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Pulmonary Fibrosis / lung scarring after Rads???

Question:  I am curious about women who had pulmonary fibrosis (scarring of the lungs) as a result of receiving radiation treatments...Did you also have a lot of the blistering and break down of your skin surface from the treatments?

I'm just thinking there could be some kind of connection to the two things, so if you know you have fibrosis in the lungs, please comment on how your skin did during rads.  Thanks!

p.s. Also wondering if chemo is a factor to the lung problems?  Women with lung issues after rads, did you have chemo beforehand?



  • squidwitch42
    squidwitch42 Member Posts: 1,467
    edited September 2010


    My skin did VERY well...shocked us all.  I am fair skinned/freckles and was diligent with my skin care.  I had redness and some localized pain, but did not blister.  It was not a walk in the park, but my PS had mentioned the words skin graft, so I was bracing for the worst.

    Now the lungs....,my PET/CT showed pleural thickening of my lung front and back, which my Onc felt was related to the radiation.  My Radiation Onc did not agree with him. I am in the middle of this...have had some shortness of breath, chest/lung pain and have noticed an increasing issue with exercise. So I have been using a steroid inhaler which has helped some.  I don't know what's going to happen.  But that's my story, and I will update you with any changes.  Let us know how your research goes!


  • squidwitch42
    squidwitch42 Member Posts: 1,467
    edited September 2010


    My skin did VERY well...shocked us all.  I am fair skinned/freckles and was diligent with my skin care.  I had redness and some localized pain, but did not blister.  It was not a walk in the park, but my PS had mentioned the words skin graft, so I was bracing for the worst.

    Now the lungs....,my PET/CT showed pleural thickening of my lung front and back, which my Onc felt was related to the radiation.  My Radiation Onc did not agree with him. I am in the middle of this...have had some shortness of breath, chest/lung pain and have noticed an increasing issue with exercise. So I have been using a steroid inhaler which has helped some.  I don't know what's going to happen.  But that's my story, and I will update you with any changes.  Let us know how your research goes!


  • elimar
    elimar Member Posts: 5,882
    edited September 2010

    That goes counter to the idea I had already. 

    I was also prepared to have the weeping blisters that a friend of mine told me she had during her rads, but I didn't.  My skin issue were very minimal.  I know for a fact that 13% of my right lung was in the radiation field and I was very concerned about it last year when I had treatment.  Just today, about 11 mos. later., I saw my Rad Onc and we looked at a chest x-ray that I had taken for a back problem six weeks ago.  Well, my radiated lung looked exactly the same as the untreated side.  I guess maybe I just got luck on both counts, the skin and the lung.

    Maybe if more people comment, we can see if there is any correlation all.  Or there just may be no rhyme orr reason to who gets which side-effects.  Thanks for your info.  Sorry you are having the lung issues.  I know why we get the rads, but the whole process is pretty barbaric.  It's so damaging for so many!

  • squidwitch42
    squidwitch42 Member Posts: 1,467
    edited September 2010


    I'm glad you were aware of everything....I got some info, and should have asked more.  It was such a struggle to get to the place where I agreed to do it that I put my head down and pushed through it.  I had a mastectomy, so I had tissue expanders in...I was told rads were important because they only got a 1 mm margin on the chest wall.  The stats were important to me to try and prevent mets...but I am struggling a bit. We do the best you can with making decisions in all of this BC, don't we :)  Glad your lungs looked the same as baseline!

  • blackjack
    blackjack Member Posts: 771
    edited September 2010

    Morning girls, I just wanted to comment on the radation to your lungs. I had rads over 3 yrs ago to my left breast. I had a very difficult time as I did the Canadian protocol of 21 tx and 4 boost. I developed SOB after the 3 tx, which increased my asthma problem. I sought out a pulmonologist and had pulmonary function tests done.  The results were that I had scarring of my left upper lung which was in the field of the rad beam. I had pneumonia 2 months after my initial treatment which landed me in the hospital. Today I still have asthma issues and I am prone to resp problems.

