The Best Endometriosis Supplements For Natural Relief

Endometriosis Supplements

For many women struggling with endometriosis, the options they're given for treatment are limited and come with a slew of negative side effects. As a functional medicine expert, it is my job to not just relieve symptoms, but to provide solutions for long-term, sustainable healing. One way to do this that is often not given the weight it deserves in conventional medicine  is the use of natural supplements. From curcumin to omega-3 fatty acids, these are my favorite clinically-backed supplements for endometriosis.

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Understanding endometriosis

Endometriosis, a chronic and often painful condition that affects millions of women worldwide, occurs when tissue similar to the lining inside the uterus, known as the endometrium, grows outside the uterus where it doesn’t belong. This tissue can be found on the ovaries, fallopian tubes, on the surface of the uterus, and other organs within the pelvis. 

If a pregnancy doesn’t occur, your body naturally breaks down the tissue inside your uterus and gets rid of it during a normal menstrual cycle. But in the case of endometriosis, because this extra misplaced tissue has no way to exit the body it becomes trapped, leading to inflammation, scar tissue, and adhesions that can result in chronic pain, heavy periods, painful intercourse, and infertility. Some women also experience chronic fatigue, mood swings, digestive distress, and other seemingly “unrelated” issues.

While the exact cause of endometriosis is unknown, researchers believe it is connected to a variety of different factors including genetics, age, environmental toxins, and hormone imbalances. To learn more about endometriosis symptoms, causes, and risk factors, read my article here

Because endometriosis is such a multifaceted condition, and the fact that many women have been conditioned into thinking their severe symptoms are “normal”, conventional medicine has struggled to appropriately and effectively help women manage this condition beyond the “one-size-fits-all” treatment recommendations.

Importance of supplements in managing endometriosis

When it comes to treating endometriosis, conventional medicine focuses more on invasive treatment options such as surgery and hormonal therapies that can have their own set of negative side effects. Unfortunately, these options only act as a bandaid to the symptoms. Instead of actually addressing the root causes of endometriosis, surgeries and hormonal therapies only mask symptoms and clean up the excess tissue without any regard for possible recurrence. Functional medicine on the other hand, chooses to take a different approach.

Since endometriosis does have so many different causes depending on your unique biochemistry, functional medicine aims to uncover exactly what is going on beneath the surface in order to identify what is fueling your specific condition. In doing so, your functional medicine practitioner is able to personalize treatment options - natural supplements being one of them - that target these underlying imbalances.

By correcting nutrient deficiencies, soothing inflammation levels, and restoring hormone balance, supplements are able to help manage endometriosis through their ability to modulate these key factors that drive the development and progression of this condition.

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The best supplements for endometriosis

Thankfully, some of the best supplements for endometriosis are some of the easiest to find. Not only are these supplements extremely common, they also play an important role in so many other areas of your health and can have a positive downstream effect on your hormone levels. So take advantage of these multi-purpose supplements - you might be surprised at how good you feel after taking them.

1. Curcumin

Inflammation plays a powerful role in the development of today’s most prevalent health problems, including endometriosis. Studies have (1) shown that curcumin, the main anti-inflammatory compound in turmeric, is able to significantly mitigate oxidative stress and inflammation levels of those with endometriosis with further studies showing that it can also inhibit (2) the growth of endometrial cells by managing excess estrogen production. 

The Curcumin from my supplement line includes the extensively studied cucrumin extract BCM-95, which further enhances the absorption of curcuminoids when compared to conventional curcumin supplements that have poor absorption in the digestive tract, quick metabolism, and rapid elimination from the body.

2. Omega-3 

Omega-3 fatty acids found in wild-caught fish and fish oil supplements, are known for their potent anti-inflammatory properties which can be beneficial in alleviating pain and other symptoms of endometriosis. In fact, an initial animal study published in the Taiwanese Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology (3) found that omega-3s were able to shrink endometrial lesions and reduce pro-inflammatory biomarkers like IL-6 and TNF-a. While more research needs to be done, another 2020 pilot study (4) on humans showed similar results, further making the case for omega-3s as a powerful endometriosis remedy.

