VITAMIN D and LUPUS

Lupus and Vitamin D: The relationship

This blog post is meant to inform you with published research and information currently available about the relationship between Lupus and Vitamin D. While ultimately, there is information that supports Vitamin D intake for Lupus Patients, we strongly encourage you to speak with your doctor before trying any supplements or vitamins. 

What is Vitamin D? Why is it Important?

Vitamin D is a key micronutrient that essential in the assistance of numerous physiological processes in your body.  In other words, it is a nutrient that provides a lot of key roles in keeping body in balance through many systems.

Some benefits from Vitamin D:

  • Development of strength and structure for your bones— Calcium and phosphorus are key minerals for bone development, but Vitamin D is essential to absorb these nutrients. Even if you have a lot of calcium and phosphorus in your body, you need Vitamin D to help uptake them for use.
  • Muscle Function: A study published by the Center for Physical Activity and Nutrition Research at Deakin University (Melbourne, Australia) found that Vitamin D has a strong role in the aid of of muscular performance and neural plasticity (this is the process of brain’s neural synapses are changed over time). This study suggests that Vitamin D plays a stronger role in muscular function, but more information and research is being done to strengthen this finding. However, this study does support that Vitamin D has a beneficial role in muscle function.
  • Immune System: to prevent and fight infections. Vitamin D is a regulator in our Immune Systems. Key cells in our immune system have vitamin D receptors on their surface to as a regulator aid in immune system function. We will go over the affect of Vitamin D and its role for Autoimmune systems later.

Vitamin D is special, because it is the only Vitamin our body can produce on its own.  We mostly produce Vitamin D after our skin is exposed to the sun. Other vitamins we need are mostly taken from our diet and foods (such as Vitamin C, which we can get a lot from oranges) Only small amounts of Vitamin D that are body needs is from our foods.

How does Vitamin D effect Lupus Patients and Lupus Symptoms?

As mentioned earlier, Vitamin D is essential for the Immune System and its function.  Research has shown that there is a negative correlation between Lupus Flare and levels of Vitamin D.  In other words, for people with lupus, flares were less likely to occur when levels of Vitamin D were high, and vice versa. Although Vitamin D levels is fully attributed for the cause of Lupus, research suggests that having an optimal level of Vitamin D can benefit Lupus symptoms by reducing flares.

According to the Vitamin D council, people with lupus are more likely to have lower levels of Vitamin D. This attributed to Lupus patients avoiding the sun (due to photosensitivity), however this is not the sole cause.

How can I test for my Vitamin D levels?

There are multiple, convenient ways to accurately test for a vitamin D deficiency:  

  • Testing at your Doctor’s Office: Your doctor will provide at 25(OH)D Blood test. Also known as a as 25-Hydroxyvitamin D, his is done through a blood sample and cannot be done at home. More information about this here.
  • At-Home Test:This is an option for you if you prefer the comfort of your own home, or you cannot be tested in a clinical setting. These tests are sent to your home. You prick a drop of blood on a piece of paper, and send it out to a lab to be tested.  
  • Online Test and Blood Work at a Lab: If the above options do no work for you, there is also an option to purchase an in-home vitamin D test online, then have it sent to the nearest lab. The Vitamin D council recommends certifying the lab first, but you can find more information on this here  

What is a good level of Vitamin D?

The Vitamin D  council recommends Lupus Patients to take between 30ng/ml to 40 ng/ml, depending on your current level of Vitamin D levels.  However, you should always consult with your doctor to understand what amount is correct for you!   

We recommend investigating further through this article, written by the Vitamin D council to understand the dosage amounts.  

How can I increase Vitamin D intake? 

As noted earlier, only trace amount of vitamin D is taken in from food. There are three main ways we get Vitamin D:  

  • Exposing Skin to Sunlight 
  • Vitamin Supplements  
  • FOOD! (Dietary intake)

According to Molly’s Fund, the amount of sun exposure recommended is about 20-25 mins per day.  

Supplements is a nice option because it can be controlled to individual needs.  

