Before you start looking for more invasive treatments to help reduce the symptoms of your lipedema, there are a few tools you have right at home, and every little bit helps! Your nutrition plays a key factor in how and when your body experiences edema (swelling), and a large player in this experience is in response to the food you eat. Read more about a lipedema diet you can follow below!
The Rare Adipose Disorder Diet (AKA RAD Diet)
Dr. Wright recommends following a Rare Adipose Disorder (RAD) diet, a modification to a standard Mediterranean diet that helps you maintain a low glycemic index to limit the number of occurrences and levels your blood sugar spikes through the day. In order to do this, it is recommended that you avoid any refined or processed starches and sugars. These are usually found in pasta, rice, bread, corn, and potatoes. Avoiding processed food – especially processed carbohydrates – will keep your insulin levels low and provide you the best chance of limiting inflammation.
Lipedema experts also report that avoiding refined starches is helpful, but alone may not prevent symptoms from flaring up. It is also recommended that individuals with lipedema may want to reduce dietary inflammation triggers. The dietary triggers of inflammation vary from individual to individual and need to be investigated through systematic trial and error. Some lipedema patients may have gluten or dairy sensitivities. Gluten is typically found in wheat, rye, and barley. If you have a gluten sensitivity instead of gluten, make sure your lipedema diet focuses on foods high in omega-3 fatty acids and are also high in fiber to assist your body in burning fat and fighting inflammation. Focus on colorful foods, like nuts, beans, fish, and whole grains.
Lipedema Diet: Anti-Inflammatory Meal Plan
Need some recipe inspiration for how to follow the RAD diet plan and still enjoy whole, nutritious food? It’s easier than you think! Try the examples below, which use the following methods.
Breakfast: If gluten does not trigger inflammation consider adding something different to a whole-wheat bread or cracker each day, so you’re following the plan but mixing it up enough that it doesn’t get boring! If you are sensitive to gluten, just eat the toppings:
- Avocado & Egg
- Natural Peanut Butter & Banana
- Almond Butter & Fresh Blueberries
- Honey, Strawberries, & Chia Seeds
Lunch: Try keeping lunch to different versions of a salad. It’s easy to prep, light and fresh, and there are numerous versions of salads to make!
- Spinach, pecan, strawberry & balsamic
- Mozzarella, fresh tomato & basil
- Asian slaw and Thai peanut dressing
- Apples, cucumbers, almonds, and lemon & olive oil
Snack: Homemade trail mix is an easy on-the-go snack that also allows a wide variety of items to be included depending on what you’re craving.
Any variety of the following meet the RAD Diet suggestions:
- Nuts: Peanuts, almonds, brazil nuts, macadamia nuts, hazelnuts, pecans
- Dried Fruits: The more colorful, the better! Mangos, cherries, blueberries, blackberries, kiwi, raisins (low sugar and no sugar added, of course!)
Dinner: 1 protein, 1 veggie, 1 grain or potato
- Salmon, Tuna, Snapper, Shrimp, Chicken, Turkey, Eggs, other lean meats
- Broccoli, Spinach, Cabbage, Lettuce, Eggplant, Cauliflower, sprouts, carrots, green beans, etc.
- Grain/Potato/Other: Quinoa, brown rice, sweet potato, whole and cracked grains
Mediterranean Diet Leads Over Keto in Recent Study
Researchers from Stanford University found both diets improved blood glucose and led to comparable weight loss. However, this study shows keto may elevate LDL cholesterol, lacks essential nutrients, and is more difficult to maintain over time.
Study: During the study, 30 adults with prediabetes or type 2 diabetes followed the Mediterranean diet and the keto diet for 12 weeks each. Both lipedema diets served non-starchy vegetables and avoid added sugars and refined grains, but there are three key differences between them: the Mediterranean diet incorporates legumes, fruits, and whole grains – keto does not.
Lipedema Diet Results:
- A1c values improved after baseline on both diets, and levels did not differ between them
- Keto saw a bigger decrease in triglycerides (16% vs. –5%)
- LDL cholesterol was higher in keto dieters (+10% vs. 5%)
- Both lipedema diets had similar weight loss (8% keto vs. 7% Mediterranean)
- HDL cholesterol increased (11% keto vs. 7% Mediterranean)
- Keto had a lower intake of fiber and three essential nutrients: folate, vitamin C, and magnesium
- More likely to adhere to Mediterranean over keto, suggests the Mediterranean, lipedema diet is more sustainable
Note: Please work with a doctor or nutritionist to choose a dietary pattern that fits your needs and preferences. The potential harms of higher LDL associated with keto cannot be dismissed.
Supplements for Fighting Lipedema Swelling
Another tool in your toolbox to help the fight against edema is ensuring you have a regular and robust vitamin supplement alongside the RAD diet. These vitamins and supplements can be found at your local drug store and are an inexpensive way to help.
Vitamin D3: Lipedema patients are typically deficient in Vitamin D sometimes very deficient. We recommend that your Vitamin D3 level should be checked. In our experience in treating women with lipedema, it often takes larger than normal supplemental doses to get to the optimal range. We think that is because Vitamin D3 is fat-soluble and is sequestered in fat. We recommend after Vitamin D3 is checked you should supplement your vitamin D3 to get levels to 30 and 50 ng/mL in consultation with your physician. Vitamin D is an essential supplement that plays a critical role in your immune system. It also helps your bone, muscle, and nervous system health.
