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Natural Solutions to Fibroids

The Non-Invasion Persuasion

“Hysterectomy no longer the only option for uterine fibroids…”

Health headlines are trumpeting this information as if it’s something new. But we told you about another option called uterine artery embolization (UAE) months ago (3/11/04 eTip, subject line “Hysterical, but not funny”). A less invasive procedure, UAE is performed by an interventional radiologist and often not only preserves the woman’s uterus, but also her ability to conceive. It is a viable alternative to the over-performed hysterectomy. After gaining popularity in much of Europe, it is finally picking up speed in this country as well.

But while the word is getting out that there are alternatives to hysterectomy, I’d like to put in another plug for an even less invasive, natural solution to fibroids, which are the reason many women undergo hysterectomies.

Dr. Wright has written to you several times about the myriad benefits of SSKI — saturated solution potassium iodide. Reducing the size of fibroids is one of these benefits. And if it keeps you off the operating table, or even out of the interventional radiologist’s office, it’s worth a try.

The cause of fibroids remains a mystery, although it’s probably a safe bet that it has to do with an imbalance in estrogen. SSKI can help your body to metabolize estrone (a slightly carcinogenic human estrogen) and 16-alpha-hydroxyestrone (a much more dangerous metabolite of human estrogen) into estriol, an anti-carcinogenic — or at least neutral — form of estrogen. This may account for the positive results that Dr. Wright gets with his patients when he uses it to help them eliminate their fibroids without any surgical or radiological intervention.

The only downside of SSKI (and you should read the article in the November 2002 issue of Nutrition & Healing for a more complete listing of the many upsides) is that it can affect your thyroid function. When used at therapeutically higher doses, which you may need for eliminating fibroids, your thyroid should be monitored to ensure that it continues to function normally. If any suppression is detected, back off on the SSKI dose you are taking.

Also, when taking SSKI for fibroids it is important to be sure you’re getting enough omega-3 and omega-6 essential fatty acids (EFAs), as well as the amino acids methionine and cysteine. Fish or flaxseed oil supplements and 400 IU of vitamin E will take care of the EFAs. For the amino acids, you should get enough from your diet if you eat meat or other animal protein on a daily basis. But if you’re a vegetarian you should supplement with 300-500 milligrams of each daily.

Different strokes

Q: After a heart attack I was told to take aspirin daily to prevent blood clots. I read that red wine could do just as well as aspirin, so I switched to red wine. I was also put on Lipitor for my cholesterol. I tried to replace that with the herb Arjuna, but my cholesterol went back up. Now I’ve switched to cod liver oil and am back on Lipitor. I really want to use only natural remedies but I’m confused about which ones. Do you have any suggestions?

JVW: One of the basic principles of natural medicine is that different remedies work for different people. But fortunately nature provides numerous options for most conditions. There are some additional natural solutions you may want to try — working closely with a physician knowledgeable in natural medicine, of course. If your current doctor won’t help you with the natural approach, contact the American College for Advancement in Medicine (800-532-3688, 949-583-7666, www.acam.org) to find a nutritionally oriented physician who will work with you.

First there’s cod liver oil (along with vitamin E). Also, you may want to think about trying policosanol for its anti-clotting and cholesterol lowering effects. In a comparative trial using healthy volunteers, 20 milligrams of policosanol daily was just as effective for preventing blood clots as 100 milligrams of aspirin. Policosanol offers these benefits without the corresponding risk to your gastrointestinal system that comes with daily aspirin use. For more information on policosanol, refer back to the 11/4/04 e-Tip (available on the Nutrition & Healing website at www.wrightnewsletter.com).

Also, don’t forget to look closely at your diet. Whether you are taking pharmaceutical medication or natural remedies, they must be supported by a smart diet that takes your particular health needs into account.

What is…C-Reactive protein?

C-Reactive protein (CRP) is produced by the liver and is another indicator of heart disease. An elevated level of this protein in the blood indicates the presence of acute inflammation in the body. Of course, just like the other heart-health factors (blood pressure, cholesterol, etc.) CRP isn’t a reliable indicator of heart disease all by itself. There are many illnesses and conditions that can raise your levels of CRP, including rheumatoid arthritis and lupus, not to mention the common cold. However, it can be a helpful measure when looked at in conjunction with other tests, such as a cholesterol panel that includes HDL, LDL and triglyceride levels, homocysteine levels, and stress test to see where you are on a continuum of risk for heart disease and to make treatment suggestions that will be effective for you.

Yours in good health,

Amanda Ross
Managing Editor
Nutrition & Healing