Unlike other fish oils that can be hit or miss in terms of bioavailability, The Omega+ from my supplement line The Collection is formulated with MaxSimil® monoglyceride fish oil that has a three times greater EPA+DHA absorption rate than an equivalent dose of other leading fish oils.

3. N-acetylcysteine

N-acetylcysteine, or NAC for short, is a plant antioxidant found in onions that can help regulate oxidative stress and promote detoxification processes within the body, including excess estrogen. A 2013 study (5) on 92 women in Italy showed that 24 of the 47 women who took 600 mg of NAC three times a day for three months actually canceled their scheduled laparoscopy because their endometriosis symptoms disappeared, they experienced a reduction in pain, or they had gotten pregnant.

4. Chamomile

Dysmenorrhea - painful menstrual cramps that can impact your ability to participate in normal daily activities - is one of the hallmark symptoms of endometriosis and is believed to be caused by an overproduction of prostaglandins. Chamomile has been shown (6) to rebalance these compounds and in turn, improve menstrual pain and bleeding. You can find chamomile in supplement form and as a tea that you can sip before bed as it also has a relaxing, calming effect. 

5. Vitamin B6

B vitamins are essential for everything from hormone balance to methylation (which just so happens to control your body’s inflammation levels and ability to detox). A recent 2023 study published in the International Journal of Reproductive BioMedicine (7) found that dietary intakes of Vitamin B6 specifically, were directly correlated with a person's risk of developing endometriosis. 

This likely has to do with the fact that this nutrient helps promote estrogen metabolism and the production of anti-inflammatory prostaglandins that inhibit the growth of endometrial tissue. As you can see from the previous point, too many prostaglandins can also cause problems, solidifying the importance of balance when it comes to your health and how your body relies on a specific ratio of everything to function as it should.

For well-rounded Vitamin B support, The Methylator is formulated with activated forms of all the B vitamins your body needs to thrive, including Vitamin B6.

6. Green tea

Green tea has some of the highest levels of beneficial antioxidant compounds known as catechins, specifically epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG). Studies have found (8) that green tea is able to help improve symptoms of endometriosis due to EGCG’s anti-fibrotic nature.

Other lifestyle factors and tips for managing endometriosis

Again, since endometriosis is such a complex condition with multiple causes, supplements aren’t your only tool for managing your symptoms. Here are a few of my favorite clinically-backed tools and lifestyle tips that you can start incorporating to win the battle against endometriosis.

1. Get a massage

In case you need a reason to book a massage, massage therapy was shown to relieve pain (9) in endometriosis patients struggling with dysmenorrhea immediately after a single session and as far as six weeks after the initial massage!

2. Manage your stress levels

Chronic stress is linked to a multitude of health problems, endometriosis included, with research showing that higher stress levels were associated with higher (10) chronic endometriosis pain. Breathwork, yoga, and mindfulness practices like meditation are all tools to start implementing in your self-care routine if you are looking to manage your stress levels.

3. Try CBD oil

Even though the research surrounding CBD oil and endometriosis is new, the initial studies (11) show it is able to greatly alleviate endometriosis pain and tissue growth through its anti-inflammatory and antiangiogenic abilities.

4. Change your diet

As a functional medicine expert, I can’t avoid the topic of food. Everything you eat either contributes to your health or feeds into disease by fueling inflammation levels, gut dysfunction, and hormone imbalances. Although there is no set diet that works for everyone, focusing on a diet of mostly clean, whole foods is your best bet. To take it one step further, an elimination diet is my gold standard for finding out which foods work best for your body while eating a variety of delicious, nourishing foods.

Seeking help from a functional medicine expert

If you are struggling with endometriosis, consider adding one or more of these supplements into your routine as well as seeking out guidance from a qualified functional medicine practitioner. In my telehealth clinic, we specialize in addressing the root cause of your symptoms through uncovering the contributing factors to your condition. Whether it is out-of-control inflammation, an underlying hormone imbalance, or something else, my team and I can customize natural solutions that will help you reclaim your health and live the vibrant life you deserve.

