Lupus – General Recommendations
SLE, or systemic lupus erythematosus, can be a frightening disease, and a frightening diagnosis to receive. Lupus is a “classic” autoimmune disease, in which the body’s own immune system starts attacking normal tissues, like those of the skin, the joints, or the kidney tubules. As with many degenerative diseases, researchers remain perplexed about the cause, but genetics seem to play a role, as well as gender. Lupus occurs eight times more commonly in women than in men, and often strikes young women in the prime of life, so hormones or hormone imbalance may be involved. Some researchers believe that an infection in a genetically susceptible patient sets off the immune system uncontrollably, with Lupus the end result.
Initial symptoms can include fatigue, arthritic pains in multiple joint and a “butterfly” rash on the cheeks. The disease can wax and wane initially, but often progresses, in its advanced form associated with kidney failure, heart failure, and debilitating arthritis. Conventional physicians often prescribe steroids in acute cases, which can control symptoms for a time, but the drug is powerful with its own set of serious side effects. Other often recommended medications include Plaquenil, an anti malarial, and even chemotherapy drugs such as Cytoxan and methotrexate, which seem to help via their immune suppressive effect.
I treat lupus with our aggressive nutritional program of individualized diet, individualized supplement programs and detoxification routines. I treat cancer with large doses of my specifically formulated orally ingested pancreatic enzymes, but I also prescribe fairly high doses for my patients diagnosed with lupus. My enzymes seem to provide an immune-modulating and strong anti-inflammatory effect, which I believe to be quite separate from their anti-cancer activity. My pancreatic enzymes are available through Allergy Research Group’s Nutricology website.
I find weak thymus function in all my patients diagnosed with autoimmune diseases. The thymus, which sits in the mid chest, regulates virtually the entire immune system, and with any autoimmune problem, the gland seems almost dormant. I believe that a severe infection, like a bad flu, can overstress the thymus, leaving it weakened, incapable of performing its important regulatory duties. In this scenario, lupus can follow. So, in addition to enzymes, I treat my lupus patients with a high dose thymus substance in capsule form that I formulated from specially raised beef cattle. Though some orthodox physicians scoff at the use of such oral “glandular” preparations, as they are known, I find supplements such as my thymus product provide powerful growth factors that are absorbed into the blood stream and stimulate like tissue to repair and rebuild. In essence, my specially designed thymus supplement helps the thymus regenerate.
I also find that all my patients diagnosed with autoimmune illnesses exhibit weak adrenal function. We are designed with two adrenal glands sitting one on top of each kidney in the flanks, like three cornered hats. The adrenal hormones, though quite complex in their biochemistry, overall help mobilize the body’s resources to deal with any type of stress, be it physical, emotional or psychological. Certain adrenal cortex hormones for example help convert stored fat and protein into usable energy in a time of need. These hormones also have an anti-inflammatory action, protecting against allergic reactions and generalized inflammation.
Often, a severe stress like a bad infection or a severe emotional turmoil can overwork the adrenals, causing them, like a car left running 24 hours a day, to blow a gasket. With weakened adrenals, inflammation can run rampant, particularly if the thymus has also been weakened, and the immune system is free to begin attacking our own tissues. I formulated and prescribe three different adrenal supplements, all derived from beef cattle, that seem to efficiently help the adrenals repair and rebuild and get back to normal.
Steroid hormones like prednisone, long the mainstay of conventional medical treatment for the disease, are actually synthetic variations of the naturally occurring adrenal cortex hormones. Unfortunately, their serious side effects counter their benefit when prescribed long term, and few patients can stay on high dose steroid treatment indefinitely.
Case Study: I have a wonderful patient in my practice who is a nurse and came to me 16 years ago in her early 30’s with a diagnosis of advanced lupus. She was headed for kidney failure, and her rheumatologist and nephrologist talked about beginning dialysis. She started treatment with me and admittedly, initially had many ups and downs, as she was very ill. However, over time she steadily and gradually improved, her energy and stamina came back, her abnormal kidney function tests normalized, she was able to eventually go off medications. Her case was complicated by cataracts and osteoporosis that developed directly as a result of high dose steroids that her conventional doctors had prescribed, and she required both cataract and hip surgery. But she persevered, remained fully compliant, and now, 16 years later, is in excellent health, essentially asymptomatic, her blood picture superb. She was able to save her kidneys and avoid dialysis. She works full time, loves her life, and is an inspiration to me and a wonderful patient to have had the honor of treating.
By Nicholas Gonzalez, M.D.