    I guess we are all different in how our bodies handles these txs we are given. I hope you both sail through txs and heal away. 



  • elimar
    elimar Member Posts: 5,882
    edited September 2010

    Sorry to hear of continuing respiratory problems.  Actually, I was trying to find out if those who had the eventual scarring in the lungs were the ones who also had the bad skin reaction during treatment during treatment or not?  Can women reading this please leave a comment not only about their lungs, but whether or not they had skin issues as well because of rads.  Thanks.

  • Julie50
    Julie50 Member Posts: 7
    edited September 2010

    I just went for a chest x-ray due to a cough I started to get 3 weeks into radiation.  I have two treatments left.  The Rad Onco said "IT WAS NOT FROM RAD" but my Medical Onco disgreed with him.  So we will see what the x-ray shows.

    My nipple is very dry and hurts like made, I itch all over the area that is being rad.  


  • blackjack
    blackjack Member Posts: 771
    edited September 2010

    Elimar, I did develop an upper chest rash during tx. The rad md told me it was not from rads but from sun exposure. I had my rads done in June. We had a big disagreement over this issue. I missed 4 txs due to my asthma. I wound up on steroids for part of my tx and went to my dermatologist for my skin issues. I think I was over exposed to rads but nobody will admit to it. Today post 3 yrs out I am still dealing with my lung issues.


  • Leah_S
    Leah_S Member Posts: 1,929
    edited September 2010

    The only skin issue I had with rads was some pinkness and radiation dermatitis (think itchitchitchitch). When I had a CT-PET in May (9 months after rads finished) the report said  my lungs had "post-radiation changes" - not sure what it would be called in a radiologist's report in the U.S. since I'm translating from the Hebrew. However, with that type of wording my guess is that it's not uncommon. The question is if it is symptomatic. For me, I've had mild asthma for years which is more frequent than it was before rads though the severity of the symptoms is the same.


  • hope10
    hope10 Member Posts: 2
    edited September 2010

    My skin changes were not too bad during radation, a little red and a little tender.

    My big problem  was that 2 months post rad. that i developed shortness of breath esp after exercise and a dry cough. I was diag. with radiation pnemonitis and put a a high dose of predisone for a 9 week course. Unfortunely, my symptoms have returned since stopping predisone.  my rad. oc. does not how to treat me and i have to go see a pulmonagist. I am really frustrated.

  • elimar
    elimar Member Posts: 5,882
    edited September 2010

    Well, so far the responses are leaning toward the skin not being an indicator of what is happening to the lungs inside.  It isn't until some months afterward that the lung damage makes itself known (by shortness of breath and/or dry cough, just like you are saying.)  but it is definitely damage done by the rads.

    I just put a "p.s." at the top, because I am also wondering if the lungs are more likely to get fibrosis if a woman goes through chemo beforehand.  I did not have chemo myself, so maybe some of you who are having lung issues can also comment if you did have chemo first.

  • susan1964
    susan1964 Member Posts: 4
    edited August 2013

    I finished my rads in April of 2012...I've been wondering about lung scarring because I constantly feel like I can't take a deep appetite hasn't been great since starting on the primary care dr. says its anxiety and I've been taking Xanex since my dx in December of 2011, but it doesn't alleviate it at all, so Ive thought it might be someone else....its like a nervous, nauseous feeling, but no vomiting....if it is lung scarring, can it improve with time without medication? I'm going to bring this up to my oncologist the next time I go...

  • dogsandjogs
    dogsandjogs Member Posts: 677
    edited August 2013

    Not sure, but I would think the scar tissue would become more flexible with time; just like scar tissue on other parts of your body.  I'd be interest to hear what your doctor thinks though. I have some lung scarring from bronchitis when I was young. But my breathing has never been a concern.

