Mainstream meds for this 'incurable' disease can wreck your health
Q: Two years ago, I was diagnosed with lupus. I took prednisone for about four months, but I'm concerned that the side effects of these drugs are dangerous. Do you have any suggestions regarding natural supplements that would benefit me?
GR: Lupus (a.k.a. systemic lupus erythematosus,or SLE) can cause fever, joint pains, and skin rash. Just about any "lupus specialist" in the U.S. will say this disease is incurable... and then write out a prescription for prednisone, a cortisone-like drug often prescribed to patients with this disease.
But a study published earlier this year in The BMJ shows that you can be taking some major risks by filling that prescription -- even if it's just for short-term use.
Researchers examined the medical records of over 1.5 million Americans -- and of the more than 300,000 people who used corticosteroids for a month or less, they found a litany of scary, health-wrecking side effects.
For instance, the rates of sepsis (that horrible immune response to a bacterial infection that can kill you), bone fractures, and a life-threatening type of blood clot known as venous thromboembolism also skyrocketed in short-term users, compared to non-users.
Make no mistake: This is serious business. In the study, corticosteroid users were also admitted to intensive care up to FIVE TIMES MORE than non-users!
And they were twice as likely to die, too.
Many of the complaints that get Band-Aided with corticosteroids like prednisone -- not just lupus, but also asthma, eczema, and rheumatoid arthritis -- are actually autoimmune diseases. In those cases, you're better off boosting your immunity so it doesn't "turn" on the healthy tissues in your body.
And since lupus is well known to be accompanied by numerous allergies to both foods and supplements (as well as other things), it's also a good idea to undergo comprehensive allergy testing and desensitization -- along with gastric analysis -- before you get started with any treatment.
With my patients, I recommend stopping the consumption of milk and other dairy products and avoiding all gluten-containing grains.
The results I've seen have been fantastic, especially when compared with the results of conventional treatment. Although not everyone has been cured, many patients have seen major improvements or complete remission from their autoimmune diseases.
In terms of supplements, DHEA has shown to be effective in decreasing the need for prednisone in people with lupus. It's also appeared to have a beneficial effect on overall well-being, fatigue, and energy levels.
The science behind this can get pretty complicated, so I always recommend you speak to your own doc -- or find one who's well-versed in integrative medicine -- before starting any treatment on your own.
But if you've got any questions in the meantime, feel free to drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org. Every week I choose a new question to answer right here in eTips.