Lupus is an autoimmune disease which can lead to inflammation and damage to the skin, joints, brain, kidneys, and other organs, and is one of the more dangerous categories of autoimmune disease.
It is unclear what the actual prevalence of lupus is, but it has been estimated that in the U.S. it is approximately 161,000 to 322,000, or 0.1% of the population.1 Most of those diagnosed with lupus are young women.
Common symptoms of lupus may include:
If lupus goes uncontrolled, severe consequences can occur including organ damage and death. Persons with lupus have a higher risk of blood clots, kidney failure, heart disease, and stroke.
Little is known about what exactly causes lupus in individuals, but investigators believe it is a combination of genetic and environmental factors such as diet, toxin exposures, and intestinal bacteria imbalance.
Research has suggested that healthy bacteria in our intestines may be protective and help to keep a normal functioning immune system. Although eating a fiber-rich diet helps to build up healthy bacteria over time, many with lupus find it helpful to take supplemental probiotics. Ask your doctor to discuss if taking probiotics is right for you.
Taking omega-3 supplements helps reduce inflammation and has been shown to be helpful for persons with lupus.1 If considering high doses of omega-3, consult your doctor first as it is not appropriate for everyone.
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The following are sample questions from the Ask the Doctor Community Platinum and higher members can post their health questions directly to Dr. Fuhrman. (All members can browse questions and answers.)
For someone who has lupus nephritis, what are the food restrictions? I heard that a certain amount of protein can damage the kidneys even more. Are there foods that can help the kidneys? Thanks.
Did you read my book, Super Immunity? The diet and supplement protocol in the book is what I want you to do. The main point for lupus nephritis is no animal products, salt or oil, in other words, a strict vegan diet. You can eat brown and wild rice and vegetables, mushrooms, squash, and greens, with a small amount of fruit and a limited amount of nuts, seeds, and beans to keep protein fairly low. You can eat a half cup of beans with each meal, you can eat one ounce of seeds and nuts with each meal, and you can eat up to two fresh fruits with each meal. You should not have animal products at all until you are better.
I have been following your autoimmune protocol for lupus nephritis for a little over a month now, and I still don’t see any improvement. When should I start feeling better and have no more protein in the urine? I also eliminated wheat, oil, and salt. Will I ever be able to eat any type of animal product in the future?
It takes at least 3 months to get the micronutrient load built up in your tissues, but it might take even longer to see results. Your immune system and disease process can’t just reverse itself in a few weeks. Your condition is serious enough that you should avoid animal products for a long time now, until we see things are significantly improved.
I have seen some very severely ill patients with this condition get well. I often begin to see improvement after the first 3-4 months, but I have seen lupus patients take a few years to get well, making slow progress.
Sharon lost 42 pounds; her lupus numbers are in normal range and she has more engergy than ever... Read More
Results may vary.
Suffering the debilitating effects of lupus and multiple autoimmune diseases made Lynsey's life miserable; now with her 65 pound weight loss her life has a new vibrancy... Read More
Results may vary.