Natural Lupus Treatment and Lifestyle Changes Part 2

Table of contents for Lupus

  1. Lupus Symptoms & Causes Part 1
  2. Natural Lupus Treatment and Lifestyle Changes Part 2

Natural supplements and lifestyle changes can bring significant improvement to lupus by strengthening the immune system and lessoning the risk of other disease with overall better health.

Due to the lack of progress in a cure for lupus and the frequent side effects from the long-term usage of prescribed corticosteroid, implementing a healthy diet, body cleansing, exercise, and natural supplements offer promising options toward a better life for those diagnosed with lupus.

Long-term use of corticosteroids, such as used in the treatment of SLE, can result in adrenal atrophy and suppression of the body’s natural defenses in the immune system. In addition, the treatment often results in side effects such as:

  • mood swings
  • depression
  • generalized edema of body and face
  • redistribution of body fat to the abdomen
  • weight gain
  • lethargy (1)

We are going to briefly cover lupus research results from 4 various health sites, and then take a detailed look at the research and lifestyle changes suggested by Dr. Ray Sahelian, which will be extremely helpful for lupus sufferer determined to improve his or her health.

**It should be noted that there are some slight variations in suggested supplements between the sites. I want to emphasize 2 main points in this regard:

1. I would suggest avoiding any supplement that is questioned as safe by even 1 of the following doctors unless you first discuss it with your physician and have a plan for discerning possible side effects.

2. Before taking any new supplement, research it for any possible side effects relevant to your health, such as allergies, interaction with prescriptions, affect on blood pressure, etc.  The first site is one I have used personally; the second is one I just came across.

Medline Plus Medical Encyclopedia              Personal Health Zone

Prevention.com focuses on Omega 3 Fish Oils and Antioxidants for lupus improvement.

The omega 3 fatty acids in fish oil — EPA and DHA — has prevented autoimmune lupus in animals. Studies on humans have been shown to decrease inflammation. 20 grams of fish oil per day combined with a low-fat diet led to significant improvement in 14 out of 17 SLE patients in only 12 weeks. Lower amounts of fish oil did not help.(2)

Truehealth.org also incredible results from fish oil! You can use the footnote to read the studies if you wish but they are very technical. Their summary of the studies says, “Oral supplementation of EPA and DHA [from fish oil] induced a prolonged remission of SLE in 10 consecutive patients without any side effects.(3)

Antioxidant levels are typically low in SLE patients. Supplements of vitamin C, vitamin E, beta-carotene, and selenium improved the health of animals with SLE. Between 800-2,000 IU of vitamin E per day showed good to excellent improvement in people with DLE. Lower amounts of E did not appear beneficial. In another trial, 10 to 15 grams of pantothenic acid per day with 1,500 to 3,000 IU of E proved helpful to DLE patients.(2)

Prevention.com expresses concern over the use of DHEA in treatment of lupus as there is no long-term safety study on humans. There were minimal side effects in high doses of 50 mg per day or more but high doses of DHEA long-term in animals have produced cancer.

Chiro.org provides specific doses for lupus improvement with Omega 3 oils, more specifically flax seed oil.

In mice studies, fish oil slowed renal damage in lupus mice. Age related decline was greatly reduced by combining fish oil and a low calorie diet.

30 grams a day of flax seed oil reduced kidney inflammation in lupus patients as well as lowering total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol. Chiro.org says it is important to note that flax seed oil had a direct effect on reducing the antibody profile which did not take place with safflower, Juniperus virginiana, fish, corn, soybean oils, or fish oil.

Vitamin A at 100,000 IU daily for two weeks showed beneficial immune system improvement with no side effects in 10 women. However, long-term studies have not been conducted for this.

SLE patients are consistently Vitamin D deficient. As it is important to the regulation of the immune system, Chiro.org suggests that it is likely to be helpful.

Chiro.org also suggests the same antioxidant treatment as Prevention.com to slow the tissue damage common to SLE.

Dr. Ray Sahelian had the most extensive program for natural lupus treatment that I could find on the web.

We’ve referred to research by Dr. Sahelian for other health matters in the past and found his research sound and helpful.

As health problems never actually have a “single cause,” the most effective treatment must involve lifestyle changes for overall health. Dr. Sahelian offers a list of helpful supplements as well as detailed plan for lifestyle change to improve one’s immune system and overall health.

The first link to his site is for suggested supplements. He says that many herbs have not been researched for effectiveness, but he posts a list of supplements that have been tested as well as descriptions of the studies. We will refer to the supplements here, but, as the studies are quite tedious reading, those of you who want to read the details can use the link (footnote 5) below.

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Dr. Sahelian’s Suggested Supplements for Lupus (5)

Fish Oils and Omega-3 Fatty Acids- Fish oil supplements with both DHA and EPA improve symptoms of SLE. Take 1-3 capsules daily if not eating fish. Consider eating more fish such as salmon, halibut, and sardines packed in mustard or tomato sauce.

Green tea with EGCG- EGCG is a powerful antioxidant found in green tea, but you do not want to overdo it. Take a glass a day in the morning so it will not interfere with your sleep.

Cordyceps mushroom extract- Take a 450 mg tablet a couple of times a week in the morning. Skip 1 week a month. This anti oxidant is specifically helpful to the liver, kidneys, heart, and immune system.

Lipoic Acid- Limit usage to 50 mg two or three times a week.

Multivitamin- Take a quality one with vitamins, nutrients, and minerals with 1 day off a week. Dr. Sahelian has his own version available.

Psyllium- Use half to one teaspoon in a glass of water twice daily with food for fiber and the prevention of constipation.

