Seed Cycling with Medicinal Mushrooms

May 16, 2024 | Dr. Silvana Jakupovic, ND

• Medicinal Mushrooms and Seed Cycling

• The Rejuvenate Set

• The Awaken Set

• The Balance Set

What is Seed Cycling?

Seed cycling is a holistic approach gaining attention for its potential to balance hormones, support fertility, and alleviate menopause symptoms [1]. This method involves a strategic consumption of flax, pumpkin, sesame, and sunflower seeds throughout different menstrual cycle phases, aiming to harmonize estrogen and progesterone levels.

The process starts with consuming flax and pumpkin seeds during the first half of the menstrual cycle to support estrogen regulation (the follicular phase). In the latter half, the focus shifts to sesame and sunflower seeds to aid progesterone balance (the luteal phase). For those going through menopause or without a regular cycle, the lunar phases serve as a guide, offering a natural rhythm to follow.

Advocates of seed cycling have reported numerous benefits, including more regular menstrual cycles, diminished acne, improvements in conditions like PCOS and endometriosis, and relief from menopausal discomforts such as hot flashes and mood swings [1]. Some also suggest potential improvements in thyroid function, hair health, and weight management.

The foundation of seed cycling lies in the nutrient-rich seeds themselves. Flax and sesame seeds, for example, contain lignans, which may interact with estrogen levels, while pumpkin and sunflower seeds provide zinc and vitamin E, nutrients essential for reproductive health [1].

Although the scientific community is still exploring the full extent of seed cycling's efficacy, preliminary studies have shown promising connections between flaxseed intake and menstrual cycle regulation and potential benefits for postmenopausal women consuming sesame seeds [1].

Incorporating Medicinal Mushrooms into Seed Cycling

The use of the medicinal mushroom sets—Rejuvenate, Awaken, and Balance—during different phases of the menstrual cycle emerged from a transformative experience by the women at Eversio HQ. Witnessing significant improvements in their overall well-being, hormonal balance, and energy levels, they were inspired to share their experiences with the Eversio family. 

In addition to this innovative approach, those who practice seed cycling for hormonal balance may find mushroom cycling to be a complementary addition to their routine. Just as seed cycling involves consuming specific seeds during different phases of the menstrual cycle to support hormonal health, mushroom cycling with the RejuvenateAwaken, and Balance sets may further enhance these benefits. By aligning the consumption of these medicinal mushrooms with the menstrual cycle phases—Menstrual/New Moon, Follicular + Ovulatory/Waxing Moon + Full Moon, and Luteal/Waning Moon—participants may harness a more holistic approach to cyclical living and well-being.

woman happy

Rejuvenate Set for Menstrual/New Moon Phase

The Menstrual/New Moon phase is often associated with renewal, where the body and mind may require support for rejuvenation and defence. The Rejuvenate Set focuses on this need by incorporating:

1) Turkey Tail (Defend Now) in the morning to boost immune system functions with its high content of beta-glucans

2) 6 Mushroom Blend (an ergothioneine-rich blend of Chaga, Oyster, Shiitake, Tremella, Maitake, and Lion’s Mane) in the afternoon, offering a comprehensive mix that promotes overall wellness, supports immune health, and aids in cellular rejuvenation

3) Reishi (Chill Now) in the evening is for its calming effects, which can help ease the mind and promote restful sleep, essential for recovery and rejuvenation during this phase.

Turkey Tail for Immunity During the Menstrual Cycle

With its inherent hormonal fluctuations, the menstrual cycle plays a significant role in modulating immune function and affecting the severity of chronic diseases in women of reproductive age [2]. This cycle is split into two main phases: the follicular phase, characterized by rising estrogen levels, and the luteal phase, marked by increased progesterone levels. These hormonal changes are not only pivotal for reproductive processes but also have a profound impact on immune cell numbers and activity [2].

Recent studies suggest that the menstrual cycle can influence the balance between Th1 and Th2 immune responses, with estrogen and progesterone levels potentially promoting Th2-type responses, which are associated with antibody production, and suppressing Th1 responses, which are involved in cell-mediated immunity [2]. This dynamic suggests a complex interplay between hormonal levels and immune function throughout the menstrual cycle.

