Q. Dear Terry, “My daughter recently found a lump in her breast. She had a workup by her doctor and thankfully it is a benign fibrocystic lump. The lump is a little tender, but otherwise doesn’t bother her. Is there anything she can take to shrink the lump or make it disappear completely? ”– Elena G., Tucson, AZ
A. Dear Elena, Research has found that around 40% of women may have fibrocystic breast changes. While not harmful, these fibrocystic lumps can cause discomfort. One of the best ingredients for dealing with fibrocystic breast changes is iodine.
Every cell in our body has a receptor site for iodine because it is such an important mineral for our health and well-being. Unfortunately, in the past several decades, our iodine levels have decreased drastically and iodine deficiency is now common in many adults and children. While a lot of the iodine we consume is used in the production of thyroid hormones, iodine has many other benefits to offer.
Iodine has a high affinity for glandular tissues like the thyroid, ovaries, prostate, uterus, and breasts. Iodine can help with the swelling, tenderness, and discomfort that can accompany fibrocystic breast changes. Both sodium iodide and molecular iodine were shown to decrease symptoms of fibrocystic breasts in clinical studies. One study showed that iodine could help reduce mastalgia (breast pain) in over 50% of the women, dosed at 6 mg of iodine per day.
Our minimum daily requirement for iodine is still set far too low – only 150 micrograms (mcg) per day. This may be the amount we need to prevent goiter in the general population, but it is far below the amount we need for optimal health.
Many integrative practitioners, who use therapeutic levels of iodine, recommend anywhere from 6.25 – 12.5 milligrams (mg) per day. Because particular areas of our body prefer different forms of iodine, I believe that a blend of potassium iodide, sodium iodide, and molecular iodine from kelp is best.
She could also consider trying curcumin, DIM (diindolylmethane), and grape seed extract. Decreased estrogen detoxification has been implicated in fibrocystic breast disease, since estrogen encourages tissue growth. These ingredients can help with hormone balance, which may also help to reduce her symptoms. I recommend 250 mg of curcumin enhanced with turmeric essential oil and grape seed extract that is tannin-free and standardized to low-molecular weight oligomeric proanthocyanidins (OPCs); plus 120 mg of an enhanced bioavailability complex that delivers at least 30 mg of DIM.
Terry . . . Naturally