Food First. Supplement Second.

We’ve talked a lot about the opportunities to incorporate food as medicine. Eliminate the inflammatory foods. Load up on the anti-inflammatory foods. After all, food is the optimal source of nutrients for the body to most easily digest and absorb.

However, there are times when food cannot offer the therapeutic dose of nutrients that body needs. That’s when supplements come into play. Even though supplements are more natural than pharmaceutical drugs, they’re a concentrated dose of nutrients. You should always be run by your healthcare team before incorporating into your health routine. They can discuss possible contraindications and appropriate dosing.

The following are supplements that have been found to be helpful for managing endometriosis, and can support your conversation with your healthcare providers. Personally, I think it’s especially helpful to start with one to two supplements at a time so you’re able to distinguish what is working and what isn’t.

Generally speaking the following supplements are helpful in reducing inflammation and regulating the immune system, which can be helpful for endometriosis:

Fish Oil

It’s ideal to enjoy at least two servings of wild caught salmon a week because it’s rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which are powerful anti-inflammatories. The reality is though we’re not getting that amount of fish in each week. That’s where a fish oil supplement can be beneficial. Studies show that it’s not only helpful for reducing all around inflammation1, but even “reducing the development of post-surgical adhesions related to endometriosis”2.

Turmeric

Many of us have heard of the Indian spice turmeric, but it active ingredient – curcumin – is helpful in reducing inflammation. For years, studies have even made the connection with it helping endometriosis.3 However, a little sprinkle from your spice jar isn’t going to provide a therapeutic dose. Taking a supplement form that incorporates a small amount of black pepper is key for optimal absorption.

Zinc

Zinc deficiencies have flown under the radar for quite some time but are prevalent.4 A deficiency in this key nutrient can create a wide host of symptoms and most notably is a negative impact the immune system.

According to one study, “zinc could in fact be used as marker to detect women at high risk of endometriosis and for the elaboration of a new treatment for sterility, from which these women often suffer”.5

Magnesium

Magnesium is another key mineral that as a society we are largely deficient in for many reasons. The first is that the soil in which we’re growing our food is greatly depleted of such minerals making our foods less nutrient-dense. Magnesium is also our stress mineral – meaning the more stressed we become, the more depleted we’re likely to be in the mineral. Headaches, muscle aches and constipation are just a few of the signs of magnesium deficiency.

Chasteberry/Vitex

There’s not a lot of hard science behind this one yet, but there are certainly a lot of testimonials of people who are finding reproductive and menstrual relief from this fruit-based supplement.6 This one is especially important to be guided by a professional on because you need to rotate your dosage/use of it.

Have you tried supplements in your overall endometriosis care plan? Have you found them helpful or just hype?

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The Endometriosis.net team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.
View References
  1. Maroon JC, Bost JW. Omega-3 fatty acids (fish oil) as an anti-inflammatory: an alternative to nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs for discogenic pain. Surg Neurol. 4AD;65(4):326-331. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16531187. Accessed January 8, 2019.
  2. Herington JL, et al. Dietary fish oil supplementation inhibits formation of endometriosis-associated adhesions in a chimeric mouse model. Fertil Steril. 2013;99(2):543-550. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3582352/. Accessed January 8, 2019.
  3. Zhang Y, et al. Curcumin inhibits endometriosis endometrial cells by reducing estradiol production. Iran J Reprod Med. 2013;11(5):415-422. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3941414/. Accessed January 8, 2019.
  4. Zinc. NIH. https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Zinc-HealthProfessional/. Accessed January 8, 2019.
  5. Messalli EM. The possible role of zinc in the etiopathogenesis of endometriosis. Clin Exp Obstet Gynecol. 2014;41(5):541-546. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25864256/. Accessed January 8, 2019.
  6. Chasteberry. NIH. https://nccih.nih.gov/health/chasteberry . Accessed January 8, 2019.

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