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Can a vegan diet cause lupus patient to go into remission?

This is one of a series of articles answering questions in this POST: 108 Most Asked Questions For Drugstore Marketing Activities

I’m not aware of any documented studies on this topic. If the patient in question is not already a vegan, I would recommend against changing to a vegan diet.

Proper nutrition is important for everyone, but for lupus patients, even more so. Failure to maintain adequate levels of protein can be a driving factor of fatigue, to which lupus sufferers are already prone. It can be difficult for an unpracticed vegan to consume enough plant protein to keep fatigue at bay.

Now, for what has been documented and could help achieve remission is traditional diet and exercise. As a lupus patient myself, I did a great deal of research online about foods with anti inflammatory properties and began incorporating them into my diet. Some of these included:

  • Ginger
  • Turmeric
  • Peppermint or peppermint oil
  • Coconut or coconut oil
  • Pineapple
  • Spinach
  • Kale
  • Honey

There are plenty of others as well, so don’t hesitate to google them as well.

I also lucked into participating in a nutritional study on lupus where I was paired with a nutritionist who worked with me for 12 weeks on an elimination diet to get me off of foods that I was sensitive to that caused me inflammation and adding nutrients that would help. Measures I calibrated with the nutritionist that worked for me were:

  • Eliminating processed meats
  • Increasing protein intake – a minimum of 30 grams of protein a day, more when exercising
  • 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar a day taken in a glass of water
  • Ionic magnesium drops (available at GNC) – I just put 4ml in the same glass of water with my apple cider vinegar
  • Vitamin B12
  • Digestive enzymes (also available at GNC)

At the time I participated in the study, I had already been practicing yin yoga to minimize my joint pain. With the extra energy from the improved nutrition during and after the study, I added cycling and weight training to my workout regimen.

Over the last 6 months (with the nutritional study going from July to October 2018), I managed to lose 35 lbs., downgrade my Stage 3 Chronic Kidney Disease to no evidence of damage on my latest test, and put my lupus in remission.

That said, these blessings did not happen without hard work, or without medicine. I committed to using an app to track every single food and drink I consume to help myself make sure I stick with my nutritional plan and get the right amount of calories to sustain within that. (The Lose It app is great!) I kept the exercise up even when I didn’t feel like it or had other things I wanted to do, and I exercise hard: three days a week I ride 12–18 miles on the recumbent bike and do 30 minutes of weight training, and two days a week I take an hour long yin yoga class at my gym. If you have kidney damage, breaking a sweat is a great way to help your body process out additional toxins the kidneys didn’t eliminate, and that’s a huge motivating factor for me!

I also take hydroxychloroquine and Benlysta SubQ prescribed by my rhuematologist, who I check in with and who monitors my labs to make certain that these measures continue to keep my lupus in remission or, at minimum, well controlled.

I’m sure you already know this, but should you choose to change your diet and exercise regimen, or try changing or adding medications, it is important that you consult with your doctors to make sure said changes are appropriate for your body because everyone’s biochemistry and physical condition are different. If you see multiple specialists, make sure that all are informed of your current plan and how it is going.

If your specialists have conflicting recommendations, use your primary care physician to be the conductor of that orchestra, prioritizing and managing timing for implementing the changes you want to make.

It will be easier to determine what changes help, and to what extent,if you try them one at a time giving a few weeks or months to see how each goes before you decide to keep or discard the change and layer in the next change.

I hope this helps!

—-Betsy Elaine Gulinson, Not a doctor, but ghost writer of medical blogs who does solid research

The scientific evidence on the role of diet in autoimmune diseases such as lupus is just becoming available. I am a believer that a plant-based diet is helpful in promoting overall health and decreasing the chemicals that cause inflammation. I advocate a -based diet along with a very low-fat diet. You have to recall that French fries are vegan but they are not exactly healthy. I think that exercise and healthy diet are extremely important for everyone, but more so for those with autoimmune diseases.

—-By Answered by Howard_Smith,_MD

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