  • Jil204
    Jil204 Member Posts: 1
    edited July 2018

    I am 3 years post radiation to left breast for breast cancer . I have been extremely out of breath, I use to have just episodes but now it seems like all the time I’m having SOB goin upstairs or soMetimes just walking around. I’m having a CAT scan with high resolution on Thursday to see if there’s any scarring. I’ll let you kno

  • GG2
    GG2 Member Posts: 14
    edited September 2018

    Yes I have interstitial lung disease which I believe is a result of radiation. I was first diagnosed with bronchiectasis 2 months after ending radiation. I felt no symptoms at all. Now 4 years later, CAT scan shows pulmonary fibrosis, and symptoms include weakness, out of breath almost all the time, morning clearing cough and weight loss. I lost about 30 lbs during chemo, but now, another 20 has folks telling me I look "frail." (Being urged to eat more and gain weight was always a secret aspiration of mineLoopyso be careful what you wish for!Happy) I have another lung test schedule and then see the lung doctor again week after next. I am more curious than anything else.

  • celand
    celand Member Posts: 223
    edited July 2019

    I am 3 yrs out from left breast radiation and am seeing a cardiologist for a battery of tests because of abnormal ekg (bundle branch block right) which I have read can be caused by pulmonary issues. My radiation oncologist did tell me that a part of my lung was in radiation field so if I had a chest xray to let dr know that I had radiation. I do notice that I am now extremely sensitive to strong smells and exercise has been an issue, as I am very sensitive to heat but no major shortness of breath, but I can still do gentle yoga and swimming exercises. I do have nights sweats, racing heart, some mild chest pain when I am anxious.

  • edwards750
    edwards750 Member Posts: 1,568
    edited July 2019

    I had 33 radiation treatments almost 8 years ago. My RO didn’t fill me in on the possible short and long term side effects but to be fair I didn’t do as much homework as I should have either. I do remember lung scarring as a side effect.

    Several years ago I went to a minor medical facility because I had shoulder and back pain. I had been lifting my 2 year old twin grandsons so I thought lifting them was the cause. The PA tested me for pneumonia which was negative. Then she ordered a chest X-ray because one of my lungs wasn’t clear. I have constant allergies. The X-ray showed a lotof lung nodules and the PA freaked out and said I needed to go back to the cancer clinic where I had my treatments like ASAP. I said I would wait for the radiologist’s report. She said he would agree with her. He didn’t. X-ray was normal with no evidence of any lung disease. The PA did say it could be scar tissue which I suspect it was.

    I learned from being DX with BC that side effects can be instantaneous or take years to develop.

    The gift that keeps on giving. Ugh.


  • celand
    celand Member Posts: 223
    edited July 2019

    I also have hyperthyroidism so that plays into all of this for me as well. Hopefully, I will get some answers between my cardio tests and others that Endocrinologist will order. Will keep posted.

  • jessie123
    jessie123 Member Posts: 134
    edited July 2019

    Celand - bundle branch block is very common - I've had it for years. No one is ever worried about it . It's scary to get that report on an EKG.

  • celand
    celand Member Posts: 223
    edited July 2019


    Thank you for this information, although the doctor said that it could be nothing or it could be something but we won't know until I do the cardio exercise stress test and ultrasound of my heart, so I am trying to put this out of my mind until I do these tests and find out the results. I do get anxiety when I think about it though. You are right that it is scary to hear this about an ekg.

    The main worry that I have is that I read that this could be something pulmonary causing this such as a pulmonary embolism and being that I am taking Tamoxifen, well, this comes to mind.


  • celand
    celand Member Posts: 223
    edited August 2019

    Well, after going thru the cardio nuclear stress test yesterday, the doctor's nurse called me to let me know that I had no ischemia and no blockages, so I will go for my heart ultrasound today and see what that report tells me. I do wonder if some of my cardiac symptoms (high BP, mild chest pain, sensitivity to smells (feels like I am suffocating when I am near certain smells) racing heart /palpitations) has any relation to my lung being scarred following radiation. The radiation oncologist told me that a part of my lung would be scarred but didn't really tell me more other than I would need to mention that if I was to get a chest xray. Also, the cardiac nurse told me that I should not have blood drawn or BP taken from my left side because of the lumpectomy and removal of 5 lymph nodes. Well, will update my post once I receive my ultrasound results.

