Lupus is a chronic inflammatory disease that can affect many of the body's organs. It is an autoimmune disease that occurs when the immune mechanism forms antibodies that attack the body's own tissues. Many experts believe that it is due to an as-yet-unidentified virus. According to this theory, the immune system develops antibodies in response to the virus that then attack the body's own organs and tissues. This produces inflammation of the skin, blood vessels, joints, and other tissues. Heredity and sex hormones are two other possible factors in the development of this illness.
This disease was named lupus, which means "wolf," because many people who got it developed a butterfly-shaped rash over the cheeks and nose that was considered to give them something of a wolf-like appearance. In fact, rashes may appear elsewhere on the body as well, such as the chest, ears, hands, shoulders, and upper arms. At least 90 percent of those who contract lupus are women, and women of Asian, African American, Latino and Native American background appear to be at greater risk of developing lupus than Caucasian women. Lupus usually develops between the ages of 15 and 35, although it may occur at any age. The Lupus Foundation of America (LFA) estimates between 1.5 to 2 million Americans have a form of lupus, but the actual number may be higher. Studies suggest that more than 16,000 Americans develop lupus each year.
TYPES OF LUPUS
There are four types of lupus: systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) and discoid lupus erythematosus (DLE), drug-induced lupus and neonatal lupus.
As the name implies, SLE is a systemic disease that affects many different parts of the body. The severity can range from mild to life threatening. The first symptoms of may cases of SLE resemble those of arthritis, with swelling and pain in the fingers and other joints. The disease may also appear suddenly, with acute fever. The characteristic red rash may appear across the cheeks; there may also be red, scaling lesions elsewhere on the body. Generally, no two people with systemic lupus will have identical symptoms. Sores may form in the mouth. Other symptoms include:
- Abdominal and chest pains.
- Blood in the urine.
- Hair loss.
- Loss of appetite.
- Low-grade fever.
- Poor circulation in the fingers and toes.
- Shortness of breath.
- Weight loss.
The lungs and the kidneys are often involved. Approximately 50 percent of those with SLE develop nephritis, the inflammation of the kidneys. In serious cases, the brain, lungs, spleen, and/or heart may be affected. SLE can cause anemia and inflammation of the surface membranes of the heart and lungs. It can cause excessive bleeding and increased susceptibility to infection. If the central nervous system is involved, amnesia, deep depression, headaches, mania, paralysis, paranoia, psychosis, seizures, and stroke may be present.
Systemic lupus may include periods in which few, if any, symptoms are evident ("remission") and other times when the disease becomes more active ("flare"). Most often when people mention "lupus," they are referring to the systemic form of the disease.
The discoid (cutaneous) type of lupus is a less serious disease that primarily affects the skin. The characteristic butterfly rash forms over the nose and cheeks. There may also be lesions elsewhere, commonly on the scalp and ears, and these lesions may recur or persist for years. The lesions are small, soft yellowish lumps. When they disappear, they often leave scars. If these scars form on the scalp, permanent bald patches may result. While DLE is not necessarily dangerous to overall health, it is a chronic and disfiguring skin disease. Some experts have related it to a reaction to infection with the tubercle bacillus.
Discoid lupus is diagnosed by examining a biopsy of the rash. In discoid lupus the biopsy will show abnormalities that are not found in skin without the rash. Discoid lupus does not generally involve the body's internal organs. Therefore, the ANA test may be negative in patients with discoid lupus. However, in a large number of patients with discoid lupus, the ANA test is positive, but at a low level or "titer."
In approximately 10 percent of patients, discoid lupus can evolve into the systemic form of the disease, which can affect almost any organ or system of the body. This cannot be predicted or prevented. Treatment of discoid lupus will not prevent its progression to the systemic form. Individuals who progress to the systemic form probably had systemic lupus at the outset, with the discoid rash as their main symptom.
Drug-induced lupus occurs after the use of certain prescribed drugs. The symptoms of drug-induced lupus are similar to those of systemic lupus. The drugs most commonly connected with drug-induced lupus are hydralazine (used to treat high blood pressure or hypertension) and procainamide (used to treat irregular heart rhythms). Drug induced lupus is more common in men who are given these drugs more often. However, not everyone who takes these drugs will develop drug-induced lupus. Only about 4 percent of the people who take these drugs will develop the antibodies suggestive of lupus. Of those 4 percent, only an extremely small number will develop overt drug-induced lupus. The symptoms usually fade when the medications are discontinued.
Neonatal lupus is a rare condition acquired from the passage of maternal auto-antibodies, specifically anti-Ro/SSA or anti-La/SSB, which can affect the skin, heart and blood of the fetus and newborn. It is associated with a rash that appears within the first several weeks of life and may persist for about six months before disappearing. Congenital heart block is much less common than the skin rash. Neonatal lupus is not systemic lupus.
The cause(s) of lupus is currently unknown, but there are environmental and genetic factors involved. Some environmental factors which may trigger the disease include infections, antibiotics (especially those in the sulfa and penicillin groups), ultraviolet light, extreme stress, certain drugs, and hormones. Scientists believe there is a genetic predisposition to the disease, as lupus is known to occur within families. However, there is no known gene or genes which are thought to cause the illness. There are recent discoveries of a gene on chromosome 1 which is associated with lupus in certain families. Previously, genes on chromosome 6 called "immune response genes" were also associated with the disease. Only 10 percent of lupus patients will have a close relative (parent or sibling) who already has or may develop lupus. Statistics show that only about five percent of the children born to individuals with lupus will develop the illness.
Lupus is often called a "woman's disease" despite the fact that many men are affected. Lupus can occur at any age, and in either sex, although it occurs 10-15 times more frequently among adult females than among adult males after puberty or after the emergence into sexual maturity. The symptoms of the disease are the same in men and women. People of African, American Indian, and Asian origin are thought to develop the disease more frequently than Caucasian women. The reasons for this ethnic selection are not clear.
Hormonal factors may explain why lupus occurs more frequently in females than in males. The increase of disease symptoms before menstrual periods and/or during pregnancy support the belief that hormones, particularly estrogen, may somewhat regulate the way the disease progresses. However, the exact reason for the greater prevalence of lupus in women, and the cyclic increase in symptoms, is unknown.
Both types of lupus follow a pattern of periodic flare-ups alternating with periods of remission. Exposure to the sun's ultraviolet rays can result in a flare-up of DLE and may even induce the first attack. Fatigue, pregnancy, childbirth, infection, some drugs, stress, unidentified viral infections, and chemicals may also trigger a flare-up. Drug induced cases usually clear up when the drug is discontinued.
Since it is not known exactly what causes lupus, prevention is aimed at preventing flare-ups in people with lupus.
Scientists have noted some common features in many lupus patients. In some, exposure to the sun causes the sudden development of a rash, and then possibly other symptoms. In others, an infection ... perhaps a cold or a more serious infection ... does not get better, and then complications arise. These complications may be the first signs of lupus.
In still other cases, a drug taken for some illness produces the signaling symptoms. In some women, the first symptoms and signs develop during pregnancy. In others, they appear soon after delivery. Many people cannot remember or identify any specific factor. Obviously, many seemingly unrelated factors can trigger the onset of the disease.
AVOIDING A FLARE-UP
Health care providers have identified healthy habits that can help you avoid triggering a lupus flare.
- Always take your medication as prescribed.
- Keep your health care provider's appointments, even if you're feeling well.
- Avoid taking sulfa drugs (sulfonomides) that are used to treat infections such as bronchitis and urinary tract infections.
- Limit your exposure to sunlight; apply sunscreen before going outside during the day, and wear sun-protective clothing and a wide-brimmed hat.
