Have you heard of seed cycling for fertility?  In this blog I’m going to discuss what seed cycling for fertility is, how it’s done and whether or not it really works.

What is seed cycling?

Seed cycling is an eating pattern that is claimed to balance hormones to optimise fertility.   

How do you seed cycle?

The most common method instructs women to eat 1 tablespoon each of freshly ground flax and pumpkin seeds per day for the first 13–14 days of your menstrual cycle, which is known as the follicular phase.

Then, during the second half of your cycle, which is known as the luteal phase, seed cyclers eat 1 tablespoon each of ground sunflower and sesame seeds per day until the first day of your next period when their cycle starts again.

Does it really work?

Being a dietitian, I wanted to know what the evidence is for this treatment, so I did some research… 

And, it didn’t take me long! Unfortunately, at the moment there is little research into whether or not seed cycling actually works… at the moment the claims are mostly based on theory and personal anecdotes. 

The gist of the theory is that the phytoestrogens, also known as plant-based estrogens, which are found in flax and pumpkin seeds will boost estrogen levels during the follicular phase of our cycle, then after ovulation, the lignans in the sunflower and sesame seeds inhibit estrogen production, whilst the vitamin E boosts progesterone. 

So, should you give it a go or not? 

Well, although the evidence is weak, I wouldn’t have any problems with you giving it a try, as even if it doesn’t work, there’s plenty of evidence showing that the good fats and micronutrients in seeds are beneficial for fertility. Good fats help to reduce inflammation, whilst micronutrients such as selenium and vitamin E in seeds act as antioxidants to fight off free radicals.

But, if you DO try it, promise me that you’ll let me know in the comments below, how you went! 


Melanie McGrice in the kitchen

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