Acne and Seed Cycling

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Hormonal acne is real.  It pops up the week before your period and it is often painful, deep and inflamed.  It can take weeks to go away and leaves unsightly scarring and hyper-pigmentation.    Not to mention the emotional trauma and shattered self-confidence.  Hormonal acne is a real problem that needs to be solved, because like anything – the longer it persists the more it resists.  Which means it gets more difficult to treat and it can lead to other, deeper health issues. So how does one solve hormonal acne? For years I conducted expensive salivary and urinary hormonal panels for women and then developed protocols based on the test results.  A classic functional medicine approach.  Sometimes the results were great, but sometimes they weren’t great, and the success of the protocol almost always depended on taking expensive supplements and hormones indefinitely. Eventually I couldn’t take it anymore.  I needed to provide my patients with a simple system that would treat their acne and hormonal imbalances from the very foundation of their being.  I needed to provide a solution that would solve hormonal imbalances and acne for good, without having to depend on expensive tests and supplements.  After all, the body wants to heal itself and be balanced – and I wanted to provide a complete picture of health for my patients. And so I changed my approach.  My focus is now on balancing insulin and blood sugar levels, supporting the liver and eliminating inflammation in the gut.  Basically, I am setting the foundation for real health in all systems of the body.  The result?  Balanced hormones in 100 days, almost always.  No need to continuously take expensive supplements.  And, of course, clear skin. How does seed cycling fit it? Most often seed cycling is not even needed to balance the hormones, but sometimes a bit of extra support is required.  This extra support means gently supporting estrogen and progesterone production in the body.  Instead of using expensive drugs and herbs I use the magic of seed cycling.  Pioneered by Dr. Dickson Thom ND, a highly respected Naturopathic Doctor in the USA, certain seeds support different parts of the menstrual cycle, and taken regularly for 3 months, a gentle rhythm and balance is restored to the menstrual cycle. Does seed cycling work on its own? Seed cycling will not work if the body is inflamed and full of toxins.  Instead, seed cycling is part of a comprehensive program designed to support the liver, balance blood sugar and insulin levels, and reduce inflammation in the gut. What seeds are used? In the follicular part of the cycle (Days 1 – 14) estrogen is the predominant hormone that helps the ovarian follicles mature.  Seeds that are high in Omega 3 fatty acids, such as hemp seeds, chia seeds and flax seeds are used to support this part of the cycle. In the luteal part of the cycle (Days 15 – period) progesterone is the predominant hormone.  Inadequate progesterone is one of the primary causes of hormonal acne, and increased progesterone production can only be achieved when there is sufficient estrogen and reduced inflammation in the body – which helps produce a healthy ovarian follicle.  Seeds that are high in zinc and tryptophan help mimic the effect of progesterone on the GABA receptors in the body, which reduce symptoms of PMS.  These seeds include raw sunflower seeds, raw pumpkin seeds and raw sesame seeds. How do you take the seeds? Take 2 tbsp of 2 types of ground seeds each day.  For instance, on the first day of your period (first day of bleeding) start taking 2 tbsp each of chia and hemp seeds (or flax seeds), freshly ground.  Starting on day 15 of your cycle (ovulation) start taking 2 tbsp each of raw sunflower and pumpkin seeds (or sesame seeds), freshly ground. Seeds can be used in a smoothie for protein or sprinkled on a salad. What if your period is not regular? If your period is not regular, take the seeds with the lunar cycle.  On the New Moon start taking flax, chia and hemp seeds.  On the Full Moon start taking sunflower, pumpkin and sesame seeds. Are there any side effects? Some women can experience constipation with increased seed consumption.  If this is the case be sure to drink 2L of water per day.  If constipation persists, organotherapy may be another option to help regulate the menstrual cycle.  For more information on organotherapy, check out the video below! Happy Seed Cycling! Xo, Dr. Stacey      

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