Five Powerful Supplements for Managing Endometriosis
Supplements – can they really help with endometriosis?
In my experience, yes they can. I got very far with personally reducing my pain levels through nutrition, all the way down from a level 10 to around a 3-ish on the pain scale. After I began a supplement regime of curcumin, magnesium, omega 3 fatty acids, and the Endo Complex, my pain levels disappeared entirely.
Having said that, I find they are always best used when in conjunction with a healthy, anti-inflammatory diet that’s tailored to your body’s needs, and with lifestyle interventions such a pelvic floor physiotherapy and relaxation strategies to lower pain signals. In truth, a supplement can’t cancel out a diet full of inflammatory triggers – nutrition plays a foundational role here.
With my clients, we spend the majority of our time improving their diet and lifestyle before we explore supplements. In some unique cases, it’s evident that my client could benefit from implementing them earlier, but most of the time we’re able to get pain levels down dramatically before we introduce supplements.
So what are the ones I like the most? While there are quite a number of supplements which have been researched, for me, the following are the stand out stars:
Omega 3 fatty acids for pain and potential endo lesion reduction
Most of us know that omega 3 fatty acids are important for reducing inflammation, but did you know they can play a role in lowering endo pain and reducing those endo patches? They’ve been shown in studies to block the production of inflammatory prostaglandins1, and lower pain in people with primary dysmenorrhea2, but also to have minimized adhesions and lesions in mice with endometriosis3.
Curcumin for pain and potentially slowing endometriosis growth
Curcumin is widely renowned for its anti-inflammatory properties. As endometriosis is an inflammatory disease, adding in powerful anti-inflammatories can help lower our pain levels. But there’s another benefit to curcumin, in animal and in vitro studies, it’s been shown to suppress the growth of endometriosis and even accelerate the death of endometriosis cells.4
DIM for healthy estrogen metabolism
Many of us with endometriosis have trouble detoxifying estrogen, which can lead to an estrogen dominance scenario – painful breasts, bloating, painful periods, heavy bleeding, and more. Added to that the fact that many endometriosis make their own estrogen, we can have a lot of it going on.
DIM is actually found in cruciferous veggies like broccoli and helps the liver to better eliminate estrogen. You need to be careful with this one though – it’s strong! Seek advice before consider trying it out.
NAC for endometrioma cyst reduction
NAC is one of the few supplements that has been studied on humans, with incredibly promising results. Participants who took NAC for three months, experienced reduced cyst size and growth, in comparison to the control participants, who experienced an increase in cyst size without NAC. As a result, 24 out of the 47 participants cancelled their surgeries due a decrease in symptoms and cysts.5
Magnesium for pain
Magnesium is a nutrient that many of us are deficient in and it also gets used up during periods of stress, which arguably is how a lot of us with endo spend our time.
Magnesium has also been shown in studies to reduce pain experienced due to dysmenorrhea by lowering the inflammatory chemicals that are released during menstruation, known as prostaglandins.6
If you have trouble sleeping, you could try taking magnesium before bed. Alternatively, you could use magnesium in baths, and as a spray – which is especially useful for in the moment pain.
Other useful supplements include ginger, pine bark, melatonin, quercetin, and resveratrol.
Have you heard about the new tampon technology currently being tested to detect endometriosis?