- Reduce your risk of infections and avoid people who are sick.
- Get plenty of rest.
- Do not smoke.
Because many symptoms of systemic lupus mimic those of other illnesses, lupus can be a difficult disease to diagnose. Diagnosis is usually made by a careful review of 3 factors:
- The individual's entire medical history.
- The individual's current symptoms.
- An analysis of the results obtained in routine laboratory tests and some specialized tests related to immune status.
According to the American Rheumatism Association, four of the following eight symptoms must occur, either serially or at the same time, before a diagnosis can be made:
1. Abnormal cells in the urine. Abnormal urinalysis suggesting kidney disease.
2. Arthritis. Joint pain, redness, swelling.
3. Butterfly rash on or across the cheeks.
4. Low white blood cell count (leukopenia), low platelet count (thrombocytopenia), or hemolytic anemia (red blood cells destroyed by auto-antibodies).
5. Mouth sores (ulcers); hair loss.
6. Seizures (convulsions), nerve abnormalities that cause strange sensations or alter muscular control or strength, or psychosis.
7. Sun sensitivity.
8. The presence in the blood of a specific antibody that is found in 50 percent of people with lupus.
A kidney biopsy may be needed to diagnose lupus-related nephritis.
Lining membrane inflammation such as pleurisy (inflammation of the lining of the lung); pericarditis (inflammation of the heart lining); and/or peritonitis (inflammation around the abdomen), when taken together, these types of inflammation are known as polyserositis and may lead to suspicion of SLE.
When x-rays are taken of the lungs, infiltrates (shadowy areas seen on a chest x-ray) may come and go.
COMMON BLOOD TESTS FOR SLE DIAGNOSIS
there are routine clinical tests which suggest that the person has an active systemic disease. These include the sedimentation rate (ESR) and CRP which are frequently elevated in inflammation from any cause. Serum protein electrophoresis may reveal increased gammaglobulin and decreased albumin, and routine blood counts may reveal anemia and low platelet and white cell counts. Finally, routine chemistry panels may reveal kidney involvement by increases in serum blood urea nitrogen and creatinine, abnormalities of liver function tests, and increased muscle enzymes (such as CPK) if muscle involvement is present. These kinds of abnormalities alert the doctor to the presence of a systemic disease with multiple organ involvement.
Commonly used blood tests in the diagnosis of SLE are:
- The anti-nuclear antibody test (ANA) to determine if auto-antibodies to cell nuclei are present in the blood.
- The anti-DNA antibody test to determine if there are antibodies to the genetic material in the cell.
- The anti-Sm antibody test to determine if there are antibodies to Sm, which is a ribonucleoprotein found in the cell nucleus.
- Tests to examine the total level of serum (blood) complement (a group of proteins which can be consumed in immune reactions), and specific levels of complement proteins C3 and C4.
The Antinuclear Antibody (ANA or FANA) Test: The immunofluorescent antinuclear antibody (ANA or FANA) test is a sensitive test for lupus, since it is present in 97 percent of those with the disease. When 3 or more typical clinical features are present, such as skin, joint, kidney, pleural, pericardial, hematological, or central nervous system findings as described above, a positive test confirms the diagnosis. The ANA test is positive in almost all individuals with systemic lupus, and is the most sensitive diagnostic test currently available for confirming the diagnosis of systemic lupus when accompanied by typical clinical findings. A negative ANA test is strong evidence against lupus as the cause of a person's illness, although there are very infrequent instances where SLE is present without detectable anti-nuclear antibodies. ANA-negative lupus can be found in people who have anti-Ro (SSA) or antiphospholipid antibodies. However, a positive ANA test, by itself, is not proof of lupus since the test may also be positive in:
- Other connective tissue diseases such as scleroderma, Sjogren's syndrome, rheumatoid arthritis, and thyroid disease, as well as liver disease and juvenile arthritis.
- Individuals being treated with certain drugs, including procainamide, hydralazine, isoniazid, and chlorpromazine.
- Viral illnesses such as infectious mononucleosis, and other chronic infectious diseases such as hepatitis, lepromatous leprosy, subacute bacterial endocarditis, and malaria.
- other autoimmune diseases, including thyroiditis and multiple sclerosis.
The test can even be weakly positive in about 20 percent of healthy individuals. While a few of these healthy people may eventually develop lupus symptoms, the majority will never develop any signs of lupus or related conditions. The chances of a person having a positive ANA test increases as he or she ages. Finally, as many as 30-40 percent of asymptomatic first degree relatives (siblings, parents, and children) of people with lupus may have a positive ANA test.
ANA Titers (Number) & Patterns: ANA reports include a titer, and a pattern. The titer indicates how many times the lab technician had to dilute plasma from the blood to get a sample free of the antinuclear antibodies. For example, a titer of 1:640 shows a greater concentration of anti-nuclear antibodies than a titer of 1:320 or 1:160. The apparent great difference between various titers can be misleading. Since each dilution involves doubling the amount of test fluid, it is not surprising that titers increase rather rapidly. In actuality, the difference between a 1:160 titer and a 1:320 titer is only a single dilution. This does not necessarily represent a major difference in disease activity. ANA titers go up and down during the course of the disease, and a high or low titer does not necessarily mean the disease is more or less active. Therefore, it is not always possible to determine the activity of the disease from the ANA titer. A titer above 1:80 is usually considered positive. However, some laboratories may interpret different titer levels as positive, so one cannot compare titers from different laboratories.
The pattern of the ANA test can sometimes be helpful in determining which autoimmune disease is present and which treatment program is appropriate. The homogeneous (smooth) pattern is found in a variety of connective tissue diseases, as well as in people taking particular drugs such as certain anti-arrhythmics, anti-convulsants or anti-hypertensives. This pattern is also the one most commonly seen in healthy individuals who have positive ANA tests. The speckled pattern is found in SLE and other connective tissue diseases, while the peripheral (rim) pattern is found almost exclusively in SLE. The nucleolar (a pattern with a few large spots) pattern is found primarily in people who have scleroderma. Because the ANA is positive in so many conditions, the results of the ANA test have to be interpreted in light of the person's medical history, as well as his or her clinical symptoms. Thus, a positive ANA alone is never enough to diagnose lupus. On the other hand, a negative ANA argues against lupus but does not rule out the disease completely.
A Positive ANA Does Not Equate to Having a Disease; The ANA should be looked at as a screening test. If it is positive in a person who is not feeling well and who has other symptoms or signs of lupus, the health care provider will probably want to conduct further tests for lupus. If the ANA is positive in a person who is feeling well and in whom there are no other signs of lupus, it can be ignored. If there is any doubt, a consultation with a rheumatologist should clarify the situation.
Other Auto-Antibodies: In those individuals with a positive ANA, additional tests can be done for certain particular antibodies that may better establish a diagnosis of SLE. The knowledge of which particular antibody is responsible for the positive ANA test can sometimes be helpful in determining which autoimmune disease is present. For instance, antibodies to DNA (the protein that makes up the body's genetic code) are found primarily in SLE. Antibodies to histones (DNA packaging proteins) are usually found in people with drug-induced lupus, but may also be found in those with SLE. Antibodies to the Sm antigen are found almost exclusively in lupus, and often help to confirm the diagnosis of SLE. Antibodies to RNP (ribonucleoprotein) are found in a number of connective tissue diseases. When present in very high levels, RNP antibodies are suggestive of mixed connective tissue disease, a condition with symptoms like those of SLE, polymyositis, and scleroderma.
