After studying for a 3 year full-time degree in Nutritional Therapy, Melanie Brown was the Senior Nutritional Therapist at London’s prestigious fertility and pregnancy Zita West Clinic, designing the nutrition programme for the clinic, and seeing thousands of clients over ten years. We enlisted Melanie's help to bring you a guide to Endometriosis. In this article, she explains how nutrition plays an important role in managing the symptoms. Over to Melanie...
Although the exact prevalence and aetiology of endometriosis is unknown, it remains one of the principal causes of female infertility, perhaps affecting up to 50% of infertile women. It is a classic condition of inflammation and pain, where cells of the lining of the womb migrate outside, often to the bladder, fallopian tubes, ovaries and bowel and then responds to normal monthly hormonal fluctuations. Although many researchers think that the condition is on the rise it could very well be that in previous times it was just regarded as ‘women’s problems, just get on with it girls, it’s just normal period pain’!
It’s the inflammation that causes potential problems, with a build-up of what is known as reactive oxygen species (ROS) damaging cells, and the release of highly inflammatory chemical messengers called cytokines, both of which inflame the ovaries and the developing oocytes within. Adhesions caused by scarring pull and wrench with the fluctuating monthly hormones that would normally only affect the womb, causing extreme and debilitating pain and heavy menstrual bleeding. In very severe cases women vomit with the pain and many clients I see have to drug themselves up to the eyeballs to carry on a normal day’s work, and they are often frightened of using too many pain killers when they are also trying to conceive.
So, what do about it from a nutrition and lifestyle point of view?
Some of the best supplements for endometriosis include resveratrol, which is the pigment in red grape skins, turmeric and of course the long chain fatty acids, found predominantly in fish oil.
A major player in the development, and possibly the severity of endometriosis, is believed to be exposure to organochlorines, especially dioxins, called by one researcher “the prototypical endocrine disruptor.” Dioxins lodge in fatty cells of animals and fish high in the food chain and I always devise a diet that focuses predominantly on plant foods. Some of the best supplements for endometriosis include resveratrol, which is the pigment in red grape skins, turmeric and of course the long chain fatty acids, found predominantly in fish oil. And that’s where Lion Heart comes in.
I prescribe one teaspoon a day of this high potency oil, derived from small fish low in the food chain, and meticulously filtered for contaminants. It is, without doubt, the best on the market in my opinion. I recommend the liquid because it is the easiest method of getting all the benefits in one easy go, and it really tastes fine, which is a measure of its purity. Fish oils promote the release of highly anti-inflammatory compounds that have a distinct biological action on the pain and clotting associated with endometriosis and subsequently on fertility. The addition of Lion Heart liquid along with changes in diet and environment makes a profound difference for my clients.