair loss and brittle hair
- Weight gain around the hip and thighs
- Water retention
It can also help women in peri-menopause and menopause experiencing:
- Hot flashes
- Night Sweats
- Mood swings
Who is this for?
Seed rotation is great for any woman experiencing symptoms of estrogen dominance as well as low estrogen.
The symptoms of estrogen dominance can manifest as any of the above-said. It is also the leading cause of estrogenic cancers such as breast, uterine and ovarian cancers.
Thyroid nodules and thyroid cancer have also been linked to estrogen dominance.
Estrogen dominance occurs in two scenarios:
The first is when estrogen is broken off into too many “dirty” estrogens (also known as “antagonistic estrogenic metabolites”).
The second scenario is If you have too little progesterone to oppose estrogen levels.
The seed rotation method can also help women low in estrogens such as in the case of perimenopause and menopause. This method can help by gently raising estrogen levels through seeds containing phytoestrogens, gentle, naturally-occurring estrogens. This is why many women who experience hot flashes, night sweats, weight gain, and memory loss also report significant improvements from using the seed rotation method.
It is also worth noting that women experiencing menopause and perimenopause can also experience symptoms of estrogen dominance. It might sound odd because this is the time when estrogen levels drastically drop (and this is why so many new, unexpected symptoms occur). This is also the time when most women are diagnosed with ER+ (estrogen-receptor positive) breast cancers – which is caused by estrogen dominance.
So how can you be in menopause (with low estrogen levels) and still experience estrogen “dominance”?
- Even though you are low in estrogen, the way your body breaks down those available estrogens is unfavorable and you are producing too much of the “dirty” estrogens that are responsible for the growth of malignant tissue.
- You have insufficient levels of progesterone to oppose estrogens.
The good news is the seed rotation method can help with both estrogen metabolism and progesterone production.
What does a balanced cycle look like?
Of course, being regular is one important factor, but there is much more to a balanced cycle. So many of us are so accustomed to feeling terrible before our period (and some women in the mid-cycle or during ovulation as well) that we assume it is normal.
It is not.
High estrogen (or estrogen metabolites) can be the cause of tender breasts, mood swings, hair loss, weight gain, fibroids, endometriosis, breast and ovarian cysts, and even breast and ovarian cancer.
Low progesterone levels can manifest in ways similar to the above, along with infertility, miscarriages, feeling anxious, not being able to fall or stay asleep, mid-cycle spotting and menstrual headaches.
Rebalancing your cycle using a simple food-based technique like seed rotation can help alleviate many of the symptoms in as little as one or two months.
In a perfectly healthy woman, the menstrual cycle and the estrogen/progesterone production will happen naturally with no help or intervention. Unfortunately, this is not the case for many women today.
The key culprits? Excessive stress leading to excessive cortisol release, environmental toxins, poor diet, food sensitivities, digestive issues, and high coffee or alcohol consumption can all contribute to irregular or painful periods and even infertility.
Supporting the body with food that will help produce sufficient amounts of estrogen and progesterone is not only easy and cheap, but also non-invasive. This is why this form of healing is preferred by practitioners who work with food as medicine – this method works simply, while still being gentle on the body.
Why add more estrogens to our diet?
Many women worry that they are already experiencing estrogen dominance, so why add more estrogen in the form of phytoestrogens found in some of the seeds in the seed rotation method?
For this to be fully understood, we first need to establish that not all estrogens are “dirty,” and the one that tends to be high in estrogen-dominant women is estradiol, also known as E2. Excessive levels of E2 have been linked to breast and prostate cancer. The seed rotation method does not only suppress estradiol production, but it also nudges estradiol metabolism in a positive direction by generating a higher ratio of the “clean” metabolite 2-hydroxy-estrone versus the more harmful 16-hydroxy-estrone.
How seed rotation can help the thyroid
Our hormones work like an orchestra – they all need to be in sync for us to feel and look good. Estrogen dominance can raise thyroid binding globulin (as the name implies: it “binds the thyroid hormone”), making less thyroid hormone available for the body to utilize.
As mentioned above, estrogen dominance is cited as the potential cause of thyroid nodules and even thyroid cancer development (medical reference here).
The seed rotation method can be an easy and inexpensive way to rebalance our estrogen levels.
I invite you to download the Seed Rotation Starter Kit to fully understand this method and apply it right away.
“Zinc-induced changes in the progesterone binding properties of the human endometrium,” European Society of Endocrinology
“Effect of dl-α-tocopherol acetate on progesterone metabolism,” Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism
“Effect of dietary components, including lignans and phytoestrogens, on enterohepatic circulation and liver metabolism of estrogens and on sex hormone binding globulin (SHBG),” Journal of Steroid Biochemistry
“Effects of phytoestrogen extracts isolated from pumpkin seeds on estradiol production and ER/PR expression in breast cancer and trophoblast tumor cells,” Nutrition and Cancer, Taylor Francis Group.
“Phytoestrogens: the “natural” selective estrogen receptor modulators?” European Journal of Gynecology and Reproductive Biology