As one of the first functional medicine telehealth clinics in the world, we provide webcam health consultations for people around the globe.

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References:

  1. Vallée, Alexandre, and Yves Lecarpentier. “Curcumin and Endometriosis.” International journal of molecular sciences vol. 21,7 2440. 31 Mar. 2020, doi:10.3390/ijms21072440
  2. Zhang, Ying et al. “Curcumin inhibits endometriosis endometrial cells by reducing estradiol production.” Iranian journal of reproductive medicine vol. 11,5 (2013): 415-22.
  3. Akyol, Alpaslan et al. “Efficacies of vitamin D and omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids on experimental endometriosis.” Taiwanese journal of obstetrics & gynecology vol. 55,6 (2016): 835-839. doi:10.1016/j.tjog.2015.06.018
  4. Abokhrais IM, Denison FC, Whitaker LHR, Saunders PTK, Doust A, et al. A two-arm parallel double-blind randomised controlled pilot trial of the efficacy of Omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids for the treatment of women with endometriosis-associated pain (PurFECT1). PLOS ONE 15(2): e0230055. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0230055
  5. 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, "A Promise in the Treatment of Endometriosis: An Observational Cohort Study on Ovarian Endometrioma Reduction by N-Acetylcysteine", Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, vol. 2013, Article ID 240702, 7 pages, 2013. https://doi.org/10.1155/2013/240702
  6. Niazi, Azin, and Maryam Moradi. “The Effect of Chamomile on Pain and Menstrual Bleeding in Primary Dysmenorrhea: A Systematic Review.” International journal of community based nursing and midwifery vol. 9,3 (2021): 174-186. doi:10.30476/ijcbnm.2021.87219.1417
  7. Roshanzadeh, Ghazal et al. “The relationship between dietary micronutrients and endometriosis: A case-control study.” International journal of reproductive biomedicine vol. 21,4 333-342. 8 May. 2023, doi:10.18502/ijrm.v21i4.13272
  8. Kamal DAM, Salamt N, Zaid SSM, Mokhtar MH. Beneficial Effects of Green Tea Catechins on Female Reproductive Disorders: A Review. Molecules. 2021; 26(9):2675. https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules26092675
  9. Valiani, Mahboubeh et al. “The effects of massage therapy on dysmenorrhea caused by endometriosis.” Iranian journal of nursing and midwifery research vol. 15,4 (2010): 167-71.
  10. Casalechi, Maíra et al. “Endometriosis and related pelvic pain: association with stress, anxiety and depressive symptoms.” Minerva obstetrics and gynecology vol. 73,3 (2021): 283-289. doi:10.23736/S2724-606X.21.04704-3
  11. Sabri Berkem Okten et. al "Cannabidiol as a potential novel treatment for endometriosis by its anti-inflammatory, antioxidative and antiangiogenic effects in an experimental rat model" Reproductive Biomedicine Online Volume 46, Issue 5, P865-875, May 2023 DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.rbmo.2023.01.018

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The information on this website has not been evaluated by the Food & Drug Administration or any other medical body. We do not aim to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any illness or disease. Information is shared for educational purposes only. You must consult your doctor before acting on any content on this website, especially if you are pregnant, nursing, taking medication, or have a medical condition.

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BY DR. WILL COLE

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Dr. Will Cole, DNM, IFMCP, DC is a leading functional medicine expert who consults people around the globe, starting one of the first functional medicine telehealth centers in the world. Named one of the top 50 functional and integrative doctors in the nation, Dr. Will Cole provides a functional medicine approach for thyroid issues, autoimmune conditions, hormonal imbalances, digestive disorders, and brain problems. He is the host of the popular The Art Of Being Well podcast and the New York Times bestselling author of Intuitive Fasting, Ketotarian, The Inflammation Spectrum, and Gut Feelings: Healing the Shame-Fueled Relationship Between What You Eat and How You Feel.

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