  • macb04
    macb04 Member Posts: 756
    edited August 2019

    I have rads damage to my left lung. When I had a cold, only my left lung would gurgle when I had been sleeping for a while. Woke me up almost every night to cough all the crap out of only the left lung, for almost a month. Hated it.

    Big regret letting them fry the ever loving crap out of me.

  • whatjusthappened
    whatjusthappened Member Posts: 178
    edited August 2019

    For those of you with pulmonary fibrosis, what treatment did you have early on for pneumonitis? My MO only put me on a week's worth of steroids after seeing some infiltrate in my lung on x-ray. It's been a week since I finished the steroids and I'm still coughing up a storm and short of breath upon exertion. I also have the racing heart rate and chest pain at times. I'm not sure if it's supposed to get better after time or if I need more treatment. I'm a bit frustrated with the cavalier attitude from some of my medical team.

  • macb04
    macb04 Member Posts: 756
    edited August 2019

    Whatjusthappened. Go see a Pulmonologist if you haven't already. Did they at least TAPER down the steroids.???

    Your MO sounds a bit dim. My regular MD put my friend on a weeks worth of Steroids for just Bronchitis.

    Surely a severe, life altering side effect such a Pulmonary Radiation Fibrosis, needs more than a piddly little week of oral steroids.

    Like I said, self refer, or KICK UP A SH*T Storm of complaint if your MO or other doctors won't help you get to a Pulmonologist ASAP. The fibrotic changes are PERMANENT. No time to waste.

  • whatjusthappened
    whatjusthappened Member Posts: 178
    edited August 2019

    Thanks macb04 for the advice. I was on Prednisone 4x a day for 3 days followed by 2x a day for 4 days. No follow up whatsoever, so I'm planning on calling today to let them know it didn't work. I've been feeling like crap all weekend. Never even thought about seeing a pulmonologist, though I've thought about calling my RO to see what he would do.

    Just to clarify, I don't have fibrosis yet, just pneumonitis, but I do know that it can progress to fibrosis if left untreated. What kind of treatment (if any) did you get for your lungs early on? Obviously it didn't work for you if you ended up with permanent damage anyway. I've read that treatment is usually a long course of steroids, but I don't know what constitutes "long". I agree with you that a week seems insufficient.

  • sildann
    sildann Member Posts: 1
    edited August 2019

    I had severe sunburn and a little bit of blistering toward the end of radiation in December. It lasted a few weeks after radiation. I found out my cough since this spring was due to radiation affecting the lung and not allergies as I had thought. I am seeing a pulmonologist Tuesday. I believe it to be pneumonitis but I'll find out more next week.

  • Sara536
    Sara536 Member Posts: 5,937
    edited August 2019

    Whatjusthappened - I have very similar symptoms including a cough. My radiation was four years ago so is not an immediate suspect. I had some foot and ankle swelling after a flight which is why I went to an ER where I was told to get an echo when I got back home. All those other symptoms could be heart failure too. My pcp is trying to rule out mild heart failure and has referred me to a cardiologist. Are you still taking Arimidex? It has been associated with heart problems. There’s no harm in checking it out. I hope we both find out what is going on. I am so tired of one thing after another. :)

  • moderators
    moderators Posts: 7,684
    edited August 2019

    sildann, welcome to, and thank you for sharing your experiences with radiation and lungs. Please, let us know what you learn next week at your appointment! And if you have questions in the mean time, feel free to get in contact with us, we're always here!