Antibodies to Ro/SS-A are found in people with either lupus or Sjogren's syndrome, and are almost always found in babies who are born with neonatal lupus. Antibodies to Jo-1 are associated with polymyositis, while antibodies to PM-Scl are associated with certain cases of polymyositis that also have features of scleroderma. Antibodies to Scl-70 are found in people with a generalized form of scleroderma, and antibodies to the centromere (a structure involved in cell division) are found in people with a limited form of scleroderma which tends to have a chronic course.
Complement Levels: Laboratory tests which measure complement levels in the blood may also be helpful to the health care provider in making a diagnosis of SLE. Complement is a blood protein that destroys bacteria and also influences inflammation. Complement proteins are identified by the letter "C" and a number. The most common complement tests are C3, C4, and CH50. If the total blood complement level is low, or the C3 or C4 complement values are low and the person also has a positive ANA, some weight is added to the diagnosis of lupus. Low C3 and C4 complement levels in individuals with a positive ANA may signify the presence of active disease, especially kidney disease.
Tissue Biopsy: Sometimes examination of a tissue sample (biopsy) can be helpful in making a diagnosis. The biopsy is one of the best ways to evaluate an organ or tissue. The procedure involves removal of a small sliver of tissue, which is then examined under a microscope. The doctor can use the biopsy to identify the amount of inflammation and damage to the tissue. Further tests can be performed on the specimen to determine whether the problem is due to lupus or is caused by some other factor such as infection or medication. Almost any tissue can be biopsied. The most common sites biopsied in lupus are the skin and kidney. The results of the biopsy, like any other laboratory test, should be examined in combination with the individual's medical history and clinical findings.
TESTS TO ASSESS DISEASE ACTIVITY
When a person diagnosed with lupus develops new or recurring symptoms, laboratory testing of blood or urine can help determine if the symptoms are due to an increase in lupus activity. Disease activity correlates with a rise in:
- CRP (C-reactive protein) binding.
- Sedimentation rate, or ESR.
- Liver & kidney function tests (AST, ALT, BUN, creatinine).
- CPK (muscle enzyme).
- Urine protein or cellular casts.
Disease activity also correlates with a fall in:
- CBC (white blood cell count, hemoglobin, platelets).
- Complement components.
- Serum albumin.
The interpretation of all these tests, and their relationship to symptoms, can be difficult. When a person has many symptoms and signs of lupus and has positive tests for lupus, it is easier for health care providers to make a correct diagnosis and begin treatment. It is more common for an individual to report vague, seemingly unrelated symptoms of achy joints, fever, fatigue, or pain, and to have negative or borderline test results. Fortunately, with growing awareness of SLE, an increasing number of health care providers will consider the possibility of lupus in the diagnosis. While these tests are useful only when their strengths and limitations are understood, in the hands of skilled practitioners these are important tools that assist in diagnosing lupus.
CONVENTIONAL MEDICAL TREATMENT
For the vast majority of people with lupus, effective treatment can minimize symptoms, reduce inflammation, and maintain normal bodily functions. Preventive measures can reduce the risk of flares. For photosensitive patients, avoidance of (excessive) sun exposure and/or the regular application of sun screens will usually prevent rashes. Regular exercise helps prevent muscle weakness and fatigue. Immunization protects against specific infections. Support groups, counseling, talking to family members, friends, and health care providers can help alleviate the effects of stress. Needless to say, negative habits are hazardous to people with lupus. These include smoking, excessive consumption of alcohol, too much or too little of prescribed medication, or postponing regular medical checkups.
Treatment approaches are based on the specific needs and symptoms of each person. Because the characteristics and course of lupus may vary significantly among people, it is important to emphasize that a thorough medical evaluation and ongoing medical supervision are essential to ensure proper diagnosis and treatment.
Medications are often prescribed for people with lupus, depending on which organ(s) are involved, and the severity of involvement. Effective patient-health care provider discussions regarding the selection of medication, its possible side effects, and any changes in doses are vital. Commonly prescribed medications include:
- Non-steroidal Anti-inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs): These medications are prescribed for a variety of rheumatic diseases, including lupus. Examples of such compounds include acetylsalicylic acid (e.g., aspirin), ibuprofen (Motrin), naproxen (Naprosyn), indomethacin (Indocin), nabumetone (Relafen), tolmetin (Tolectin), and a large number of others. These drugs are usually recommended for muscle and joint pain, and arthritis. Aspirin and NSAIDs may cause stomach upsets for some people. This effect can be minimized by taking them with meals, milk, antacids, or prostaglandins such as misoprostil (Cytotec). Newer NSAIDs contain a prostaglandin in the same capsule (Arthrotec). The other NSAIDs work in the same way as aspirin, but may be more potent, and patients often require fewer pills per day to have the same effect as aspirin. Many NSAIDs are now available in "over the counter" forms. Patients should be cautious about taking too much aspirin or NSAID since too many of these can reduce the blood flow to the kidney and cause problems.
- Acetaminophen: Acetaminophen (e.g., Tylenol) is a mild analgesic that can often be used for pain. It has the advantage of less stomach irritation than aspirin, but it is not nearly as effective at suppressing inflammation as aspirin.
- Corticosteroids: Corticosteroids (steroids) are hormones that have anti-inflammatory and immunoregulatory properties. They are normally produced in small quantities by the adrenal gland. This hormone controls a variety of metabolic functions in the body. Synthetically produced corticosteroids are used to reduce inflammation and suppress activity of the immune system. The most commonly prescribed drug of this type is Prednisone.
Because steroids have a variety of side effects, the dose has to be regulated to maximize the beneficial anti-immune/anti-inflammatory effects and minimize the negative side effects. Side effects occur more frequently when steroids are taken over long periods of time at high doses (for example, 60 milligrams of Prednisone taken daily for periods of more than one month). Such side effects include weight gain, a round face, acne, easy bruising, "thinning" of the bones (osteoporosis), high blood pressure, cataracts, onset of diabetes, increased risk of infection, stomach ulcers, hyperactivity, and an increase of appetite.
- Antimalarials: Chloroquine (Aralen) or hydroxychloroquine (Plaquenil), commonly used in the treatment of malaria, may also be very useful in some individuals with lupus. They are most often prescribed for skin and joint symptoms of lupus. It may take months before these drugs demonstrate a beneficial effect. Side effects are rare, and consist of occasional diarrhea or rashes. Some antimalarial drugs, such as quinine and chloroquine, can affect the eyes. Therefore, it is important to see an eye care provider (ophthalmologist) regularly. The manufacturer suggests an eye exam before starting the drug and one exam every six months thereafter. However, your health care provider might suggest a yearly exam is sufficient.
- Immunomodulating Drugs: Azathioprine (Imuran) and cyclophosphamide (Cytoxan) are in a group of agents known as cytotoxic or immunosuppressive drugs. These drugs act in a similar manner to the corticosteroid drugs in that they suppress inflammation and tend to suppress the immune system. The side effects of these drugs include anemia, low white blood cell count, and increased risk of infection. Their use may also predispose an individual to developing cancer later in life.
Other agents like methotrexate and cyclosporin are used to control the symptoms of lupus. Both are immunomodulating drugs which have their own side effects. These drugs are still in the investigational phase for lupus. Some of these agents are used in conjunction with apheresis, a blood filtering treatment. Apheresis has been tried by itself in an effect to remove specific antibodies from the blood but the results have not been promising.
Newer agents are directed toward specific cells of the immune system. These include agents which block the production of specific antibodies like those against DNA, or agents which act to suppress the manufacture of antibodies through other mechanisms. Examples of this are intravenous immunoglobulin injections which are given on a regular basis to increase platelets (particles important to coagulation).
