Dietary supplements in lymphedema


Dietary supplement


Lymphedema is a chronic inflammatory disorder resulting from ineffective fluid uptake by the lymphatic system, and the effects are principally felt in the lower limbs. The condition is said to be primary when caused by genetic mutations and secondary when caused by injuries, infections, or surgery. Lymphedema, a worldwide pathology, does not have an effective therapy so far. Leukotriene B4 has recently been identified as a key molecule in lymphedema pathogenesis. Surgical, nonsurgical, and pharmacological treatments have been proposed; however, they do not cure the disease and only ameliorate the symptoms. Nutrition and nutritional status are extremely important in lymphedema physiopathology. Obesity is a comorbidity that exacerbates the risk for secondary lymphedema and constitutes a negative prognostic factor. Indeed, anti-inflammatory foods and their effects on the inflammatory state and on oxidative stress are now being investigated for their possible therapeutic role in lymphedema. Although no special diet has so far been proven to be very effective, specific dietary tips could help in alleviating the edematous state of patients with lymphedema. A few supplements have been tested for lymphedema treatment. Among them, GARLIVE® containing hydroxytyrosol, hesperidin, spermidine and vitamin A, exhibited promising effects in the animal model. Hydroxytyrosol, a polyphenol from olives, showed anti-inflammatory effects and reduced leukotriene B4 synthesis, thus holding promise as a potential natural candidate for lymphedema treatment.


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