Turmeric & Black Pepper

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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.

 

Resources:

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

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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!

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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!”

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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.

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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.

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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?

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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.

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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…).

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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!

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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.).

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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.

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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).

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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.

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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.

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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!

 

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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:

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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.

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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…).

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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.

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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).

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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!

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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.

 

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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

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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.

Resources:

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!

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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

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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!

Yours,

Lisa

Endometriosis & Eggs

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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.  If you’d like to read more about the effects of soy or flax on Endometriosis – click here for Soy and here for Flax.

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?

Resources:

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

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.

 

 

Resources:

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 CareNutrition 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

Molecular Nutrition and Food Research – (Article; 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; Jan. 2009) 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

wine-549083_960_720

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 (read more here) .  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? (For a great infographic on the differences with red & white wine, click here) 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.

grapes-1147198_960_720

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.

20wine

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!

SCIENCE!

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.

MY TWO CENTS

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 31, 2017]

Resources:

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

Biomedicne & Pharmacotherapy – (Article; 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 SupportDrinking 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

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

A nutritional bar that may help with Endometriosis? Endobar!

SAM_0291

An Endobar?  What the heck is that?  It’s a nutrition bar created specifically for women with Endometriosis (but can also be enjoyed by others).  It’s packed full of ingredients that are good for our bodies and may help ease the symptoms of our disease.  Endobars are non-GMO, gluten free, dairy-free, and are vegetarian! That being said, please be mindful of the ingredients and any sensitivities or allergies you may have.

Why haven’t you heard of them before?  Because they’re new to the market!  The Endobar’s creator (he goes by S.C.) reached out to me for my help and sent me a few bars to sample.  Again, I don’t endorse any products or services on this site, but feel like pointing you, my readers, in this direction so you know these bars exist.  You can decide for yourself if they’re something you wish to try.

SC didn’t create these bars to make a quick buck or push them out overnight.  He began his hunt for nutritious recipes to fight Endometriosis over four years ago.  His wife suffers from Endometriosis and he wanted to do everything he could to help ease her pain.  Due to the recipes he was able to prepare for his wife, after years of studying nutrition, diet, Endometriosis, and inflammation, she was able to manage her pain, without the use of narcotics, until she was able to locate an excision specialist.  SC shared these recipes with friends and family, but all agreed they were just too complicated.  So, a simpler solution was needed.

Hence, the Endobar.  And he’s done so in a very legitimate matter.  Not only has he created a nutrition bar, BUT he’s done it according to FDA rules and regulations, following shipping and insurance codes and procedures, and has secured a US manufacturer.  This is not just a gimic.  He’s invested his own hard-earned money into this labor of love.  And wants to share it with the world.

Initial feedback from over 100 people who tried the Endobar reported an average reduction of Endometriosis pain by 20%.  Is that scientific fact? Of course not, but that’s okay.  It’s feedback from people that have been tasting and testing these bars since the creation of “the final recipe.”  If these bars help women feel better, then S.C. is doing what he set out to do.

Flavor & Texture

My first thoughts on my first bite of an Endobar: it’s got a bit of cinnamon and ginger, with a slight hint of coconut and fruit, and is somewhat nutty.  It’s soft, yet firm and crunchy at the same time, and is very moist.  It’s not too sweet and is juuuust right.  And it’s delicious.  I passed out a few slices to my co-workers who all came back with “I really like it!” and “I’d eat this all of the time” and “Where do I buy these?”  And I really enjoyed my Endobar…I mean devoured the thing.

SAM_0293

Shelf Life

The sample I received was recently created and has a Use By date of March 22, 2016.  So, shelf life may be less than six months.  But do you know what?  I like that.  Makes me feel like there are less preservatives in there.  And as my Mum said when I was talking to her last night, “It’s got life to it.”

Portability

My boyfriend will be the first to tell you what a raging monster I turn into when I’m hungry and there’s no food around.  It’s like Hulk on steroids.  Amazing…well, no not really.  BUT even I feel the difference : there’s a mental and physical shift and I’m quite crazy and quick to anger.  BUT I can keep these bars in my purse or in the glove box of the Jeep and always have something that’s good for me and delicious!  I can also shove it in my backpack or pocket when we go on hikes, motorcycle rides, or even trips to the mall or movies.  Just sometime to tide me over.  And best of all – it’s not going to melt into a blob!

Ingredients

In order of appearance on the nutritional label:

Organic cashew butter – cashews are full of goodness : B vitamins, copper, phosphorus, manganese, magnesium, selenium, zinc, antioxidants, and fiber.  Cashews are believed to help eliminate free radicals, improve bone and joint flexibility, reduce migraines, lower blood pressure, and increase heart health.  Although cashews have a high fat content, it’s considered “the good fat” and contain no cholesterol.

