Lupus Causes and Natural Cures

By Dr Ernst
March 30, 2018

1.5 million Americans suffer from lupus. 90% of them are women, and most of those women are African American, Asian-American or Native American.

Lupus is a particularly nasty autoimmune condition that, rather than attacking only one type of tissue, it goes after the heart, joints, brain, kidneys, lungs and endocrine glands. As the system-wide inflammation persists, these systems and tissues continue to degrade over the course of years, causing chronic pain, anxiety, depression, memory loss, fatigue, headaches, joint pain, insomnia, GI issues and skin rashes.

What causes lupus?

Given that the disease tends to target a rather specific demographic (even though men sometimes do suffer from it, as do women of races not mentioned above), the disease has a strong genetic component. However, lifestyle plays a major role.

A poor diet composed of trans fats, processed foods, sugar, alcohol, gluten and foods containing the amino acid L-canavanine, is a big contributor to lupus, as is a sedentary lifestyle.

Leaky gut is a major contributor as well, as it is with any autoimmune condition. Those with a predisposition to allergies seem to have a predilection toward lupus too. Also, a major risk factor for lupus is a high level of toxicity. This could be heavy metal toxicity, BPA, pesticides, medications, etc.

How to naturally treat lupus

The medical community tends to take a “throw pills at the problem and see what sticks” approach to lupus. Any given lupus patient is on a different cocktail of drugs. This may include some mixture of immunosuppressants, steroids, anticoagulants, anti-rheumatic drugs, painkillers, blood pressure meds, synthetic hormones and more.

As always, we try to take an approach more geared to finding and eliminating the source of the problem–which is entirely possible with lupus. However, given lupus’ genetic component, this is a disease in which patients generally have to adopt a new lifestyle and stick to it.

Dietary changes

Step one is to remove toxic stressors from your food. Get rid of:

  • Trans fats, found in fast food, processed food.
  • Try eliminating dairy and red meat. For some lupus patients, this helps and for others, it makes no difference.
  • Added sugar. Limit sugar in general. (Processed foods)
  • High sodium foods. (Processed foods)
  • Limit alcohol (consider eliminating altogether).
  • Limit caffeine (consider eliminating altogether).
  • Smoking
  • Legumes (these contain a lupus stressor, L-canavanine).

Start consuming:

  • Foods high in Omega-3 fatty acids, i.e., fatty fish, coconut oil, avocados, nuts & seeds (but avoid peanuts – they aren’t nuts, they are legumes and will aggravate lupus symptoms).
  • High antioxidant foods, i.e., green tea, berries, dark chocolate, goji berries, pecans, walnuts, broccoli, and many more. Here is a great list. And you can also browse the ORAC score, which ranks foods by antioxidant levels. Note that many of these foods are highly obscure, and the highest readily-available foods are spices (turmeric, cloves, oregano, etc.)
  • Raw, organic vegetables, with a focus on leafy greens.
  • Cucumber
  • Melons
  • Lots and lots of water. You should be drinking half your body weight in ounces per day (e.g., if you weigh 150 lbs, drink 75 oz water/day).
  • Bone broth

The majority of these foods are for the purpose of managing inflammation, which is the primary issue when it comes to lupus. Cucumber and melons are helpful with dry, itchy skin–a common symptom of lupus. And bone broth is the best possible treatment for leaky gut, as it coats the inner lining of the gut, giving it time to heal.

Other lifestyle treatments

You must manage your stress, as it can be a trigger for a lupus flare-up. Your body treats stress as a threat, ramping up immune mechanisms and releasing cortisol and adrenaline. You need to find what works for you, but many people have found meditation to be very helpful, as well as regular interludes in nature, prayer, acupuncture, massage, time spent with friends & family, dedicating time to your hobbies, getting a pet, etc. Basically, it boils down to doing things you enjoy and that distract you from the stressors in your life. Only you can determine the most effective approach.

Exercise is crucial for lupus patients. It strengthens nearly every system in the body that is affected by lupus–lungs, joints, bones, heart, connective tissue, etc. It also lowers stress (see above) and improves sleep (see below).

Get enough sleep. Most people should get at least 7 hours per night consistently, but for lupus patients, 8-9 hours is preferable. Fatigue is a major problem for those with lupus, so good sleep (and enough of it) is crucial. If you are battling insomnia (another common symptom of lupus), start practicing good sleep hygiene.

  • Lower your caffeine intake throughout the day.
  • Turn off your TV, phone, iPad, etc. at least one hour before going to bed.
  • Give yourself a regular bedtime, say, 10pm. If you go to bed on time consistently (even if you don’t initially fall asleep), your body will become accustomed to the schedule.
  • Get enough exercise.
  • Eat clean and healthy.

Dealing with the pain of lupus

A major issue for those suffering with lupus is simply the pain. The body hurts, the joints ache, headaches, etc. As pain medications tend to encourage inflammation, worsen a leaky gut and increase toxicity, it is preferred to take a natural approach to pain management. Ideas include:

  • Regular chiropractic adjustments
  • Acupuncture
  • Massage
  • Exercise, including stretching and yoga
  • Meditation
  • Saunas, steam saunas, hot baths/showers

Lupus does not have to control your life. You can control your lupus, and in some cases, even eliminate it altogether. It does, however, require constant vigilance. You will notice quickly that if you follow the lupus lifestyle plan for a while, then “fall off the wagon,” it will find you again quickly. This is a lifelong effort, but it’s worth it. And in time, this lifestyle becomes easy and rewarding all by itself.

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