Our product, LupaVita, provides about 5000 IU of Vitamin D. This is designed for the convenience of Lupus patients. With supporting research that higher levels of Vitamin D has been shown beneficial to reducing flare for lupus patients, we created a pill that would put all the benefits and vitamins for lupus patients in one convenient pill.  

To learn more about our product, check out our info here.  

Where can I get more research?  

The Vitamin D council is a great source for information, specifically for SLE Lupus Patients  

The Lupus Foundation of America also has some great resources as well.  

The Lupus Encyclopedia, by Dr. Donald Thomas, is also a useful resource for information on Lupus. You can check out more information here.

Key Takeaway: Why does Vitamin D matter to you?

Vitamin D is an essential nutrient for normal body functions. Although it is often found at lower levels in lupus patients, research as supported that Lupus patients can benefit from taking in Vitamin D supplements.  

We hope this article was helpful for you in providing the basic knowledge of vitamin D and its efficacy.

How to Enjoy Your Summer with Lupus!

 

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Summertime loving, loving in the summertime~

While we’re enjoying our of Summer, there are some things you should consider if you are living with Lupus. Summer is a time we should all thrive, but our main goal is maintain a healthy and balanced lifestyle. There are a number of precautions we should take if we want to do just that! Today we’re going to talk about the the importance of vitamin D, the effects of UV radiation, what types of sunblock/protection we should be using, and maintaining regular exercise along with a healthy diet!

Why is Vitamin D important?

Lupus patients are common to have a Vitamin D deficiency for a number of reasons. This is something seen in a lot of Autoimmune Conditions (you can read about the basics of Autoimmune Conditions in our blog post here.) Although there is a relationship between low Vitamin D levels and Lupus patients, researchers are still trying to figure out why this occurs.

Vitamin D acts as a regulator in the Immune System. It is an essential micronutrient needed for our normal body functions. It is most commonly recognized for its role in calcium and bone formation, and is the only vitamin our body can produce naturally without having to intake other supplements.

Unfortunately for Lupus patients (and those with other Autoimmune conditions), having a Vitamin D deficiency is likely to cause an even weaker immune system.

Vitamin D Supplements can help with the regulation and prepare your skin to be exposed with the sun. The recommended daily dose of Vitamin D is about 600 IU (international units). We encourage speaking with your doctor before trying anything new.

What is Ultraviolet Radiation?

UltraViolet Radiation is a form of electromagnetic radiation. Radiation is a form of energy sending out from any source. The main source of UV rays is from the sun, but UV rays can also come from tanning beds and other man-made machines.

Different frequencies of radiation exist of spectrum, from low frequency energy waves (radio waves) to high frequencies (like x rays).

Ultraviolet waves (UV) are energy wavelengths that have a HIGH frequencies. They are so high in energy, they are able to BREAK chemical bonds (called ionization), in which bond between electrons and atoms are broken! As a result, this can cause a number of chemical reactions/bonds to occur. So when UV rays from the sun hit our skin, ionization can occur and thus cause damaging effects to our skin/DNA.  It is known that UV rays can cause cancer.

There are Three Types of Ultraviolet Rays most commonly produced by sunlight:

  • UVA — Ultraviolet A Rays
  • UVB — Ultraviolet B Rays
  • UVC — Ultraviolet C Rays

The Federal Drug Administration (FDA) is a great source to learn about UV radiation its effects. You can learn more about it in depth here!

What kind of Sunscreen or Sunblock should I use?

The sun is out longer in the Summer, so while it is important to wear sunscreen, wearing protective clothing is ESSENTIAL as well! Wide brim hats and sunglasses are great to start. Sunscreen is helpful, but to a certain extent. Layers and layers of sunscreen doesn’t necessarily protect someone from all the rays of the sun. Wearing protective clothing physically BLOCKS out the UV rays.

Protecting yourself is essential!

Choosing the right sunscreen for you and your needs is important. Whether you want to stay protective of yourself, or protective of the environment, be aware of what kind of ingredients are in sunscreen. Dr. Wood, our medical advisor highly recommends sunscreens with Zinc Oxide; this is a property found in most sunblocks that do not allow most UV rays pass through onto your skin.

