Lupus and Colostrum 1

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Lupus is a disease which is reaching epidemic proportions. Currently, an estimated 500,000 to1.5 million people in the United States, suffer from lupus - mostly women. Because the symptoms of lupus resemble other ailments, like arthritis, fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue, it is often misdiagnosed. Accurate diagnosis may take years since the symptoms mimic these other disorders and especially since symptoms are intermittent.

As with other autoimmune diseases, the exact cause for lupus is unknown. However, all of the autoimmune diseases are examples of an immune system which turns on itself, treating the body’s own tissues as “foreign” and actually producing antibodies (called autoantibodies) which attack the connective tissues of various organs. 

Lupus is traditionally considered incurable and most patients have little hope of remission. Traditional treatment involves a variety of drugs and medications which often end in a backlash of secondary symptoms. The most widely used medications for lupus are immunosuppressive drugs and cytotoxic (cyto=cell, toxic=damage) drugs - both of which increase an individual’s susceptibility to infections. They suppress the immune system in hopes of slowing the production of autoantibodies, but as a result, patients have a reduced ability to fight infections. Lupus patients are very prone to respiratory and urinary tract infections and these infections last longer than in the general populous. According to the Lupus Foundation of America, as many patients with lupus die from infection as from the active disease. In this case, the use of immunosuppressive drugs has a backlash which generally goes unrecognized. 

Because of the use of immunosuppressant and cytotoxic drugs, those with lupus experience longer and more frequent treatment with antibiotics. Those with lupus are also at high risk for salmonella and yeast infections - both of which are aggravated by the use of antibiotics, and result from a compromised intestinal tract

If more individuals understood the value of colostrum for use with lupus, they might be able to avoid some of the consequences of traditional drug therapy and gain more long lasting relief from symptoms. Colostrum is helpful for the lupus patient in a number of ways:

1. It contains numerous anti-inflammatory compounds. Many individuals find colostrum more helpful than the anti-inflammatory drugs known as NSAIDS (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) for relief of joint pain and swelling.

2. Colostrum contains rejuvenating compounds which help restore the integrity of the intestinal tract. Often the restoration of a healthy gastrointestinal tract is enough to provide relief from the symptoms of lupus. This is due to the relationship between the lining of the intestinal tract and autoimmune responses. A healthy intestinal lining is one of the best protective mechanisms against infection, particularly, yeast infections and salmonella.

3. Colostrum contains a compound known as PRP which has been found to help balance the overactive immune response with autoimmune diseases.

4. Colostrum supports healthy levels of serotonin - the feel good hormone - thus overcoming depression which is so common with chronic health problems.

5. Colostrum supports overall hormonal balance. Many women discover relief from PMS and other indicators of hormonal imbalance with the use of colostrum. Recent studies have verified a connection between the hormones and the immune system and have identified a relationship between the female hormone, prolactin, and lupus. Hormonal balance may play a particular role in the relief of lupus symptoms.

We may never completely understand the ways in which colostrum aids autoimmune diseases such as lupus, but experience is a good teacher. And experience has taught me and others that colostrum can be a big part of the puzzle when it comes to helping the sufferers of lupus.
The most severe case of lupus I have ever dealt with was a young woman in her early 20's. The disease had already destroyed her kidneys and she was undergoing regular dialysis. She also had extreme lung damage and had to use inhalers frequently. Her bowels were not functioning very well and she was losing weight rapidly. Her life expectancy was short when she began taking large amounts of “whole” colostrum. However, after several months, she was completely off dialysis and her kidneys were functioning again. She no longer needed inhalers and she was beginning to put on weight. She eventually went into complete remission and today she is symptom free with 2 healthy children - something she would never have been able to experience without the help of colostrum.

Many naturopathic physicians, like myself, believe in treating the “whole” person. That involves an understanding of the emotional and even spiritual causes of dis-ease. If a person is willing to address these underlying causes, and undertake a program of change which involves natural remedies and lifestyle changes, response from lupus patients is extremely good - with an 80% remission rate. Whole colostrum is the foundation of that program. It has an extremely good track record with lupus.

References:

1. Balch, James, F. & Balch, Phyllis, A. Prescription for Nutritional Healing. Avery Publishing Group. 1997.

2. Jara, L.J et al. “Prolactin in human systemic lupus erythematosus.” Lupus 2001; 10(10): 748-56

3. McMurray, R. W. “Sex hormones in the pathogenesis of systemic lupus erythematosus.” Front Biosci 2001 Dec 1;6: E193-E206

4. Velkeniers, B. et al. “Prolactin, growth hormone and the immune system in humans.” Cell Mol Life Sci 1998 Oct;54(10): 1102-8.

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