Turmeric & Black Pepper

Untitled-4 copy

So, back in the day when I first received my diagnosis and went nuts researching how to best rid my body of inflammation, I started making a tea that contained ginger, honey, and lemon.  I later added turmeric.  And when I could, I used fresh ingredients.

Now I’m lazy and just sip on a mug of tea steeped from a tea bag.  I’ve tried several different ginger teas (some with turmeric, some without).  But my favorite right now is Trader Joe’s Organic Ginger Turmeric Herbal Tea.  I’ve also started putting a turmeric powder in my shakes in the morning.  It’s made by Gaia Herbs and it’s their Turmeric Boost Restore formula.  I blend it with a banana, some almond milk, and a pea protein powder mix.

But somewhere between making my homemade tea and finding TJ’s tea, someone told me that in order to allow my body to really soak in the benefits of turmeric I needed to incorporate black pepper. What?  Hence the hunt for the alleged uber anti-inflammatory tea (and other products) with ginger, turmeric, and black pepper.

I was tellin’ my Mum about it recently and she poked me to research and write about it.  Why ARE they supposed to be consumed together?  Why not? So, here I am…drinking my TJ’s tea and hitting the internet for answers!!  AND using goodsearch.com drops a one-cent donation to the Endometriosis Foundation of America each time I search a term! A double whammy!

I’m no nutritionist and don’t understand the chemical breakdowns of these types of things, so here’s my laymen understanding …

From what I can tell, an ingredient found in turmeric (called curcumin) is processed too quickly in our bodies and we don’t have a chance to absorb it well.  An ingredient found in black pepper (called piperine) slows down that process and allows the curcumin-y goodness to enter our bloodstream and work its magic.  There’s a 1998 study out there that compares the levels of curcumin in the bloodstream with and without black pepper.; showing a 2000% increase when consumed with black pepper (don’t ask me the ratios).  Do be careful, though: there are suggestions and concerns of piperine and certain drug interactions. So, as usual: talk to your doctor first.

BUT…please…feel free to read the articles in the Resources section below and form your own opinion!  I know nothing!!  But I do know I’ll continue my turmeric & black pepper combo routine.


Healthcloud – (Article, Feb. 18, 2015) Do I Need to Take Pepper with Turmeric?

Healthy and Natural World – (Article) How to Optimize Turmeric Absorption for Super Boosted Benefits

Lucy Bee Blog – (Article, Sept. 22, 2016) Why We Should Be Eating Turmeric with Black Pepper

Just Vitamins – (Article, Sept. 25, 2017) Why Turmeric and Black Pepper Need to Be Taken Together

Pharmacy Times – (Article, July 28, 2017) Piperine Drug Interactions

Planta Medica – (Study, 1998) Influence of Piperine on the Pharmacokinetics of Curcumin in Animals and Human Volunteers

Turmeric for Health – (Article) 6 Amazing Health Benefits of Black Pepper and Turmeric

~ Again, I am a layman. I do not hold any college degrees, nor mastery of knowledge. Please take what I say with a grain of salt. If curious, do your own research 😉 Validate my writings. Or challenge them. And ALWAYS feel free to consult with your physician. Always. Yours ~ Lisa

Recap: Nutrition & Endometriosis Workshop

To Share Nutrition for Endometriosis Slide Lecture_Page_01

On October 25, 2017, Merritt Jones, the founder of San Diego-based Natural Harmony Reproductive Health led a workshop regarding nutrition and Endometriosis.  Ms. Jones is a licensed acupuncturist and certified nutritionist, as well as one of our local EndoSisters.  She and I have been wanting to host this workshop for quite some time and I was ecstatic that our efforts came to fruition!  I know that many of our local Sisters were unable to attend, so I tried to take detailed notes.  And Merritt graciously shared her Powerpoint presentation with me so I could share it with YOU!

To Share Nutrition for Endometriosis Slide Lecture_Page_02

To Share Nutrition for Endometriosis Slide Lecture_Page_03

After Merritt’s Endometriosis diagnosis, she began a mission to not only help herself but those in the Endometriosis Community.  As Merritt said, “It’s time to get loud about this disease.  We deserve better.  We deserve better support!”

To Share Nutrition for Endometriosis Slide Lecture_Page_04

A nutritious diet can help with symptoms, but everyone is different and responds differently to various foods.  There is no one size fits all approach.

To Share Nutrition for Endometriosis Slide Lecture_Page_05

The immune system, Endometriosis, and inflammation are pretty much bosom buddies.  When Endometriosis lesions are present in our bodies, the immune system is constantly trying to attack the lesions since they really don’t belong there.  So, the immune system is always on…and the constant effort to fight lesion “invaders” leads to a state of constant inflammation.  Which usually leads to more pain and other issues.

To Share Nutrition for Endometriosis Slide Lecture_Page_06

So, eating foods that can cause or exacerbate inflammation can be like throwing gas on the fire.  We’re not perfect and we all cheat, but we need to be moderate when we decide to cheat. But what are some foods that can increase inflammation?

To Share Nutrition for Endometriosis Slide Lecture_Page_07

She isn’t saying that we cannot eat inflammatory foods, but these foods may cause inflammation and worsen the symptoms of Endometriosis.  We just need to cut back on inflammatory foods that affect us, be wary and in tune with our bodies, as well as try to eat the BEST quality of foods that we can afford.  For instance, if we want red meat, look for organic and grass-fed livestock.  Want some real butter (hey Mom, what was the name of special butter you brought us?)?  Again, organic and grass-fed.  Got a hankering for some fish?  Choose wild-caught instead of farmed fish.

To Share Nutrition for Endometriosis Slide Lecture_Page_08

ALL milk, even grass-fed organic milk, contains hormones and estrogen, which is truly awful for Endometriosis.  According to Chinese medicine, phlegm is a sign that the immune system is working overtime.  And even some studies have shown that mucous membranes release more fluid during inflammation.  So if you have a glass of milk and it makes you phlegmy, you may have an inflammatory response to dairy.  The same may be true for anything you eat or drink that makes you clear your throat of phlegm (gross…).

To Share Nutrition for Endometriosis Slide Lecture_Page_09

Merritt recommended timing when you eat meat well – monitor when your pain occurs and avoid eating meat during that time.  For example, if the first few days of your period are painful, avoid eating meat a few days (or even a week) before you start your period.  Heck, she suggests cutting out dairy, meat, gluten, coffee/caffeine, refind sugar, and cold foods a week before your period (or when you generally anticipate pain).  See if cutting out these inflammatory feeds makes a difference.  And when you do eat meat, be sure it’s high quality: truly grass-fed meats.  Grass-fed organ meats (such as the liver or kidneys) are also extra good for us. Nutrients!

A question was raised about eggs.  If you must eat eggs (I looove eggs!), make sure that they are good quality eggs. Cage-free and organic eggs were recommended.  And when the yolk is almost orange, it’s super-duper nutrient-packed!

To Share Nutrition for Endometriosis Slide Lecture_Page_10

Nightshades are a group of veggies that many suspects are potentially inflammatory.  These include tomatoes, potatoes (yams/sweet potatoes are okay), eggplant, peppers, and goji berries.  Studies go back and forth on the topic and findings, but it may be best to reduce the number of nightshades you incorporate into your diet (including processed foods: ketchup, marinara sauce, hot sauce, etc.).

To Share Nutrition for Endometriosis Slide Lecture_Page_11

Gluten, for everyone, is hard to digest.  Some people have a gluten sensitivity and feel the effects more.  If you’re dealing with chronic inflammation, it’s recommended to avoid gluten and lessen the load on the body’s digestive and immune systems.

To Share Nutrition for Endometriosis Slide Lecture_Page_12

Caffeine and sugar may cause inflammation and cramping.   Merritt stated, “if you take nothing else from tonight’s talk, cut out sugar and caffeine!”  She also suggested that IF you need caffeine, switch to tea (less caffeine than coffee) or coffee alternatives (which feed the need for the morning ritual).

