"I was diagnosed with endometriosis about 6 years ago. I was told by my gynecologist to go on birth control and have surgery which wouldn't be a permanent fix.  Knowing that there was no way that I could live my life in chronic pain and not wanting to have synthetic hormones effecting my body, I searched all over the place for naturopathic treatment or cures. I was on natural hormones, diets, drinks and so on. I spent hundreds of dollars that I couldn't really afford in an 18 month period and I was still in pain. I decided to search your website because I'd already been treating my extreme allergies with vitamin C for longer than I'd known I had endometriosis. Your website suggested selenium, which is one of the least expensive minerals one could purchase. I felt and knew the difference within weeks: less or no pain. I had normal cycles and my hormonal issues were almost completely cured." 



In cattle, endometriosis can be due to selenium deficiency.

Speaking as a former dairyman, I can confirm that we go out of our way to supply selenium to cattle, particularly in geographical regions that have selenium-poor soil (New York state is just one of these).  Farmers simply must have healthy, fertile, easy-to-conceive, happily-pregnant, uncomplicated-delivering Bossys by the herd. The economics are obvious: farmers cannot afford otherwise. A herd with endometriosis would be bankruptcy on the hoof. Since your cow can't give you any milk without having a baby first, dairymen well know to supplement all cows' feed with selenium.  This is usually accomplished with a multimineral tablet the size of a microwave oven.  Okay, it's a mineral-fortified salt block (after all, salt IS a mineral...) that can cows lick anytime they want.

Human females should do as well, but they don't. Women with endometriosis mean economic success for all the many, many systems we have to capitalize on their sickness.  Doctors, nurses, support staff, surgeons, hospitals, administrators, HMO's, insurance companies, pharmaceutical manufacturers, drug salespeople, and lots of others' jobs depend on people being unwell.  The uterus has always been irresistible to money-medicine, and, with an estimated half a million unnecessary hysterectomies annually, I would say that little has changed.

The secret to endometriosis is to see it for what it is: an end result of malnutrition.

Farmers see this.  Physicians do not.

Cows are raw food vegetarians who obtain their minerals from grains, leafy greens, and smart dairymen who provide mineral supplements preventively.  Physicians and their ilk try to treat endometriosis 1) after it has occurred and 2) with drugs.  Endometriosis is not due to a drug deficiency.

Imagine: the secret to this disease is found in the barnyard. 


Selenium is probably important in stopping endometriosis because this important trace mineral works so closely with vitamin E.  Since the 1930s, vitamin E has been known to ensure that animals have healthy uterine linings.  There is a research trail on this as long as your arm.  Therefore, supplementing the diet of a human female with (natural) vitamin E, 400 to 1,000 IU daily plus 100-200 micrograms (mcg) of selenium, is a good move. This preventive approach was presented as early as 1940 by Drs. Wilfrid and Evan Shute of London, Ontario, Canada.

As for treating existing endometriosis, Helen Saul Case, in The Vitamin Cure for Women's Health Problems, writes: Antioxidants may help women reduce pain and inflammation due to endometriosis. One study demonstrated that 1,200 IU of vitamin E and 1,000 mg of vitamin C helped women experience significant improvement of their endometriosis pain and inflammation. During the study, five women in the vitamin group became pregnant (versus none in the control group) and were excluded from the rest of the study . (We know endometriosis can make it more difficult to get pregnant. Did vitamin therapy help these women conceive?) Interestingly, no one in the control group got pregnant nor did they experience any improvement in pain or inflammation. James F. Balch, M.D., recommends 2,000 mg of vitamin C, three times a day, and 400 IU-1,000 IU of vitamin E for endometriosis.

For additional reading, you can directly access papers on selenium, vitamin E, vitamin C, and also vitamin D with an online search for the nutrient along with "endometriosis" [example: vitamin E endometriosis] at https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/. If you use a regular internet search engine (Google; Yahoo; DuckDuckGo, etc.) you need to be wary of "sponsored" links that are actually advertising products for sale. I have no financial connection whatsoever with the health products industry. Nor does PubMed.