- Anticoagulants: These drugs are employed to thin the blood, or in actuality to prevent blood from clotting rapidly. They range from aspirin at very low dose which prevents platelets from sticking, to heparin/coumadin which actually prevent the blood from clotting. The latter requires careful monitoring to insure that the patient is in the "therapeutic range" or that the blood is not excessively "thin". Generally, such therapy is life-long in people with lupus and follows an actual episode of clotting (embolus or thromboses).
People with lupus should learn to recognize early symptoms of disease activity. In that way they can help the health care provider know when a change in therapy is needed. Regular monitoring of the disease by laboratory tests can be valuable because noticeable symptoms may occur only after the disease has significantly flared. Changes in blood test results may indicate the disease is becoming active even before the patient develops symptoms of a flare. Generally, it seems that the earlier such flares are detected, the more easily they can be controlled. Also, early treatment may decrease the chance of permanent tissue or organ damage and reduce the time one must remain on high doses of drugs.
LUPUS & PREGNANCY
Since lupus primarily affects young women, pregnancy often becomes a crucial question. Years ago, all medical texts said that women with lupus could not have children, and if they became pregnant, they should have therapeutic abortions. Today health care providers and midwives now know that these early conclusions were wrong. Currently, more than 50 percent of all lupus pregnancies are completely normal. Twenty-five percent of women with lupus deliver normal babies prematurely. Fetal loss, due to spontaneous abortion (miscarriage) or death of the baby, accounts for less than 20 percent. Not all of the problems of pregnancy with lupus have been solved, but pregnancies are possible, and normal children are the rule.
While it is certainly possible for women with lupus to have children, pregnancy may not be easy. It is important to note that although many lupus pregnancies will be completely normal, all lupus pregnancies should be considered "high risk." "High risk" is a term commonly used by health care providers and midwives to indicate that solvable problems may occur and must be anticipated. A pregnancy in a woman with lupus should be managed by health care providers and midwives who are thoroughly familiar with high risk pregnancies and who work closely with the woman's primary-care health care provider. Delivery should be planned at a hospital that has access to a unit specializing in the care of premature newborns. SLE mothers should not attempt home delivery, or be overly committed to "natural" childbirth, since treatable complications during delivery are frequent. However, under close observation, the risk to the mother's health is lessened, and healthy babies can be born.
PREGNANCY & FLARE-UPS
Although older medical texts suggest that SLE flares are common in pregnancy, recent studies indicate that flares are uncommon and are usually easily treated. In fact, some women with lupus will actually experience an improvement in disease symptoms during pregnancy. Most of the flares tend to be mild. The most common symptoms of these flares are arthritis, rashes, and fatigue. Approximately 33 percent of women with lupus will have a decrease in platelet count during pregnancy, and about 20 percent will have an increase in or new occurrence of protein in the urine. These abnormalities may be due to pregnancy rather than to lupus. These levels usually recover after delivery.
Women who conceive after 5-6 months of remission are less likely to experience a lupus flare than those who get pregnant while their lupus is active. The presence of lupus nephritis before conception also increases the chance of having complications during pregnancy.
It is important to distinguish the symptoms of a lupus flare from the normal body changes that occur during pregnancy. For example, because the ligaments that hold the joints together normally soften in pregnancy, fluid may accumulate in the joints (especially in the knees) and cause swelling. Although this condition suggests inflammation due to lupus, it may simply be the swelling that occurs during a normal pregnancy. Similarly, lupus rashes may appear to worsen during pregnancy, but this is usually due to increased blood flow to the skin that is common in pregnancy (the "blush" of a pregnant woman). Many women also experience new hair growth during pregnancy, followed by a dramatic loss of hair after delivery. Although hair loss is certainly a symptom of active SLE, this again is most likely a result of the changes that happen during a normal pregnancy.
DIETARY & HOLISTIC RECOMMENDATIONS
Eating a well-balanced diet is a necessity. Avoid fad diets, which are more likely to hurt rather than help in any disease, including lupus.
Eat a diet low in fat, salt, and animal proteins - this kind of diet keeps the immune system from being overly sensitive and is easy on the kidneys. Use only canola or olive oil.
Consume sardines often; they are a good source of essential fatty acids.
Eat eggs, garlic, and onions. These foods contain sulfur, which is needed for the repair and rebuilding of bone, cartilage, and connective tissue, and aids in the absorption of calcium.
Include in the diet brown rice, fish, green leafy vegetables, non-acidic fresh fruits, oatmeal, and whole grains.
Eat fresh (not canned) pineapple frequently. Bromelain, an enzyme present in fresh pineapple, is excellent for reducing inflammation.
Herbal Remedies: Bromelain 2000 GDU Supplement, NOW Foods, 500 mg, 90 Tabs
Use some form of fiber daily. Take fiber separately from other supplements.
Herbal Remedies: Ultimate Fiber Powder For Digestive & Gastrointestinal Cleansing, Sweet Citrus Burst, Nature's Secret, 7.9 oz.
Herbal Remedies: Psyllium Husk Powder, NOW Foods, 100% Pure Bulk Fiber, Orange Flavor, Vegetarian, 12 oz.
Herbal Remedies: Fiber Supplements & Products
Do not consume milk, dairy products, or red meat. Avoid caffeine, citrus fruits, paprika, salt, tobacco, and everything that contains sugar.
Avoid the nightshade vegetables (eggplant, peppers, tomatoes, white potatoes). These foods contain a substance called solanine, which can contribute to inflammation and pain.
Get your iron from food sources, not supplements. Taking iron in supplement form may contribute to pain, swelling, and joint destruction.
Avoid eating alfalfa sprouts. They contain canavain, a toxic substance that is incorporated into protein in place of arginine.
Get plenty of rest and regular moderate exercise that promotes muscle tone and fitness.
Avoid strong sunlight and use protection from the sun. Protect your skin by applying a sunscreen product with an SPF of 15 or higher. Wear a wide-brimmed hat and clothing that will adequately cover exposed skin. Go out in the sun only when absolutely necessary.
Use hypoallergenic soaps and cosmetics. Some deodorant soaps and other toiletry items may contain ingredients that will increase your sensitivity to light.
Try to avoid fluorescent lighting in both the home and the workplace. Exposure to fluorescent lighting can aggravate lupus symptoms. If possible, remove all fluorescent and halogen lighting and replace them with incandescent bulbs.
Avoid large groups of people and those with colds or other viral infections. Autoimmune diseases such as lupus render an individual more susceptible to viral infections.
Avoid using birth control pills or other hormonally treated contraceptives. They may cause lupus to flare up.
Some researchers believe that faulty genes are the ultimate culprit behind this disorder, but that outside factors can trigger it. Substances that are common contributing factors include chemicals, environmental pollutants, food additives, and some foods.
A test for food allergies is helpful and often very revealing in cases of lupus.
MoonDragon's Health & Wellness: Allergies
Up to 10 percent of lupus cases could be caused by drug reactions, according to an article that was published in The New England Journal of Medicine. Certain drugs, such as hydralazine (Apresoline), a blood pressure medication, and procainamide (Procan), used for irregular heartbeat, seem to be able to initiate lupus in susceptible individuals. Drug-related lupus usually does not affect the kidneys or nervous system. It is likely to be milder, and the condition usually subsides when the drug is stopped.
Many people with lupus also have Raynaud's disease. The condition can lead to false-positive blood test results for syphilis.
