Natural health: Lumpy breasts and cataracts

Megan Sheppard gives advice on what to do if you have a problem with lumpiness in my breasts.

Q. I have a problem with lumpiness in my breasts starting the week before menstruation. 

The doctor has told me that this is normal and nothing to be worried about. 

Is there something that I can do to reduce the lumps? They go away once my period ends, but they are quite tender.

A. These breast changes are often referred to as Cyclic Breast Disorder, since the lumps and tenderness become more pronounced in relation to premenstrual changes. 

Fibrocystic changes are linked in with the levels of hormones, particularly in women who have high oestrogen, then drop to low progesterone after ovulation.

Caffeine is thought to be linked to cysts and lumps in the breast tissue, with many women showing improvement on eliminating caffeine. 

Vitamin E can help with the tenderness issue — 500IU twice daily with food (don’t take this if you are on anti-coagulant medication).

Agnus castus helps to restore balance between progesterone and oestrogen, and can help many hormone-related issues that women experience around menstruation.

Low levels of iodine have been linked to fibrocystic changes, and nascent iodine is often recommend by natural health practitioners for breast health. 

Essential fatty acids — particularly evening primrose oil and borage oil — help to reduce inflammation in the tissues and will also support the absorption of iodine.

You should always check with your doctor or specialist if a new or unusual lump develops, if you experience any nipple discharge, if the pain becomes severe, if a lump hardens, or if they persist after your period ends.

Q. My mother has just started to develop cataracts. 

She is only 66 years old. Is there is anything to help slow the growth of the cataracts at this early stage?

A. Cataracts are formed by the proteins in the lens of the eye breaking down, clumping together, and forming an opaque spot. 

This leads to blurred or cloudy vision since light cannot be transmitted effectively to the retina. 

Of course, the position and severity of the cataract determines how impaired the vision becomes.

You are wise to start early with support for your mother’s eye health, since supplementation can help to delay cataract growth, and in some cases it can prevent further development. 

Surgery is the only scientifically proven method for complete removal of a cataract at the present time.

Antioxidant nutrients are key when it comes to targeting cataracts, and supporting eye health in general. 

Vitamins C, and E help to prevent damage to the lens of the eye, particularly from cigarette smoke and UV light. 

Smoking and prolonged exposure to UV light are considered to be the two main causes of cataracts.

Selenium helps by neutralizing free radicals. Your mother will need to take at least 1,000mg of vitamin C, twice daily; 500IU of vitamin E daily (not recommended alongside anticoagulant medication); and 400mcg of selenium daily.

Bilberry is well known amongst natural health practitioners for its role in eye health and macular degeneration, since this flavonoid-rich berry assists in the elimination of toxins from the lens and retina. 

A US based study found that people aged over 55 years who took vitamin E supplementation (400-500IU daily) were only half as likely to develop cataracts as those who took no vitamin E. 

A further study indicated that taking vitamin E in conjunction with bilberry supplementation (standardised to contain 2.5% anthocyanosides) stopped the progression of cataracts in an impressive 48 out of 50 participants. 

The dosage of bilberry was 80mg, taken three times a day.

The final nutrient worth considering is flaxseed oil, since the essential fatty acids help to nourish the eye and reduce inflammation. 

The recommended dosage is 1 tablespoon (15ml) taken in the morning together with food. It can be whizzed into a smoothie or stirred into juice or cereal.


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