    The Mods

  • whatjusthappened
    whatjusthappened Member Posts: 178
    edited August 2019

    Sara536, I am still taking Arimidex. I've only been on it about six weeks. I had high blood pressure before BC, and it has gotten worse with the Arimidex. There is a strong family history of heart problems in my family, so it certainly worth considering that it may be at least partially heart related. I called and left a message with my MO this week and nobody ever called me back. It's very frustrating! I'm a teacher, and I barely have time to sit down during the day let alone play phone tag and chase down my doctor.

    Like you, I am so tired of one thing after another. I'm also tired of smiling and saying I'm fine when people ask how I'm doing (I've noticed that not many people are interested in the honest answer to that question). I think everyone assumes that after surgery I should be back to normal. I'm starting to wonder if I'll ever feel "normal" again.

    I hope the cardiologist appointment provides you with good news, or at least some answers. Sorry for my mini-rant. I've had a hard week, and I'm exhausted and depressed. Just needed to get that out to someone who actually understands.

  • macb04
    macb04 Member Posts: 756
    edited August 2019

    Whatjusthappened, I put myself on Hawthorne Extract daily and it helped my decreased exercise tolerance a good bit. It is very safe, and will help with the strength of contraction of the heart muscle, increases efficiency of the pumping action of the heart.


    Evidence Based

    9 Impressive Health Benefits of Hawthorn Berry

    Written by SaVanna Shoemaker, MS, RDN, LD on May 1, 2019

    Hawthorn berries are tiny fruits that grow on trees and shrubs belonging to the Crataegus genus.

    The genus includes hundreds of species, which are commonly found in Europe, North America, and Asia.

    Their berries are packed with nutrition and have a tart, tangy taste and mild sweetness, ranging in color from yellow to deep red or black.

    For centuries, hawthorn berry has been used as an herbal remedy for digestive problems, heart failure, and high blood pressure. In fact, it's a key part of traditional Chinese medicine.

    Here are 9 impressive health benefits of hawthorn berry.

    Hawthorn Berry Benefits

    1. Loaded with antioxidants

    Hawthorn berry is one of the most widely known sources of polyphenols, which are powerful antioxidant compounds found in plants (2Trusted Source).

    Antioxidants in your diet help neutralize unstable molecules called free radicals that can harm your body in high levels. These molecules can come from poor diet, as well as environmental toxins like air pollution and cigarette smoke.

    Due to their antioxidant activity, polyphenols have been associated with numerous health benefits, including a lower risk of :

    • some cancers
    • type 2 diabetes
    • asthma
    • some infections
    • heart problems
    • premature skin aging

    Though initial research is promising, more studies are needed to assess the effects of hawthorn on lowering disease risk.

    SUMMARYHawthorn berry contains plant polyphenols that have been linked to numerous health benefits due to their antioxidant properties.

    2. May boost your immune system

    Hawthorn berry may have antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties that could strengthen your immune system.

    In one test-tube study, hawthorn extract exhibited significant antibacterial action against Streptococcus aureus and Klebsiella pneumoniae, even killing some of the harmful bacteria.

    Another test-tube study found that hawthorn berry extract had moderate antibacterial potential against several bacteria, including Listeria monocytogenes, which causes foodborne illness.

    Furthermore, some animal research indicates that the berry may have anti-inflammatory effects.

    Chronic inflammation has been linked to many diseases, including type 2 diabetes, asthma, and certain cancers.

    In a study in mice with liver disease, hawthorn berry extract significantly reduced levels of inflammatory compounds.

    What's more, research in mice with asthma showed that supplementing with hawthorn berry extract decreased inflammation enough to significantly reduce asthma symptoms.

    Due to these promising results from animal and test-tube studies, scientists believe the supplement may offer immune-boosting benefits in humans. However, more research is needed.

    SUMMARYIn test-tube and animal studies, hawthorn shows antibacterial and anti-inflammatory potential that may boost the immune system. Still, more research in humans is needed.

    3. May lower blood pressure

    In traditional Chinese medicine, hawthorn berry is one of the most commonly recommended foods to help treat high blood pressure

    Several studies in animals and humans show that hawthorn can act as a vasodilator, meaning it can relax constricted blood vessels, ultimately lowering blood pressure.