MoonDragon's Health & Wellness: Raynaud's Disease
Many different treatments are used for lupus. Anti-inflammatory drugs are usually used first. Antimalarial drugs such as hydroxychloroquine (Plaquenil) may alleviate the skin problems and sun sensitivity that afflict those who have lupus. In severe cases, health care providers may have to use cortisone and immunosuppressive agents to induce remission. Corticosteroids, such as prednisone (Deltasone and others) are adrenal hormones that are considered important in the treatment of lupus. Anticonvulsants, drugs used to control seizures, and warfarin (Coumadin), an anti-coagulant used to prevent blood clotting and reduce the possibility of stroke or heart attack, may also be prescribed. All of these drugs, especially the corticosteroids, have potentially serious side effects.
Dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) therapy has been found to help in treating lupus.
MoonDragon's Health Therapy: DHEA Therapy
Radiation treatment for lupus is in the experimental stages. It involves using low doses of radiation to the lymph nodes to suppress the immune system. Anticancer drugs are sometimes used to decrease both the immune system's responsiveness and the need for steroids. Anticancer drugs may be toxic to the bone marrow and must be used with caution. Another experimental treatment for lupus involves plasmapheresis, a process in which harmful anti-antigen complexes are filtered out of the blood plasma.
Mild cases of lupus respond well to supplements that build up the immune system.
MoonDragon's Health & Wellness: Weakened Immune System
Further information on lupus can be obtained from:
The Lupus Foundation of America
2000 L Street, N.W., Suite 710
Washington, DC 20036
Phone: 202 349-1155 (8:30 a.m. - 5 p.m. EST, Monday - Friday)
Fax: 202 349-1156
1-800-558-0121 (Information Request Line)
1-800-558-0231 (Para informacion en Espanol)
MoonDragon's Health & Wellness: Allergies
MoonDragon's Health & Wellness: Weakened Immune System
MoonDragon's Health & Wellness: Inflammation
MoonDragon's Health & Wellness: Arthritis
MoonDragon's Health & Wellness: Autoimmune Disorders
Alfalfa is a good source of minerals needed for healing. Alfalfa contains all the minerals essential for bone formation, and may be helpful for arthritis. It can be taken in capsules, or in whole, natural form.
Herbal Remedies: Alfa Max, Alfalfa Extract, Nature's Way, 525 mg, 100 Caps
Herbal Remedies: Alfalfa Powder, Whole Food Supplement, NOW Foods, 1 lb.
Herbal Remedies: Alfalfa Leaves, Nature's Way, 405 mg, 100 Caps
Herbal Remedies: Alfalfa, NOW Foods, 650 mg, 500 Tabs
Alcohol-free Goldenseal extract is good for mouth sores and inflammation. Place a few drops on a small piece of gauze or cotton before bedtime and leave it on overnight for fast healing. Caution: Do not take Goldenseal internally on a daily basis for more than one week at a time, do not use it during pregnancy, and use it with caution if you are allergic to ragweed.
Herbal Remedies: Goldenseal Root Tincture, 100% Organic, 2 fl. oz.
Herbal Remedies: Goldenseal Root, Nature's Way, 570 mg, 100 Caps
Herbal Remedies: Goldenseal Herb, Nature's Way 400 mg, 180 Caps
Herbal Remedies: Echinacea Goldenseal Tincture, Nature's Way, Alcohol Free, 1 fl. oz.
Herbal Remedies: Echinacea Goldenseal Supplement, Nature's Way, 180 Caps
Other herbs beneficial in treating lupus include Burdock Root, Feverfew, Pau D'Arco, and Red Clover. Caution: Do not use feverfew during pregnancy.
Herbal Remedies: Burdock Root (Artium Lappa) Powder, 4 oz. Bulk
Herbal Remedies: Burdock Root Tincture, 2 fl. oz.
Herbal Remedies: Burdock Root, Nature's Way, 540 mg, 100 Caps
Herbal Remedies: Mygrafew, Feverfew Extract, High Parthenolide, Nature's Way, 30 mg, 90 Tabs
Herbal Remedies: Feverfew Leaves, Nature's Way, 380 mg, 180 Caps
Herbal Remedies: Feverfew Extract, Standardized, Nature's Way, 325 mg, 60 Caps
Herbal Remedies: Pau D'Arco Extract, Incan LaPacho, 100% Natural Herbal, 4 fl. oz.
Herbal Remedies: Pau D'Arco Tea, Incan Purple LaPacho, 48 Tea Bags
Herbal Remedies: Pau D'Arco Tea, Purple LaPacho, 25 Tea Bags
Herbal Remedies: Pau D'Arco Tincture, 100% Organic, 2 fl. oz.
Herbal Remedies: Pau D'Arco, Purple LaPacho, Inner Bark, Nature's Way, 545 mg, 180 Caps
Herbal Remedies: Red Clover (Trifolium Pratense) Herb Powder, 4 oz. Bulk
Herbal Remedies: Red Clover Herb, Nature's Way, 500 mg, 100 Caps
Herbal Remedies: Red Clover Tincture, 100% Organic, 2 fl. oz.
Try using Licorice Root as a tea or dilute it to alleviate lupus symptoms. If you are taking immunosuppressive agents such as steroids, you may find licorice root to provide comparable results without being as harmful to your system. Caution: If overused, licorice can elevate blood pressure. Do not use this herb on a daily basis for more than seven days in a row. Avoid it completely if you have high blood pressure.
Herbal Remedies: Licorice Root, Certified, Nature's Way, 450 mg, 100 Caps
Herbal Remedies: DGL, NOW Foods, 400 mg, 100 Lozenges
Herbal Remedies: Licorice Root (Glycyrrhiza Glabra) Powder, 4 oz. Bulk
Herbal Remedies: Licorice Extract Tincture, Herbal Remedies USA, 2 fl. oz.
Herbal Remedies: Licorice Root Tincture, 2 fl. oz.
Milk Thistle cleanses and protects the liver.
Herbal Remedies: Milk Thistle Seed (Silybum Marianum) Powder, 4 oz. Bulk
Herbal Remedies: Thisilyn Milk Thistle Extract, Vegetarian, Nature's Way, 175 mg, 100 VCaps
Herbal Remedies: Milk Thistle Seed Tincture, 100% Organic, 2 fl. oz.
Herbal Remedies: Milk Thistle Extract, Standardized, Nature's Way, 175 mg, 60 VCaps
Yucca is good for arthritis-type symptoms.
Herbal Remedies: Yucca (Yucca Filimentosa) Tincture, 2 fl. oz.
Herbal Remedies: Yucca Stalk, All Natural, 490 mg, 180 Caps
Unless otherwise specified, the following recommended doses are for adults over the age of 18. For a child between 12 and 17 years, reduce the dose to 3/4 the recommended amount. For children between 6 and 12, use 1/2 the recommended dose, and for children under the age of 6, use 1/4 the recommended amount.
NUTRIENTS Supplement Suggested Dosage Comments Very Important Calcium 1,500-3,000 mg daily. Necessary for pH balance and for protection against bone loss due to arthritis.
Calcium Ionic Mineral Supplement, Fully Absorbable, 700 +/- ppm, 16 fl. oz.,
Liquid Calcium W/ConcenTrace, Orange Vanilla, Trace Minerals, 1000 mg, 32 fl. oz.,
Cal-Mag Pre-Chelated Calcium & Magnesium, Vital Earth, 240 Gelcaps
Magnesium 750 mg twice daily. Needed to balance calcium. Necessary for pH balance and for protection against bone loss due to arthritis.
Magnesium Ionic Mineral Supplement, Fully Absorbable, 350 +/- ppm, 16 fl. oz.,
Just An Ounce Calcium & Magnesium Liquid, Almond Flavor, 16 fl. oz.,
Calcium & Magnesium Mineral Complex, 100% Natural, Nature's Way, 500 mg / 250 mg, 250 Caps
500-1,000 mg each daily, on an empty stomach. Take with water or juice. Do not take with milk. Take with 50 mg vitamin B-6 and 100 mg, vitamin C for better absorption. Assist in cellular protection and preservation; important in skin formation and in white blood cell activity. Lysine aids in preventing mouth sores and offers protection against viruses. See Amino Acids for more information.
