As of right now, there is no treatment for lupus, a debilitating and life-altering illness. Lupus infections are more common in women. The majority of lupus sufferers are female (90%).
A majority of lupus patients are between the ages of 15 and 44 when they get the diagnosis. Lupus often results in exhaustion, especially for those who are already weak from the disease. In this article, we’ll look at the best supplements for lupus available today.
What is Lupus?
Lupus is a chronic autoimmune disorder that can damage any part of your body – from your skin to your kidneys. There are several types of lupus, but the most common type is Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE).
Systemic means it can affect many different parts of the body at once. Lupus can cause extreme fatigue, joint pain, chest pain, headaches, rashes over the entire body, hair loss, and sensitivity to sunlight. It can even damage organs like the heart, lungs, and kidneys.
Lupus tends to flare up periodically throughout life. Many times lupus doesn’t have any symptoms at all or just mild ones. Lupus is more common in women than men.
If you have lupus, it can really affect your quality of life. Keeping a healthy diet and taking the right supplements for lupus will help keep your energy levels high and reduce some of your symptoms so you can live an active lifestyle.
Symptoms of Lupus
Here are the most common symptoms of lupus:
- Extreme fatigue
- Joint pain and swelling in your fingers, wrists, knees, ankles, toes, and hips
- Chest pain
- Sensitivity to sunlight or artificial light (photosensitivity)
- Flu-like symptoms that last for several days
- Rashes over your entire body
- Hair loss or hair thinning (alopecia)
- Swelling in the lining around your lungs and heart (pleurisy)
- Unexplained weight gain or swelling of your feet, face, hands, ankles, or abdomen (edema)
- Swollen lymph nodes in your neck, armpits, or groin
- Heart rhythm problems (arrhythmias) that can lead to blood clots and stroke
- Blood cell changes that increase your risk of infection or bleeding
- Inflammation of the lining around your heart (pericarditis) causing chest pain
- Kidney diseases
Complications Due to Lupus
If you have lupus, even mild symptoms can interfere with your life. Plus, there are some serious complications that can come along with the disease that requires medical treatment. According to a survey of lupus patients, the most common complications were:
- Heart problems (90%)
- Kidney disease or failure (66%)
- Stroke (61%)
- Blood infections (57%).
These statistics show that you should do everything in your power to prevent infection and decrease inflammation. That’s one thing that supplements can help with.
Best Supplements For Lupus- The List
Remember that there is no scientific evidence to support the idea that any kind of complementary therapy may cure lupus. These are a few treatment options in the form of these best supplements for Lupus.
Some of the best supplements for lupus are:
1. Fish Oil by Nature’s Bounty
Fish oil helps decrease inflammation and pain from inflammatory conditions. Inflammation is a huge problem in autoimmune diseases like lupus, so this supplement will help you immensely. Fish oil contains DHA and EPA which reduce inflammation in certain joints.
In a study done on rats with lupus nephritis (kidney disease), fish oil reduced the levels of TNF-α, a cytokine involved in inflammation and injury to cells. It also reduced kidney enlargement and prevented further impairment of kidney function.
More studies have been done on humans instead of animals. Scientists discovered that omega-3 fatty acids were linked to lower rates of disease activity in lupus patients. People who ate more fish had less fatigue, joint pain, and swelling than those who didn’t eat fish.
Omega-3 won’t cure your lupus or shorten the length of flare-ups, but it will help you feel more comfortable and live a better life.
- Decreases inflammation, pain, and fatigue
- Reduces risk of certain autoimmune diseases like lupus
- Fish oil can cause fishy breath or burps.
- Take fish oil with food to decrease the chances that you will have these side effects. Fish oil may also interact with blood thinners so ask your doctor if fish oil is okay to take.
2 g daily with food
2. TNVitamins Boswellia Serrata
Boswellia serrata, also known as Indian frankincense, has been used for years in traditional medicine. It was thought that Boswellia had anti-inflammatory properties and it was commonly prescribed to rheumatic patients in India.