Organic dates – dates are not something I enjoy…BUT…they’re tasty in these bars.  And apparently dates are very good for us.  They reportedly help clear up intestinal/digestive issues and heart problems, as they are also full of vitamins, minerals, and fiber (one small date contains 8% of your daily fiber).  They’re also high in natural sugars : glucose, fructose, and sucrose, for a boost of energy. Although they are high in sugars, studies show that dates are actually a low-glycemic index food and do not significantly increase blood sugar levels.  Dates also contain tannins, which possess anti-inflammatory properties.

Organic clover honey – honey has long been praised as a miracle food.  A Super Food.  It’s fat-free, cholesterol-free, and sodium-free.  It’s got vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and flavonoids. It’s been shown, among other things, to increase energy levels, alleviate allergies, have anti-inflammatory properties, and aid in the healing of wounds.

Pea protein – a great alternative to soy, whey, or meat protein sources, pea protein is packed full of needed amino acids, fiber, and protein.  No lactose.  No gluten.  It’s cholesterol-free and fat-free.

Quinoa puffs – quinoa is a gluten-free seed that’s full of protein, fiber, antioxidants, minerals, and vitamins, including B6, iron, magnesium, cooper, thiamin, phosphorus, and folate.  Quinoa is also rich in anti-inflammatory phytonutrients.  There are some suggestions and ongoing studies that quinoa may contain phytoestrogens, which may mimic estrogen…which may be an issue if you believe Endoemtriosis is an estrogen-driven disease.  Those studies, however, are still pending.

Cherries – as well as being a great source of vitamins and minerals, studies have shown that cherries boost antioxidant activity in the blood stream significantly.  They have also been shown to reduce arthritis and inflammation.

Organic sesame seeds – these are also a great source of fiber, vitamins and minerals, including copper, magnesium, and calcium.  They’re great for bone health, which may be a concern for EndoSisters who have been on medication which may lessen bone density.  A quarter-cup of sesame seeds contains more calcium than a whole cup of milk! Sesame seeds are also considered an anti-inflammatory food because of their high copper content.  They’ve also been shown to help regulate blood pressure levels.

Sweetened blueberries (blueberries, sugar, sunflower oil) – I’m sure we’ve all heard that blueberries are little powerhouses of antioxidants.  But did you also know they’re full of anti-inflammatory phytonutrients, too?  AND they’re a great source of Vitamins K and C, as well as fiber.

Organic cacao nibs – cacao is loaded with flavonoids (antioxidants) and may also help to lower blood pressure.  Cacao, and cocoa, contain caffeine which not only acts as a stimulant but may also increase Endometriosis growth (click here for more info).  But S.C. had these bars tested and they contain less caffeine than one cup of decaffeinated green tea : minuscule  amounts of caffeine (if it worries you, like it does me).  BUT, I’ve decided that, for me, it’s such a trace amount of caffeine that I’ll eat these bars on an as-needed basis (not every day) and in moderation and not boost up my caffeine levels.

Organic coconut – coconuts are filled with good fatty acids and fiber, and have zero trans-fat.  It is also a low glycemic index food and helps reduce cravings for the sweeter things in life.  Coconut is also known to contain anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, antiviral, and antifungal properties.

Organic quinoa flakes – see “Quinoa puffs” above

Organic cocoa – see “Cacao” above

Ground flaxseed – flaxseed is high in fiber and Omega-3 fatty acids.  Just two tablespoons of ground flaxseed contains 133% of our daily allowance of Omega-3 fatty acids!  That’s the GREAT fatty acids!  Ground flaxseed is recommended over whole flaxseed simply because it is easier for our bodies to digest.  Studies have shown that flaxseed oil lowers high blood pressure levels, as well as reduces skin cancer (melanoma tumors in mice).  It is also believed that flaxseed decreases inflammation.

Organic spirulina powder – spiru-what-y?  Spirulina is a microalgae which grows naturally in oceans and salty lakes! Many people claim that Spirulina helps with weight loss, high cholesterol, depression, and stress (just to name a few); although, scientific evidence into these claims is pending.  But, Spirulina is rich in antioxidants, protein, calcium, potassium, magnesium, Vitamin B, and iron.  Several animal and test tube studies have shown that Spirulina has strong antibacterial and antioxidant properties.  Be careful, Spirulina may interact poorly with blood thinner medication, or you may react if you have an iodine allergy.

Chlorella – chlorella is another algae packed full of vitamins (A, B1, B2, B12, C, and E) and minerals.  It is supposedly a great “detox” for harmful toxins in the body, as well as a great aid in good bacteria and flora in your gut.  However, some people may suffer from side effects such as bloating, gas, abdominal pain, diarrhea and/or constipation.  Others may suffer from allergic reactions which may be as irritating as a skin rash or as life-threatening as respiratory problems.  A word of warning : chlorella may interact poorly with blood thinner medication.

Cinnamon – besides smelling and tasting great, cinnamon has a lot of fiber as well as antioxidants.  The essential oils found in cinnamon help against blood clotting and inflammation.

