Lupus 24 August 2009
Lupus is an inflammatory autoimmune disease where the body’s immune system attacks its own cells. Its severest form is called Systemic Lupus Erythematosis (SLE) and is potentially fatal. The cells of the blood, skin, joints, kidneys, brain, heart, lungs and gastrointestinal system are most commonly attacked.
Lupus is largely a disease of younger women with a peak incidence from age 15-40 years although it not infrequently presents after the age of 60. It is capable of long remissions and sudden flare-ups.
The cause is unknown and there is evidence for both genetic causes and environmental triggers.
Symptoms include joint pain (in 90% of cases), kidney dysfunction (in 50% of cases), pleurisy, pericarditis, anaemia, strokes, headaches, seizures, butterfly facial rash, sensitivity to the sun, vasculitis, predisposition to infections and osteoporosis.
Traditional medical management involves therapies to dampen the immune response and include steroids, chemotherapy, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and antimalarial drugs.
In my opinion, a crucial component of management is a comprehensive search for the precipitating cause. This includes a lot of detective work trying to identify environmental toxins. The first place to start is with mercury amalgams and chronic infections. What is not debated is that mercury is the world’s most toxic metal, it’s not debated that it’s the world’s third most toxic substance, it’s not debated that it constantly leaks out of amalgam fillings, its not debated that it gets distributed to many other cells of the body and attaches itself to the outside of the cells. Strangely, what is still debated is whether the worlds third most toxic substance attaching itself to the outside of cells might cause a problem. In my opinion, if you have any autoimmune disease and have amalgam fillings, you should have them removed by a dentist experienced in meticulously safe amalgam removal and then have the mercury removed from your body by a doctor experienced in heavy metal chelation. For more information, see Mercury.
Clinical experience also suggests that fluoride toxicity and also aspartame (natural sweetener) may also be involved.
Lupus may also have an underlying infectious aetiology, particularly with mycoplasma. Any autoimmune disease may be precipitated by a foreign microorganism having a genetically derived cell structure resembling the persons cell structure. The immune system then starts attacking its own cells by mistake. This process is known as “molecular mimicry”. Investigation of lupus should always include a test for mycoplasma. If mycoplasma is detected, treatment with a short course of an intravenous antibiotic (clindamycin) followed by a prolonged course of an oral antibiotic can be very effective. Remember that root canals all contain chronic infection and are frequently forgotten about as a source of infection.
Lupus is also frequently associated with low thyroid function. See Hypothyroidism. Additionally, a chronic illness like lupus may inhibit the effective conversion of T4 to T3. Effective treatment of lupus will only occur if treatment of any coinciding low thyroid function also occurs.
The programme I use to combat lupus (which can be used in conjunction with more traditional therapies) involves:
- A fastidious search for and elimination of environmental toxins and infections, particularly mercury, infected root canals and mycoplasma. Avoid fluoride and aspartame. A natural broad spectrum immune enhancer and anti-microbial agent should always be used.
- Ensure adequate water and salt intake. Most of us live in a state of chronic dehydration which elevates histamine levels. Elevated histamine levels exacerbate autoimmune diseases. See Principles.
- Vitamin and mineral supplements depending on individual deficiencies. Particularly important vitamins are the B group, vitamin C, D and E. Important minerals are magnesium, selenium and zinc. See Vitamin D, Vitamin E, Magnesium and Selenium.
- Assessment and elimination of food allergies which often complicate autoimmune illnesses. Management of the allergies often improves the function of the immune and endocrine systems allowing the body to start repairing itself. For more information, see Food Allergies.
- High dose essential fatty acids to increase the anti-inflammatory eicosanoids hormones.
- Wobenzym is a systemic enzyme formulation which helps breakdown the harmful proteins involved in the autoimmune response. It should be used in all cases of autoimmune disease. For more information, see Wobenzym.
- DHEA supplementation has been shown to be beneficial in autoimmune diseases. For more information, see DHEA.
- Testosterone restoration is also effective in reducing symptoms. One study suggested that low levels of androgens may actually play a role in the development of autoimmune disease. For more information, see Testosterone Replacement for Women.
- High dose antioxidants including vitamin E, grape seed extract and coenzyme Q10.
- Correction of any intestinal dysbiosis.