This is the second blog post in a 4-part series on The Cycle Syncing Method®: micronutrient and botanical support for the four phases of the infradian rhythm, or hormonal cycle.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 get more familiar with the infradian rhythm, see the first post in this series or check out my new book In the Flo. This is the second blog post in our four-part series on micronutrient and botanical support to help better support the infradian rhythm. In this post, we will explore supplement needs during the ovulatory phase.
The 4 Phases of the Infradian Rhythm
The infradian rhythm tracks with the menstrual cycle and has four distinct phases. They are:
- The follicular phase
- The ovulatory phase
- The luteal phase
- The menstrual phase
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 ovulatory phase occurs for 3 to 4 days in the middle of your cycle, when your body produces an egg and releases it into the fallopian tube. To learn more about micronutrient needs in the first phase of the cycle (the follicular phase), click here. To learn more about micronutrient support for the ovulatory phase, keep reading!
Meet the Ovulatory Phase
When: The 3 to 4 days in the middle of your cycle, right after the follicular phase (which lasts for 7 to 10 days) and before the luteal phase (which is the phase just before your period).What’s happening in your body:
- Estrogen surges and luteinizing hormone (LH) arrives on the scene to spark the release of an egg
- The lining of the uterus gets thicker
- Testosterone surges and then quickly goes back down
What’s happening in your brain:The hormone shifts during this phase activate the verbal and social areas of the brain. You’re apt to feel your most social and communicative during this phase, and it is a good time to plan conversations with friends and significant others.
Food, Exercise, and Lifestyle Strategies for the Ovulatory Phase
Achieving optimal hormone health and easing period problems like PMS, cramps, bloating, acne, heavy or irregular periods and missing periods 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 ovulatory phase, specifically, your testosterone is high and you will have more energy, so you can go all out with your workouts. This is a great time for high-intensity interval training and bodyweight circuits. However, if you have issues breaking down estrogen in your liver and gut, you may experience ovarian pain or acne. Eating cruciferous vegetables during this time helps flush excess estrogen from your body. It’s also important to prioritize fiber from whole foods during this time, which will help keep excess hormones moving toward the exit!Supplements are important, too. I recommend key micronutrients for every woman in her reproductive years; These should be taken daily. I also recommend taking phase-specific supplements to further support and optimize hormone health during each phase. For phase-based support during the ovulatory phase, I recommend a supplement to help with estrogen metabolism.
Key Supplement for the Ovulatory Phase
DIM stands for 3,3′-diindolylmethane, and it is a powerful health-promoting compound derived from cruciferous vegetables. One of its key functions in the body is to help moderate and enhance estrogen metabolism. In other words, it helps the body efficiently process and eliminate used-up estrogen, which is important during the ovulatory phase when estrogen is high. Estrogen dominance is a condition in which levels of estrogen are high relative to the amount of progesterone in the body, and it is one of the most common conditions in women with hormone imbalances and period problems.
The liver is the body’s main organ of elimination and it processes and eliminates excess estrogen. DIM helps the liver do its job more effectively, which helps prevent estrogen dominance and related symptoms like acne, PMS, and heavy or irregular periods. Research also suggests that DIM may help protect against certain estrogen-fuelled cancers. DIM is found in cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower, kale, collard greens, Brussels sprouts, and rutabaga, and prioritizing these foods in the diet is profoundly good for hormone health and overall health. DIM can be taken as a supplement as well, and it may be especially beneficial to take as a supplement during ovulation, when the liver is working hard to eliminate the high volume of estrogen produced during this time. Like all the phase-based supplements I recommend, there is no wrong time to take DIM, but you may get the most benefit by taking it during the three or four days in the middle of your cycle when ovulation occurs.
I created The Cycle Syncing Ⓡ Supplement Kit to help women feel energized, calm, focused and pain-free throughout each phase of their cycle. 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.