To Share Nutrition for Endometriosis Slide Lecture_Page_13.jpg

If you have leaky gut syndrome, it’s said that symptoms and inflammatory responses may be caused by pretty much anything that you eat.  In a nutshell: in a healthy gut, the small intestine is tight and food can’t pass through until it fully processed and digested. With Leaky Gut Syndrome, that intestine is loose and proteins and particles are able to get into the bloodstream, which causes an insane immune response.  If an elimination diet doesn’t help with Endometriosis symptoms, you may want to examine the state of your gut health.  Everywell offers a test (for a few hundred bucks) that you take at home and it may show you what foods you have a reaction to, which may lead to a discussion about leaky gut syndrome.

To Share Nutrition for Endometriosis Slide Lecture_Page_14To Share Nutrition for Endometriosis Slide Lecture_Page_15

Merritt mentioned that bone broth is supposed to be really good for healing the gut and maintaining a strong and healthy balance inside there.  AND…she strongly recommended not starting any supplements until you talk to someone to verify the validity of the claims AND what is best for you and your body.

To Share Nutrition for Endometriosis Slide Lecture_Page_16

To Share Nutrition for Endometriosis Slide Lecture_Page_17

As many of us may already know, Endometriosis is an estrogen-dominant disease.  Too much estrogen may spike our symptoms.  So, avoiding foods which raise or mimic estrogen levels may lessen Endo symptoms.  Also, the liver metabolizes estrogen.  We need to treat our liver better, whether it be through diet, exercise, supplements, or a combo of each.  The next line must have struck a chord with me…because I had written it in all caps in my notes: BE NICE TO YOUR LIVER!


To Share Nutrition for Endometriosis Slide Lecture_Page_18

To Share Nutrition for Endometriosis Slide Lecture_Page_19

Certain foods can help manage estrogen dominance, especially a plant-based diet best.  “Plant-based” does not mean vegetarian – it refers to a diet based mostly on plants and good, healthy meats (as discussed earlier).

A list of anti-inflammatory foods that Merritt handed out to each of us includes:

To Share Nutrition for Endometriosis Slide Lecture_Page_20

The question was asked about IBS and this list of foods – many of which may upset those with Irritable Bowel Syndrome.  Merritt suggested that if you suffer from IBS, make sure that the food is really well-cooked.  Also, incorporate broth into the diet.  Focus on getting the gut healthy before aggravating symptoms of IBS.

She also suggests a homemade ginger tea twice a day; once in the morning and once an hour before bed: 1-inch chunk of ginger (peeled) with 1/2 tablespoon of raw honey.

To Share Nutrition for Endometriosis Slide Lecture_Page_21


Oh man…nobody likes to see the list of FATS!  Focus on the healthy fats; try to limit the inflammatory fats.  I asked about peanut butter (I looooove me some peanut butter).  She recommended organic peanut butter over the regular peanut butter you may find on the shelves of the grocery store.  Almond butter is an alternative (yuck…).

To Share Nutrition for Endometriosis Slide Lecture_Page_22

Fermented foods are good for the gut…all kinds of good bacteria and probiotics.  However, if you’re avoiding nightshades, no kimchee for you because of the peppers and spices.  What the heck is a “real pickle,” I asked – it’s cultured; not made with vinegar.  WHAT?  I had no idea – so here’s a recipe that I’m bound to try one of these days.  And yogurt? What’s that doing back on the list?  Remember – not everyone is going to cut out dairy…and there are non-dairy yogurts out there.  However, non-dairy yogurts tend to have a lot of sugar in them – be careful and read the labels.

To Share Nutrition for Endometriosis Slide Lecture_Page_23

Again, this is based on Merritt’s own schooling, research, and personal experience.  These suggestions may, or may not, affect you in a similar way.  We are each responsible for determining what makes us feel our best.  And if you don’t know where to start with the extensive list of things to try eliminating from your diet, Merritt suggested starting with processed oils (soy, canola, peanut, cotton seed, safflower oils).

To Share Nutrition for Endometriosis Slide Lecture_Page_24

In the future, Merritt may be able to talk to us about acupuncture and possible benefits it may provide for our health, well-being, AND Endometriosis symptoms.  Stay tuned!

To Share Nutrition for Endometriosis Slide Lecture_Page_25To Share Nutrition for Endometriosis Slide Lecture_Page_26To Share Nutrition for Endometriosis Slide Lecture_Page_27

We had a few questions before Merritt wrapped up the presentation:

Q.  Are chicken and fish okay to eat?
A.  Good quality chicken is important; make sure it’s organic chicken.  Wild caught fish is going to be a great source of anti-inflammatories.  You may want to avoid farmed fish.

Q.  What are considered good beans and what beans are “bad beans”?
A.  The lists and opinions are extensive!  She suggested Googling (click here).

Q.  Do you have any thoughts on taking active birth control pills continuously?
A.  Sometimes it’s necessary, but there are pros and cons to both.  Birth control does deplete B vitamins. get if you’re taking a continuous BC pill, be sure to start a B complex.

Q.  What’s the difference between dry needle and acupuncture?
A.  Dry needling is a technique adopted by physical therapists – it’s not acupuncture.  It’s the manipulation of acupressure points for pain and it can be helpful.  Physical Therapists are not trained as acupuncturists (different schooling, length of study, etc.), but there may be some high-quality PTs out there doing it.  It may be great for ortho issues but for more complex issues, like gynecological issues.  Acupuncture may help longer and more fully.

Q.  What’s this “cold foods” reference on our handouts?
A.  It’s a Chinese medicine thing.  Many believe that warm foods easier for the digestive system to process. Cold foods require more effort for the digestive tract.  Add ginger to cold foods to “warm it up” to the digestive tract.

Q.  If you exercise, is it better to eat before or after the workout?
A.  Totally up to your body and what feels good to you.  if blood sugar issues, don’t skip the snack or meal.

Q.  Does milk thistle help the liver?
A.  It can aid the liver.  Merritt uses a complement of herbs to help with liver cleansing.

Q.  Does lavender increase estrogen?
A.  Merritt wasn’t sure about this.  Now I’m curious and want to look into it, too.


To Share Nutrition for Endometriosis Slide Lecture_Page_28

Please remember that these are my notes on Merritt’s presentation.  They *may* be inaccurate and are my interpretation of what she said. 🙂  As always, please feel free to do your own research, or reach out to Merritt or your own healthcare providers for more information.

One of the biggest lessons I learned in the workshop was:  Be flexible.  Our diet is practice; not perfection!  Find a balance that suits your needs.

I would like to extend a MASSIVE thank you to Merritt for sharing with us, and for all that she is doing (and will do) for our Community.   You’re a treasure and I value you so very much.

Tomatoes & Endometriosis


During our September support group meeting, I was munching on some cherry tomatoes when one of our girls stated, “I thought tomatoes were bad for our Endo…” Damn it. Now I have to research…AND during a camping/survival skills trip in early October, I learned that the ENTIRE tomato plant (except for the tomatoes) is poisonous!  What?  How amazing is that?!?

Anyway, I digress…back to research.

My first page I found digging into tomatoes and Endometriosis introduced me to a word, “lycopene.”  What IS lycopene? It’s a carotenoid – a plant pigment – and specifically, lycopene is responsible for making fruits and veggies red…like TOMATOES.

In 2008, Dr. Tarek Dbouk announced at the American Society of Reproductive Medicine Conference that a study found lycopene could prevent or reduce the production of a protein that promoted adhesion growth. Numerous studies claim that an increase of tomatoes and tomato products in the diet reduces chances of various cancers and cardiovascular disease (although the FDA was found very little evidence to substantiate the claims).  It has been suggested that women with Endometriosis may be able to reduce their symptoms by increasing their lycopene consumption.  Although studies have suggested the lycopene may act as a powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory and help reduce adhesion formation, further studies are needed.

