There are several medications and many supplements used in the treatment of lipedema. The more common ones which Dr. Karen Herbst recommends are listed on the site and why they’re helpful for our disease, along with the recommended dosages. The information which has been gathered here is presented for support, especially for those who are new to the disease, and is not intended as a substitute for professional medical advice. ALWAYS CHECK WITH YOUR PHYSICIAN BEFORE BEGINNING ANY OF THESE MEDICATIONS/SUPPLEMENTS TO ENSURE THAT THEY WILL BE HELPFUL FOR YOU. When pregnant, always check with your physician before beginning any new medication or supplement, including herbal teas.
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Metformin is an oral diabetes medicine that helps control blood sugar levels. Metformin is used together with diet and exercise to improve blood sugar control in adults with type 2 diabetes mellitus. It lowers blood glucose concentrations without causing hypoglycemia (blood sugar that is too low). Metformin is commonly described as an insulin sensitizer, leading to a decrease in insulin resistance and a reduction of fasting insulin levels. Another well-known benefit of this drug is modest weight loss. Dr. Herbst recommends 1000 mg twice daily.*
If you need to have any type of x-ray or CT scan using a dye that is injected into your veins, you will need to temporarily stop taking metformin.
Side effects include: low blood sugar, nausea, upset stomach or diarrhea.
Metformin. (2019). DrugBank. Retrieved from http://www.drugbank.ca/drugs/DB00331
Metformin. (2018). Drugs. Retrieved from http://www.drugs.com/metformin.html
(similar to Vitamin B3)
Omega 3 Fatty Acids
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This section is being added. Pycnogenol improves leaky cardiovascular and lymphatic capillaries.
Quercetin is classified as a flavonoid. Quercetin can be purchased as a supplement, and quercetin-rich foods can be added to the diet. Food sources of quercetin include elderberries, red onions, hot peppers, apples, kale and capers. It has been long-considered useful in treating numerous conditions. It may be a significant tool for preventing infections as it produces significant effect at decreasing upper respiratory infections. Quercetin also operates within mitochondria as an inhibitor of the mitochondrial membrane permeability transition, the opening of an unselective pore elicited by calcium or pro-oxidants. Thus, quercetin helps prevent mitochondrial damage. It also increases brain and muscle mitochondrial biogenesis and exercise tolerance. Dr. Herbst recommends 500-1000 mg once or twice daily.*
Quercetin is an antioxidant, and several studies have demonstrated the antihistamine effects of quercetin. One found that it even lessened the respiratory side effects of allergies in rats by reducing inflammatory response in the airways. Allergies are an immune response to an otherwise harmless substance called an antigen. When the antigen comes into contact with cells in the mucus membranes of the nose, mouth, throat, lungs, stomach, or intestines, it triggers the release of histamine. Histamine is a protein that causes all of the symptoms associated with allergies. Antihistamines block histamine activity, seeking to stop the allergic reaction.
Histamine is released from cells in response to an antibody called immunoglobulin E (IgE). This antibody may be secreted in response to an invading pathogen such as a virus or bacteria, an allergenic substance such as pollen, or in response to injury caused by toxins. The response is a flood of histamine that has various different effects depending on the histamine receptor it comes into contact with. Some examples of these effects include contraction of smooth muscle in the lungs, stomach or womb; the dilation and increased permeability of blood vessels; reduced blood pressure; accelerated heart rate and increased gastric acid secretion. The increased permeability of blood vessels allows immune cells and substances to migrate from the bloodstream, through the vessels and into the site where injury or infection has occurred. Leukocytes (white blood cells) and blood plasma proteins can then begin the process of fighting the infection and healing the tissue.
Block, W. (n.d.). Quercetin improves exercise tolerance. Life Enhancement Magazine. Retrieved from http://www.life-enhancement.com/magazine/article/2133-quercetin-improves-exercise-tolerance
Robertson, S. (2014). Histamine storage and release. News Medical Life Sciences. Retrieved from https://www.news-medical.net/health/Histamine-Storage-and-Release.aspx
Schor, J. (2010). The influence of quercetin on exercise performance and muscle mitochondria. Natural Medicine Journal. Retrieved from https://www.naturalmedicinejournal.com/journal/2010-05/influence-quercetin-exercise-performance-and-muscle-mitochondria
Wilson, D. R. and Schaefer, A. (2017). The four best natural antihistamines. Healthline. Retrieved from https://www.healthline.com/health/allergies/best-natural-antihistamines#1
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This section is being added. Rutosides in large amounts improve lymphatic functioning.
Selenium is one of the “essential” nutrients, meaning that our bodies cannot make it, and so we have to get it from our diet. Plants grown in soil containing the mineral selenium convert it into a form that is usable. It has antioxidant properties and reduces inflammation. We need only a trace amount of selenium, so it is possible to overdose with selenium supplements. Taking too much over time can lead to hair loss, nail loss, nausea, irritability, fatigue and nerve damage. Other symptoms of chronic selenium overdose are a metallic taste in the mouth and a garlic scent on the breath. Dr. Herbst recommends no more than 600 micrograms daily.* This recommended dosage can also be met by consuming three Brazil nuts daily.
Cisplatin, a chemotherapy drug, clozapine (Clozaril), corticosteroids and valproic acid (Depakote) may lower levels of selenium.
When combined with these anticoagulants and antiplatelet drugs, selenium may increase the risk of bleeding: clopidogrel (Plavix), warfarin (Coumadin), heparin and aspirin.
Taking antioxidants, including selenium, along with cholesterol-lowering medications may reduce their effectiveness. Selenium may also reduce the effectiveness of these statins, including atorvastatin (Lipitor), fluvastatin (Lescol), lovastatin (Mevacor), and prevastatin (Pravachol).
Possible interactions with selenium. (2011). Penn State Hershey. Retrived from http://pennstatehershey.adam.com/content.aspx?productId=107&pid=33&gid=000980
Selenium. (2017). Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database online. Retrieved from http://naturaldatabase.therapeuticresearch.com/nd/PrintVersion.aspx?id=1003
Selenium Fact Sheet for Health Professionals. (2016). National Institutes of Health. Retrieved from https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Selenium-HealthProfessional/
See CoQ10 Ubiquinol
Where to Purchase
Pure Encapsulations Use Lipedema Support’s fulfillment code for a 20% discount: 230711
Thorne Use Dr. Herbst’s code for a 10% discount: HCP#1012355
Investigate your state’s Prescription Assistance Program. Residents have access to many statewide programs, which offer pharmacy coupon cards that provide prescription savings of up to 75% at more than 68,000 pharmacies across the country.
These plans may also help: