This is the fourth blog post in a 4-part series on micronutrient and botanical support for the four phases of the infradian rhythm.
At Flo Living, our goal is to help women balance their hormones and resolve period problems with food, supplements, and lifestyle changes. We take a functional nutrition and systems medicine approach to achieving optimal hormone health.
The first step for any woman* in balancing her hormones is learning about the 28-day hormone cycle, which is governed by a special biological rhythm called the infradian rhythm. The infradian rhythm plays a vital role in female health and wellness. Knowing what your body needs during each phase of your cycle is key not only to hormonal healing but to your health overall.
To learn more about the infradian rhythm, you can check out the in-depth post I wrote on the infradian rhythm here. For a deep dive, grab a copy of my new book In The Flo, which is all about the unique rhythms of our 28-day hormone cycle and the specific supports we can offer our bodies during each phase.
This is the fourth blog post in our four-part series on micronutrient and botanical support to help better support the infradian rhythm. To read In this post, we will explore supplement needs during the menstrual phase of the 28-day hormone cycle.
The 4-Phases of the Infradian Rhythm
The infradian rhythm tracks with the menstrual cycle and has four distinct phases. They are:
For women in their reproductive years, the key to optimal health is to eat, move, and supplement in ways that support each phase of the infradian rhythm. Our bodies require different types of self care during each phase.
The menstrual phase is the 3 to 7 days during your bleed.
You can learn more about micronutrient needs in the first phase (follicular) of your cycle here, the second phase (ovulatory) here, and the third phase (luteal) here. In today’s post, we’re going to do a deep dive on micronutrient support for the menstrual phase.
Meet the Menstrual Phase
When: The 3 to 7 days during your bleed.
What’s happening in your body:
- The corpus luteum gets reabsorbed by the body
- Progesterone levels decline
- Your uterus sheds the thick endometrial lining that it has built up in the luteal phase
- Estrogen hits its lowest point just before your bleed
What’s happening in your brain:
The left (analytical) and right (feeling) hemispheres of your brain communicate the most during this time, which means it's a great time to integrate how you feel about situations in your life and make decisions about how to proceed. This is an ideal time to reflect and journal.
Food, Exercise, and Lifestyle Strategies for the Menstrual Phase
To achieve optimal hormone health and to ease period problems like PMS, cramps, bloating, acne, heavy or irregular periods and missing periods, it requires a multipronged approach that includes food, movement, and lifestyle strategies implemented in a cyclical way. I encourage women to eat in a cyclical pattern, exercise in line with their cycle, and plan their schedules with their infradian rhythm in mind.
During the menstrual phase, specifically, your hormone levels are at their lowest, so it’s important to eat adequate calories and focus on restorative workouts. Keep your workouts relaxed, even if you’re not feeling discomfort. It’s a time to take things slowly and prioritize rest. Gentle walking or very light yoga is perfect during this phase. Make sure to get plenty of protein and healthy fat during your bleed, which will help with hormone production. (Your hormones are at their lowest levels during this phase.) Foods that help keep up your iron, like red meat and kidney beans, are helpful now, too. Adding in some seafood or mineral-rich seaweed helps replenish mineral levels in your body.
Supplements are important, too. I recommend key micronutrients for every woman in her reproductive years—supplements that are important to take daily. I also recommend taking phase-specific supplements to further support and optimize hormone health during each phase. For phase-based support during the menstrual phase, I recommend taking a combination to help ease cramps and boost immune function.
Key Supplements for the Menstrual Phase
Quercetin is a powerful antioxidant that is good for hormone health and overall health. Studies show it helps reduce cramps and it may inhibit growth of endometrial tissue for people with endometriosis. An extensive body of research shows that quercetin has antidiabetic, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, antimicrobial, anti-Alzheimer’s, antiarthritic, cardiovascular, and wound-healing properties. It may also help protect against certain types of cancer.
According to research, quercetin helps modulate inflammation and regulate blood sugar, two factors that are essential for balanced hormones and a healthy cycle. And studies suggest it may help reduce symptoms of PCOS.
Quercetin is a type of plant compound known as a phytoestrogen, and studies suggest that it may help protect and support the ovaries from oxidative stress. As a phytoestrogen, quercetin may mimic some of the same actions as estrogen in the body, which is one reason to consider taking quercetin during your period, when estrogen levels are at their lowest levels all month. Quercetin and other antioxidants may also help prevent urinary tract infections, according to some research. I recommend taking quercetin during the menstrual phase to support healthy estrogen levels and keep inflammation levels low.
Nettles help replenish magnesium in the body, which may help reduce PMS and other symptoms. Nettles may also help with heavy flow, and they are a good source of iron, which can help build up the blood after during and after menstruation.
Taking these targeted supplements can help reduce or eliminate the need for ibuprofen for pain and cramps, acne medications for cyclical breakouts, birth control pills for regular periods, and caffeine for an energy boost — all of which only mask symptoms anyway.
The Flo Living Cycle Syncing Ⓡ Supplements helps you exactly when and how your body needs it during each distinct phase of your cycle. Since your hormones change each phase, it makes sense to change the way you target certain supplements each phase too.
I carefully curated the key nutrients you need to help you look and feel your best throughout your cycle. And you simply take the one for the phase you’re in - period.
At FloLiving, we are building a future where it’s easy and simple to get targeted support for your hormonal symptoms from your first period to your last. With the right support, women in their reproductive years can ease their symptoms, live with less pain, and look and feel their best — which is what every woman deserves.
*We use the words “woman” and “women” and she/her pronouns throughout these posts for ease of writing, but the principles and advice apply to any person, regardless of gender identity, who was born with female physiology. At the same time, if you are a person born with male physiology and you identify as non-binary or you are transitioning to identify as female, using a cyclical support system can help you feel more in sync with your female energy.
The Cycle Syncing® Supplement Kit
Targeted Nutraceuticals to help you optimize each phase of your cycle
Since your hormones change each phase of your cycle and you have different symptoms from those hormonal ratios each phase, you need targeted supplements for each phase to ease those specific symptoms during that phase.
This kit will help relieve your period symptoms so you can stay energized and focused all month long.