So after reading all of that, you wanna cram your fridge full of tomatoes and other red fruits and veggies right? Well…not so fast (there is always a flip side).

Tomatoes belong to a family of plants known as nightshades.  Some studies have suggested that nightshades may increase inflammation or worsen symptoms of autoimmune diseases.  Healthline published an extensive article on nightshades and various findings and theories on the effects of conditions or sensitivities.  The author also suggests (if you suspect you may have issues with nightshades) to cut ALL nightshades out of your diet for four weeks, then reintroduce them and see how you feel: the ol’ Elimination Diet.  Sounds easy?  Well, here are some fruits & veggies that are nightshades:

  • eggplants
  • goji berries
  • peppers (sweet, bell, chili, etc.)
  • potatoes (except sweet potatoes and yams)
  • tobacco
  • tomatillos
  • tomatoes

This also means that spices derived from those are included in the list of “avoid nightshades”: cayenne pepper, crushed red pepper, chili powder, and paprika.  Um…think we’re done? Nope…think again – ketchup, marinara sauce, hot sauce, and salsa all are made from nightshade components. Not an easy task avoiding nightshades.

But are tomatoes the only source of lycopene? Nope – plenty of other fruits and veggies contain lycopene:

  • apricots
  • asparagus (that’s not red!)
  • basil (again…not red!)
  • gac fruit (what is that?!?)
  • goji berry (aka wolfberries; careful…it’s a nightshade)
  • papaya
  • parsley (it’s green!)
  • pink grapefruit
  • pink guava
  • red cabbage
  • red bell peppers
  • red carrots
  • rosehips
  • sea-buckthorn
  • watermelon

A 2015 study tested 10 fruits and veggies in raw and processed forms to discover which had the highest lycopene content.  A breakdown of the tested fruits and veggies (lowest to highest lycopene quantities) in their raw forms: watermelon, asparagus, carrot, grapefruit, gac, red cabbage, sweet peppers, papaya, tomato, and pink guava.  In processed food form, the following order was determined (lowest to highest): mango juice, canned carrot juice, cherry tomato paste, watermelon juice, dried apricots, marinara sauce, sundried tomatoes, canned tomato juice, canned tomato puree, and canned tomato paste.  That being said, they concluded the study by stating, ” The appropriate dose and duration of lycopene supplementation remains to be determined.”  It’s been said that just 8 ounces of tomato juice a day can help increase the levels of lycopene in your system. But, but, but…TOMATOES…nightshades…Endometriosis…!!

Last night, Merritt Jones of Natural Harmony Reproductive Health taught a class on nutrition and Endometriosis and discussed nightshades and why they may be harmful to Endometriosis-sufferers and should be limited or avoided altogether.  But, she also stressed finding what works best for your body, your digestion, and your symptoms.

But wait! There’s more…a flipside of the flipside!  Healthline also wrote an article about nightshades and inflammation in regards to arthritis pain.  Some people with arthritis who avoided nightshades did not experience any symptom relief after eliminating nightshades, so they were encouraged to continue to eat them due to the health benefits that they provide.  The pros outweighed the cons for those individuals.  AND, Ms. Jones informed us at last night’s class that if cutting out anti-inflammatory foods does not help reduce symptoms, you may be suffering from a bit of bad gut health, possibly even leaky gut syndrome.  Always talk to your healthcare provider if things aren’t working – something else may be going on.

So now what?  Tomatoes are good for you. Tomatoes are bad for you.  “Tomayto, tomahto” – do your own research, try the elimination diet, see how you feel, and follow your gut (but do make sure your gut is healthy!).  BUT if you do want to increase your lycopene intake, there are plenty of other options (food and supplement-wise) besides tomatoes.  And, as always, please talk to your healthcare providers before starting any new supplements.

What am I gonna do?  Man, I love me some tomatoes.  I have a little carton of them on my desk right now – delicious, cherub tomatoes.  I really don’t know what I’m going to do.  So, that means I’ll likely do my best to cut them out (and other nightshades) to see if I notice a difference in how I feel – and decide after I reintroduce them back into my diet.

But what about you? What are you going to do? Or what have you already done – and did it make a difference? I’d love to hear about it…drop me a comment below.

(Updated March 27, 2019)


Annual Review of Food Science and Technology (Manuscript; 2010) – An Update on the Health Effects of Tomato Lycopene

Canadian Medical Association Journal (Article; Sept. 2000) Tomato Lycopene and Its Role in Human Health and Chronic Diseases

Daily MailEating Tomatoes Could Help Fight a Painful Womb Condition that Affects 2 Million Women in UK

Dr. WeilTomatoes for Endometriosis?

Healthline (Article; June 2017) – Are Nightshades Bad for You?

Healthline (Article; March 2017) – Nightshade Vegetables and Inflammation: Can They Help with Arthritis Symptoms?

Journal of Basic Sciences – (Article, 2015) – Evaluation of Lycopene Contents from Various Fruits and Processed Food

Journal of the Natural Cancer Institute – (Article; July 2007) – The U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s Evidence-Based Review for Qualified Health Claims: Tomatoes, Lycopene, and Cancer

Journal of the Society of Laparoendoscopic Surgeons – (Article; Apr-Jun 2007) Patients with Chronic Pelvic Pain: Endometriosis or Interstitial Cystitis/Painful Bladder Syndrome?

LiveScience– (Article, Oct. 2015) – What are Carotenoids?

Livestrong – (Article; Oct. 2017) – List of Nightshade Vegetables & Fruits

~ Again, I am a layman.  I do not hold any college degrees, nor mastery of knowledge.  Please take what I say with a grain of salt.  If curious, do your own research 😉 Validate my writings.  Or challenge them.  And ALWAYS feel free to consult with your physician. Always.  Yours ~ Lisa

Endo & Nutrition Workshop in San Diego!

 merritt copy

Optimal Nutrition to Manage Endometriosis

Join us for a discussion on how diet and nutrition can best support those living with Endometriosis. Merritt Jones is an EndoSister, certified nutritionist, licensed acupuncturist and primary care provider here in San Diego. She is excited to share with you what she’s learned over the years about how nutrition can impact Endometriosis.

We’ll discuss:

– The connection between food, digestion and endometriosis

– Foods that reduce inflammation/reduce endo signs and symptoms

– Foods that may make endo signs and symptoms worse

– Tools to manage endometriosis signs and symptoms naturally

– The emotional implications of nutrition for Endo (you don’t have to be perfect!)

– Much more!

Date:  October 25, 2017

Time: 6:00pm – 7:30pm

Location: Mission Valley Library (in their Community Room); 2123 Fenton Parkway, San Diego, CA 92108

If you’d like to come, please email me here.  Space is limited.  As usual, this is FREE!

If you’d like to share with others, we also have a Facebook event page:  https://www.facebook.com/events/727045307488736

If you have a question for Merritt (even if you can’t attend), please feel free to e-mail her confidentially at Merritt@JonesFamilyAcupuncture.com. There is no question too silly/personal etc.


A paper on the holistic treatment of Endometriosis


The Ohlone Herbal Center published Whitney Staeb’s apprenticeship paper in October 2016 about the holistic treatment approaches of Endometriosis.  If you’d like to read the 16-page report in it’s entirety, please click here.

It discusses herbs and flower essences that may help ease inflammation and symptoms.  Although it does not discuss doses, it does talk about the supposed medicinal properties of each and combinations that may help during cycles.  If intrigued, read the paper and consult with your healthcare provider and an herbalist.

Diet and proper nutrition play a large role possibly controlling Endometriosis symptoms.  She identifies some “ideal foods” that may be incorporated into, and excluded from, your diet.

Lifestyle changes such as switching feminine hygiene products, exercising, taking warm baths, using heating pads, and practicing good self-care may also ease the physical and mental issues of Endometriosis.