The inner bark of this plant contains a gum resin called boswellic acid. This substance inhibits the activity of 5-lipoxygenase, an enzyme that makes inflammatory chemicals like leukotrienes.
The inhibition of this enzyme will help reduce swelling and pain caused by inflammation in lupus patients.
In a study done on 40 lupus patients, they were given either 200 mg of Boswellia or a placebo three times a day for 12 weeks. The results showed that patients taking the herb had significantly less joint pain and tenderness than those who were given the placebo.
- Reduces inflammation
- Helps with certain conditions that come along with lupus-like cramping, chest pain, dry mouth, and swelling
- Not enough studies proving the herb’s effectiveness.
100 mg three times daily.
3. Durham’s Bee Propolis
Some studies have shown that bee propolis (a type of resin) can reduce inflammation and ease some symptoms associated with lupus.
The anti-inflammatory properties of propolis may be helpful for pain management and protecting the kidneys from damage. According to a study done on rats with lupus nephritis, bee propolis reduced inflammation in the kidneys.
Bee propolis may also help control cell damage that happens when your body’s immune system starts attacking healthy cells. The high level of antioxidants in bee propolis can aid your body by protecting your cells from free radicals and oxidative damage.
- Reduces swelling and pain caused by inflammation
- Might protect the kidneys from damage
- Do not use this supplement if you are allergic to bees or bee products like honey.
100-500 mg daily depending on the product. Only use the amount that is good for your body weight per day since too much bee propolis can be harmful to your liver and kidneys.
Consult with your doctor before taking bee propolis if you are on any medications or have a medical condition like diabetes.
4. Jarrow Formulas Curcumin
Curcumin is a substance present in turmeric. It has been used to make curry dishes and has a warm, bitter taste.
Curcuminoids, which are what curcumin turns into when it’s exposed to heat or stomach acid, have antioxidant properties that can help control inflammation. In fact, some research suggests that this substance may be just as effective for treating inflammation in lupus patients as some anti-inflammatory medications.
Studies have shown that curcumin may help reduce the severity of symptoms in people with different types of arthritis. It’s unclear if curcumin is helpful for lupus patients because there are not enough human studies on this herb.
- Helps with inflammation
- It also has antioxidant properties
- The disadvantage is that curcumin is not very easy for your body to absorb. You can take it with piperine (an extract from black pepper) because it helps the body absorb curcumin better.
Curcumin may be effective when taking 600 mg capsules daily but consult with your doctor before you start any new supplement.
5. Carlyle Oregano Oil
This essential oil is useful as an antimicrobial (it kills or inhibits the growth of microorganisms like bacteria) and antioxidant. Oregano oil has been studied in lupus patients with kidney disease because kidney cells are susceptible to damage from oxidative stress, which is what free radicals cause.
When kidneys are damaged, lupus patients are at risk for developing kidney failure. Therefore, it’s important to find treatments that can help protect your kidneys from free radicals.
Lupus patients with kidney disease who supplemented their diets with oregano oil had a better function in their kidneys after 30 days of treatment. There weren’t any adverse effects reported during this study.
You can purchase Oregano oil supplements or simply add oregano to your food for a daily dose of the antioxidant.
- It May help protect kidney cells from damage caused by free radicals
- The antioxidants in this supplement may also boost your immune function
- Not suitable for pregnant or nursing women
Adults should take 300 mg of oregano oil daily. Do not use oregano essential oil on children.
6. Nature’s Bounty Probiotic
Probiotics are good for treating Lupus because they promote the growth of good bacteria in your gut. Research shows that the lack of certain types of intestinal bacteria can lead to inflammation and an autoimmune reaction.
Taking probiotics supplements or eating foods that contain probiotics may reduce inflammation in people with lupus by increasing their levels of healthy gut bacteria.
Lupus patients who drank milk containing probiotics decreased their levels of C-reactive protein, an inflammatory marker often used to diagnose the disease.
