Systemic Enzymes Support Breast Health

Good news! The doctor says it's not breast cancer. That's the reassuring prognosis for mil lions of women seeking medical care for breast lumps or cysts. Once cancer is ruled out, though, women with mild to moderate breast symptoms are typically left on their own to deal with swollen and tender breasts that hurt. That's bad news because nine out of 10 women experience benign (non-cancerous) breast conditions, particularly younger women, according to the American Cancer Society. Other than offering a few suggestions that may or may not help, like reducing caffeine and salt in the diet, mainstream medicine has been at a loss for effective ways to treat them without side effects.

"Although complimentary approaches such as oral systemic enzymes have been shown to help, benign breast conditions often go untreated by health care professionals. That leaves many women thinking they just have to live with it," Eva Zavadova, M.D., Ph.D., a leading enzyme therapy researcher and practicing physician at Charles University, Prague, Czech Republic. Zavadova believes systemic enzymes can fill the void left by traditional approaches to breast health. In a recently recorded dialogue with Zavadova, available on the CD entitled "Breast Health: How Enzymes Can Help You, Naturally," she explains that enzymes occur naturally in the body and play a vital role in nearly all life sustaining functions. "A large body of scientific evidence now supports the use of oral systemic enzymes for breast health, particularly for reducing the inflammation and fibrosis associated with benign lumps, cysts and swollen breast tissue," says Zavadova.

Painful breast conditions, known as mastodynia, are more common than cancer and can have diverse causes. For women in their 30s, 40s and 50s, the most common cause of breast pain is fibrocystic mastopathy, a chronic condition that affects about 50 percent of all women in the course of their lives, according to a study published in the International Journal of Experimental and Clinical Chemotherapie. Fibrocystic changes show up as dense, irregular lumps and bumps, a sign of fibrosis, cysts and/or proliferation of glandular tissue (adenosis). In the six-week long study, researchers concluded that systemic enzymes may be an effective symptomatic treatment of fibrocystic mastopathy.

Research also shows oral systemic enzymes can support breast health in women who experience pain from a variety of causes, including breastfeeding, breast implant surgery, and hormone replacement therapy (HRT) in menopausal women. A survey of breast-feeding women shows breast pain is the second most common reason for discontinuing breast-feeding in the first two weeks after childbirth. Taking a combination of systemic enzymes significantly improves the symptoms of breast engorgement in breast-feeding mothers, according to a review of several studies published in the Cochrane Review. Breast-feeding women may also suffer from infections of the milk ducts or mastitis. The anti-inflammatory effects of systemic enzymes can help without interfering with conventional medical treatments.

Women undergoing breast implant surgery can use systemic enzymes for better recovery. "After surgery, the inflammation surrounding the implants develops into fibrosis, leading to swelling and pain," explains Lucia Desser, Ph.D., an enzyme-therapy researcher and biologist at the University of Vienna, Austria. Desser recommends starting enzyme therapy immediately after implantation and continuing over a few years to reduce both the inflammation and the resulting fibrosis. Postmenopausal women who experience increased breast density and pain after starting hormone replacement therapy (HRT) can also find relief with systemic enzymes, according to Desser. "The great advantage of this therapeutic option is that it doesn't interfere with a woman's hormonal balance and is easily tolerated," Desser says.

Systemic enzymes are widely used in European countries to ease joint pain and to help maintain a healthy balance in the body. In fact, the best-selling enzyme product, Wobenzym N, is the second most popular over-the-counter product after aspirin in Germany. Now with 50 years of research behind it, Wobenzym N is slowly becoming a medicine cabinet staple for joint health in the United States, especially in light of recent doubts about prescription and over-the-counter anti-inflammatory drugs. "Wobenzym N is a food supplement, not a drug, so there are no side effects even for long-term use by women with chronic conditions," says Desser.

Unlike drugs, systemic enzymes work by shifting the balance in the immune system to encourage a healthy inflammatory response. "Because systemic enzymes are naturally derived, they're slower to take effect," says Joe Lehman, president of Naturally Vitamins, the Phoenix-based nutraceutical company responsible for bringing Wobenzym to the United States. "However, women and their health practitioners should know how safely and effectively systemic enzymes support breast health as well as joint health and other conditions characterized by inflammation,"

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By Kathy Summers

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