I encourage you to read her paper yourself (click here).  See if any of it speaks to you.  And, again, please do your own research (look for the pros and cons of each listed suggestion) and speak with your healthcare provider before starting any new regimen.

Have you ever, or do you presently, take any of the herbs/supplements referenced in this paper?  Please share your experiences with us in the comments below. Your journey may help others!



Endometriosis & Eggs

Carton of one dozen eggs

Note: this is about eating eggs. If you’re looking for info on Endometriosis and freezing your eggs for fertility treatments, click here.

So you may know a lot of the dietary restrictions many women choose to follow with Endometriosis.  I’ve heard “don’t eat eggs,” and “eat eggs!”  I LOVE me some eggs, so have decided to continue to devour them, but am curious as to the whole “don’t eat eggs” mentality – and it’s something I’ve never really looked into.  I’m assuming it has to do with hormones and proteins, just like red meats and dairy, but will give it a looksy today.

Before I get started, I will reiterate : your dietary restrictions may be different than mine.  What makes me feel good may make you feel worse, and vice versa.   If you don’t know how your body responds to eggs, cut them out for 3 weeks and reintroduce them…pay attention to how you feel.  Are your symptoms better? Worse? Unchanged?  It’s an individual experience.

So, are eggs bad for Endometriosis?

Some believe women with Endometriosis should eat eggs to maintain healthy levels of protein, Omega-3 fatty acids, and iron.  Others believe that eggs may contain increased hormones (for production value) or dioxins and chemicals (from the chicken feed or other contaminates), which will transfer into our bodies and feed our Endometriosis. For example, if hens are fed a soy-based feed, a small amount phytoestrogens (yes, those estrogens which effect our levels of estrogen) may transfer to the egg.    A lot of chicken feed is made with soybeans.  It’s a “Three Degrees of Kevin Bacon,” theory – but if you’re wanting to limit your intake, you may want to research what your chickens are eating…A 2016 study found that hens who were fed flax sprouts laid eggs with a higher phytoestrogen concentration than other eggs.  There’s that evil “P” word again…

Many of us EndoSisters avoid soy and flax, since it can increase our estrogen levels.

In Iran, a 2015 study found that 3% of commercially-sold eggs tested positive for antibiotic contaminate residue on the shells – the yolks of many of those eggs were found to be contaminated with tetracycline and aminoglycosides, making them unfit for human consumption.

Eggs are also a source of arachidonic acid, which is a pro-inflammatory Omega-6 fatty acid.  PRO-INFLAMMATORY.  Fore more info on arachidonic acid, check out this video :

However, that being said, others believe eggs are a great tool to help fight inflammation (especially when combined with a low-carb diet) because of the high Omega-3 fatty acids found in eggs.  The usual back and forth – they’re good for you, they’re bad for you, they’re good for you, they’re…

It’s been suggested that if you do eat eggs (mmmmm…eggs!), to purchase organic, free-range eggs to reduce the chances of manipulated hormones or chemical contamination.  Suggestions I’ve found?  Try to purchase “barnyard eggs,” where the hens have been fed their natural diet (worms, bugs, nasties) and not corn/soy.  However – do be wary even those options may not be good for you ( regardless of what sort of feed and treatment the hens received):

A 2016 study of home-grown chicken eggs in Tanzania found unhealthy dioxin levels in the eggs – which may have been from feed or ground contamination. A 2016 study of eggs in the Netherands and Greece found that home-raised chickens were exposed to more PFASs (man-made chemicals) than farm/factory-raised chickens and the figures may have varied due to outdoor contact and exposure to the chemicals.  Another 2016 study found that eggs from free-range chickens were contaminated with unsafe dioxin levels due to the chemically-treated wood of their hen house.  This study states, “because organic and free-range eggs are increasingly more popular among consumers who prefer to buy ‘healthy’ food, the monitoring of such products is essential to minimize the potential health risks associated with additional and unnecessary exposure to persistent organic pollutants, including dioxins.”

For a fun site which discusses differences between farm-raised, factory-raised, free-range, caged, etc. chickens/eggs, check out Wake The Wolves or Mercola.

Wanna skip out on eggs?  Try using egg substitutes when baking:  a potato starch product, arrowroot powder, psyllium seed husk, bananas, applesauce, flax seed (*runs away*), or even baking powder.  Do your research to figure out which method would be best to use as a binder for your baking needs…

So what I learned today:

  1. Eggs may be bad for Endometriosis because of the pro-inflammatory properties of arachidonic acid, an Omega-6 fatty acid;
  2. Eggs may be good for Endometriosis because of the anti-inflammatory properties of the Omega-3 fatty acids;
  3. Farm/factory-raised eggs may be contaminated with dioxins, chemicals, etc.;
  4. Free-range/cage-free raised eggs may be contaminated with dioxins, chemicals, etc.; and
  5. Phytoestrogen levels may be increased in eggs due to soy or flax in the feed.

Is your head spinning yet? Mine is.

So, all of this bad talk about eggs…and then throw in a dash of “the good talk” – what am I going to do?  Well, I love eggs too much to stop eating them, BUT I will be doing my research when it comes to brands of eggs, feeding habits, etc.  I know there’s a local egg farm near my house – I may just look into their feeding practices and buy from them.  I will likely be paying more than I am comfortable with, which may lead me to reducing my egg intake altogether (ha!).

What about you?  Gonna change your egg-eating habits at all?

(Updated March 25, 2019)


Agronomy – (Article; Feb. 2016) Organically Grown Soybean Production in the USA: Constraints and Management of Pathogens and Insect Pests

Ami Marshall – (Blog) The Endometriosis Diet: Eggs & Soy

AtkinsInflammation, Eggs and a Lower Carb Eating Program

Chemosphere – (Article; Feb. 2016) Perfluoroalkylated Substances (PFASs) in Home and Commercially Produced Chicken Eggs from the Netherlands and Greece

Diet Health Club – (Article) Endometriosis Diet, Nutrition

Dr. Lisa Watson – (Blog) The Endometriosis Diet

End of Pain – (Blog) Eggs are OK!

Endometriosis Diet – (Blog) Foods You Should Avoid

Environmental Pollution – (Article; Jan. 2016) Pentachlorophenol from an Old Henhouse as a Dioxin Source in Eggs and Related Human Exposure

Everyday Health – (Article; May 2010) Essentials of an Endometriosis Diet

Google Books – (Excerpt) Recipes for the Endometriosis Diet

HannahSmith86 – (Blog) The Endometriosis Diet

Huffington Post – (Article; Sept. 2013) Are Eggs Really Nature’s Perfect Food?

Journal of Functional Foods – (Article; April 2016) Aflalfa and Flax Sprouts Supplementation Enriches the Content of Bioactive Compounds and Lowers the Cholesterol in Hen Egg

Livestrong – (Article; June 2011) Arachidonic Acid and Inflammation

My Endo Coach – (Blog) Endometriosis Diet [2/14/20: blog no longer active and link removed]

Natural Fertility Info – (Blog) 5 Steps to Reversing Infertility

NutritionFacts.org – (Video) Chicken, Eggs, and Inflammation

Phoenix Helix – (Blog) My Experience with the Paleo Autoimmune Protocol

Prevention – (Article; Feb. 2016) The 10 Best Anti-Inflammatory Foods to Keep on Hand

Science of the Total Environment – (Article; May 2016) Dioxins, PCBs, Chlorinated Pesticides and Brominated Flame Retardants in Free-Range Chicken Eggs from Peri-Urban Areas in Arusha, Tanzania: Levels and Implications for Human Health

The Iranian Journal of Veterinary Science and Technology – (Abstract; 2015) A Survey of Antibiotic Residues in Commercial Eggs in Kermanshah, Iran

Today’s Dietitian – (Article; Feb. 2013) Gut Health and Autoimmune Disease – Research Suggests Digestive Abnormalities May Be the Underlying Cause

~ Again, I am a layman.  I do not hold any college degrees, nor mastery of knowledge.  Please take what I say with a grain of salt.  If curious, do your own research Validate my writings.  Or challenge them.  And ALWAYS feel free to consult with your physician. Always.  Yours ~ Lisa

Is Flax Good or Bad for Endometriosis

flaxseed cover

So for the past several months, I’ve been using flax milk instead of coconut milk in my tea, cereal, and protein shakes.  I’d grown tired of coconut milk, and am also wanting to lose an unwanted and “sudden” 20-pound weight gain.  It really wasn’t sudden, I just hadn’t noticed it until none of my pants fit…grrrr.