Folate (folic acid)
I suspect folate deficiency as a cause of endometriosis. To some extent I base this opinion, once again, on cows. And I repeat that cows are vegetarians. Raw food vegetarians.

Folate, sometimes known as vitamin B - 9, is named after the dark green leafy vegetables it was first extracted from. "Folium" is Latin for leaf. Folic acid is the supplemental form. Folic acid contains three parts: pteroic acid glutamic acid, and para-aminobenzoic acid (PABA). Folate is an important coenzyme in your body which helps to move carbon units about, and is necessary for the synthesis of nitrogen-containing purines and pyrimidines, which are essential for the synthesis of nucleotides... which make up your RNA and DNA.  Folate is also necessary for making the heme (the iron-containing, nonprotein part of hemoglobin) for your red blood cells 

Too little folate causes nutritional megoblastic anemia (that's large, immature red blood cells that can't carry oxygen well). This is especially important during growth situations, such as pregnancy, infancy and childhood.

Cows get plenty of folate because they eat plenty of foliage (green leafy stuff, like grass). They are also blissfully free from a silent folate-stealer: the birth control pill.  Oral contraceptives dramatically increase (at least double) the need for folic acid in women. Disease in general increases need for folic acid.

Children of mothers who take multivitamins and/or folic acid supplements have a 60% lower autism risk. http://orthomolecular.org/resources/omns/v14n04.shtml

Adolescent girls in particular are likely to have folic acid deficiencies (Williams, 6th, p 245) Why? Because food sources of folate are often quite unpopular.  They are:

1. green leafy vegetables (Teens LOVE these. Not.)
2. organ meats ("Epic!")
3. asparagus ("McSparagus! My favorite fast food!")

I think a plant-based diet, heavy on the leavy greens, is by far the best way to get folate. Folic acid supplementation is needed for the majority of people who simply do not eat their grees. Those with concerns about folic acid safety may wish to read this: http://orthomolecular.org/resources/omns/v06n17.shtml

It is likely that, during the pre-adult growth period when they need it most, teenagers are not getting adequate dietary folate. Female teenagers reaching menarche (beginning of menstruation) are therefore malnourished. Folate undernutrition is probably a factor in endometriosis.

Other nutrients that James F. Balch, M.D. recommends for endometriosis include vitamin C in quantity, the vitamin B-complex, essential fatty acids (found in lecithin or primrose oil), iron, iodine, calcium, and magnesium (Balch, p 167). His concise discussion of endometriosis (pages 165-168) includes a discussion a theory that endometriosis may actually be an "unrecognized congenital birth defect." If this is true, surgical correction may be warranted. But likewise if true, prevention must be emphasized. Since there is no question whatsoever that malnutrition causes birth defects, dietary revision makes sense.  What is good for heifers is good for humans.  I vote for a bovine diet.

Raspberry leaves are rich in magnesium and have a long tradition of uterine usefulness.  I have seen raspberry leaf tea reduce pregnancy problems and delivery times in humans.  We fed piles of raspberry leaves to our rabbit, who rewarded us with ten young practically while our backs were turned. This is a large litter even for a rabbit. 

With endometriosis, there remains much that is not known for certain. But I think the less sure we are, the more we should look to nature - and to nutrients - for our therapies.


Balch, J. and Balch, P. (1990) Prescription for Nutritional Healing. Garden City Park, New York: Avery.  Fifth edition, 2010.

Williams, Sue R. (1989) Nutrition and Diet Therapy, sixth edition.  St. Louis: Mosby

Copyright 2019, 2003 and prior years by Andrew W. Saul. Revisions copyright 2021.


Andrew Saul is the author of the books FIRE YOUR DOCTOR! How to be Independently Healthy (reader reviews at http://www.doctoryourself.com/review.html ) and DOCTOR YOURSELF: Natural Healing that Works. (reviewed at http://www.doctoryourself.com/saulbooks.html )


Andrew W. Saul


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