Fish oil has anti-inflammatory properties. This has been documented
in patients with rheumatoid arthritis & in animal models of
SLE. Eating several fish meals a week is equivalent to taking several
extra aspirins. It will never cure the disease but might bring about
a modest improvement in wellbeing. Fish oil capsules are appropriate
substitutes, but they can irritate the stomach, & it takes 8-10
capsules a day to substitute for one fish meal.
One food supplement to stay clear of is alfalfa sprouts. They
contain an amino acid known as L-canavanine, which increases inflammation
in patients with autoimmune disease. All members of the legume family
contain L-canavanine, but it is highly concentrated in alfalfa sprouts.
Alfalfa is an ingredient in many food products, & some 'natural'
vitamin remedies contain alfalfa, & should probably be avoided
by patients with SLE.
Echinacea should probably be avoided by lupus patients, the herb
boosts the immune system, & therefore boosts the autoantibodies
that are our enemies. Echinacea appears in many herbal remedy preparations,
so always read the label. Avoid any product that claims to boost
the immune system.
Corticosteroids can raise blood sugar, serum cholesterol, &
triglyceride levels & increase blood pressure. Therefore, steroid-dependent
patients who require a dose of more than 10mg of prednisone a day
should decrease their sugar, salt & fat intake.
Some Chinese herbal remedies contain sulfa derivatives & other
substances that trigger allergic reactions in most lupus patients.
REMEMBER - always consult your physician before using any