    In a 10-week study in 36 people with mildly elevated blood pressure, those taking 500 mg of hawthorn extract daily experienced a decrease in diastolic blood pressure (the bottom number of a reading), while other groups showed no improvements.

    Another study in 79 people with type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure observed that those who took 1,200 mg of hawthorn extract daily had greater improvements in blood pressure than those in the placebo group.

    Nonetheless, a similar study in 21 people with mildly elevated blood pressure noted no differences between the hawthorn-extract and placebo groups.

    SUMMARYSome evidence suggests that hawthorn berry may reduce blood pressure by helping dilate blood vessels. However, not all studies agree.

    4. May decrease blood fats

    Some data indicates that hawthorn extract may improve blood fat levels.

    Cholesterol and triglycerides are two types of fats always present in your blood.

    At normal levels, they're perfectly healthy and play a very important role in creating hormones and transporting nutrients throughout your body.

    However, imbalanced blood fat levels, particularly high triglycerides and low HDL (good) cholesterol, can lead to plaque buildup in your blood vessels (atherosclerosis) .

    If the plaque continues to grow, it could completely block a blood vessel, leading to heart attack or stroke.

    In one study, mice given two different doses of hawthorn extract had lower total cholesterol and LDL (bad) cholesterol, as well as 28–47% lower liver triglyceride levels than those not receiving the extract.

    Similarly, in a study in mice on a high-cholesterol diet, both hawthorn extract and the cholesterol-lowering drug simvastatin reduced total cholesterol and triglycerides about equally, but the extract also decreased LDL (bad) cholesterol.

    Though this research is promising, more human studies are needed to assess the effect of hawthorn extract on blood fats.

    SUMMARYHawthorn extract has been shown to lower cholesterol and triglycerides in animal studies. More research is needed to determine whether it has similar effects in humans.

    5. Used to aid digestion

    Hawthorn berries and hawthorn extract have been used for centuries to treat digestive issues, particularly indigestion and stomach pain.

    The berries contain fiber, which has been proven to aid digestion by reducing constipation and acting as a prebiotic.

    Prebiotics feed your healthy gut bacteria and are vital to maintaining healthy digestion.

    One observational study in people with slow digestion found that each additional gram of dietary fiber decreased the time between bowel movements by approximately 30 minutes.

    Additionally, a rat study observed that hawthorn extract dramatically increased the transit time of food in the stomach.

    This means that food moves more quickly through your digestive system, which may alleviate indigestion.

    Furthermore, in a study in rats with stomach ulcers, hawthorn extract exhibited the same protective effect on the stomach as an anti-ulcer medication.

    SUMMARYHawthorn berry has been used as a digestive aid for centuries. It can decrease the transit time of food in your digestive system. What's more, its fiber content is a prebiotic and may help relieve constipation.

    6. Helps prevent hair loss

    Hawthorn berry may even prevent hair loss and is a common ingredient in commercial hair growth products.

    One study in rats found that hawthorn stimulated hair growth and increased the number and size of hair follicles, promoting healthier hair.

    It's believed that the polyphenol content in hawthorn berry causes this beneficial effect. Nevertheless, research in this area is limited, and human studies are needed.

    SUMMARYHawthorn berry is an ingredient in some hair growth products. Its polyphenol content may promote healthy hair growth, but more research is needed.

    7. May reduce anxiety

    Hawthorn has a very mild sedative effect, which may help decrease anxiety symptoms.

    In a study on hawthorn's effect on blood pressure, people taking hawthorn extract also reported lower levels of anxiety.

    In another study in 264 people with anxiety, a combination of hawthorn, magnesium, and California poppy flower significantly reduced anxiety levels, compared to a placebo. Still, it's unclear what role hawthorn played, specifically.

