Some practitioners of alternative medicine have suggested using enzymes as a treatment for fibroids, but there is no scientific proof that enzymes can effectively dissolve fibroids. Fibroids are non-cancerous growths that develop in the muscular wall of the uterus. They are composed of muscle and fibrous tissue and can vary in size.
What Are Enzymes?
Enzymes are proteins that facilitate chemical reactions in the body, and some proponents of enzyme therapy believe that certain enzymes can break down or dissolve fibrous tissue. However, fibroids are intricate structures, and various hormonal and genetic factors affect their growth and development.
There is no strong scientific evidence to suggest that enzyme therapy is an effective or reliable treatment for fibroids. Most medical professionals recommend evidence-based treatments for fibroids.
Proteolytic enzymes and systemic enzymes are two different categories of enzymes with distinct functions in the body, although there can be some overlap between them.
Proteolytic enzymes are enzymes that break proteins down into smaller peptides and amino acids. They aid in digestion by assisting with the breakdown of dietary proteins into nutrients that are simple for your body to absorb. Proteolytic enzymes are produced in different parts of the body, including the stomach, pancreas, and small intestine.
What Is the Link Between Enzymes and Fibroids?
There are some who believe that there is a connection between proteolytic enzymes and fibroids. Misinformation can be found regarding a proteolytic enzyme called serrapeptase, which is made from bacteria found in the silkworm’s gut and says it can dissolve fibroids. While this enzyme may have anti-inflammatory properties and may influence some of the symptoms caused by fibroids, its primary function is to break down non-living proteins inside the human body. Fibroids are made up of living cells that need oxygen and other elements that come from the blood to stay alive. They get these nutrients from the uterine artery and the blood vessels that are connected to it.
Even if these types of enzymes could break down living muscle tissue in the human body (which they can’t), there would be no way for them to target fibroids specifically, as fibroids are made of the same types of smooth muscle cells that are seen in the healthy uterus, bladder, stomach, intestines, and eyes. This means that if the enzyme could damage fibroids, it would damage the other healthy organs at the same time. Fortunately, these types of enzymes stick to other roles.
Systemic enzymes are enzymes that work throughout the body to support various physiological processes beyond digestion. They are often taken in supplement form and can serve functions such as promoting healthy circulation, reducing inflammation, supporting immune function, and assisting in tissue repair.
Examples of Systemic Enzymes
- Bromelain, an assortment of proteolytic enzymes derived from pineapples, has been researched for its possible anti-inflammatory and digestive benefits..
- Papain is derived from papaya and has been used to help with digestion and has also shown potential anti-inflammatory properties.
- Nattokinase: is procured from fermented soybeans, and has been tested for its potential to support cardiovascular health by promoting healthy blood clotting and circulation.
Systemic enzymes are often available as supplements, and there are those who suggest that they can help support overall health and well-being. It has also been suggested that systemic enzymes dissolve uterine fibroids; however, it is important to note that there is no scientific evidence to support these claims. More research is needed to fully understand the effects of using systemic enzymes for fibroids.
What Is A Flavonoid?
Flavonoids, also known as bioflavonoids, are a diverse group of natural compounds found in various plant-based foods, particularly fruits, vegetables, tea, and red wine. Flavonoids are responsible for the vibrant colors of many fruits and vegetables, which contribute to the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory health-promoting properties of these foods.
There is an association between flavonoids and enzymes because the anti-oxidant, anti-inflammatory, anti-mutagenic, and anti-carcinogenic qualities possessed by flavonoids can change how key enzymes in cells work.
Do Flavonoids Have Any Effect On Fibroids?
There is some research that suggests that certain flavonoids may have effects on hormones, inflammation, and cell growth that could potentially impact fibroids.
Natural active flavonoids have garnered significant attention for their potential in treating uterine fibroids. Among these flavonols, kaempferol is one of the most extensively researched compounds of plant origin. Multiple studies have demonstrated kaempferol’s ability to inhibit cancer cell proliferation, specifically in stomach, liver, and cervical cancers. The study’s findings also concluded that kaempferol has the ability to inhibit the proliferation of uterine fibroid cells, and the results were directly related to the concentration of kaempferol used.