I’d read the flaxseed (also known as linseed) was a phenomenal source of Omega-3 fatty acids, protein, and fiber, and people boast of it’s anti-inflammatory properties.  So I was ecstatic to try it out and actually not mind the flavor of flax milk!  It’s gotta be good for my Endo, right?

That is, until this weekend, when someone on an Endo group on Facebook responded to my flax milk post that flax is bad for Endometriosis.  Why?  She didn’t say until several posts later, but it looks like flax seed and flax oil mimic estrogen, much like soy… *grumble grumble grumble*

But never one to take anything at face value, I’ve decided to do my own research and decide for myself if it’s something I’m going to give up…

I repeat, *grumble grumble grumble*.

What the Interweb Says

Flaxseed and soy are very high in plant estrogen which may mess with your hormones. Flaxseed contains lignans (found in the seed husk and fibers), a natural plant estrogen that many post-menopausal women consume to mitigate their menopausal symptoms.  Melissa of EndoEmpowered found that after consuming flax oil for several months her pain flared up.  Ut oh…sounds familiar to me…

The fiber of flaxseed is high in lignans, which may affect estrogen levels, although some believe plant estrogen may actually block estrogen in the body, rather than heighten the levels.

Some people grind up flaxseeds and either consume them as a powder or sprinkle them into food and beverage.  Others partake of flaxseed oil in liquid or capsule form.  And others, like myself, enjoy them in ready-made products such as a milk-alternative to dairy.  Everything I’ve read says to not eat raw or unripe flaxseeds (they may be poisonous).

It is recommended that some women keep away from phytoestrogens (such as those found in flaxseed or soy), including women with:

  • a history of breast, cervical, or uterine cancer;
  • who have a BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene defect;
  • suffer from Endometriosis, fibroids, or PCOS;
  • women who are on birth control or hormone replacement therapy;
  • women who are pregnant or breastfeeding;
  • infants and toddlers; and,
  • teens and women under 30.

But, like all things in life, you discover the flip side.  The Center for Endometriosis Care has an article promoting the dietary use of flaxseed for women with Endometriosis.  The Center for Young Women’s Health also promotes the use of flaxseed as a valued source of Omega-3 fatty acids when dealing with Endometriosis.  Herb Wisdom says it can be beneficial for treating Endometriosis symptoms, but women with Endo should first consult with their physicians before starting it.  The Green Parent encourages Endometriosis sufferers to grind flaxseed and sprinkle it on cereal.

What Science Says

A 1997 study found that post-menopausal women who partook of a phytoestrogen-rich diet had fewer hot flashes and less complaints of vaginal dryness than the control group of the study.

A 2008 study found flaxseed to be an excellent source of Omega-3 fatty acids, which helped the body to eliminate excess estrogen.  It also referenced that the fiber found in flaxseed helped promote healthy bowel movements, which also eliminates excess estrogen.

Another 2008 study found that postmenopausal women who consumed ground flaxseed had lower levels of estradiol, estrone, and testosterone.  It concluded that dietary flaxseed may “moderately lower serum levels of sex steroid hormones…”

A 2009 study followed women who were taking flaxseed powder supplements.  It concluded that there is a possible risk between diet and a risk of breast or hormone-dependent cancers.  Hormone-dependent?  Endometriosis is not a cancer, but is hormone-dependent.

Flaxseed consumption has been found to benefit men who are being treated for prostate cancer or post-menopausal women seeking symptom relief.

There are A LOT of studies of the benefits of consuming flaxseed, especially for it’s anti-inflammatory and Omega-3 fatty acid properties.  There are also a lot of animal studies where flaxseed was given to critters prior their pregnancy, and uterine lining turned out to be a lot more fetus-friendly.  But what I haven’t been able to find are studies directly correlating to Endometriosis and flaxseeds.  And that’s frustrating.

What Are You Gonna Do?

There’s a lot of back and forth.  It’s harmful. It’s helpful. Take it.  Don’t take it.  *augh*

It appears flax does alter some hormone levels.  That alone encourages me (me, myself, and I) to cut it out of my supplements and diet because I am taking low-dose birth control pills  specifically to maintain low-level hormones within my body.  Why would I tamper with that?  But that may not be your decision…and that’s okay.

Today I’ve written the people at Good Karma who make the flax milk that I’d been drinking.  I read on their page that they use cold-pressed flax oil, but it doesn’t state whether it is filtered or not  I’ve popped the question…And they wrote me back!!!  You can read their response here.

flaxseed ground
Ground flaxseed with husks

I’ve read that some flaxseed oil does not contain any lignans since the ground flaxseed husks and fibers (which contain the lignans) are filtered out.  But be careful!  Not all flaxseed oils are filtered.  Some pump up the amount of lignans in the oil.  And some companies that filter their oil then reintroduce ground flaxseed back into the product to improve the taste and supposed benefits, but still call it filtered.  Many healthy lifestyle webpages encourage you to purchase cold-pressed oil, as opposed to hot processed oils to preserve the beneficial properties.  Do your own research and read the labels.

flaxseed labels

But back to you.  What are you going to do?  It really is going to boil down to YOUR personal choice.  Do your research.  Talk to your physician.  Follow your gut-instinct and listen to your body.

Still want some great Omega-3 fatty acids, but want to stray from flaxseed?  Try fish oil (oh man, do those pills reek…and make you burp reeky fish taste) or krill oil (krill are plankton and these don’t make me burp).  I’m presently taking a krill and fish oil combo…stinky, but no burpies.


Biology of Reproduction – (Abstract; Aug. 2012) Effects of the Omega-6/Omega-3 Fatty Acic Ratios and of Enterolactone on Dairy Cow Endometrial Cells

Brainy Weight Loss – (Blog) Flaxseed Oil Side Effects You Should Be Aware of, Especially When You Use Flaxseed Oil with Ground Flaxseed Inside

Center for Endometriosis Care – Nutrition for Endometriosis

Center for Young Women’s HealthEndometriosis: Nutrition and Exercise

EndoEmpowered – (Blog; May 2014) Why I Don’t Think Women with Endometriosis Should Eat Flaxseeds 

Herb Wisdom – (Blog) Flaxseed Oil (Linum Usitatissimum)

Integrative Medicine: A Clinician’s Journal – (Abstract; Oct./Nov. 2008) An Integrative Approach to Fibroids, Endometriosis, and Breast Cancer Prevention

International Journal of Cancer Research and Treatment – (Abstract; May 2010) Effects of Phytoestrogen Extracts Isolated from Flax on Estradiol Production and ER/PR Expression in MCF7 Breast Cancer Cells

International Journal of Cancer Research and Treatment – (Abstract; May 2005) Flax-seed Extracts with Phytoestrogenic Effects on a Hormone Receptor-positive Tumour Cell Line

Kansas State University – (Abstract; 2005) Fatty Acid Composition of the Porcine Conceptus in Response to Maternal Omega-3 Fatty Acid Supplementation

Krill Facts

Lignans.net – (Product description) Lignans Health Benefits

Livestrong – (Article; Jan. 2014) Bad Side Effects of Flaxseed

Livestrong – (Article; Jan. 2016) Filtered vs. Unfiltered Flaxseed Oil

Molecular Nutrition and Food Research – (Abstract; July 2009) Dietary  Sources of Lignans and Isoflavones Modulate Responses of Estradiol in Estrogen Reporter Mice

Natural Fertility & Wellness – (Blog; Aug. 2013) 3 Foods to Avoid for Endometriosis (and 3 to Eat!)

