08 July, 2011
Vitamins & Minerals for Women With Endometriosis
Endometriosis is a condition in which cells from the lining of the uterus, or the endometrium, migrate to other parts of the body, which can lead to scar tissue and pain. Although no cure exists, endometriosis is typically treated with anti-inflammatory medication, birth control pills, hormone-suppressing drugs and, in severe cases, surgery. Vitamins and minerals may be effective in treating symptoms for some individuals. If you have endometriosis, talk with your doctor about whether you should take these supplements.
Ascorbic acid, also called vitamin C, is a water-soluble vitamin. This means an individual has to constantly replenish the vitamin, since it is not stored in the body. An antioxidant, vitamin C helps protect cells from damage from free radicals, and thus to prevent illness. Vitamin C plays a role in the production of collagen, which helps build blood vessels, tendons, ligaments and bones; it also helps synthesize neurotransmitters, says the Linus Pauling Institute. The University of Maryland Medical Center recommends that women with endometriosis take 500 to 1,000 milligrams of vitamin C a day for endometriosis, for its antioxidant properties and to help boost the immune system.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Omega-3 fatty acids are also a good supplement for endometriosis. These are essential fatty acids required for health that the body cannot naturally make. UMMC suggests taking one or two capsules a day, or 1 to 2 tablespoons of fish oil daily. This can help reduce inflammation and aid in immune system functioning. The anti-inflammatory effects may help relieve some of the symptoms of endometriosis. These supplements can interfere with blood-thinning medications, so ask your doctor whether these are safe for you to take.
Carnitine helps the body convert fat to energy, and is naturally produced in the human body. UMMC recommends consuming an L-carnitine supplement daily -- between 500 to 2,000 milligrams -- to help with muscular support. For women with endometriosis who are trying to get pregnant or are undergoing in vitro fertilization, L-carnitine may help facilitate pregnancy by reducing embryo cell death and damage to oocytes, or eggs, according to a 2009 study published in "Fertility and Sterility." Talk with your doctor about whether this is an appropriate supplement for you.
Calcium glucarate, also known as calcium g-glucarate, is the commercial and salt form of glucaric acid, explains Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center. This supplement is often used by individuals with breast cancer, as it can help the body excrete excess amounts of estrogen, carcinogens and other hormones. For endometriosis, calcium d-glucarate may help relieve symptoms caused by too much estrogen. UMMC recommends taking 500 to 1,000 milligrams of calcium d-glucarate one to three times daily. This vitamin can interact with medications that affect hormones, like birth control pills, so consult your doctor first.
- UMMC; Endometriosis; Steven Ehrlich, MD; 2010
- Linus Pauling Institute; Vitamin C; Jane Higdon, Ph.D.; January 2006
- "Fertility and Sterility"; L-Carnitine Supplementation Reduces Oocyte Cytoskeleton Damage and Embryo Apoptosis Induced by Incubation in Peritoneal Fluid From Patients With Endometriosis; G. Mansour et al.; May 2009
- Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center; Calcium Glucarate; March 16, 2009
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