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Complementary Medicine

Are Vitamin E Supplements Helpful in Treating Breast Cysts?

09/06/2002

Question:

How successful have you found Vitamin E supplementation in the treatment/prevention of breast cysts? Do you have any suggestions as to other supplements that one might take? I know that it is important to reduce or eliminate caffeine intake. If you know of any other effective treatments, please let me know. Thank You.

Answer:

The literature is all over the place in terms of alternative therapies for breast cysts, breast pain, and fibrocystic breast conditions. The controlled trials seem to indicated that dietary supplements including vit. E and Evening Primrose oil, and dietary changes including no caffeine, and low fat diet have NO EFFECT on breast pain and cysts. The symptoms can vary significantly over the course of a month, or a year. That being said, most clinicians recommend Evening Primrose oil, Vit. D, Flaxseed oil (wonderful source of Omega 3 Fatty acids), and caffeine avoidance. So give the supplements a try, and lower saturated fat content (animal fat, butter, and margarine) and see what happens. Despite the lack of "controlled study" evidence, my patients swear by it! 

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Response by:

Tanya I Edwards, MD, MEd Tanya I Edwards, MD, MEd
Formerly, Associate Professor of Medicine
School of Medicine
Case Western Reserve University