In addition, if you are concerned over the environmental impacts of sunscreen, we recommend you check out the Environmental Working Group’s Guide to Sunscreen. This is a great and easy to follow guide on choosing the right sunscreen for you!

Maintaining a Balanced Diet

Let’s be honest, it’s Summer. We want to enjoy ourselves. And we want to ENJOY the foods we eat. How do we balance healthy eating while enjoying ourselves?

Let’s talk about the foods we do recommend eating:

  • WATER WATER WATER!! Water is so important for your body! Your body is 70% water and needs to stay hydrated to maintain homeostasis!
  • Calcium-Rich Foods such as broccoli and spinach! Not only does it keep your bones strong, Vitamin D helps absorb calcium. Maintaining a healthy amount (the daily recommended) is beneficial to you!
  • Turmeric has been recognized for its anti-inflammatory properties and relieve pain. Our product, LupaVita(tm) contains turmeric to help manage symptoms of lupus. Here is a great anti-inflammatory tea recipe you can try out.
  • Omega-3 Fatty Acids can be found in foods such as  Salmon and Olive Oil. Omega-3 fatty acids are  known to reduce triglyceride levels (fats used for metabolic fuel) ) in your blood stream. High levels of triglyceride has been cited to lead to heart disease.  If you DO choose to eat Salmon, try to stay away from foods high in salt or MSG!

Feed your body good stuff!

If you are interested in learning more about the Lupus Diet and foods we recommended eating, check out our blog post here.

Although foods such as red meats, and meals high in salt and sugar is generally advised to be avoided, we still want to enjoy ourselves. Eating these foods in moderation is definitely something we advocate for. Of course, living with Lupus effects what “moderation” means. Moderation is different for every person, because lupus case is not the same. Everyone is different! We highly recommended speaking with your medical professional on what is best for you.

Exercise and Keeping Fit

Moderate exercise is great to help with your Lupus Symptoms. Not only that, but exercise is amazing for your lifestyle in general. Exercising has so many benefits (reduce heart failure, muscle build, etc).

In the Summer heat, we strongly encourage everyone to stay hydrated with water. You can learn more about general tips about exercising here.

Whether it be a brisk walk around the neighborhood, or a sunrise hike, or even Yoga in your backyard, find a routine that is fit for you. Get a friend to join too!

Grab a friend! Do some activities together!

LASTLY, ENJOY YOURSELF!

Of course, the most essential thing is to make sure you’re balancing out a healthy and happy lifestyle.  Summer time is about having fun, but remember your health is vital. Your body is a temple, and respecting it is what we believe is essential for living at your full potential.

We hope you find that balance of happiness, health, and wholesome living. Your lupus condition is apart of you, but it DOES NOT define you. Live to your fullest. And have fun this summer.

KEY TAKEAWAYS to remember to maximize your SUMMER FUN!

  • Understand your TRIGGERS! This is different for all cases of lupus, but you know your triggers best. Some people react more to excessive sunshine and heat.
  • Use SUNSCREEN! Protecting yourself from harmful UVA/UVB rays is essential (whether you have Lupus or not).
  • Wear PROTECTIVE clothing! Fabric like linen is nice, because it’s protective enough to block out the rays, but also cool enough to wear in the hot summer heat! Wide-brim hats are also a huge plus! (lucky for us, big hats are in season!)
  • Stay HYDRATED! Drink plenty of water! Not only does this help regulate your body functions, but we prevent overheating this way.  Coconut water is a great source of electrolytes, so enjoying a nice fresh coconut isn’t a bad idea on a hot summer day!
  • Eat Water-Rich Foods! In general, it’s helpful to increase the consumption of “cooling foods.” Foods that are high in water content is helpful, such as watermelon, cucumber, berries, and green leafy vegetables. This not only helps your body and cells stay hydrated, but also it’s easier to digest. Give your GI track a break!

With all Support and Love,

The LupaVita Family. <3

(This post was written by Jasmine Ly)

The Lupus Diet!

The Lupus Diet

Disclaimer: We are not physicians and this article should not be taken as medical advice. Please speak with a physician or nutritionist if you have any questions.