L-Methionine, 500 mg, Plus B-6, 10 mg, 100 Caps,
L-Cysteine, Structural Support With Vitamin B-6 & C, Vegetarian, NOW Foods, 500 mg, 100 Tabs,
L-Lysine, Pharmaceutical Grade, Stable Tartrate Form, NOW Foods, 500 mg, 100 Caps,
L-Lysine, NOW Foods, 500 mg, 100 Tabs
Proteolytic Enzymes As directed on label. Take with meals. Powerful free radical scavengers, anti-inflammatory and antiviral agents.
MetabolicZyme (Hypoallergenic), Allergy Research Group / Nutricology, 900 Tabs,
Plant Enzymes, NOW Foods, Vegetarian, 120 VCaps,
Enzymes, All Complete, 250 mg, 90 Caps
Important Essential Fatty Acids
(Flaxseed Oil, Black Currant Seed Oil, Primrose Oil, & Salmon Oil)
As directed on label. Speeds healing. For relief of pain and inflammation.
Ultimate Oil, Essential Fatty Acids Supplement, Nature's Secret, 90 SoftGels,
Essential Fatty Acids For Baby & Children, Organic, 8 fl oz.,
Barlean's Flax Oil, 100% Highest Lignan Content, Organic, Pesticide & Herbicide Free, 16 fl. oz.,
Barlean's Flax Oil, Highest Lignan, 1000 mg, 250 Caps,
Black Currant Oil, NOW Foods, 500 mg, 100 Softgels,
Evening Primrose Oil With Gamma-Linolenic Acid (GLA), 1300 mg, 120 Softgels,
Evening Primrose Oil, NOW Foods, 100% Pure, 4 fl. oz,
Wild Salmon Oil, NOW Foods, 2000 mg, 120 EPA / 80 DHA, 250 Softgels,
Glucosamine Sulfate As directed on label. Important for healthy skin, bones, and connective tissue.
Chondroitin Sulfate & Glucosamine Sulfate, 400 mg / 500 mg, 60 Caps,
Glucosamine Chondroitin Liquid W/ Lignisul MSM, NOW Foods, 16 fl. oz.,
Glucosamine & Chondroitin Sulfate, Extra Strength, NOW Foods, 1500 mg / 1200 mg, 60 Tabs
As directed on label. May help to prevent lupus erythematosus.
N-Acetyl Glucosamine (NAG), Allergy Research Group / Nutricology, 90 Caps
Garlic (Kyolic) 2 capsules 3 times daily with meals. An immune system enhancer that protects enzyme systems.
Garlic Oil Tincture, Alcohol Free, Nature's Way, 1 fl. oz.,
Garlic Bulb Cloves, Garlic Supplement, Nature's Way, 580 mg, 100 Caps,
Odorless Garlic Supplement, NOW Foods, 50 mg, 250 SoftGels,
Garlic Supplement, Kwai, Triple Concentrated, 180 Tabs,
Every Day Garlic Supplement, Kwai, 30 Tabs,
Garlic Tincture, 100% Organic, 2 fl. oz.,
Aged Garlic Extract, Cardiovascular Formula 100, Wakunaga Kyolic Supplements, 300 Caps,
Kyolic Liquid Aged Garlic Extract, Cardiovascular, Vegetarian, Wakunaga Kyolic, 4 fl. oz.,
Kyolic Aged Garlic Extract, One-A-Day, Vegetarian, 1000 mg, Wakunaga Kyolic, 30 Caps,
Aged Garlic Extract, Cholesterol Formula 104, Wakunaga Kyolic, 200 Caps
Raw Glandular Complex
Raw Spleen Glandulars
As directed on label for each glandular. To enhance T-Cell production in immune disorders. Glandulars that enhance the thymus and spleen immune function. See Gland Therapy.
Immuno-Gland Plex, Organic Glandular (Hypoallergenic), Allergy Research Group/Nutricology, 60 Caps,
Thymus Organic Glandular (Hypoallergenic), Allergy Research Group/Nutricology, 75 Caps
Vitamin C With Bioflavonoids 3,000-8,000 mg daily, in divided doses. Aids in normalizing immune function.
Vitamin C Liquid w/ Rose Hips & Bioflavonoids, Kosher, Natural Citrus Flavor, Dynamic Health, 1000 mg, 16 fl. oz.,
Ester C With Bioflavonoids, Nature's Way, 1000 mg, 90 Tabs,
Vitamin C 1000 With Bioflavonoids, Nature's Way, 100% Natural, 1000 mg, 250 VCaps,
The Right C, Nature's Way, 1000 mg, 120 Tabs
Zinc 50-100 mg daily. Do not exceed a total of 100 mg daily from all supplements. Important in all enzyme systems and tissue repair. Very important for normalizing the immune system function, protects the skin and organs and promotes healing. Use zinc gluconate lozenges or OptiZinc for best absorption.
Zinc Ionic Mineral Supplement, Fully Absorbable, 100 +/- ppm, 16 fl. oz.,
Colloidal Silver & Zinc Lozenges, Silva Solution, 90 Lozenges,
Zinc Lozenges W/ Echinacea & Vitamin C, Nature's Way, 23 mg, 60 Lozenges,
Zinc (Chelated), 100% Natural, Nature's Way, 30 mg, 100 Caps,
Copper 3 mg daily. Needed to balance with zinc.
Copper Ionic Mineral Supplement, Fully Absorbable, 50 +/- ppm, 16 fl. oz.,
As directed on label. Take on an empty stomach. Protects against intestinal bacterial imbalances. Use a non-dairy formula.
Acidophilus Supplement Powder, Non-Dairy, 3 oz. Bulk,
Acidophilus, 3 Billion, NOW Foods, 90 Tabs,
Lactobacillus Acidophilus Supplement, Non-Dairy, 100 Caps,
Lactobacillus Acidophilus, Kosher Liquid, All Natural, Vegetarian Medium, Lactose Free, Apple Strawberry Flavor, Dynamic Health, 16 fl. oz.,
Herpanacine As directed on label. Contains a balance of antioxidants, amino acids, and herbs that promote skin health. Kelp
1,000-1,500 mg daily. Supplies commonly deficient minerals. See under herbs.
Kelp Supplement, Nature's Way, Certified 650 mg, 100 Caps,
Kelp Seaweed Norwegian, NOW Foods, 100% Natural, 550 mg, 250 Caps,
Alfa Max, Alfalfa Extract, Nature's Way, 525 mg, 100 Caps,
Alfalfa Powder, Whole Food Supplement, NOW Foods, 1 lb.,
Alfalfa, NOW Foods, 650 mg, 500 Tabs,
Alfalfa Tincture, 100% Organic, 2 fl. oz.
Multi-Vitamin & Mineral Complex As directed on label. All nutrients are needed to aid in repairing tissue and to supply commonly deficient nutrients. Use a high-quality, hypoallergenic formula.
Super Multi-Vitamin & Multi-Mineral, Pure Vital Earth, 32 fl. oz. (98% Bio-Available for Absorption),
Damage Control Master Formula, High Potency, Multi-Vitamin & Mineral, 60 Packets (30 Day Supply)
Vitamin B Complex
50 mg of each major B vitamin, 3 times daily, with meals (amounts of individual vitamins in a complex will vary). Heals mouth sores, protects against anemia, and protects the skin tissues. Important for digestion.
