Is there any biological or natural treatment for rheumatic diseases such as lupus, scleroderma, and rheumatoid arthritis?
In our practice, we treat a wide variety of immunological conditions, and an even broader spectrum of diseases in which imbalances or deficiencies of the immune system are involved. Often times, a basic understanding of the immune system helps to go a long way in the common disease process in these conditions, and also the way in which the system can be restored to health.
The immune system has basically two competitive arms: they are called cell-mediated immunity (also known as Th1) and humoral immunity (also known as Th2). In simplistic terms, these two sides of the immune system can be considered to be in competition with each other, so that when one side is over-active the other side is under-active – similar to a tug-of-war or teeter-totter system.
Th1 – cell mediated immunity
- viral infections
-intra-cellular or cell wall deficient germs
Stimulated by cytokines such as IL-12, IFN, TNF
Th2 – protein mediated immunity
-responsible for fighting bacteria
-can cause allergies
Stimulated by cytokines such as IL-6
When one side of the system is active and being stimulated by certain cytokines, the other side is inhibited. In cases of rheumatic disease, this system is out of balance and the cytokines are not balancing each other correctly.
It is theorized that chronic infections can cause certain types of rheumatic disease, and the link seems to be the strongest for rheumatoid arthritis. Conventional medical journals have reported that almost 50% of rheumatoid arthritis can be put into remission with long-term antibiotic therapies. The catch is that the antibiotic has to be one that easily penetrates into the cells because many of these infections are theorized to be cell-wall deficient, and thus much more adept at hiding from the immune system by seeking shelter inside otherwise healthy human cells. These antibiotics include doxycycline, minocycline, and tetracycline. While this may be an effective approach, long-term use of antibiotics is slow and many patients cannot tolerate them.
From an infection point of view, an even better treatment approach is called oxidative medicine. This therapy is particular therapy is well-chosen because it can be rapid at controlling the immunological imbalance. Furthermore, we often find that chronic infections can lead to hyperviscosity of the blood (it becomes too thick) and the oxidative therapies directly address this blood stagnation. Often times rheumatic patients will tell us that their blood feels “thick” and thus the muscles and joints ache – the patients may be right. This also correlates with the traditional Chinese medical diagnosis of “blood stagnation” in these disorders.
These oxidative treatments are simple to administer and usually free of side-effects. In rheumatic patients, a Herxheimer or healing/detox reaction can occur after the first few treatments. In this reaction, symptoms temporarily get worse before they get better; this is a normal response to therapy. The treatments themselves are called ozone therapy by major autohemotherapy or ultraviolet blood irradiation. Generally in chronic cases, a treatment is given twice a week for 3 weeks and then once a week for 4 weeks. Supportive treatment can be given once every 1-2 months usually, all the while the patient having their system rebalanced and symptoms removed without the use of drugs.
In certain cases, particularly for lupus, an analysis of triggers that may be aggravating symptoms is useful. Usually food-sensitivities such as gluten and casein or dairy are important. We prefer blood testing for this analysis, as if there is a gluten sensitivity there should be a detectable protein or immunoglobulin in the blood. From a blood sample, a panel of tests is run against 100 foods to see if certain foods can be propagating (they don’t initiate it, but can make it worse) the immune system imbalance. While other doctors seem to like Vega testing or energetic testing for the foods, we prefer to see that the actual protein is there before making such a difficult lifestyle change. If the food sensitivities are there, the reconditioning and reprogramming of the immune system can make it so that the foods can usually be tolerated again in a few months.
One of the best resources for patients who have rheumatoid diseases is a non-profit foundation called the Arthritis Trust of America. They have a wide variety of articles on their website, and although some may be a bit technical for the average reader, they provide a wealth of information on natural treatments for arthritis. Their website is www.arthritistrust.org.
Questions and Answers:
How are the food sensitivities tested for?
Blood testing is the most convenient. Sometimes an elimination and challenge diet is done, but in rheumatic disease it is much more clinically useful to know which foods have the ability to stimulate immunoglobulins present in the blood. Sometimes ALCAT www.alcat.com testing is done.
Are the therapies to balance the immune system dangerous?
Absolutely not. The risk profile is not significant at all. In fact, our clinic uses similar therapies as part of a protocol in heart disease, infection, and cancer.
How long until results are seen?
Usually a course of treatments from 6-10 times is needed. If triggering foods are avoided also, and oral supplements given, the response rate is even more potentiated. Evaluation is done after 1-2 weeks following the initial course and may involve repeating some lab tests (usually not the foods test though).