Selenium: A supplement that can aid with your daily metabolism is Selenium. It has been known to help reduce swelling that is often painful and continuous for those with lipedema. While supplemental pills can be hard to find you can find them in brazil nuts; eating just 2 of these nuts per day should be enough to notice a difference.
Diosmin: Perhaps the most effective supplement to take is Diosmin, a bioflavonoid that is commonly found in citrus fruits. They can have anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and lymph-tonic properties that will help with your symptoms of lipedema.
Take This Cold Medication Regularly
Guaifenesin, best known by the brand name Mucinex©, and often prescribed as an over-the-counter expectorant to treat the common cold, may help reduce lipedema swelling and inflammation.
To our knowledge, there are no published, controlled studies showing the use of Guaifenisn to treat lipedema or lymphedema. However, there are abundant reports from clinicians and lipedema patients stating Guaifenisn helps lipedema. In our limited clinical experience, about 20 – 30 % of lipedema patients report reduced pain and/or swelling when taking this medication. Plus, there are reports of Guaifenisn being used for pain relief to treat other diseases. Guaifenesin has shown modest but significant analgesic and anti-inflammatory effects in neck and back pain and some other conditions. It is thought guaifenesin may be working as a muscle relaxant effect that occurs in these conditions. Mucinex / guaifenesin may help pain or it may work as an expectorant in lipedema tissue and thin out extracellular proteins. However, there are no studies to support these theories in lipedema.
Guaifenesin for Lipedema: Dose and Use
Guaifenesin is approved for safe use at 600 mg twice a day (or 1,200 mg twice a day) for no more than 2,400 mg per day. Studies in the use of Mucinex for other medical conditions report it takes a least a week to see effects. I recommend lipedema suffers try this medication for two weeks to see if they notice any positive changes in addition to their consistent treatment plans including compression, supplements, and a healthy lipedema diet as prescribed. May not be suitable for people with a persistent cough due to asthma, bronchitis, emphysema, or smoking, or who have a cough that is producing excessive amounts of phlegm. Talk with your doctor first before using Mucinex if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.
Use Diosmin to Combat Lipedema
Diosmin is a flavonoid extract made from orange peels used to treat vein disease. Diosmin helps reduce inflammation along vein walls in people with chronic venous insufficiency and it can also have very positive results for people with lipedema and lymphedema.
- Reduces white blood cell activation, migration, and adhesion
- Decreases capillary permeability and stimulates lymphatic flow
- Less leg heaviness, swelling, and tenderness
- Diosmin infused intravenously results in a nearly 200% increase in measured lymphatic flow
In a recent case study, Diosmin had positive results when used in combination with other supplements, lipedema diet, compression, and other anti-inflammatory measures to non-surgically manage lipedema. Based on these studies, and my experience prescribing Diosmin to patients, I recommend Diosmin as part of an overall conservative management treatment plan for lipedema and lymphedema.
Where to Get Diosmin for Lipedema
In the United States, Diosmin is sold under the brand name Vasculera, which is available in pharmacies by prescription from a physician. Vasculera is approved by the FDA as a medical food.
Diosmin is also available as a supplement without a prescription. We recommend Vein Formula, as we trust its formulation. Be sure to order any supplements from a reputable website for the best safety and quality. Link https://vitasupportmd.com/products/vein-formula-1000
How to Tell Lipedema Apart from Regular Fat?
Lipedema fat is an abnormal accumulation of fat in specific areas – usually in the lower body, though fat accumulation is symmetrical, it’s painful and easily bruises. You can read more about the difference here.
1 Micke, O., Bruns, F., Schäfer, U., Kisters, K., Hesselmann, S., and Willich, N. (2000) Selenium in the treatment of acute and chronic lymphedema. Trace Elements and Electrolytes 17, 206-209 www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12694822
2 Kasseroller, R. G., and Schrauzer, G. N. (2000) Treatment of secondary lymphedema of the arm with physical decongestive therapy and sodium selenite: a review. Am J Ther 7, 273-279 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11486162
3 [ http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10667641] shows the effectiveness of Diosmin Diosmin significantly improved symptoms such as leg pain, heaviness, and cramps. Diosmin also improved leg edema or swelling and decreased leg circumference. Other studies have shown Diosmin improved venous ulcer healing, hemorrhoids, and lymphedema. [Citationhttp://europepmc.org/abstract/MED/16014984]
DiCorleto, P. (2014). Why you should pay attention to chronic inflammation. Cleveland Clinic. Retrieved from https://health.clevelandclinic.org/2014/10/why-you-should-pay-attention-to-chronic-inflammation/
Doheny, K., & Chang, L. (2008). Anti-inflammatory Diet: Road to Good Health? Retrieved July 19, 2016, from http://www.webmd.com/food-recipes/anti-inflammatory-diet-road-to-good-health?page=3
Erlich, S.D. (2015). Omega-3 fatty acids. University of Maryland Medical Center. Retrieved from http://umm.edu/health/medical/altmed/supplement/omega3-fatty-acids