A healthy lupus diet can work to prevent allergies, reduce deficiencies and ultimately repress or cause remission of autoimmune symptoms. The following is a list of suggested dieting tips followed by common diet types:

Trans Fats are used in processed meals in order to make foods more solid. In some cases, people with lupus struggle to metabolize saturated fats and may even be at risk of heart attack. Red meat, high-fat dairy and fried foods may expose an already weak immune system to toxins or synthetic additives. Try substituting these foods for organic, unprocessed foods which will have the opposite effect.

Genetically Modified Foods are foods derived from organisms whose DNA has been modified in a way that does not occur naturally. Beef, milk and refined oils are some common genetically modified foods that can lead to obesity and spiked inflammatory responses. Some ways to avoid genetically modified foods are to become familiar with high-risk foods, buy foods that are labeled “100% organic” and shop locally.

Pasteurized Dairy Products are everyday dairy products that are common allergens for people with lupus because of an ingredient called Beta-Casein which has been linked to heart disease and autoimmunity. Reducing dairy in your diet is an essential step in the healing process.

Gluten serves as the mixture of proteins found in wheat. This ingredient is not easily digested because today’s hybridized strains of wheat mimic the body’s molecules, leaving the digestive system confused. Cutting gluten out of your diet can reduce the risk of leaky gut which triggers the disease, inflammation, and a potential autoimmune attack on your thyroid as gluten closely mimics this tissue (Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis).

Red Meat is high in saturated fat and can cause inflammation. Wild-caught fish is a great substitute for red meat because it reduces inflammation and does not contain the level of heavy metals found farm-raised fish. Pair this with vegetables on the side that are also known to reduce inflammation, like leafy greens, avocado and bell peppers.

Added Sugars are one of the top addictions nationwide, as Americans are said to consume 70 to 150 pounds of sugar a year. Added sugars should be avoided because they can cause inflammation and damage to an individual’s gut. Added sugars are empty calories that you can do your part to avoid and instead replace with fresh fruit which is high in vitamins and natural sugars.

Sodium rarely needs to be added to food, and is commonly found in salad dressings, sauces, and everyday snacks. Lupus already puts individuals at a higher risk for heart disease, so cutting out table salt and putting your sauces on the side can not only lower this risk, but also lower your blood pressure.

Certain Legumes have been known to cause negative reactions including muscle pains, fatigue, antinuclear antibodies in the blood, and kidney abnormality. If you have experienced any of these symptoms, it would be best to avoid alfalfa seeds, soybeans, green beans, and peanuts.

We understand that every case of Lupus is unique, and people experience a variety of side effects from the items listed above. Experimenting with which foods cause flare-ups and which don’t can be a timely process, so here are some common diets that can speed the healing process:

The Paleo Diet mimics the diet of humans during their stages of evolution and consists mainly of foods that existed before the introduction of agriculture. These foods contain no preservatives and consist of fresh meats and vegetables. Items like free-range chicken, wild-caught fish and leafy greens are essential to this diet because they reduce inflammation. The Paleo Diet is common for people with lupus because it cuts out three of the most common allergens: grains, dairy, and certain legumes. This diet reduces symptoms of autoimmunity and risk of leaky gut. Gluten containing grains, particularly wheat, rye and barley should be reduced because they increase susceptibility to the disease. High-fat dairy products and legumes similar to those listed earlier should be avoided for the same reason. Cutting down on these three allergens may reduce or even cause remission of autoimmune symptoms.

The Anti-Inflammatory Diet intends to promote energy while reducing the intake of common allergens. Fruits and vegetables high in vitamins and minerals are recommended because they strengthen the immune system. Omega-3 fatty acids are also healthy to eat and include items like wild-caught fish or fish oil supplements. Processed foods, saturated and trans fats and gluten are typically avoided because they trigger inflammation.

Vitamin Use is a way to promote health by making up for elements that people with Lupus tend to be deficient in. Probiotics, Vitamin E and zinc work to stabilize immune activity. Calcium helps to prevent heart issues and Vitamin D helps to absorb calcium and other vitamins while relieving other symptoms. When somebody is deficient in these vitamins, the immune system becomes weak and is more likely to attack itself.