Studies suggest that Turkey Tail may be able to downregulate Th2 activity while upregulating Th1 responses [3]. This balance is crucial for immune health, as Th1 responses are vital for fighting viral and bacterial infections through cell-mediated immunity, whereas Th2 responses are associated with antibody production and can exacerbate allergic reactions and certain autoimmune diseases when overactive [3]. By potentially enhancing Th1 activity and modulating Th2 responses, Turkey Tail may support a more balanced immune response during the menstrual cycle.

menstrual cycle

Ergothioneine as an Antioxidant During the Menstrual Cycle 

Combatting oxidative stress is vital during the menstrual cycle, as fluctuating hormone levels can lead to increased oxidative stress, affecting cellular health and potentially contributing to menstrual discomfort and exacerbating chronic conditions [4].

Ergothioneine is distinguished by its ability to neutralize harmful free radicals and protect cells from oxidative damage [5]. Its unique properties help to stabilize cell membranes and protect DNA, proteins, and lipids from oxidative stress. By incorporating ergothioneine-rich foods into the diet, individuals may help support their body's natural defence against oxidative stress during the menstrual cycle, promoting overall cellular health and potentially mitigating some of the adverse effects associated with hormonal fluctuations. 

Awaken Set: Follicular + Ovulatory/Waxing Moon + Full Moon Phases

During the Follicular and Ovulatory phases, which coincide with the Waxing Moon and Full Moon, there's a natural increase in energy and openness in the body. The Awaken Set is designed to enhance this vitality with:

1) 3 Mushroom Blend (a blend of Turkey Tail, Cordyceps, and Lion’s Mane) in the morning to enhance energy, improve focus, and support immune function 

2) Chaga (Protect Now) mid-day, for its antioxidant properties that protect cells from damage and support overall health 

3) Lion's Mane (Focus Now) in the evening to maintain cognitive function, focus, and creativity, supporting the brain's heightened activity during these phases 

Cordyceps During the Menstrual Cycle

Cordyceps contains phytoestrogens—plant-based compounds that may mimic the effects of estrogen in the body [6]. This characteristic of Cordyceps may offer benefits similar to the practice of seed cycling, particularly when consumed during the follicular phase of the menstrual cycle. During this phase, estrogen levels gradually increase to prepare the uterus for potential fertilization. Phytoestrogens from Cordyceps may potentially harmonize with the body's natural estrogen, supporting the hormonal balance and regulating menstrual cycles, much like the flax and pumpkin seeds used in seed cycling.

menstrual cycle

Balance Set for Luteal/Waning Moon Phase

The Luteal or Waning Moon phases can be a time of heightened emotions and premenstrual symptoms. The Balance Set aims to provide support for emotional and physical balance with:

1) Cordyceps (Energize Now) are used in the morning to sustain energy levels without overstimulation, which is crucial as the body prepares for the menstrual phase. 

2) Tremella (Everglow Now) in the afternoon for its hydrating properties and support for skin health, addressing skin issues that may arise due to hormonal changes 

3)    4 Mushroom Blend (a blend of Reishi, Shiitake, Maitake, and Lion’s Mane) in the evening may help to calm the mind, support digestion, and maintain immune health, promoting a sense of balance during this potentially turbulent phase

Cordyceps for Energy During the Menstrual Cycle 

During the luteal phase of the menstrual cycle, many individuals experience a decline in energy levels due to hormonal fluctuations, particularly the rise in progesterone. Cordyceps may naturally boost energy levels during this time [7]. Traditionally valued for its ability to increase stamina and combat fatigue, Cordyceps enhances the body's production of ATP (adenosine triphosphate), a primary energy carrier in cells [7]. This increase in ATP production may help mitigate the feelings of tiredness and lethargy often associated with the luteal phase. Additionally, Cordyceps may improve oxygen utilization and efficiency, further supporting physical energy and endurance [7]. 

Tremella for Skin Health During the Menstrual Cycle 

Tremella possesses unique properties that may support skin health, even during the luteal phase of the menstrual cycle, when hormonal fluctuations can trigger acne breakouts. Rich in polysaccharides, Tremella mushroom has been shown to have hydrating properties, drawing moisture to the skin in a manner similar to hyaluronic acid [8]. This intense hydration can help maintain skin elasticity and suppleness, reducing the likelihood of dryness and irritation that may exacerbate acne. 

