This is the approach I now take for using herbs and supplements:
1.They are in combination
I know when I first started to explore the natural approach for endometriosis I had hoped that I could simply keep doing what I was doing and the supplements and herbs would solve everything. My goal was very simple: I would simply try and find a replacement for the medical version of what I was after. So, if I was after something to alleviate pain, I would find a natural herb or supplement that could do that.
It took me a while to figure out that this approach simply didn’t work. I couldn’t eat a rubbish diet and not take care of my body on every other level and expect the supplements to simply fix everything. The lesson was simple: supplements are designed to supplement what you are already doing.
So, when you are considering taking supplements and herbs, please consider that what you eat, how you move, what you think and what else your body might be dealing with is all part of the picture. It is not to say that supplements and herb can’t offer some relief in the meantime but they will be far more effective when we combine them with everything else we are doing.
2. I use the supplements and herbs to address the root triggers
It took me a long time to figure out that endometriosis wasn’t merely a hormone based condition. It was far more complex than that. Initially, all I did was focus on hormones. I tried Maca, progesterone cream and a variety of phytoestrogens to try and regulate my hormones. Some of it helped and some of alleviated symptoms for a bit but I knew that I wasn’t asking the bigger picture: Why do I have hormone imbalances to begin with and how to solve the root cause of that instead?
After 8 years of researching and studying endometriosis, I can tell you that there are three key areas we need to address with endometriosis. Let me share them with you now…
1.The Auto-Immune component
This is a very fascinating area of endometriosis and doctors and surgeons are still discovering the connections with endometriosis and the auto-immune response demonstrated within the condition and with their patients. What is clear is that there is definitely an auto-immune link with endometriosis. The good news is that we can reduce the response by the “overactive” immune system and we can help support our body through this better. Toxin release and liver health is a key component here. There are plenty of herbs and supplements that support this and research has shown that precursors to the production of glutathione are improving the lives of women with endometriosis. Read study on NAC for endometriosis here.
2.The inflammatory response
When the immune system feels compromised it over-reacts and one of the ways the body responds is with hightened levels of inflammation. That inflammation can demonstrate itself with elevated pain levels, swelling in the abdominal area, high histamine response and further proliferation of the endometriosis lesions themselves. We can reduce the inflammatory response within the body through herbs and supplements shown to be incredibly effective. The advantage of using herbs and supplements instead of pain-killers is that we are addressing the actual trigger for the pain – namely the inflammatory response, rather than just shutting off the pain response.
One of my favourite herbs for reducing inflammation is Curcumin. It not only addresses inflammation but also aids in detoxification for the liver. You can read more about Curcumin and it’s benefits in reducing endometriosis lesions here.
3. Hormone Imbalance
There is no doubt that hormones and imbalances with oestrogen/progesterone definitely play a role with the proliferation of endometriosis. However, instead of focusing on hormone imbalance on a surface level, I prefer to focus on the reason behind the hormone imbalance. This involves looking at gut health, liver health and ensuring things as simple as sleeping patterns are normalised.
3. I pick only 3-4 to start with
It is easy to get excited about all the herbs and supplements that are available to us. It is far more exciting to read up on all the benefits and positives being shared by more and more research papers about them. I know for a long time I literally had a cupboard absolutely filled to the brim with supplements. A part of me always thought that the next best thing must be better, faster and stronger! All that happened was that I couldn’t take them all and many of them simply expired before I even got a chance to try them.
My advice now is to start with just 3 or 4 supplements to start. Pick the ones that most resonate with you and where you really want to dull down the symptoms you are experiencing. Test them for a good 3 months before deciding if they are helping you or not. Take them consistently and measure how you feel before and after the 3 months. Then decide if you want to try something additional.
4. I seldom recommend vitamins or minerals
After years of study and exploring how the body works, I simply don’t believe that taking individual vitamins or minerals are always necessary. I also question the absorbability by the body. Many of the vitamins and minerals are synthetically made and I am not convinced that our body knows how to recognise them as nature intended. My approach with wanting to up a particular mineral or vitamin would be to find the food or herb that contains it in higher quantities and consume more of that.
The trick with getting absorbable forms of vitamins and minerals is to eat as organic as you can or supplement with superfoods that are.
Of course, there are instances where I might recommend magnesium or vitamin B but ultimately it is generally only as a short term fix.
There are a handful of supplements I typically recommend most often for my clients now and I wanted to share those with you in this free downloadable. There are some cool research papers to show you how they could be helpful for you. Grab the download here – no email req.
If you would like me to share more insights on any one of them, please let me know.