Kaempferol is a flavonol that is naturally found in tea, broccoli, apples, strawberries, and beans. It has shown promise in treating many forms of cancer associated with a woman’s reproductive system.
In vitro studies have shown that kaempferol has the ability to inhibit the growth of uterine fibroid cells. We already know from multiple previous studies that fibroid tumors contain a higher level of estrogen receptors than normal smooth muscle tissue and that estrogen exposure promotes the growth of fibroids. These studies have proven that kaempferol can reduce the levels of estrogen receptors, insulin-like growth factor-1, vascular endothelial growth factor, and myocardin, which all have a relationship with the growth of uterine fibroids.
While research on this subject is ongoing, some of the benefits of flavonoids on uterine fibroid symptoms are well documented. Here are a few potential ways flavonoids might affect women with uterine fibroids:
- 1. Anti-Inflammatory Effects:
- Some flavonoids, such as quercetin, which can be found in apples, red grapes, honey, onions, cherries, raspberries, and green leafy vegetables, have anti-inflammatory properties. Chronic inflammation may play a role in fibroid growth, and it is known to exacerbate the symptoms of fibroids, so reducing inflammation could potentially benefit women with fibroids.
- 2. Hormonal Regulation:
- Some flavonoids have been investigated for their potential effects on hormonal balance. Hormones like estrogen and progesterone are known to influence fibroid growth. Some flavonoids have a structure similar to the hormone estrogen, which allows them to interact with estrogen receptors in the body. These compounds are known as phytoestrogens. and can have both estrogen-like and anti-estrogenic effects, depending on the context and the specific flavonoid.
- 3. Antioxidant Properties:
- Flavonoids are known for their antioxidant effects, which help neutralize harmful free radicals in the body. While the exact origin of fibroids is still unknown, oxidative stress and free radical damage might contribute to fibroid development.
- 4. Cell Growth Regulation:
- Certain flavonoids, such as epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), found in green tea, have been researched for their potential to inhibit cell proliferation and promote cell death (apoptosis). This could potentially impact fibroid growth. Many women have reported finding relief from fibroid-related symptoms through the consumption of green tea.
What Is The Most Effective Treatment For Fibroids Without Surgery?
While flavonoids might play a role in inhibiting the growth of uterine fibroids or helping to alleviate some of the unpleasant symptoms they create, more scientific research is needed to establish their effectiveness as a treatment or preventive measure for fibroids. Additionally, women may be finding some symptom relief using systemic enzymes for fibroids, but their fibroids are not being permanently eliminated.
If you have been diagnosed with uterine fibroids, contact the Atlanta Fibroid Center and set up your consultation today. You have options other than surgery or other invasive treatments that have adverse side effects. Uterine fibroid embolization (UFE) is a non-surgical outpatient procedure that is done by an interventional radiologist.
During the 45-minute procedure, the blood supply that the fibroids need to survive is blocked using tiny particles that are injected into the blood vessels that are feeding them. This causes the fibroids to shrink and die permanently, which alleviates the uncomfortable and often debilitating symptoms of fibroids. While surgical methods are often unable to address all the fibroids due to their size or location, UFE can safely and effectively eliminate them. Most women who undergo UFE report relief from their symptoms between one and three months after having the procedure. There is no surgery, no hospitalization, and no long recovery time. But the best thing is that your uterus stays uncompromised and intact.
The Atlanta Fibroid Center has helped countless numbers of women become fibroid-free over the last three decades. There is no need to continue to suffer; we are here to help you gain back your quality of life. If you have been told you need surgery, we encourage you to reach out to us for a second opinion! Every day, we talk to women who have been told that surgery is their only option. We would like to tell you about how many of those women we were able to help who still have their uterus. Call or set up an appointment online today!