Nutritional Therapies for Endometriosis
From the desk of Jessica L. Molleur, Lic.Ac., DNBAO...
In the past five years, there has been a significant amount of researching highlighting the correlation between the gastrointestinal system (your gut) and endometriosis. Additionally, positive responses are being found in scientific literature to a wide range of natural supplements including berberine (a component found in Chinese herbs such as Huang Lian and Huang Bai), probiotics, and a few notable others. This confirms the whole body approach of acupuncture and other holistic forms of medicine. We also know that acupuncture can support the endocrine system, decrease painful periods, reduce heavy bleeding along with other symptoms associated with endometriosis. However, much can be done with diet alone. If you think about it, you probably eat 3-5 meals a day, amounting to approximately 1500 meals/year. The diet is a powerful tool in your endometriosis toolkit.
The goal of a healthy endometriosis diet is to decrease circulating estrogen levels, decrease inflammation, optimize the function of the liver, and the immune system. Additionally, the goal is to help increase your energy levels, alleviate pain, and other associated symptoms. Here's a list of general recommendations to try if you are suffering from endometriosis:
- Reduce Your Overall Saturated Fat Intake: A diet high in saturated is known to stimulate estrogen overproduction.
- Increase Your Fiber Intake: The fiber contained in grains and vegetables reduces estrogen levels. Good sources of fiber include: most vegetables including cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, whole grains such as quinoa, and beans such as lentils.
- Increase Foods of Color: Optimize your diet by including 8-10 servings of colored foods with a full color spectrum. Include foods found to optimize liver function such as onions, garlic, leeks, and pineapple. Include vegetables that modulate estrogen levels: asparagus, carrots, squash, kale, collard greens, mustard greens, broccoli, cabbage, turnips.
- Reduce Animal Protein Sources: Meat sources contain both natural and synthetic (if non-organic) hormones that can stimulate estrogen overproduction. Limit red meat consumption to one to zero servings per week.
- Reduce Non-Organic Food Sources: Non-organic food sources contain synthetic pesticides, fungicides, hormones, and other chemicals that add to the daily load of your immune system. Eliminate processed meats and cheeses.
- Reduce or Eliminate Sugar Sources: Fluctuating sugar levels in the bloodstream trigger an insulin response which in turn will change other hormone production. Avoid refined carbohydrates such as white bread, muffins, pastries, pizza etc...
- Consider Common Food Allergens: Many foods including wheat, dairy, or soy can create a mild to severe allergic reaction in the body increasing the body’s overall inflammation levels. Avoid these products or do an elimination diet to see how your body responds. We'll cover the dairy and wheat issue in more detail in next week's blog as those are the top two foods to consider eliminating from your diet if you have a history of endometriosis.
- Consider Reducing or Eliminating Alcohol: Alcohol can compromise the efficient functioning of the liver and make it less able to metabolize hormones.
- Consider Reducing or Eliminating Caffeine: According to available research, high intake of caffeine is linked to infertility due to tubal problems or endometriosis but is not associated with ovulatory infertility.
- Include Sources of Omega-3 Fatty Acids: Sources include cold-water fish and fish oils, olive oil, evening primrose oil, walnut oil, flaxseeds or oil, chia seeds, avocados, and other nuts/seeds. Omega-3 fatty acids help to reduce inflammation and regulate prostaglandin levels associated with endometriosis.
Want to try acupuncture this year for endometriosis? Schedule a complimentary consult to learn more about how acupuncture can benefit your health this year. Email firstname.lastname@example.org for more details.
Jessica L. Molleur, Lic.Ac., DNBAO
Jessica L. Molleur is a licensed acupuncturist, herbalist, and massage therapist in Massachusetts and California. She first became interested in acupuncture as a soccer player searching for an alternative to knee surgery and discovered the many benefits of Traditional Chinese Medicine. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Exercise Physiology from the University of California at Davis and a Master of Science in Traditional Chinese Medicine from the American College of Traditional Chinese Medicine in San Francisco, CA. Jessica is a National Diplomate of Acupuncture, Oriental Medicine and Chinese Herbology through the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM). She is also a Diplomate of Acupuncture Orthopedics, a specialty certification held by fewer than 500 acupuncturists in the United States.
Jessica currently maintains a private acupuncture practice in Boston's Back Bay neighborhood, which was awarded Best Acupuncture Center by Boston Magazine. Areas of specialty include women's health, pregnancy, infertility, pediatrics, and sports medicine. If you are interested in learning about the benefits of acupuncture for fertility and IVF, please visit the acupuncture + fertility page. New patients can book online to schedule any acupuncture service including a complimentary consult. Jessica also serves as a health care consultant for a number of integrative medical institutes. Her clients include IVF and infertility centers, functional medicine offices, orthopedic facilities, concierge practices, and green spas. Please contact OMBE for more information about these services.
Prior to her consulting work, Jessica founded an integrative health center in Boston. The eco-friendly center was one of the first twenty-five companies certified as a Sustainable Business Leader in Boston. During its ten-year tenure, the center provided services including acupuncture, chiropractic, massage, naturopathy, nutritional counseling, personal training, Pilates, and yoga. Studio offerings included mom and baby programming, Mongan Method Hypnobirthing, natural childbirth education and the Holistic Moms Network. The center was the recipient of several awards, including Mayor Menino's Green Business Award, a multiple recipient of Boston Business Journal's Best Workplace, Boston Magazine's Best of Boston Award for Massage Therapy as well as Best Eco-Friendly Massage, Eco-Beauty Bar, Nutritionist, Personal Trainer, Pilates, and Workout.