Women and Lupus

Women and Lupus

Ever wonder why every 9 out of 10 people who have lupus are women?

We recently spoke with Dr. Eric Wood, a District of Columbia-licensed naturopathic physician and member of LupaVita’s Medical Advisory board to find out why this is the case.

“Women are said to considerably outnumber men with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) 9 times out of 10 because of estrogen levels and how those levels can be distributed throughout the body” (Wood 2017). No causal effect has been proven between estrogen and lupus, but many women have shown a spike in lupus symptoms before menstrual periods or during pregnancy when estrogen levels are high. In a typical process, estrogen works to regulate different cells, and when autoimmune disease contaminates these cells estrogen might not be able to help like it regularly does when healthy and unhealthy cells are trying to differentiate each other.

The environment is also said to play a factor in the onset of lupus. Diet, infections, and pollutants are said to cause genes to trigger lupus. The disease itself is in part genetic, but has no clear pattern of inheritance. Dr. Wood recommends working on healthy digestive and hormonal balances to decrease the onset of an autoimmune condition or flare. “It is important to read your levels and understand what your body is telling you to help stay healthy and flare free” (Wood 2017).

How does autoimmune disease affect pregnant women?

Planning ahead is vital for women with lupus who are trying to have a baby. The disease should be under control for six months before the beginning of the pregnancy to avoid miscarriage, stillbirth, or other serious issues. The baby will not have autoimmune conditions, but as mentioned above, he or she will be at a slight risk for genetic onset of lupus sometime throughout his or her lifetime. Because lupus patients experience conditions like leaky gut and immune system overworking, the baby is at an increased risk for food and environmental allergies because of the affected delivery of nutrients. However, many women with lupus have normal pregnancies, and autoimmune conditions shouldn’t affect the delivery of the baby. It is important to find an obstetrician who can work closely with your doctor to ensure the pregnancy runs smoothly.

How does lupus affect women physically?

The visible effects from treatment can include weight gain, rashes, or ulcers. It is important to understand the medications you are taking and the risks and benefits associated with them. If your symptoms begin to subside, you and your doctor may find it useful to reduce the dosage or change medicines. In addition, pain and fatigue are among the most common physical ailments experienced by lupus patients. Fatigue can be dealt with by exercising in small increments. Additionally, alternative therapies including acupuncture and cryotherapy have been seen as a popular treatment for pain.

How does lupus affect women mentally?

Lupus Fog is the forgetfulness and difficulty thinking among people with lupus. This feeling of fuzziness is usually present when autoimmune symptoms are acting up, resulting in feelings of frustration. In addition, depression and social isolation are seen commonly in women with lupus. Many women with lupus tend to feel that no one understands what they are going through or they may feel to too weak to participate in regular social activities and are generally having a hard time accepting that their path has changed. It is important to accept this new path and embrace something new to try, like taking a class, painting, or writing.