- It May help balance your immune system by increasing good bacteria in your gut
- The supplement is non-GMO
- Not suitable for pregnancy or breastfeeding
- It may also cause side effects like bloating, headache, and nausea.
Adults should take one billion microorganisms daily while children between the ages of 6 months and 2 years old should take 3-5 billion organisms daily. Children who are 2 years old and older can consume anywhere from 30-300 billion organisms per day.
7. Vital Proteins Collagen Peptides
Collagen peptides are the building blocks of collagen, which is a connective tissue in your joints, muscles, bones, and skin. Studies show that lupus patients who had an SLE Flare-Up were more likely to have levels of collagen glycation (the binding of glucose to proteins) in their blood.
Having higher levels of collagen glycation in your blood may lead to increased inflammation. Some studies show that taking collagen peptides can reduce blood sugar levels and protect against the formation of AGEs (advanced glycation end-products).
These are proteins that damage cells when there’s too much glucose attached to them. It should be noted that not all studies on collagen peptides used specific doses, so it’s unknown how much to take for best results.
- It’s low in calories
- It may reduce blood sugar levels
- Not suitable for pregnant or breastfeeding women
- Can cause an upset stomach if you’re not used to taking supplements with this ingredient
- Can also cause side effects like bloating, bloating, flatulence, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, heartburn.
Adults should take 6 grams per day. If you’re pregnant or breastfeeding it is not recommended to take collagen peptides supplements.
8. NatureWise Vitamin D3
Vitamin D3 treats Lupus by binding to vitamin D receptors at the site of inflammation. This blocks NF-kB from triggering an autoimmune response and reduces the production of inflammatory proteins such as tumor necrosis factor (TNF), interleukin-6 (IL-6), and interferon-gamma (INF-γ).
Vitamin D3 Supplementation Vitamin D can help your body fight infection, which is a big problem for Lupus sufferers. In one study, lupus patients who supplemented with vitamin D were less likely to have flare-ups than those who didn’t supplement their diet.
Another study found that taking high doses of this nutrient helped Lupus patients feel better and have fewer symptoms.
Vitamin D also reduces inflammation by decreasing the production of a protein called nuclear factor kappa-light-chain-enhancer of activated B cells (NF-kB). This protein is involved in the immune system and can cause an autoimmune reaction to take place.
Vitamin D may help people with Lupus feel better, but more research needs to be done to determine a specific dose for Lupus relief.
- This supplement has a lot of good reviews on Amazon
- Taking Vitamin D supplements that contain vitamin A and calcium can protect against toxicity.
- The Vitamin D is derived from sheep’s wool and not from GMO ingredients
- It’s not suitable for pregnant or breastfeeding women
- Stomach problems, light sensitivity, and fatigue are common side effects
Adults should take 2000-4000 IU of Vitamin D per day. If pregnant or breastfeeding, talk to your doctor before taking this supplement.
9. Zazzee Indole-3-Carbinol (I3C)
This supplement’s main function is to protect the cells of the immune system from chemicals that can cause lupus flares.
This antioxidant works by neutralizing cell-damaging toxins and preventing them from triggering an autoimmune response. I3C is found in cruciferous vegetables like kale, cauliflower, cabbage, broccoli, brussels sprouts, and bok choy.
It is one of the best supplements for Lupus because it can modulate an overactive immune system. In a study published in the European Journal of Pharmacology, this antioxidant was shown to inhibit IL-1b and IL-18 cytokine expression.
In another study, researchers found that I3C supplementation helped normalize TNF-α levels in people with lupus. Elevated levels of TNF-α can cause several autoimmune reactions, which is why it’s important to keep IL-1b and IL-18 under control.
- It may inhibit cytokines involved in inflammatory responses
- No serious side effects have been reported with this supplement
- I3C can help protect your cells from cell-damaging toxins
- It’s found in cruciferous vegetables so you don’t need to take an additional supplement if you eat these foods regularly blocking signals that promote autoimmune reactions.
- There are not many studies that talk about what dosage to take for the best results or the potential side effects of taking this supplement.
