This article is for informational purposes only. None of the information here should be taken as medical advice. If you suspect you may have an autoimmune disorder, seek medical help. You may try the complementary approaches listed below if you and your doctor determine that they could be appropriate for you. Discuss the strategies listed here with your doctor. Lifestyle
A meta-analysis of 11 studies involving 469 people with lupus concluded that 12-week aerobic exercise programs may help improve fatigue, depression , and physical fitness without worsening disease activity. People with mild lupus should begin with moderate intensity exercise for at least 20 minutes 3 days/week [ 1 , 2 ]. Giving Up Smoking
Several meta-analyses found that the risk of lupus increases by approximately 50% in current but not in former smokers. Moreover, smoking may reduce the effectiveness of antimalarials such as hydroxychloroquine (used for skin injuries) by 50% and immunosuppressants such as belimumab (used for systemic symptoms) by 90% [ 3 , 4 , 5 ].
Although a moderate exposure to sunlight is the best way to increase blood vitamin D levels, which are often low in people with lupus, the skin of many people with this condition is hypersensitive to UV radiation and develops injuries in response to sunlight [ 6 ].
Using highly protective, broad-spectrum sunscreens prevented injuries caused by UV radiation in 3 controlled clinical trials (one of them placebo-controlled) on 56 people with lupus. People with lupus are advised to use sun protection every time they go out [ 7 , 8 , 9 ]. Stress Management
A study of 21 people with lupus found that daily stress worsened performance in cognitive aspects such as visual memory, visual fluency, and attention [ 10 ].
Several non-placebo-controlled studies found that stress-management psychological interventions such as cognitive-behavioral therapy or counseling may reduce anxiety and lupus severity while improving quality of life. However, a meta-analysis concluded that the evidence is based on a few, small trials that would require support from further studies [ 11 , 12 , 13 , 14 ]. Acupuncture (Insufficient Evidence)
Acupuncture may help relieve the muscle pain associated with lupus. In a small non-placebo-controlled trial on 24 lupus patients, standard care failed to reduce pain while a 10-session course of acupuncture reduced it by at least 30% in 40% of the patients who received it [ 15 ]. If you suffer from systemic autoimmunity, you know how debilitating the symptoms can be. What you might not know is that your DNA could be responsible for your rashes, skin irritation, debilitating fevers, brain fog, sunlight sensitivity, ceaseless fatigue, joint pain, and more.
The Systemic Autoimmunity DNA Wellness Report investigates the genes which are closely linked to these factors and provides personalized supplement, diet and lifestyle recommendations so that you can counteract any negative effects from your genetic variants. Optimize My Health If you suffer from systemic autoimmunity, you know how debilitating the symptoms can be. What you might not know is that your DNA could be responsible for your rashes, skin irritation, debilitating fevers, brain fog, sunlight sensitivity, ceaseless fatigue, joint pain, and more.
The Systemic Autoimmunity DNA Wellness Report investigates the genes which are closely linked to these factors and provides personalized supplement, diet and lifestyle recommendations so that you can counteract any negative effects from your genetic variants. Optimize My Health Lipid-Lowering Diet
People with lupus tend to have high levels of blood lipids (fats such as triglycerides and cholesterol ), leading to increased risk of premature heart disease. In 4 controlled trials on 154 people with lupus, dietary interventions modestly improved blood lipid levels [ 16 , 17 , 18 , 19 ]. Mediterranean Diet
Practicing a Mediterranean diet rich in olive oil , fruits, vegetables, and fish, and low in red meat, sugars, and pastries reduced lupus severity and the risk of heart disease in a study of 280 people suffering from this condition [ 20 ].
However, a large study of 173,000 women found that high-quality diets (including the Mediterranean diet) didn’t reduce the risk of developing lupus. The study only suggested a reduced risk of lupus in those with a high intake of nuts and legumes [ 21 ]. Flaxseed (Possibly Effective)
In 2 small trials (one of them non-placebo-controlled) of 49 people with lupus and kidney damage, taking 30 g of ground flaxseed daily improved kidney function while reducing inflammatory and artery-clogging markers [ 22 , 23 ]. Green Tea (Insufficient Evidence)
In a placebo-controlled trial of 68 people with lupus, taking 1000 mg/day of a green tea extract with 22% polyphenols (equivalent to one cup of green tea) for 12 weeks improved disease severity and quality of life [ 24 ].
A balanced, low-protein diet with a highly energetic mixture and essential amino acids improved nutritional status and stopped the progression of kidney damage in a non-placebo-controlled trial of 46 people with lupus [ 25 ]. Low-Glycemic-Index & Low-Calorie Diet
In a small non-placebo-controlled trial on 23 women with lupus, both a low-calorie and a low-glycemic-index diet were equally effective at reducing fatigue [ 26 ]. Supplements
DHEA (Insufficient Evidence)
DHEA should never be used without the prescription or recommendation of a medical professional. Talk to your doctor before using DHEA for any purpose.
Supplementation with DHEA (50-200 mg/day for 3-12 months) reduced lupus severity, flares, bone loss from corticosteroids, the need for this medication, and an immune protein ( IL-10 ) while improving quality of life in 10 clinical trials (most of them placebo-controlled) of over 1k people with active, mild-to-moderate lupus [ 27 , 28 , 29 , 30 , 31 , 32 , 33 , 34 , 35 , 36 , 37 ].
However, it didn’t help prevent clogged arteries or osteoporosis, worsened blood fat profile, and showed no benefits in people with severe or inactive lupus. A meta-analysis concluded that it may only have short-term benefits on quality of life [ 38 , 39 , 40 , 41 , 42 ]. Vitamin D (Insufficient Evidence)
People suffering from […]