Endometriosis and natural approaches

Endometriosis is a little-known chronic inflammatory disease. Patients with this pathology often need to undertake a journey combining medical care with natural approaches that this article intends to detail.

1. Food supplements

The use and consumption of food supplements is both a “fashion” and a necessity; especially in case of chronic problems for which modern medicine does not provide global answers or else to co-adjuvant the standard therapies proposed and potentiate their benefits.

In all cases, the use of food supplements, although they are over the counter, is never harmless and should be done under the supervision and recommendations of a health professional able to assess the relevance and the interest of the supplement (s) for the subject (therefore also taking into account the medical history, current therapies, etc.).

When we talk more precisely about supplementation in case of endometriosis, it is good to remember that “less is more” that is to say that too much is the enemy of the good so the choice should be just and necessary 🙂

Taking all this into consideration, here are some recommendations to choose useful and suitable active ingredients, since they seem to have positive effects against the disease, in case of endometriosis:

Omega 3 and Omega 6

These are essential polyunsaturated fatty acids useful for the proper functioning of all tissues and the development of the brain. Our body cannot synthesize these fats so they must be provided by a balanced diet that can be complemented by food supplements.

Quercetin

It is an antioxidant substance belonging to the family of flavonoids, present in various plants and seeds.

It therefore has an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory action. It inhibits the secretion of histamine, tryptase and interleukins by mast cells (chemical mediators of inflammation).

It is often used to fight against cell aging caused by free radicals that implies general health benefits as well as for endometriosis in particular. In fact, in a recent study carried out in vivo and in vitro, it was observed a reduction in endometriotic lesions in mice.1,2,3

Bromelain

This active ingredient has a proven anti-inflammatory and anti-edematous effect as well as of reduction of prostaglandin levels4.

Rhodiola and scutellaria

They modulate the neurological transmission of pain by acting on certain brain mediators.

Alpha lipoic acid

Also known as thioctic acid, it is one of the most powerful antioxidant natural fatty acids. It neutralizes the action of free radicals which are nothing more than free oxygen molecules that can damage cells.

Its use improves the physiological conditions of various diseases caused by oxidative stress such as endometriosis.5,6

N-acetylcysteine

More simply called NAC.

For decades, this active ingredient has been underestimated despite its incredible cellular antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and anti-aging properties. In fact, researchers began to take an interest in it when they realized its ability to regenerate glutathione, one of the most powerful natural antioxidants in our body. Thus, beyond being a “simple mucolytic”, NAC has been reconsidered for its anti-inflammatory efficacy.

This active ingredient is often mentioned on the blog as pathogenic biofilms disruptor however one of its essential beneficial activities is the ability to modulate the response to the messengers of inflammation. In other words, N-acetylcysteine helps our genes to respond properly to pro-inflammatory molecules.

For this, it is useful in cases of rheumatoid arthritis and other chronic inflammatory diseases.

Excellent results have been obtained in a recent study in patients with endometriosis: the researchers observed a reduction in the size of the endometriotic cysts and pain with taking NAC over 3 months to such an extent that a large slice of the examined sample canceled the planned laparoscopy7

2. Relaxation techniques

The psychological and emotional component is undoubtedly part of the disease so it should not be taken from granted.

There is scientific evidence supporting the beneficial effect of acupuncture and phytotheraphy in managing pain, stress and emotions and improving the quality of life of women with endometriosis.

But it is also possible to work on these aspects with relaxation techniques:

– pilates (without pelvic contracture!)

– meditation

– yoga

cardiac coherence

– and countless other methods that will be chosen according to profile of the person, the availability of time and professionals and, unfortunately, the budget.

Bibliography

1. Quercetin inhibits proliferation of endometriosis regulating cyclin D1 and its target microRNAs in vitro and in vivo. Park S, et al, 2019

2. Preliminary study of quercetin affecting the hypothalamic – pituitary – gonadal axis on rat endometriosis model. Cao Y, Zhuang MF, Yang Y, Xie SW, Cui JG, Cao L, Zhang TT, Zhu Y. 2014

3. Inhibition effect and mechanisms of quercetin on surgically induced endometriosis. Zhang X1, Wang X, Wang HJ, Yang Q, Qie MR. 2009

4. Placebo-controlled randomized clinical trial on the immunomodulating activities of low- and high-dose bromelain after oral administration – new evidence on the antiinflammatory mode of action of bromelain. Müller S1, et al, 2013

5. Alpha lipoic acid in obstetrics and gynecology. Tucci C, Di Feliciantonio M, Vena F, Capone C, Schiavi MC, Pietrangeli D, Muzii L, Benedetti Panici P. 2018

6. Alpha-lipoic acid as a dietary supplement: molecular mechanisms and therapeutic potential. Shay KP, Moreau RF, Smith EJ, Smith AR, Hagen TM. 2009

7.A Promise in the Treatment of Endometriosis: An Observational Cohort Study on Ovarian Endometrioma Reduction by N-Acetylcysteine. Maria Grazia Porpora, Roberto Brunelli, Graziella Costa, Ludovica Imperiale, Ewa K. Krasnowska, Thomas Lundeberg ,Italo Nofroni ,Maria Grazia Piccioni, Eugenia Pittaluga, Adele Ticino, Tiziana Parasassi 

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