If you have a fibroadenoma (benign breast lump made of fibrous and glandular tissue), your ears may have perked up when you heard about Fibrosolve, a natural dietary supplement advertised as the "first and only supplement available to prevent and treat the existence of fibroadenomas."
Though its promises sound appealing, should you try Fibrosolve?
Fibroadenomas and Breast Cancer Risk
Most of these smooth lumps don't raise your risk of breast cancer. However, a larger fibroadenoma may cause breast pain. Having more than one fibroadenoma, or having a complex one, does increase your risk for breast cance, however.
A fibroadenoma can be removed with a lumpectomy or other less invasive treatments.
About FibrosolveFibrosolve is a nutritional supplement made from a blend of herbs and vitamins. It comes with several claims and statements about its use:
1) Noninvasive, Risk-free Treatment Option
Fibrosolve claims to give women a "noninvasive, risk-free treatment option for fibroadenomas." There's no argument that a lumpectomy, laser ablation, or even cryoablation of fibroadenomas is invasive, and involves some risks. Taking an herbal pill also involves some risk because nutritional supplements do not have to be tested and cleared by the FDA.
You can't really know how it may impact your breast health.
2) Not Intended to Diagnose Fibroadenomas
Pharmalogical Inc., the makers of Fibrosolve, are careful to state that, "This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease." The FDA requires this statement because it does not evaluate or regulate nutritional supplements.
The only way to correctly diagnose a fibroadenoma is a breast biopsy. If you avoid a breast biopsy, you won't know the true nature of your lump. It may be a cyst, a papilloma, a phyllodes tumor, or another type of breast cancer. You must have an accurate diagnosis to get the proper treatment.
3) The Only Supplement For Fibroadenomas
Fibrosolve also claims it is the only supplement intended to reduce the size of existing fibroadenomas and prevent the growth of future ones.
Technically, this may be correct. It is a nutritional supplement aimed at fibroadenomas, but a quick web search will yield other herbal remedies for the same purpose. Traditional cultures use herbal brews and compresses and custom-blended herbal preparations intended to relieve breast pain and swelling.
Ingredients in FibrosolveThe primary ingredient, vitamin B6, appears to be the only component of Fibrosolve that might help with breast swelling or pain. Vitamin B6 may help relieve symptoms of fibrocystic changes, a benign condition that is different from fibroadenomas.
Please note: All of the herbs listed below should not be used by pregnant or nursing women.
- Vitamin B6 (pyridoxine HCI): Occurs naturally in fish, meat, and legumes. Your body needs vitamin B6 to make hemoglobin and to support your immune and lymph systems. The National Institutes of Health recommend this vitamin for fibrocystic breast changes.
- L-Tyrosine: An amino acid that your body produces. It may be used to treat depression, stress and fatigue, and to help with attention deficit disorder (ADD).
- Fennel Seed: An aromatic culinary herb that is also used for indigestion and PMS.
- Blessed Thistle Herb: Used as a folk remedy to help new mothers produce more breast milk.
- Hops Flower: Contains plant-based estrogens that may act similar to estrogen blockers.
- Mexican Wild Yam Root: Has been used as an herbal remedy for hot flashes as well as premenstrual symptoms (PMS).
- Pacific Kelp (Seaweed): used in Asian cooking and traditional herbal preparations.
- Motherwort: used in folk medicine to relieve PMS, cause the uterus to contract after delivery, and calm the nerves.
- Saw Palmetto Berry: Used outside of the United States as an herbal treatment for enlarged prostate. It appears to cause changes in the levels of estrogen and testosterone.
Does Fibrosolve Work?
To get expert opinion on the matter, I contacted Dr. Gail Lebovic, President of the American Society of Breast Disease, and Dr. Margaret Lewin, Medical Director of Cinergy Health.
Dr. Lebovic says, "There is no scientific evidence to show that [Fibrosolve] does or does not work."
Dr. Lewin stated, "There are absolutely no data to support the use, usefulness, or safety of this product."
Fibrosolve is composed of several herbal phytoestrogens, like those natural breast enhancement pills. If this product has any "benefits," it might make your breasts swell from hormones, so you wouldn't feel the fibroadenomas. But that swelling might also mask malignant lumps. If you're worried about fibroadenomas, take vitamin B6 and avoid herbal supplements.
Is Fibrosolve Safe for Any Woman?I consulted David Davis, owner and consulting homeopath of Cornucopia, Inc. He took a look at Fibrosolve's ingredients and said that the vitamins and herbs in this product appear to be balanced. It seemed to him that the levels of phytoestrogens in these pills were low enough that they might be safe for those concerned about estrogen-sensitive breast cancer. Finally, he remarked that the combination of herbs was very similar to other breast health supplements.
Some general cautions when using supplements for breast health:
Some herbs may interfere with blood thinners, so don't mix the two. Some nutritional supplements have a high level of phytoestrogens, which could raise your estrogen levels and risk for breast and endometrial cancer. Consult your doctor before starting any supplements or vitamins. If the label says "all natural," it doesn't always mean "safe for anybody."
Bottom LineIf you find a lump, get it properly diagnosed. Fibroadenomas can be medically treated. We don't have any clinical studies or hard evidence that Fibrosolve would prevent or treat a fibroadenoma. Consult your doctor before taking any herbal supplements, especially if you are pregnant or nursing.
Breast Lump, Home Care. National Institutes of Health. Updated: 8/17/2009.
Interview with David Davis, Cornucopia, Inc., 2-24-2010.
L-Tyrosine to alleviate the effects of stress? S. N. Young. J Psychiatry Neurosci. 2007 May; 32(3): 224.
Personal correspondence with Margaret Lewin, Medical Director, Cinergy Health, 2/24/2010.