Oilypedia – (Article) Types of Flaxseed Oil: Choose the Best for You

Phytochemistry Reviews – (Abstract; Oct. 2003) Flax Seed Lignan in Disease Prevention and Health Promotion

Taylor & Francis Online – (Abstract; Sept. 2008) Effect of Dietary Flaxseed on Serum Levels of Estrogens and Androgens in Postmenopausal Women

Taylor & Francis Online – (Abstract; Nov. 2009) Effect of Flaxseed Consumption on Urinary Estrogen Metabolites in Postmenopausal Women

The Budwig Diet & Protocol – (Article) Linseed Oil: To Filter or Not to Filter?

The Green Parent – (Blog; Feb. 2014) Heal Endometriosis

The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism – (Abstract; Nov. 1993 Effect of Flax Seed Ingestion on the Menstrual Cycle

The North American Menopause Society – (Abstract; 1997) Short-Term Effects of Phytoestrogen-rich Diet on Postmenopausal Women

The World’s Healthiest Foods – (Blog) What Are Your Recommendations About Flaxseed Oil?

University Health News Daily – (Article; June 2016) Should You Be Concerned About Flaxseed?

~ Again, I am a layman.  I do not hold any college degrees, nor mastery of knowledge.  Please take what I say with a grain of salt.  If curious, do your own research Validate my writings.  Or challenge them.  And ALWAYS feel free to consult with your physician. Always.  Yours ~ Lisa

Endometriosis & Wine

Glass of red wine

So, we’ve all heard that a glass of wine can be good for you.  Healthy, actually.  Then we’ve all heard that it can be harmful.  Throw in the mix that some of us suffer from Endometriosis…and that many women try to cut alcohol out of their lifestyle to prevent flare-ups and symptoms.  Alcohol is not only harmful to our bodies and livers, but contains a lot of sugar, as well as wreaks havoc on our system.  But I like me some vino!

Cutting out alcohol all together is likely your safest bet if you’re wanting to live cleaner and healthier.  The liver filters out toxins, as well as estrogen, from the body.  As you may have read elsewhere, Endometriosis is an estrogen-fed and reliant disease.  If our livers cannot properly filter out estrogen, we are simply empowering our illness.  Alcohol is also high in sugar …and we’ve previously discussed how sugar may increase your Endometriosis pain and flare-ups.  Studies have shown that alcohol may also increase estrogen levels due to phytoestrogens in alcohol…plant estrogens that  mimic human estrogen (…wait…I didn’t know that. Crap.)

But, if you’re like me and you don’t want to cut it out, what can you do?  What further harm are you causing? I like drinking wine, but how does it effect Endometriosis?  Is it harmful?  Helpful?  What’s the difference between red and white wine? Seeing as I enjoy a glass of red or white (or two) with dinner or before bed, I got curious…as did a gal in our Endo Support Group.  So, the research begins!

The American Heart Association recommends that if you must drink alcohol, women should limit themselves to one glass a day…that’s a 5-ounce glass of wine .  Moderation, people (yeah, yeah, practice what I preach).

Wine snobs will tell you that red wine boasts more minerals and antioxidants than white.  A 5-ounce glass of red wine has 0.9g of sugar (compared to 1.4g in white wine), as well as more iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, choline, lutein, and zeaxanthin than white wine.  And whenever you hear about a study of the health benefits of wine, it’s regarding red wine; not white.  Prevention Magazine put out a fantastic graphic that shows the differences.

Red and green grapes

Let’s pretend that we’re not swayed from the phtyoestrogens, and we’ll continue drinking.  Wine is rich in flavonoids, which have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.  Okay, that’s a bonus.  Most wine is also preserved by using sulphites (as is most of our food products)…which many women say increases their Endometriosis pain and flare-ups.  That’s not good.  Wine has resveratrol, a phytoestrogen from the skin of the grapes, that has anti-inflammatory and antiangiogenic (inhibits the growth of new blood cells) properties.  It may  also act as a natural aromatase inhibitor.  Aromatase is one of the body’s ways of producing estrogen, and if these levels are lowered, it may help with Endo growth and symptoms.  Could be good.  (Curious?  Read the “SCIENCE” section below).

Let’s talk more about resveratrol.  It’s found in red-skinned fruit, like red grapes or cranberries.  It’s also in blueberries, pistachios, and peanuts.  Red wine has more in it than white wine.  Resveratrol has been found to reduce inflammation and lessen Endo lesions, as well as adhesions…but nobody knows the exact dosage people should take to experience benefits.  On average, red wine can contain approximately 12.60 mg of resveratrol per liter.  Some authors suggest you’d need to drink 3-40 liters of wine per day to reap those benefits.

Let’s put this in terms I understand : a typical bottle of wine is 750 ml.  There are approximately 148 ml in 5 ounces, which is the recommended size of a glass of wine.  If I had to drink 3 liters of wine per day to get the supposed health benefits of resveratrol, doing the math (thank you Google!) that’s about 20 glasses of wine…per day.  Yeah, no.

20 glasses of red wine

Okay, scratching resveratrol off as a selling-point purely for drinking red wine.  I tried.  I really did…BUT…do scroll down and read about the studies between resveratrol and Endometriosis, it was fascinating!


The only study I was able to find that studied the effects of resveratrol on humans was published in 2012.  It’s goal was to see if resveratrol was an effective aromatase inhibitor…patients had been surgically diagnosed with Endometriosis, and all were on oral contraceptives.  They were prescribed their usual birth control pill, but were also given 30 mg of resveratrol per day.  At the end of two months, many women stated they had “a significant reduction” in their pain, some had a complete resolution of pain.  The authors of the study feel that the use of oral contraceptives and natural aromatase inhibitors may be an effective treatment of Endo pain.  Of course, further studies are needed, as well as clinical trials.

Three separate studies in 2013 found that mice which were surgically implanted with Endometriosis, then treated with resveratrol, had less Endometriosis lesions and growth than mice that were not treated.  These results may be because of the anti-inflammatory and antiangiogenic properties.  These studies each stressed that animal models may react differently than human models and further studies are required; however, it may prove to be a “promising candidate” and “will assist the development of novel natural treatments” for Endometriosis.  Dosage amounts also need to be further studied.

Another 2013 study found that resveratrol may make Endometriomas better because of its inflammation suppression.  Two similar studies were conducted in 2014 and also found a reduction in the amount and size of Endometriosis lesions.  These studies state that further studies are required, especially to determine appropriate dosing.

A 2014 study focused on resveratrol and adhesion prevention.  It found that rats that were given resveratrol both before and after abdominal surgery had fewer adhesions present than rats that were not given anything prior or post-op.  It suggests that resveratrol might be a pre- and post-op strategy in the prevention of development post-operative adhesions.

Another study conducted in 2014 found that “high doses” of resveratrol had the potential to benefit Endometriosis treatment.  I don’t think a glass of red wine a day will get us to those “high dose” levels…

In 2015, another study was conducted on rats implanted with Endometriosis, this time comparing resveratrol to three control groups : one group was given Leuprolide Acetate (Lupron Depot), a second group was given resveratrol AND Leuprolide Acetate, and the third group was given just resveratrol.  It found that the rats that were given resveratrol and the rats that were given Leurpolide Acetate both had a reduction in lesions; however, the group that was given the combination of both showed a reduction in anti-inflammatory and antigiogenic properties.  It cautions the use of resveratrol with other medications as it may lower efficacy.

A 2015 study suggests that women with Endometriosis may want to consider resveratrol in their diet, as well as Omega 3s, n-acetylcysteine supplements (which may reduce endometriomas), Vitamin D, fruits, veggies, and organic whole grains.

A 2016 study about angiogenesis and Endometriosis states, “currently, it is not a question whether angiogenesis is involved, but how it is involved. So far, the knowledge of how endometriotic lesions acquire angiogenic ability remains unknown.”  If resveratrol can prevent Endo from forming or growing, holy hell, that’s awesome.  Let’s hope research continues.

It’s been a while since I’ve seen any studies about Endometriosis and resveratrol, so I was eager to read one that slipped by my inbox in February of 2019 in Molecules. It breaks down the anti-inflammatory properties of the phytochemical, the past studies , and the “promising” properties it possesses to possibly fight Endometriosis due to its ability to supposedly suppress some inflammatory biomarkers. As usual, do your research and talk to your doctors.


After reading about all of this, I’d like to reaffirm my desire to refrain from hard liquor, cut back on my beer intake, and just settle on a glass of red wine.  Yes, just ONE glass.  And white wine?  Seeing as it doesn’t appear to have too much resveratrol, I should hurry up and finish the bottle in the fridge so I can buy more red wine… 😉 Or not. Depends on my tastes for the day and what I’m eating for dinner, I suppose.

Also, prior to today I’d never heard of resveratrol, nor it’s properties.  So, I’d like to thank the curious minds for pointing me in a direction I’d never heard of.  Here’s to hoping that science and medicine can further research the benefits and risks of resveratrol usage, as well as appropriate dosage, so women with Endometriosis may one day consider taking it as an alternative treatment.  If you’d like to talk to your doctor about resveratrol, please do so.  But don’t run out and start anything without first consulting with your physician.  We still don’t know the side effects of long-term use or drug interactions.

An article put out by Harvard states that high doses of resveratrol have been shown to increase estrogen, but others have shown it reduces estrogen.  It’s still a large unknown…Harvard’s article suggests that if you do want to partake of resveratrol, get it from your food and wine, not from supplements.

A subsequent Harvard article two years later stated resveratrol in your usual diet didn’t do much difference as far as health benefits go.  It quotes Dr. David Sinclair as saying, “You would need to drink a hundred to a thousand glasses of red wine to equal the doses that improve health in mice.”  Granted, this article is leaning more toward overall health, and not Endometriosis.  It does discuss how best to purchase supplements, though, if you were interested.

Most recently, a 2017 study published in Biomedicine & Pharmacotherapy found that although resveratrol may reduce inflammation and protect against lesions, further studies are required to determine safety and effectiveness of long-term use.

I think I’ll still enjoy partaking of minuscule amounts of resveratrol in my red wine, berries, and pistachios.  No need to run out and buy supplements, or praise an unproven miracle…but, I will keep an eye out for ongoing studies of resveratrol and Endometriosis.  It’s an interesting development.

Will I stop drinking alcohol? No.  Fewer things are more relaxing than a glass of wine after work or an ice cold beer on a hot summer day.  But I will think twice before indulging in a second or third glass now knowing that it may increase my estrogen production.  Sneaky, sneaky phytoestrogens.  Is wine more helpful than harmful for my Endometriosis? It’s likely more harmful with the sugar and phytoestrogens.  The cons outweigh the benefits, but seeing as I don’t have flare-ups after moderate use, I don’t want to stop.  Excessive use? Oh yeah, that’ll be nipped in the bud.

What are your thoughts?  And cheers!

(Updated May 8, 2019)


Alcohol Health & Research World – (Article; 1998) Alcoholic Beverages as a Source of Estrogens

Biomedicne & Pharmacotherapy – (Abstract; 2017) Resveratrol and Endometriosis: In vitro and animal studies and underlying mechanisms (review)

EHealth Forum Are you Making Your Endometriosis Worse, Every Day, Without Even Realising It?

Endometriosis Support – Drinking Red Wine May Slow Endometriosis

Endometriosis UpdateThat’s an Awful Lot of Red Wine

European Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology and Reproductive Biology – (Abstract; Jan. 2015)

FloLivingHow to Stop Alcohol from Messing with your Hormones

Gynecological Endocrinology – (Abstract; Nov. 2014) A Potential Novel Treatment Strategy : Inhibition of Angiogenesis and Inflammation 

Harvard Health Publications – (Article; May 2014) Diet Rich in Resveratrol Offers No Health Boost

Harvard Health Publications – (Article; Feb. 2012) Resveratrol – the Hype Continues

Hormones MatterResveratrol from Red Grapes Blocks Endometriosis

Human Fertility – (Abstract; Sept. 2012) Resveratrol Inhibits Postoperative Adhesion Formation in a Rat Uterine Horn Adhesion Model

Human Reproduction (Abstract; 2013) Natural Therapies Assessment for the Treatment of Endometriosis

Human Reproduction – (Abstract; Jan. 2013) Resveratrol is a Potent Inhibitor of Vascularization and Cell Proliferation in Experimental Endometriosis

International Journal of Women’s Health – (Article; Oct. 2012) Advantages of the Association of Resveratrol with Oral Contraceptives for Management of Endometriosis-Related Pain

Life ExtensionEndometriosis : Targeted Natural Interventions

Live StrongHow Much Red Wine Do You Need to Drink for Health Benefits?

Live StrongHow Much Red Wine Do You Need to Get Enough Resveratrol?

Medical News TodayWine : Health Benefits and Health Risks

Molecules – (Abstract; Feb. 2019) Therapeutic Approaches of Resveratrol on Endometriosis via Anti-Inflammatory and Anti-Angiogenic Pathways

Pathology Discovery – (Article; Jan. 2016) Role of Angiogenesis in Endometriosis

Peace with EndoAlcohol and Endometriosis

Prevention MagazineRed Wine vs. White Wine

Remedy Liquor – Infographic

Reproductive Sciences – (Abstract; Oct. 2013) Regression of Endometrial Implants by Resveratrol in an Experimentally Induced Endometriosis Model in Rats

Reproductive Sciences – (Abstract; Nov. 2014) Resveratrol and Endometrium : A Closer Look at an Active Ingredient of Red Wine Using In Vivo and In Vitro Models

SciFlo – (Article; Dec. 2015) Nutritional Aspects Related to Endometriosis

The Journal of Cancer Research and Therapeutics – (Abstract; July 2014) Resveratrol Successfully Treats Experimental Endometriosis Through Modulation of Oxidative Stress and Lipid Peroxidation

The Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology Research – (Article; Dec. 2013) Resveratrol Suppresses Inflammatory Responses in Edometrial Stromal Cells Derived from Endometriosis : A Possible Role of the Sirtuin 1 Pathway

The World’s Healthiest FoodsFlavonoids

Vital Health InstituteWhat does Aromatase have to do with My Endometriosis?

~ Again, I am a layman.  I do not hold any college degrees, nor mastery of knowledge.  Please take what I say with a grain of salt.  If curious, do your own research Validate my writings.  Or challenge them.  And ALWAYS feel free to consult with your physician. Always.  Yours ~ Lisa

Endometriosis & Soy Products

Bowl of soy beans in the pod

Here we go again, inspired to write due to a dietary “restriction.”  I’ve read that as an Endo Sufferer, I should avoid (or drastically cut back from) soy and soy-based products.  I’ve read soy mimics and increases estrogen levels, which we’ve come to understand can affect our Endometriosis growth and symptoms.  So today, I want to do my own research.

Soy products are the “richest sources of isoflavones” that humans can eat.  What the heck is an isoflavone? It’s a “plant-based compound with estrogenic activity” English, Lisa, ENGLISH! It means it’s a plant-based compound that mimics estrogen.  So, soy has a very rich, or high levels, of a property, a compound, a thing…that acts like, or mimics, estrogen.  The isoflavones can attach themselves to estrogen receptors throughout the body, and either mimic or block certain estrogen effects in tissues.