Ultimate B (Vitamin B Complex), Nature's Secret, 60 Tabs,
Vitamin B-100 Complex, w/ Coenzyme B-2, Nature's Way, 631 mg, 100 Caps
Grape Seed Extract
As directed on label.
As directed on label.
Powerful antioxidants and free radical scavengers that also act as anti-inflammatories protect the cells.
Pycnogenol W/ Vitamin E, 100% Natural, Nature's Way, 50 mg, 30 Tabs,
Grape Seed (Grapeseed - Vitus vinifera) Oil, 100% Pure, NOW Foods, 16 fl. oz.,
Grape Seed Extract, 350 mg, 90 Caps
Vitamin A 25,000 IU daily. If you are pregnant, do not exceed 10,000 IU daily. Powerful antioxidant and free radical scavenger needed for tissue healing. Use emulsion form for easier assimilation.
Vitamin A, 10,000 IU, 100% Natural, Nature's Way, 100 Softgels
Carotenoid Complex (Betatene)
10,000 IU daily.
15,000 IU daily.
As directed on label.
An antioxidant and precursor of vitamin A. Needed by all cells for protection, healing, repair and rebuilding of tissues.
Beta Carotene (Natural Dunaliella Salina), Nature's Way, 100% Natural, 25,000 IU, 100 Softgels,
Multi-Carotene Antioxidant, Nature's Way, 60 Softgels,
200 daily or 400 IU every other day. Powerful antioxidant that helps the body to use oxygen more efficiently and promotes healing. Use d-alpha-tocopherol form.
Ester E Natural Vitamin E, California Natural, 400 IU, 60 Softgels,
Vitamin E, 400 IU, 100% Natural, NOW Foods, 100 Gels,
Vitamin E-1000, NOW Foods, 1000 IU, 100 Gels,
Vitamin E, d-alpha-tocopherol, 400 IU, 100 Softgels
LUPUS SUPPLEMENTAL PRODUCTS
Information, products and supplements for lupus, an autoimmune disease in which the body's own immune system attacks the skin, blood vessels, joints and other tissues of the body.
ABC of Asthma, Allergies & Lupus: Eradicate Asthma Now! By F. Batmanghelidj, M.D.
This informative book presents a new discovery that unintentional dehydration causes many painful, degenerative diseases. It explains the direct relationship between water deficiency in the body and allergies, asthma and lupus.
AHCC (Active Hexose Correlated Compound), NOW Foods, Vegetarian, 500 mg, 60 VCaps
NOW Foods AHCC is a rich source of polysaccharides such as beta glucan 1,3 and activated hemicellulose produced by enzymatic modification of organic medicinal mushrooms, including shiitake.
Alive! Whole Food Energizer Multi-Vitamin & Mineral With Naturally Occurring Iron (No Iron Added), Nature's Way, 90 Tabs
No other supplement contains more life-giving nutrients than Nature's Way Alive Multi-Vitamin. Alive Multi Vitamin is better absorbed into your blood stream because its tablets disintegrate up to 5X faster than other leading brands.
Bio Defender, Antibacterial, Antiviral & Antifungal Formula, Balanceuticals, 56 Caps
This unique antibacterial, antiviral and antifungal formula is a clinical nutritionist response to bio terrorism such as anthrax.
Bromelain 2000 GDU Supplement, NOW Foods, 500 mg, 90 Tabs
NOW Foods Bromelain 2000 GDU, Bromelain Supplement, is a proteolytic digestive enzyme that can enhance absorption of protein.
Cat's Claw Bark (Uncaria Tomentosa) Powder, 4 oz. Bulk
Cat's Claw Bark (Uncaria tomentosa) was reputed to be a super drug in the Andean region of South America. It has a long history of indigenous use for arthritis and rheumatism as well as other types of inflammation associated with various stomach disorders and ulcers where it was clinically shown to be effective.
Cat's Claw Bark, Nature's Way, 485 mg, 100 Caps
Cat's Claw Bark is a traditional tonic herb for well being, Cat's Claw was historically used by the indigenous people of South America to stimulate the immune system in a variety of serious ailments.
Cat's Claw Extract, Standardized, Nature's Way, 335 mg, 60 Caps
Nature's Way Cat's Claw extract, also known as Una de Gato is derived from the bark of plants wild-harvested in Peru and Brazil.
Cat's Claw Tea Spice System Builder, Regular, Loose Leaf, 8 oz.
Reduces inflammation in arthritis, protects the body from harmful substances, supports the body while undergoing cancer treatments, helps to boost the immune system.
Colon & Liver Cleanser, 16 fl. oz.
CAC liquid is a colon and liver cleanser and detoxifier as well as a blood cleanser that serves to regulate the bowel movements so that the stool is so soft it breaks up into a cloud.
Colon & Liver Cleanser, Truman's CAC Tea, Loose Leaf, 1/2 lb.
Use of this cleansing tea has many additional benefits: improves overall digestion; strengthens the immunity; helps to prevent cancer; makes the skin more emollient and flexible: clears the eyes; and provides an overall tonic effect on the body.
Dandelion Root (Taraxacum Officinale) Powder, 4 oz.
Dandelion root is known as a Blood purifier used for liver and kidney disorders. Dandelion root also contains nutritive salts to build up the blood.
Enzyme PhytoNutrient (EPN) Ionic Supplement, Fully Absorbable, 16 fl. oz.
WaterOz Ionic EPN is a pure liquid enzyme supplement. EPN complex is a patent-pending enzyme phytonutrient from a plant source that provides enzyme and saccharides necessary for optimal cellular communication. No combination of vitamins, minerals, amino acids or herbals can replace the necessary saccharides found in EPN.
Fish Oil Update By Richard Passwater, Ph.D.
Why and how marine lipids exercise a beneficial effect on many degenerative and autoimmune diseases such as lupus, arthritis, migraines, heart disease and even cancer.
Golden Flax Seeds, NOW Foods, Whole Bulk, 16 oz.
Flax Seeds are an important source of polyunsaturated fatty acids, including Omega-3, plus Magnesium, Zinc and dietary fiber. Flax oil from flax seeds is the richest known source of linolenic acid. It contains protein, mucilage, phytosterols and lignans, which are naturally included at 100 times the level of the next best source, wheat bran.
Kidney / Bladder Formula Tincture, 2 fl. oz.
Use the Kidney Bladder Formula for Auto-immune Diseases, Bladder, Cancer, Cold Sores and deposits.
Kombucha 2000, Concentrated Kombucha, 30 Caps
Concentrated Kombucha Capsules are new to the market, but Kombucha 2000 is one of the very first successful kombucha tea producers in the United States.
Kombucha Tea, 100% Organic, Original Flavor, Ready To Drink, 12 fl. oz., Case of 24
People from all over the world claim drinking Kombucha Tea provides relief from many physical ailments. Kombucha Tea offers many people the physical resistance they need to maintain and restore health.
Kombucha Tea, 100% Organic, Original Flavor, Ready To Drink, 25.4 fl. oz., Case of 12
People from all over the world claim drinking Kombucha Tea provides relief from many physical ailments. Kombucha Tea offers many people the physical resistance they need to maintain and restore health.
Kombucha Tea Extract Tincture, Certified 100% Organic, 1 fl. oz., Case of 12
People from all over the world claim drinking Kombucha Tea provides relief from many physical ailments. Kombucha Tea Extract drops are very convenient and portable. Take them anytime, anyplace, work, traveling or at home.
Kombucha Tea, 100% Organic, Original Flavor, Ready To Drink, 64 fl. oz., Case of 6
Kombucha's benefits to the physical body vary widely. It is said to enhance the immune system. By detoxifing the body, kombucha makes it unlikely for disease causing bacteria and viruses to find a suitable growth environment. This results in a healthier physical body!