Organic ginger – ginger has long been hailed as an aid for digestive health and wellness.  It is also a very potent anti-inflammatory food as well as a cholesterol reducer.  Studies have shown that after six months of regular ginger consumption with meals, people complained of less joint/arthritis pain and swelling.

Organic vanilla extract – yet another ingredient that is rich in antioxidants.  It has also been shown (in animals) to be a great anti-inflammatory food which also boosts and protects liver function.

Sea salt – the difference between sea salt and table salt is all in the processing.  Sea salt is gathered from evaporated sea water; table salt is mined from salt deposits and processed.  Sea salt also contains less iodine than table salt; however, both table salt and sea salt contain relatively the same amounts of sodium.

Please be aware that the facility where the bars are manufactured (in Los Angeles, California) does process other food items, and the bars are labeled with the warning that it may contain, “traces of peanuts, egg, soy, milk.”

Nutritional Value

label
from Endobar.com; FDA approved nutrition label

It’s got 11% of my daily fiber allowance, as well as 14% of my daily protein allowance!  Seven grams of protein is what I aim for in a protein bar; I don’t need much more for a snacky bar and refuse to buy anything with less.  I was ecstatic to find out the proteins are plant-based, too!

It also kept me full for a while!  I was ravenous when I tore open my Endobar wrapper at 7:45am.  And my stomach didn’t growl until over three hours later at 11:00am.  Normally I have a bowl of oatmeal and a piece of fruit for breakfast.  Today, just 3/4 of the bar … and it kept me going and satisfied for that long!

Price

Wait…”how much are they,” you ask.  Right now they are selling for $2.99 per bar.  Now I’m insanely picky when it comes to protein bars or nutrition bars. Not only with flavor and texture, but with price.  Would I pay $3 for one of these?  I’m stingy.  A tight-ass, one might say.  A penny pincher.  Well, actually, yes…yes, I would pay $3.  I’ve finally found a bar (or it found me) that I 1) enjoy the taste, 2) enjoy the texture, and 3) don’t have to worry about key ingredients being soy, milk, or gluten.  Am I saying it will help with your Endometriosis pain?  No.  I don’t know that it will.  You’ll need to be the judge of that.

Where Can I Get One?

Again, I’m not telling you all to run out and buy this bar, especially just because I like it.  But , S.C. and I just wanted you to know that the Endobars do exist and are available to the public.  His research and dedication to his product, as well as his motivation for creating and distributing these bars, is admirable.  And, I say again, they really are delicious.  And I was so overwhelmingly surprised at my lack of hunger for hours after eating this small, dense bar.  The ingredients in these bars are incredibly healthy and are targeted to fight inflammation and disease.  Any health or pain benefits I get from eating these bars will be an added bonus for me.  Otherwise, they’re delicious and really do the trick with my appetite.

Want more information or want to buy one for yourself and try it out?  You can check out Endobar’s webpage here, or email S.C., the Endobar’s creator, at info@endobar.com.  Also, if you’re a blogger and want to sample his bars and push out your own thoughts and help spread the word, please email him!  He’d love to hear from you!  Anything to help get out the word.

P.S.

I want to extend a giant, heart-felt thank you to S.C. for all of his efforts, and for sharing these bars with me. And also for being one hell of a great husband – reaching out, doing something, trying to find a way to ease his wife’s suffering – the world needs more great partners like you.  And thank you for sharing your discovery with EndoSisters everywhere.

Resources:

American Heart Association

Arthritis Foundation

Bees Online

Bio-Sources

Blueberry Council

Bodybuilding

Coconut Research Center

Coconut Secret

Endobar

Food Revolution

Forbes

Fox News

Jillian Michaels

Livescience – quinoa

Livescience – spirulina

Livestrong – cashews

Livestrong – chlorella warnings

Livestrong – cinnamon

Livestrong – cocao

Livestrong – dates

Livestrong – pea protein

Livestrong – spirulina

Livestrong – spirulina and chlorella warnings

Livestrong – vanilla extract

Mayo Clinic

Medical Daily – cherries

Medical Daily – honey

Medical News Today

Medicine Hunter

Men’s Fitness

National Center for Biotechnology Information

Natural News – cacoa

Natural News – chlorella

Nutrition and You – cashews

Nutrition and You – cherries

Nutrition and You – dates

Nutrition and You – vanilla extract

Organic Cashew Nuts

Organic Facts – dates

Organic Facts – sesame seeds

Save Our Bones

The University of Maryland Medical Center – ginger

The University of Maryland Medical Center – spirulina

The World’s Healthiest Foods – blueberries

The World’s Healthiest Foods – cashews

The World’s Healthiest Foods – cinnamon

The World’s Healthiest Foods – flaxseed

The World’s Healthiest Foods – ginger

The World’s Healthiest Foods – quinoa

The World’s Healthiest Foods – sesame seeds

Today

U.S. News

WebMD

Women Fitness

~ 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