Breast cysts are a justifiably frightening discovery. These are fluid-filled sacs inside of the breast that occur most often in women before menopause. Although they can occur in women of any age. The presence of a lump of any sort in the breast is cause for alarm, but fortunately, breast cysts are benign and do not require treatment. Surgery can help alleviate the systems and doesn’t interfere with function, but it isn’t needed. It is certainly worth getting checked out though if one is discovered though. Now, what causes breast cysts? The likeliest culprit is hormonal imbalances which in turn can be the result of nutritional deficiencies.

In this excerpt from the book Real Cause, Real Cure by Jacob Teitelbaum, MD and Bill Gottlieb CHC the authors explain hormonal imbalances causes breast cysts and how nutrition can help alleviate the formation breast cysts.

Breast Cysts

Real Causes

  • Nutritional Deficiencies. Low levels of iodine are the major cause of breast cysts and tenderness.
  • Hormonal Imbalances. Although not the main cause, the swings in estrogen during a woman’s menstrual cycle can play a role in this problem—but these hormonal swings are less likely to cause a problem once the iodine deficiency is corrected.

Breast cysts are so common—occurring in an estimated 48 percent of women—that many doc tors now refer to the condition as fibrocystic breast changes rather than the older term, fibrocystic breast disease. (However, older names are still used, including “benign breast disease” and “mammary dysplasia.”) If you’re one of the many women with this problem, you know how your breasts feel when the condition is at its worst, usually in the week or two before you menstruate: Your breasts are lumpy; they feel full, swollen, and heavy; and they hurt. (Although they’re far less common in postmenopausal women, the symptoms are the same.)

While breast cysts are common in America, they’re rare in Japan. What’s the difference?

Real Cure Regimen

The Japanese diet is high in iodine (mostly from seaweed and seafood), and the American diet is low. Iodine plays a crucial role in breast health. Iodine reacts with an amino acid on the surface of abnormal breast cells, causing the natural death of the cell. But without iodine, those cells can multiply, leading to breast cysts—and even breast cancer. Yes, there is a link between breast cysts and breast cancer. The most recent research…

Doctors at Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York studied 1,239 women: 615 with breast cysts and 624 without them. Those with breast cysts had a 45 percent greater risk of developing breast cancer. And those with breast cysts that had abnormal cells (atypical hyperplasia—breast cells that are abnormal in size, shape, and appearance) had a 527 percent greater risk of developing breast cancer. The findings were published in the medical journal Cancer Causes & Control.

Older research shows iodine can correct the problem. In a study of more than 1,300 women with breast cysts, 74 percent reported improvement when taking daily iodine. Iodine is “beneficial” for breast cysts, concluded the Canadian researchers in the Canadian Journal of Surgery. That’s why the first (and main) item in my Real Cure Regimen for breast cysts is getting your iodine up. Then I offer a few other nutritional tips to help the pain.

•Rev up your iodine. Everyone needs 150 micrograms to 200 micrograms of daily iodine for health. (Using iodized salt to salt your food—which I endorse—will get you to this level. The only people who should restrict salt are those with heart failure.) I recommend a therapeutic dose of 6.25 milligrams (6,250 micrograms) for breast cysts. I recommend using the iodine supplement Tri-Iodine 6.25 mg, from Terry Naturally.

Give iodine treatment three months to work. (It may help sooner.) Very rarely, the iodine aggravates acne or indigestion. Stop the supplement if one of those side effects occurs. And don’t exceed the recommended amount unless you are under the care of a holistic health practitioner. Too much iodine can negatively affect the thyroid gland.

I usually recommend the same dosage of iodine for women with breast cancer, or even in crease it to 12.5 milligrams, while using thyroid testing to make sure no harm is being caused to the thyroid gland. A recent scientific paper in the Journal of Cancer, from a researcher at the Temple University School of Medicine asserts that falling iodine intake is the main reason there is an accelerating rate of breast cancer in younger women. (For women with breast cancer, I recommend an excellent book called Iodine, by David Brownstein, MD.)

•Get more vitamin E. Benign but painful breast cysts or lumps are a common occurrence among menstruating women, and sometimes the condition is at its worst right before menstruation (cyclic mastalgia). In a study in the Breast Journal, researchers gave 150 women with cystic mastalgia either vitamin E or a placebo for four months. Vitamin E had a “significant curative result,” they concluded. As for vitamin E’s effectiveness, the title of an older article in the Journal of the American Medical Association puts it succinctly: “Vitamin E relieves most cystic breast disease.”

Take 400 IU a day of this nutrient, in the form of “natural mixed tocopherols.” (Vitamin E is really a family of nutrients, and employing the entire family—rather than one member, such as alpha-tocopherol—works best.)

•Avoid or reduce caffeine. Australian researchers analyzed data from the Nurses’ Health Study II—a study of tens of thousands of women—and found that those with the highest intake of caffeine had more than double the risk (2.46 times higher) of developing breast cysts with atypical hyperplasia (AH). The findings were in the journal Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention. Caffeine isn’t just in coffee, of course—you’ll also need to avoid or reduce your use of tea, chocolate, and energy drinks. (By the way, the same researchers found that women who took a multivitamin supplement had a 57 percent lower incidence of breast cysts with AH.)

•See your doctor. If you have a new breast cyst or lump that lasts for more than two menstrual cycles, have your physician check it. Also, see your doctor if one area of your breast has severe or persistent pain that doesn’t come and go with your menstrual cycle.

For more ways to fix root causes of common health problems, purchase Real Cause, Real Cure from

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