Calcium- Postmenopausal women should take a supplement from a natural source such as oyster shell or bone in calcium citrate, calcium gluconate, or calcium carbonate form, no more than 800 mg a day. Calcium citrate is the easiest to absorb.

Barley Grass powder- Use for a green food supplement. [Most people’s diets are greatly lacking in green food sources.]

Echinacea and Spirulina- Dr. Sahelian cautions use of these herbs on lupus until more research is available.(5)

Dr. Sahelian’s Basic Lifestyle Habits for Health (6)

Again, those this list below appears extensive, there is an even more vast amount of info in his article that those serious about lifestyle changes should read using the link below (footenote 6).

1. Avoid the Basic Lupus Aggravators- excess calories, excess protein, high fat (especially saturated and omega-6 polyunsaturated fatty acids), sugar, sweets, and iron. Some people also saw improvement by eliminating common allergy-causing foods (wheat, soy, milk, eggs, peanuts, tree nuts, shellfish).

  • Some good fruit choices are apple, banana, berries (blueberry, cranberry, raspberry, strawberry) cantaloupe, cherry, coconut, fig, guava, grape, grapefruit, kiwi, lemon, lychee, lime, mango, orange, papaya, peach, pear, pineapple, plum, pomegranate, prickly pear fruit, quince, and watermelon.

2. Eat a wide variety of fruits and vegetables, rather than the same ones all the time. Eat actual fruits instead of juices. [Another doctor suggested 8 colors of fresh food per day]. If you are diabetic, reduce your fruit intake. Wash well or buy organic.

  • Some good vegetable choices are artichoke, asparagus, avocado, beet, broccoli, brussels sprouts, cabbage, carrot, cauliflower, celery, chard, corn, cucumber, eggplant, endive, garlic, ginger, kale, lettuce, mushroom, okra, olive, onion, parsley, pepper, radish, scallion, spinach, sprouts, squash, tomato, yam, yucca, zucchini. Avoid white potatoes.

3. Drink a glass or two of cold water first thing in the morning to clean out bowels. Add more fiber to your diet, such as psyllium as keeping the colon moving reduces toxins.

4. Drink 8 glasses of water per day, more in hot weather. [Remember the formula for your weight—body weight divided by 2 equals ounces of water per day for your body weight.] Water removes toxins, cushions joints, in addition to affecting almost all body processes.

5. Get a good night’s sleep.  Sleep greatly affects health.  If you are having trouble sleeping, eat more protein and fat at breakfast and lunch, and switch to more complex carbs at night such as vegetable soup, whole grain pasta, or whole grains.

6. Eat more small meals.  It is healthier to eat more small meals then 2-3 large meals.

7. Alcohol should be in moderation.

8. Dental Hygiene- Brush and floss before bed.

9. Limit excessive exposure to sun.

10. Limit caffeine intake- No more than 2 cups of coffee per day. Decaf is more beneficial.

11. Aerobic Walking- At least 20 to 30 minutes four to five times per week can improve cardiovascular fitness, energy, mood, sleep, reduce anxiety, and chronic pain. Avoid exercising within 3 hours of bedtime.

12. Toning Exercise- Weights, pushups, or situps at least 5 to 15 minutes per day improves muscle tone. Try to do 10 to 30 situps twice a day and 5 to 20 pushups twice a day.

13. Stretching or Yoga- At least once a week improves joint, tendon, and ligament flexibility, helps you relax, improves mood, and increases energy.

14. Carbohydrate choices should be complex carbs, with low glycemic index, and eaten in the evening. Use 100% whole wheat bread or, even better, sprouted grain bread [usually in freezer section]. Whole grain choices are barley, kamut, millet, oats, quinoa, rice, and rye.

15. Choose healthy protein.  Protein choices are chicken, turkey, eggs, lean beef, lamb, tofu, low fat milk, yogurt, kefir, fish, legume-type beans, and cheese. Occasionally have goat’s milk instead of cow’s milk. Use a small grill such as a Foreman grill to cook fish in just a few minutes. [We use one almost every day.]

16. Beneficial Nuts and Seeds- A variety of raw nuts in small portions are beneficial, such as almond, brazil, cashew, hazelnut, macadamia, peanut, pecan, walnut. Health seeds include chia, pumpkin, sesame, and sunflower.

17. Healthy Oil Types- Use extra virgin olive oil or flax seed oil. Reduce the use of safflower, sunflower, and corn oils as they fight against your omega 3 intake. Eliminate saturated fats such as in high fat meats, lard, whole milk dairy, palm oil, coconut oil, and cocoa butter. Also eliminate trans fats which are in processed foods and used to increase shelf life.

18. Sweetener Options- Use stevia or unprocessed honey.

19. Drinks Options- Eliminate soft drinks and any drink with sugar, fructose, or corn syrup. Have a large variety of herbal teas, decaf coffee, and vegetable juices, such as tomato or V8.

20. Snack Options- Baby carrots, cherry tomatoes, edamame (soybeans in pods), grapes, nuts (raw cashews, almonds, filberts, walnuts), dried fruit in small amounts (raisins, dates, papaya, pineapple, prunes), Cheese with slices of apple or tomatoes (queso fresco-a Mexican cheese-goes great with apples), cooked kashi at night with milk, raisins, or a small amount of 100% maple syrup. You can also make your own chocolate with unsweetened chocolate, add stevia, vanilla extract, milk, and water. (6)

1. Lupus Article on Healthy.net
2. Natural Lupus Remedies by
Prevention.com
3. A Natural Lupus Remedy by TrueHealth.org
4. Natural Medicine and Lupus by Chiro.org
5. Lupus by Dr. Ray Sahelian
6.
Diet for Better Health by Dr. Ray Sahelian

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