Why is that bad? Well, it’s not, for everyone.  Estrogen may help prevent certain forms of cancer (breast, uterine, or prostrate), stimulate bone growth, or help women suffering with post-menopausal symptoms. But for those of us who suffer from what very-well may be an estrogen-driven disease, it can be very bad.

Endometriosis & Soy

A 2001 study suggested that an increased intake of soy by Japanese women may lead to diseases which may require pre-menopausal hysterectomies, such as Endometriosis.

A study published in 2006 studied a 75-year-old woman who developed a tumor and continued Endometriosis symptoms.  She had a total hysterectomy 30 years prior and had been taking concentrated soy isoflavone supplements as part of her hormone replacement therapy for the past five years.  It stated, “[o]ur data suggest that phytoestrogens at least in concentrated form may play a role not only in maintenance of endometriosis but also in its malignant transformation.”  More studies are needed.

A study in 2008 followed three women who were taking soy supplements and suffered from various reproductive issues, including Endometriosis.  All three women reported a reduction of symptoms after they removed soy from their diets.

Soy also contains high levels of phytic acid, which may cause digestive issues and block mineral absorption.  Why do I say “may?”  Because there are a lot of opposing views on this topic online, whether they be studies, blogs, or corporate pages.  Don’t get me wrong : phytic acid has been shown to contain a lot of healthy properties as well.  But when our bodies are already working on overtime due to chronic inflammation, do we really want to tax it further with mineral deficiencies?

Today’s Soy Crops

There is a lot of uproar and concern over genetically modified crops. But what is a genetically modified organism (aka GMO)?  We’ve all heard about it in the news, read the labels, etc.

The European Union defines a GMO as “[a]n organism is “genetically modified”, if its genetic material has been changed in a way that does not occur under natural conditions through cross-breeding or natural recombination.”

The U.S. Food & Drug Administration defines “genetically engineered” products as, “[g]enetic engineering is the name for certain methods that scientists use to introduce new traits or characteristics to an organism.”  Although the F.D.A. insists that genetically modified crops are safe to consume, there is a lot of concern by the general public of their long-term effects.

The Non-GMO Project defines GMOs as “GMOs (or ‘genetically modified organisms’) are organisms whose genetic material has been artificially manipulated in a laboratory through genetic engineering, or GE. This relatively new science creates unstable combinations of plant, animal, bacteria and viral genes that do not occur in nature or through traditional crossbreeding methods.”

In 1996, the first genetically modified crop of soybeans was planted in the United States.  In 2007, approximately 57% of the world’s soybean crops were genetically modified, over 9 countries, and consuming 60 million hectares of land (that’s approximately 148,263,228 acres!).  Since 2012, 94% of the soybeans grown in the United States are genetically modified to be herbicide-tolerant; they can survive pesticides which kill weeds and insects in the agricultural field.

A 2003 study focused on genetically engineered or modified soybeans and reducing allergens, such as eliminating pollen allergens by using gene suppression techniques.

Are GMOs harmful? Depends on who you ask. Our government says it’s perfectly safe.  Other organizations say they are harmful.  Do you own research; formulate your own opinion.

Drug Interactions and Soy

Certain drugs have been known to interact with soy products.  Certain tumor-treating drugs (Nolvadex, Tamoxifen, or other Selective Estrogen Receptor Modulators) may be less-effective for people who have a high diet of soy-based products.  Studies have shown a decrease of efficiency in animal studies; however, further human studies need to be conducted.  It may also have a decreased affect on people taking Warfarin, a blood clot medication.  For people suffering from hypotyroidism (which is about 42-54% of Endometriosis sufferers), studies have also shown that the dosage of Levothyroxine needed to be increased for people consuming soy-based products, otherwise the thyroid hormone levels were abnormal and the medication was less-effective.

Foods Containing Soy

This is a limited list, but food and beverages that contain soy are: edamame, miso soup, natto, soy cheese, soy meats, soy milk, soy sauce, soy yogurt, tamari sauce, tempeh, and tofu.

Many other foods contain similar isoflavones.  In 2008, the U.S.D.A. put out a report of the isoflavone content of various foods.  You’re welcome to read their report and endless tables (if you dare).  As a quick comparison, look at the content of total isoflavones found in raw edamame (48.95mg/100g), raw potatoes (0.01mg/100g), almonds (0.01mg/100g), and canned tuna (0.28mg/100g).  The Top 10 winners of the most isoflavones content on this 2008 database were:

1. soy meal (209.58mg/100g)

2. soymilk film (196.05mg/100g)

3. soy flour (ranging from 178.10 – 150.94mg/100g)

4. soybean seeds, raw (154.53mg/100g)

5. roasted soy nuts (148.50mg/100g)

6. soy flakes (131.53mg/100g)

7. bacon bits, meatless (118.50mg/100g)

8. soy protein (ranging from 94.65-81.65mg/100g)

9. Kellog’s Smart Start with soy protein (93.90mg/100g)

10. tofu (ranging from 83.20-29.24mg/100g)

Some honorable mentions include:

1. infant formulas, various (ranging from 28.01-25.00mg/100g)

2. red clover (21.00mg/100g)

3. Kellogg’s Kashi Go Lean (17.40mg/100g)

4. Jack in the Box Monster Beef Taco (15.90mg/100g)

5. McDonald’s Cinnamon Roll (6.00mg/100g)

6. Subway Meatball Sandwich (6.00mg/100g)

7. Tigers Milk Protein bar (11.50mg/100g)

8. Cliff bar, energy bar (ranging from 26.90-17.70mg/100g)

On the Flip Side

There is always the “other view” on issues such as these.

A 2007 study found that Japanese women consuming soy products have a reduced risk of developing endometriosis.

Dr. Andrew Weil, a well-respected medical blogger, suggests eating soy-based products due to their health benefits; however, discourages the use of concentrated soy isoflavone supplements and “designer foods” containing soy isoflavones.

The question of the Hour

What will you do…for you; for your Endometriosis?  The one thing I will say to influence your decision : talk to your physician or nutritionist before deciding…

What have I done?  Drastically reduced the amount of soy I consume.  I used to eat edamame several times a week, so I’ve completely cut that out of my diet.  I’ve swapped soy sauce for tamari sauce, which is a fermented and gluten-free version of soy sauce.  I avoid soy-based protein shakes or milks and now consume coconut milk and a brown rice-based protein shake.  I really don’t feel like I’m missing out on much.  But do feel good for cutting back on increasing any additional estrogen levels within my body.

Again, anything I can do to help my body fight the further progression of Endometriosis is worth it to me.

(Updated March 27, 2019)


Dr. Weil

New York Times : (Article) 2014 – A Lonely Quest for Facts on Genetically Modified Crops

Oregon State University

Oxford Journals : (Article) 2003 – Genetically Modified Soybeans and Food Allergies



The Non-GMO Project


United States Department of Agriculture

United States Department of Agriculture Economic Research Service

United States Department of Agriculture Economic Research Service – full 60-page report

United States Food and Drug Administration

United States National Library of Medicine : (Abstract) 2008 – Adverse Effects of Phytoestrogens on Reproductive Health : a Report of Three Cases

United States National Library of Medicine : (Abstract) 2007 – Effect of Soy Isoflavones on Endometriosis : Interaction of Estrogen Receptor 2 Gene Polymorphism

United States National Library of Medicine : (Abstract) 1995 – Phytic Acid: Healthy in Health and Disease

United States National Library of Medicine : (Abstract) 2001 – Soy Product Intake and Premenopausal Hysterectomy in a Follow-up Study of Japanese Women

United States National Library of Medicine : (Abstract) 1992 – Soy Protein, Phytate, and Iron Absorption in Humans

~ Again, I am a layman.  I do not hold any college degrees, nor mastery of knowledge.  Please take what I say with a grain of salt.  If curious, do your own research 😉 Validate my writings.  Or challenge them.  And ALWAYS feel free to consult with your physician. Always.  Yours ~ Lisa