The History of Alternative Medicine

History of Alternative Medicine

Alternative therapies (practices that have not been proven effective under the scientific method) have resulted throughout history from flaws in modern medicine. These forms of treatment have been prominent for thousands of years because they are gentle and have less side effects than traditional treatment. The following is the history of events that have created what we now term “alternative medicine”, some of which people with lupus will find useful: 3,500 BC – Aromatic medicine can be traced back to a time when ancient Egyptians burned incense made from aromatic herbs, spices and woods to honor gods and drive out evil spirits from sick people. The practice was termed “aromatherapy” in 1937 by a French chemist named Rene-Maurice Gattefosse who made use of essential oils. This practice can be useful for people who suffer from lupus because it may alleviate insomnia and joint pain. 3,000 BC – Originating during the time of the Holy books or the Vedas, “Ayur” means “life” in Sanskrit. Ayurveda is a type of Hindu medicine that focuses on balancing a physical and emotional state. This practice focuses on healing and overall self-improvement with the use of dieting and mental exercises, as the body and mind work together. This can be helpful in the healing of autoimmune conditions. 1300’s – Traditional Chinese medicine originated, including herbal medicine, acupuncture, and massage therapy. The foundation of Traditional Chinese medicine states that the body’s energy, called qi, circulates through channels, called meridians that are connected to important organs. This form of unconventional medicine emphasizes the dynamic between energy and material, and is widely popular to this day for the treatment of pain. Late 1700’s – Samuel Thomson, a self-taught American herbalist and botanist, founded “Thomsonian Medicine” which made use of botanical drugs and steam baths. This form of therapy was seen as a gentle option to treat illness, but is no longer a popular option due to the rise in homeopathy. Founded by a German physician by the name of Samuel Hahnemann, homeopathy involves the prescription of drugs that closely mimic the symptoms faced by the patient, supposedly killing off the disease. Today, lupus patients practice homeopathy because of its effectiveness in healing high blood pressure, migraines, and hair loss. 1895 – Chiropractic therapy, an American form of treatment, was founded by Daniel Palmer who argued that all disease is caused by spinal bone dislocation. Curing the disease “by hand”, mental intelligence could flow more steadily. Today, this therapy is referred to as “complementary” medicine by the medical community because the process results in looser muscles, restored mobility and reduced pain. 1960 – H.D. Kimmel, David Shapiro, and Neal Miller utilized operant conditioning models that allowed people and animals to control bodily processes that normally happen involuntarily. In the process of Biofeedback, patients work with therapists to learn relaxation techniques and mental exercises while electrodes are attached to the skin to monitor bodily conditions. When the patient has mastered these techniques, he or she can practice them on their own to improve conditions like headaches, high blood pressure and chronic pain. Here is what we suggest for those already diagnosed with lupus: Find a balance between Terrain Theory and Germ Theory. Proposed in 1878, Terrain Theory suggests that a person’s “internal environment” and the habits they keep can determine if the body is able to fight off pathogens once they have entered the body. This opposes what is called Germ Theory and what is also used most often today. This theory, proposed in 1864, argues that pathogens should be killed off before they invade the body. Such remedies include vaccinations and modern medicine. Terrain Theory states that diseases can be avoided with proper lifestyle choices, but for those who have already been diagnosed, considerable results have been seen in patients who pair modern medicine with a healthy lifestyle. Consider a diet heavy in fermented foods that help to protect immune systems and fight bacterial infections. In addition, many of the alternative therapies listed above promote the feeling of well-being with the possibility of healing symptoms, so these should be considered as well with the help of your physician.

Lifestyle and Exercise Change with Lupus

Healthy lifestyle and exercise choices are essential to good health, and while every Lupus case is different, these choices can be made your own by becoming health mindful and not symptom managed.

LIFESTYLE CHANGES

Getting to the root of the cause is most effective in relieving or even causing remission of autoimmune symptoms, and for people with lupus, the root of the cause lies within the gut. Health, stress, and diet are triggers of inflammation in autoimmune disease, so it is important to find out what triggers affect you. Consider these lifestyle suggestions commonly known to reduce triggers:

Low Stress

A low-stress life is key to reducing flares, as symptoms increase with stiffness of the body. Some steps to reduce stress are to identify stress-inducers and identify exercises that work best for you to get rid of them. The key is to relieve the cause of your stress and not the symptom, so meditating, exercising and practicing breathing exercises on a regular basis may help to prevent flares.

Healthy Diet

A healthy diet can reduce and even cause remission of the painful symptoms that people with autoimmune disease suffer from. Trans fats, gluten, pasteurized dairy products, and certain legumes have been known to trigger the disease while organic, gluten-free foods have been known to be anti-inflammatory. It is important to see which foods work for your diet, as every case of autoimmune disease is unique.

Sleep

Enough sleep can reduce fatigue and pain sensitivity. A common disability metaphor for fatigue is the Spoon Theory, which compares levels of energy to spoons as a tangible measure of unit. While people without lupus can do everyday tasks without worrying how many spoons of energy they use, people with lupus have to carefully plan their activities to conserve their energy, or spoons. 80% of people with lupus experience fatigue, so it is important to get around seven hours of sleep at night with the possibility of a nap or two throughout the day. Exercise can also help with fatigue so it is important to start moving once you have slept a healthy number of hours.