Follow the instruction mentioned on the product.
10. Bronson Vitamin A
Vitamin A is effective at maintaining a healthy immune system and can help Lupus patients avoid infections. This nutrient also prevents skin lesions and fights inflammation by limiting the production of inflammatory proteins such as IL-6, TNF-α, and INF-γ.
The best food sources of Vitamin A are carrots, sweet potatoes, dark leafy greens, squash, mangoes, pumpkin, cantaloupes, and apricots. Cons: It’s not safe to take more than 10 000 IU per day of Vitamin A.
This is one of the best lupus supplements because it’s available in many forms and is easy to add to your diet.
- A lot of people say that taking a Vitamin A supplement helped their skin lesions heal faster and made them feel less fatigued.
- Beta-carotene is a precursor for Vitamin A, which means it can be converted into active vitamin A in the body.
- It’s one of the most studied lupus supplements with a lot of clinical trial results.
- Vitamin A toxicity can lead to hair loss, bone pain, dry skin, nausea, vomiting, and liver damage. This supplement may also interact with other medications.
Adults should take at least 2000 IU per day of Vitamin A and more if recommended by the doctor. You shouldn’t exceed 10 000 IU per day of beta-carotene and 25 000 IU per day of retinol (if you’re taking a supplement).
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Here are some of the frequently asked questions regarding Lupus and its treatment:
How can I tell if my lupus is active?
Getting a diagnosis of Lupus is the first step in managing this disease. Once you’ve been diagnosed, your doctor will monitor your symptoms to determine if it’s currently active or not, which means that there are signs of inflammation throughout the body.
If you’re having any of the following symptoms, Lupus has probably flared up:
-Swollen lymph nodes
-Skin rashes on your face, neck, hands, arms, or legs
If you start experiencing some of these symptoms and they don’t go away even after taking medication for a few days call your doctor right away.
What causes lupus?
The exact cause of this autoimmune disease is still unknown, but scientists think it’s triggered by environmental factors such as viruses and sun exposure.
These external triggers make your immune system malfunction and attack healthy cells in the body leading to inflammation, damage to tissues and organs, and possible long-term damage.
Is lupus genetic?
People with family members who have autoimmune diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis, Sjogren’s syndrome, or polymyositis are more likely to develop Lupus too.
If you have a first-degree relative with the disease your chances of developing it go up 4-6% and if you have a second-degree relative the chances of developing Lupus increase by 8-10%.
What treatment options are out there?
There’s no cure for lupus, but treatments can help suppress symptoms such as joint pain and skin rashes. There are many different types of medication your doctor can choose from, depending on your symptoms and how much joint or skin damage you have.
Do supplements for Lupus really work?
Yes, they do, but only when you include in your treatment plan healthy eating habits and lifestyle changes. Vitamin D supplements can help with bone damage, while vitamin C might improve skin lesions.
Fish oil supplements are also effective at preventing heart disease in Lupus patients, which is an important side effect of long-term use of steroids or NSAIDs.
What supplements to avoid if you have Lupus?
-Copper – can worsen skin lesions, arthritis, and heart problems
-Iron – can lead to anemia, even if you’re not deficient
-St. John’s wart – does more bad than good
-Chromium supplements – can lower blood sugar levels too much
Why you should not take Lupus Supplements in Pregnancy?
There are some medications for Lupus that should be taken before you get pregnant to help control your symptoms.
However, it’s not safe to take these supplements while you’re expecting because they may cause birth defects in the baby or lead to pregnancy complications. Be sure to talk to your doctor about changing your medication if you’re planning on getting pregnant.
Lupus is a serious disease that can interfere with your everyday life if not treated properly. It’s important to work closely with your doctor to develop an effective medication plan and lifestyle changes because lupus supplements aren’t enough to manage this autoimmune disease.
Even though there’s no cure for lupus, you can manage your symptoms and live a full life if you’re committed to finding the right treatments and sticking to them. We wish you all the best!