The role of Nutrition and the etiological treatment of Systemic Lupus Erythematosus
Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is a chronic, autoimmune disease in which the immune system attacks the body’s tissues, causing widespread inflammation and histological damage to the affected organs.
Multiple systems of the body can be affected, but inflammation, which develops gradually, is most commonly located in the joints, skin, kidneys, lungs, cardiovascular system, blood vessels and brain.
Systemic lupus erythematosus can present with a variety of symptoms, including sensitivity to the sun, a butterfly rash, or a “wolf mask” covering the cheeks and nose, fatigue, pain and stiffness of the joints, hair loss, shortness of breath, discoloration of the fingers when it is cold, dry eyes and mouth ulcers.
This disease can affect people of any age. However, women aged 20-45 are more often affected.
The role of Nutrition in the treatment of lupus erythematosus
People with lupus, due to chronic inflammation, oxidative stress and serum lipid disorders, are at increased risk of kidney failure, osteoporosis and cardiovascular disease. Therefore, it is necessary to adopt a personalized diet plan.
Increase the intake of Ω-3 fatty acids, antioxidants and fiber
A diet rich in omega-3 fatty acids (fish, nuts, flaxseed) helps reduce inflammation and triglycerides. Excessive free radical production and oxidative stress are significantly involved in the development of lupus erythematosus. For this reason, consuming antioxidant foods, which are contained in various fruits and vegetables, can help significantly. Also, foods high in fiber (whole grains, etc.) help lower blood pressure.
Vitamin D and calcium to strengthen bones
For patients with lupus erythematosus, there is a high risk of osteoporosis. Therefore, adequate intake of Vitamin D and calcium is recommended, with the ultimate goal of strengthening the skeletal system.
In fact, according to literature reports, insufficient levels of Vitamin D can function as a major predisposing factor for the development of Systemic Lupus Erythematosus.
Avoid saturated and omega-6 fats, sodium, simple carbohydrates and processed foods
On the other hand, it is recommended to avoid the consumption of saturated fats, such as those contained in red meat and butter, because these foods lead to an intensification of the function of the immune system. Furthermore, it is advisable to reduce the consumption of salt and alcohol and avoid the intake of simple carbohydrates, processed foods and Ω-6 fatty acids (vegetable oils of corn, soy).
The importance of exercise under medical supervision and the avoidance of sun exposure for lupus erythematosus sufferers
Mild physical exercise, under medical supervision, can be effective in reducing inflammation, enhancing muscle endurance, preventing weight gain, and improving cardiovascular function in patients with Systemic Lupus erythematosus.
Excessive exposure to sunlight is significantly responsible for the worsening or recurrence of the disease, as it intensifies inflammation. Therefore, it is essential that patients avoid excessive sun exposure and, when exposed, always use sunscreen.
The Classical Therapeutic Approaches for Systemic Lupus Erythematosus
Drugs used extensively for the treatment of Systemic Lupus Erythematosus include non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, aspirin, antimalarial drugs, glucocorticosteroids (cortisone), and immunosuppressive drugs.
These are powerful medications whose function is to reduce inflammation and suppress the immune system. However, they can cause a variety of side effects.
The Modern Medical Treatment of Systemic Lupus Erythematosus
Modern medical treatment is the clinical framework based on specialized diagnostic tests, which can detect the true causes of systemic lupus erythematosus.
Based on the diagnostic findings, therapeutic protocols are established, through which biochemical diversion (s) that led to alteration of the cells is treated, so that they are finally recognized as “foreign” by the immune system, resulting in the development of Systemic Lupus Erythematosus.
These are individualized treatments that gradually restore the cellular and hormonal balance of the body and may include micronutrient protocols, Therapeutic (Molecular) diet and hormonal recovery with Bioidentical hormones. With these methods, the symptoms of the disease gradually improve and any chances of recurrence are reduced to a minimum, while at the same time the health of the patients is promoted.
Dr. Nikoleta Koini, M.D.
Doctor of Functional, Preventive, Anti-ageing and Restorative Medicine.
Diplomate and Board Certified in Anti-aging, Preventive, Functional and Regenerative Medicine from A4M (American Academy in Antiaging Medicine).
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