Lupus Erythematosus, disseminated lupus, systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE)
SLE is one of the autoimmune diseases, where the body’s defence immune system, instead of fighting bacteria and invading viruses, starts attacking the normal body tissues. Sometimes it just affects an individual organ system ( rheumatoid arthritis, Addison’s disease, type 1 diabetes, Sjogren’s, thyroiditis, scleroderma) and in SLE many organ systems are involved.
Why the body starts attacking itself is uncertain. There may be some genetic predisposition, it occurs more in women than men, most cases are between 15 – 55 years, hormones (HRT) seem to make it worse, possibly viral or bacterial infections, drugs and antibiotics, silica dust (cleaning powders, cement, smoke), and in some people, exposure to UV light (sunshine).
Whatever the cause, the body develops antibodies against many organs and tissues which become damaged including –the skin, joints, circulation, kidneys, gut, lungs, heart, nerves, eyes and blood-forming tissues. Plus fatigue, aching muscles, fever and weight changes.
What doctors can do
Make the diagnosis – symptoms and clinical examination, blood tests for antibodies, Xrays, sometimes biopsy.
Drugs – the most commonly used drugs are steroids like prednisone, and sometimes non steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs like Voltaren, Brufen etc. Some antimalarial drugs have been used (hydroxychloroquine) and immunosuppressive drugs (cyclophosphamide, methotrexate and azathiaprin). All of these have side effects and do not address the causes of the disease. It makes one realise how bereft of good therapies conventional medicine has for this condition.
What you can do
- Look after the gut. Much of our immune system is in the gut, and damage to the gut wall and bad bacteria can cause a leaky gut (where larger than normal proteins leak into the blood stream and can cause allergic reactions). Bone broth, fermented foods, seeds and sprouts, and supplements as described below can all help.
- Avoid too much sun exposure (see vitamin D below), and eat a good diet – but because so many organ systems can be involved, there do not seem to be many particularly bad or beneficial foods.
- Physical exercise in moderation is probably a good idea, but only if symptoms permit this to be done comfortably.
- Get plenty of rest
- NO smoking – it does seem to be damaging to SLE patients
- Alcohol on the other hand, in moderation may be beneficial.
- Women should avoid using HRT and probably the contraceptive pill
- Low dose naltrexone – may well help (click here for more details) – and after a discussion with your health provider, should be considered.
- A good multivitamin multimineral seems a logical start to make sure the cells have all the nutrients they need to recover and work as well as they can.
- Fish oils – have an anti-inflammatory action and some studies have shown them to benefit patients with SLE
- Vitamin D – this affects the genes and immune system function. Patients with SLE often have low vitamin D levels, and many doctors are now
recommending their SLE patients to take vitamin D, 5 – 8,000iu daily. This is especially important in cases where sun makes the condition worse.
- Flaxseed oil – contains alpha linolenic acid which is an anti-inflammatory and can improve kidney function in lupus patients
- Probiotics – some believe that SLE and other autoimmune diseases are caused by leak gut alowing large proteins into the circulations. Bad bacteria are a
major cause for leaky gut, and regular probiotics, to colonise the bowel with good bacteria may help.
- Digestive enzymes and quercitin have been suggested to help leaky gut.
- Coenzyme Q 10 can help with energy, and in many cases a Liver support supplement can help too
- Dehydroepiandrosterons (DHEA) a hormone found in some supplements, may help with lupus but it’s use is still not recomended by conventional medical centres. It should only be used if prescribed by a doctor.
The Nutritional supplements I use and recommend to my patients
For my diabetic patients I recommend
USANA – Cellsentials *, Biomega, Active Calcium plus,Vitamin D, Proflavanol C, Probiotics, Coquinone, hepa plus –
Other therapiesThere are a number of other therapies which you might like to look at. They have not been specifically included with this disease because some are a form of treatment which is applicable to most diseases and many focus on the mind, body, spirit, and the universe. These include - acupuncture, Ayurvedic medicine, energy healing, homeopathy, naturopathy, prayer, visualisation and some people with this condition might like to look at these topics (I have described them more fully on another page on this website click here .) With my personal experience and reading, I do not think that I can comment of whether one or a number of these might help. They fit well with most conventional and complementary treatments and I suspect some or even all of them can be extremely powerful - if performed by an experienced practitioner. My only caveat is that if in the course of one of these therapies, you are given potions or herbs, do check with your health practitioner that they will not interfere with other treatments or drugs you are receiving.
Nutritional supplementsI believe in today's world that nutritional supplements are so necessary as to be an essential component of any form of both prevention and treatment. Not only is today's food lacking in nutrients because of the way it was grown and processed, but also most of us make the wrong choices in diet. It is virtually impossible to obtain optimal levels of most of the vitamins, minerals and other nutrients although many people try to do so, and even then fresh produce is not available all year round. *There are many quality supplements available on the market, including –Thorne, NFS, Douglas Labs, Xtend Life, True Star Health, USANA, and Metagenics. There are others, but do your due diligence before choosing one. USANA Health Sciences has added a new adjunct to its multivitamin and multi mineral called CellSentials. These are a patented blend of phyto-nutrients which they believe affects cell signaling and growth, and increases the production of preventative antioxidants within the cell. These should add to the value of the multi, so these are the multivitamin/mineral preparation I recommend. [/s2I