Avoid the Sun

Limit time in the sun to avoid a lupus flare if you are one of the two-thirds of people with lupus who have increased sensitivity to ultraviolet light. It is important to note that a share of medications used to treat lupus can increase sun sensitivity so make sure to cover up and use sunblock with a minimum of SPF 30 when you are out in the sun.

Do Not Smoke

Don’t smoke, as smoking has been linked to increased inflammation and increased risk of heart disease and cancer. Smoking also increases the risk of atherosclerosis, or hardening of the arteries, which people with lupus are already at a higher risk for.

Support

Get some support from family, friends or those going through a similar experience. Anxiety and depression are common symptoms for such a chronic and unpredictable disease, so joining a community in-person or online can provide a valuable source of advice and comfort.

Acceptance

Acceptance is huge as many people with lupus tend to be unhappy because they are mourning over change in their life in addition to loss of control. It is important to learn to live differently, treat yourself better and find new interests. Accept that your life has change and start to enjoy your new life by doing things you have always wanted to do. Paint, write, read, and prove to yourself that you are stronger than ever.

 

EXERCISE CHANGES

As mentioned above, restoring the gut is key to fighting the cause of lupus symptoms. Exercise can help with this, because it helps build stronger muscles, relieves stress, controls fatigue and weight gain, and improves mental health. Too much exercise, however, can cause depletion of the gut. If you overexert your body, your gut’s health will decline and you will experience symptoms. So it is important start slow when crafting your exercise routine. The following are some exercise types to consider:

Yoga

Yoga can reduce stiffness and make you more limber. This stretching exercise can improve posture and balance while reducing stress. Yoga is a great introductory exercise for people with lupus who are experimenting with how much exercise is the right amount.

Pilates

Pilates is an aerobic exercise that improves heart and lung function along with coordination. This exercise may be too demanding for some individuals, so it is important so slowly pace yourself to this point in order to avoid flares.

Walks

Walks also work to improve heart and lung function in addition to coordination and are a great everyday exercise for people with lupus. Walks are great for goal setting because you can gradually increase your distance or pace with each day. This low-intensity exercise is optimal for people with lupus because it has a low risk for flares while reducing fatigue.

 

Here are some tips to get your exercise routine going:

– Find the time of day that is best for you

– Start slow with yoga in the park, Pilates on TV, or a walk around the block

– Set realistic goals

– Keep track of your progress

 

ALTERNATIVE THERAPIES

These, used with either conventional medicine or instead of conventional medicine, have not been through rigorous scientific testing and clinical research that conventional therapies undergo, so it is difficult to prove their effectiveness in treating lupus. Common therapies include homeopathy, massage therapy, chiropractic, meditation, herbs and other supplements and more. It is important to consult your doctor before trying these therapies. The following therapies are popular today because of their results with lupus patients:

Acupuncture

Acupuncture is a practice popularized in China that has recently been adopted by the United States as a form of complementary and alternative medicine.  In this process, fine needles are inserted into the skin which then stimulate certain acupoints in the body. The ancient Chinese theory states that the needles are used to block life energy called qi, pronounced “chee”, and its invisible channels called meridians.  When this flow is blocked, a pain signal is sent to the brain and the body then releases endorphins, leaving the patient with a feeling of well-being.

Cryotherapy Cryotherapy is defined as the body’s brief exposure to below freezing temperatures for a maximum of 3 minutes. When conducted by a certified cryotherapy technician, the process is safe and can include a number of benefits for people with lupus. When exposed to cold temperatures, the body increases many of its functions to return to a comfortable state. This process improves cardiovascular, pulmonary, circulatory, endocrine, gastrointestinal, lymphatic, and cognitive systems. Cryotherapy is also said to be anti-inflammatory because the process evades inflammatory stimulants from blood vessels and tissues. The benefits of reduced inflammation include reduced or even the remission of symptoms along with improved cognitive health. In addition, similar to the process of acupuncture, the feeling of well-being can result from the release of endorphins when the body experiences an uncomfortable state.

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