L-Cysteine Structural Support, With Vitamin B-6 & C, Vegetarian, NOW Foods, 500 mg, 100 Tabs
NOW L-Cysteine functions as an antioxidant and is a powerful aid to the body in protecting against radiation and pollution. Hair and skin are made up 10-14% Cystine.
Licorice Root, Certified, Nature's Way, 450 mg, 100 Caps
Licorice Root (Glycyrrhiza glabra) is a member of the legume family and its major constituent, glycyrrhizin, is 50 times sweeter than sucrose.
Licorice Root Tincture, 2 fl. oz.
Licorice root is taken orally (DGL form) for ulcers, heartburn (esophageal reflux), and mouth sores.
L-Methionine, 500 mg, Plus B-6, 10 mg, 100 Caps
L-Methionine is an essential sulfur amino acid. The body cannot produce L-Methionine, which must be obtained from food or supplement sources.
L-Lysine, Pharmaceutical Grade Stable Tartrate Form, NOW Foods, 500 mg, 100 Caps
L-Lysine helps symptoms of herpes infection and cold sores and L-Lysine is an essential amino acid.
MSM Supplement (Methylsulfonylmethane), Pure Lignisul, 1000 mg, 120 Caps
Buy MSM Supplement caps and get a 4 ounce Lotion free, MSM supplement plays a beneficial role in connective tissue and joint flexibility, immune health, arthritis, osteoporosis, rheumatoid arthritis, inflammation, pain, hair, skin, nails, athletic injuries, acne, wrinkles and allergies.
Natural Muscle Relaxant Tincture, 2 fl. oz.
The Natural Muscle Relaxant Tincture was created to relax muscles with a mixture of the following herb: Kava Kava, Cramp Bark, Ginger Root, Cayenne, Lobelia, Valerian Root, Red Clover.
Nerves & Tension Tincture, 2 fl. oz.
To soothe the nervous system, which may help reduce stress and benefit Hyperactivity/Hyperkinetic, Mental Fatigue, Migraine Headache, Muscular Problems (ACHES, PAIN & SPASMS) Nervous Disorders, Neuralgia, Palsy, Parkinson's Disease, Schizophrenia, Spasms, Stress, and Tension among other things.
Pau D'Arco Tea (Purple Lapacho), 25 Tea Bags
Pau D'Arco Tea is a delicious, all-natural way to reduce Inflammation and Pain and to boost immunity.
Red Clover Tincture, 100% Organic, 2 fl. oz.
Red Clover is used in the treatment of coughs, bronchitis, and weak lungs.
Red Clover (Trifolium Pratense) Herb Powder, 4 oz. Bulk
Red Clover herb is abundant throughout Europe, Central and Northern Asia from the Mediterranean to the Arctic Circle.
Red Clover With Prickly Ash Bark, Nature's Way, 460 mg, 100 Caps
Red Clover Herb from Nature's Way is a synergistic blend of traditionally popular herbs Red Clover, Prickly Ash Bark, and other synergistic herbs.
Red Reishi Mushroom Tincture, 2 fl. oz.
Red Reishi is called Ling Zhi and it is believed to be one of the ingredients for youth elixirs.
Samento (Uncaria Tomentosa), Extra Strength (100 Times For Effective Than Regular Cat's Claw), 0.5% POA, 600 mg, 30 Caps
Samento is beneficial in the treatment of a wide range of immune system related conditions; these include but are not limited to cancer, arthritis, bursitis, rheumatism, allergies, ulcers, systemic candidiasis, all forms of herpes, diabetes, lupus, chronic fatigue syndrome, intestinal disorders and HIV infection.
Samento Liquid Extract (Uncaria Tomentosa), 0.5% POA, 1 fl. oz.
Beneficial in the treatment of a wide range of immune system related conditions; these include but are not limited to cancer, arthritis, bursitis, rheumatism, allergies, ulcers, systemic candidiasis, all forms of herpes, diabetes, lupus, chronic fatigue syndrome, intestinal disorders and HIV infection.
7 Keto DHEA, Metabolite of DHEA, NOW Foods, 25 mg, 90 Caps
7 Keto DHEA capsules Support the immune System and aid weight loss. A powerful antioxidant, 7 KETO DHEA aids fat metabolism and supports the production of lean muscle tissue.
Sympacho Tea, 20 Tea Bags
Sympacho tea is a delicious, all-natural way to reduce inflammation and pain and boost immunity.
Thayer's Dry Mouth Spray, Citrus, Sugar Free, 4 fl. oz.
Thayer's Dry Mouth Spray is an all-natural solution that aids in the temporary relief of dry mouth (xerostomia) caused by medications, Sjogren's syndrome, lupus, stress, aids, radiation therapy, mouth breathing or aging.
Thayer's Dry Mouth Spray, Menthol, Sugar Free, 4 fl. oz.
Thayer's Dry Mouth Spray is an all-natural solution that aids in the temporary relief of dry mouth (xerostomia) caused by medications, Sjogren's syndrome, lupus, stress, aids, radiation therapy, mouth breathing or aging.
The Cure For All Diseases Book By Dr. Hulda Regehr Clark
No diabetes, no high blood pressure, no cancer, no HIV/AIDS, no migraines, no lupus and so on! Not a single disease is left unconquerable with this new understanding!
Vitamin C 1000 With Bioflavonoids, Nature's Way, 100% Natural, 1000 mg, 250 VCaps
Nature's Way Vitamin C with Bioflavonoids provides antioxidant protection for many of the body's important enzyme systems.
Vitamin E, Natural D-Alpha Tocopheryl, Nature's Way, 400 IU, 100 Softgels
Vitamin E has potent antioxidant activity, supplies oxygen to the blood, aids in strengthening capillary walls, and plays a beneficial role in cancer and cardiovascular disease prevention, anti-aging benefits, circulation, wound-healing, immune function, nervous system function, PMS, hot flushes, diabetes, vascular disease, eye health, tissue repair, athletic performance, leg cramps, skin and hair health, and alleviating fatigue.
Vitamin E (D-Alpha Tocopheryl Acetate), 100% Natural, NOW Foods, 400 IU, 250 Softgels
Vitamin E is a major antioxidant and the primary defense against lipid peroxidation. It is particularly important in protecting the body's cells from free radical/oxidative damage.
Zinc Lozenges w/ Echinacea & Vitamin C, Nature's Way, 23 mg, 60 Lozenges
Nature's Way Zinc lozenge boosts cold season defense with zinc, widely recognized as an important nutritional support during the cold season, and echinacea pupurea, clinically shown to support the immune system, and Vitamin C, a vitally important vitamin for general health maintenance.
HerbalRemedies: Lupus Information
HerbalRemedies: Lupus Supplements & Products
NOTIFY YOUR MIDWIFE OR HEALTH CARE PROVIDER IF...
You or a family member have any symptoms of lupus and need to be tested and assessed or if you are pregnant and you have lupus.
You have symptoms that get worse, despite treatment.
You have any unexpected or unusual symptoms. Some people may have sensitivity, allergies, or other health conditions which would prevent them from using certain medications, herbs, or other treatments. Some medications may produce side effects.
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MoonDragon's Health & Wellness: Therapy Index
MoonDragon's Nutrition Therapy Index
MoonDragon's Alternative Health Information Index
MoonDragon's Aromatherapy Information Index
MoonDragon's Health & Wellness Index
MoonDragon's ObGyn Information Index by Subject Order
MoonDragon's ObGyn Information Index by Alphabetical Order
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