Moreover, its antioxidant content helps protect the skin from oxidative stress and inflammation, which are known contributors to acne formation [8]. The Tremella mushroom may help mitigate the hormonal skin changes and breakouts common before menstruation by supporting the skin's natural barrier and hydration levels. 

Reishi for Mental Health During the Menstrual Cycle

Reishi mushrooms may offer support for mood disorders commonly experienced during the luteal phase of the menstrual cycle. This period, often characterized by emotional fluctuations such as irritability, anxiety, and mood swings, can be challenging. Reishi contains compounds which have been studied for their potential to alleviate depression and anxiety by promoting a sense of calm and improving sleep quality [9]. 

Additionally, Reishi's adaptogenic qualities help the body manage stress more effectively, potentially reducing the impact of hormonal changes on mood [10]. By modulating the stress response and supporting neurological health, Reishi mushroom may help stabilize mood and alleviate some of the emotional discomforts experienced before menstruation. 

Seed Cycling with Medicinal Mushrooms

Incorporating these functional mushroom sets into a daily routine alongside seed cycling may provide targeted support to the body through the natural ebb and flow of the menstrual cycle, utilizing the synergistic effects of these medicinal mushrooms to promote wellness, balance, and vitality throughout the month.

 

References

[1] https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/seed-cycling#what-it-is

[2] Oertelt-Prigione S. Immunology and the menstrual cycle. Autoimmun Rev. 2012 May;11(6-7):A486-92. doi: 10.1016/j.autrev.2011.11.023. Epub 2011 Dec 3. PMID: 22155200.

[3] Guggenheim AG, Wright KM, Zwickey HL. Immune Modulation From Five Major Mushrooms: Application to Integrative Oncology. Integr Med (Encinitas). 2014 Feb;13(1):32-44. PMID: 26770080; PMCID: PMC4684115.

[4] Vašková J, Klepcová Z, Špaková I, Urdzík P, Štofilová J, Bertková I, Kľoc M, Rabajdová M. The Importance of Natural Antioxidants in Female Reproduction. Antioxidants (Basel). 2023 Apr 11;12(4):907. doi: 10.3390/antiox12040907. PMID: 37107282; PMCID: PMC10135990.

[5] Cheah IK, Halliwell B. Ergothioneine, recent developments. Redox Biol. 2021 Jun;42:101868. doi: 10.1016/j.redox.2021.101868. Epub 2021 Jan 26. PMID: 33558182; PMCID: PMC8113028.

[6] Zhang DW, Wang ZL, Qi W, Zhao GY. The effects of Cordyceps sinensis phytoestrogen on estrogen deficiency-induced osteoporosis in ovariectomized rats. BMC Complement Altern Med. 2014 Dec 13;14:484. doi: 10.1186/1472-6882-14-484. PMID: 25496560; PMCID: PMC4302055.

[7] Lin B, Li S. Cordyceps as an Herbal Drug. In: Benzie IFF, Wachtel-Galor S, editors. Herbal Medicine: Biomolecular and Clinical Aspects. 2nd edition. Boca Raton (FL): CRC Press/Taylor & Francis; 2011. Chapter 5.Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK92758/

[8] Ma X, Yang M, He Y, Zhai C, Li C. A review on the production, structure, bioactivities and applications of Tremella polysaccharides. Int J Immunopathol Pharmacol. 2021 Jan-Dec;35:20587384211000541. doi: 10.1177/20587384211000541. PMID: 33858263; PMCID: PMC8172338.

[9] Socala K, Nieoczym D, Grzywnowicz K, Stefaniuk D, Wlaz P. Evaluation of Anticonvulsant, Antidepressant-, and Anxiolytic-like Effects of an Aqueous Extract from Cultured Mycelia of the Lingzhi or Reishi Medicinal Mushroom Ganoderma lucidum (Higher Basidiomycetes) in Mice. Int J Med Mushrooms. 2015;17(3):209-18. doi: 10.1615/intjmedmushrooms.v17.i3.10. PMID: 25954905. 

[10] Liao LY, He YF, Li L, Meng H, Dong YM, Yi F, Xiao PG. A preliminary review of studies on adaptogens: comparison of their bioactivity in TCM with that of ginseng-like herbs used worldwide. Chin Med. 2018 Nov 16;13:57. doi: 10.1186/s13020-018-0214-9. PMID: 30479654; PMCID: PMC6240259.

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