    Given that it has few side effects compared to traditional anti-anxiety medications, hawthorn continues to be researched as a potential treatment for disorders of the central nervous system, such as anxiety and depression.

    However, more research is needed. If you want to try a hawthorn supplement to manage your anxiety, don't discontinue any of your current medications and be sure to discuss it with your healthcare provider.

    SUMMARYSome studies indicate that hawthorn supplements may reduce anxiety. Still, more research is needed before recommendations can be made.

    8. Used to treat heart failure

    Hawthorn berry is best known for its use alongside traditional medications in the treatment of heart failure.

    A review of 14 randomized studies in more than 850 people concluded that those who took hawthorn extract along with their heart failure medications had improved heart function and exercise tolerance.

    They also experienced less shortness of breath and fatigue.

    What's more, a 2-year observational study in 952 people with heart failure found that those supplementing with hawthorn berry extract had less fatigue, shortness of breath, and heart palpitations than people who did not supplement.

    The group taking hawthorn berry also required fewer medications to manage their heart failure.

    Finally, another large study in over 2,600 people with heart failure suggested that supplementing with hawthorn berry may reduce the risk of sudden heart-related death.

    People with heart failure are often encouraged to take hawthorn berry in addition to their current medications, as the supplement is considered safe with few side effects.

    SUMMARYHawthorn berry is beneficial for people with heart failure, as it has been shown to improve heart function and decrease symptoms like shortness of breath and fatigue.

    9. Easy to add to your diet

    Hawthorn berry may be difficult to find at your local grocery store. However, you should be able to find it at farmers' markets, specialty health food stores, and online.

    You can add hawthorn to your diet in many ways:

    • Raw. Raw hawthorn berries have a tart, slightly sweet taste and make a great on-the-go snack.
    • Tea. You can buy premade hawthorn tea or make your own using the dried berries, flowers, and leaves of the plant.
    • Jams and desserts. In the Southeastern United States, hawthorn berries are commonly made into jam, pie filling, and syrup.
    • Wine and vinegar. Hawthorn berries can be fermented into a tasty adult beverage or a flavorful vinegar that can be used to make salad dressing.
    • Supplements. You can take hawthorn berry supplements in a convenient powder, pill, or liquid form.

    Hawthorn berry supplements usually contain the berry along with the leaves and flowers. Although, some include only the leaves and flowers, as they're a more concentrated source of antioxidants than the berry itself.

    Different brands and forms of hawthorn supplements have different dosing recommendations.

    According to one report, the minimum effective dose of hawthorn extract for heart failure is 300 mg daily.

    Typical doses are 250–500 mg, taken three times daily.

    Keep in mind that supplements are not regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) or any other governing body.

    Therefore, it's nearly impossible to know the true effectiveness or safety of a supplement. Always purchase them from reputable sources.

    Look for products that have received a seal of approval from independent organizations that assess supplement effectiveness and quality, such as United States Pharmacopeia (USP), NSF International, or ConsumerLab.

    SUMMARYHawthorn berries can be eaten in many different ways or taken as a supplement. Supplements are not regulated, so it's important to buy them from sources you trust.

    Side effects and precautions

    Very few side effects have been reported from taking hawthorn berry.

    However, some people have complained of mild nausea or dizziness.

    Due to its potent effect on the heart, it can affect certain medications. If you're taking drugs for your heart, blood pressure, or cholesterol, speak with your healthcare provider before using hawthorn berry supplements.

    SUMMARYHawthorn berry is safe with few side effects. Speak with your healthcare professional before starting this supplement if you're on any heart medications.

    The bottom line

    Primarily due to its antioxidant content, hawthorn berry has numerous health effects, especially for your heart.

    Studies indicate that it may improve blood pressure and blood fat levels, as well as treat heart failure when combined with standard medications.

    In addition, it may boost your immune system, promote hair growth, reduce anxiety, and aid digestion.

    If you want to give this powerful berry a try, be sure to speak with your healthcare provider before taking it as a supplement.