How Diet & Nutrition Can Help Lupus Patients

What is Lupus?

Lupus is a chronic inflammatory disease that occurs when your body’s immune system attacks its tissues and organs. It can be hard to diagnose due to the wide-range of symptoms and body parts it can affect. [1]
According to doctors, the cause of lupus is still unknown, and the symptoms can appear differently from person to person. However, while the root cause is unknown, experts say that genetics and the environment are contributing factors.

What are the Signs & Symptoms of Lupus?

The National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases lists the most common symptoms of lupus as joint inflammation, muscle pain, fever, facial rash, chest pains, hair loss, swelling in legs and eyes and glands, mouth ulcers and fatigue. [2]
Among the less common symptoms are anemia, headaches, dizziness and seizures. If left untreated, lupus can cause serious complications like kidney failure, inflammation of the chest, heart and blood vessels, stroke or seizure.

Is There an Ideal Lupus Diet?

A study from Johns Hopkins University noted that “no overarching diet exists for people with lupus. [It] is a systemic disease, so maintaining good nutritional habits will help your body remain as healthy as possible.” The doctors at Johns Hopkins recommend a diet similar to the USDA’s Dietary Guidelines. [3][4]
While few studies test the effectiveness of dieting on lupus, others struggling with lupus have found symptomatic relief through proper nutrition. In fact, the Paleo and ketogenic diets have proven to be effective in preventing and managing the mental and inflammatory symptoms of lupus.
How Diet and Nutrition Can Help Lupus Patients

How Can the Paleo Diet Help?

Many people have turned to the Paleo diet to prevent symptoms and heal their bodies. A 2015 article in US News noted that “people with autoimmune conditions are at risk for vitamin, mineral and omega-3 fatty acid deficiencies, [so] there’s an added diet emphasis on nutrient-dense foods.” [5]
The Paleo diet encourages people to consume foods that our ancestors hunted and gathered before farming and domestication. People following the Paleo diet do not consume food containing grains, processed sugars, refined vegetable oils or food chemicals. Their primary protein sources include meat, fish and bone broth.

What Other Foods Can Help?

Also, Omega 3 fatty acids in fish are a great way to manage inflammation and support joint health. Bone broth is also beneficial due to its collagen, glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate, which help combat joint and respiratory inflammation. [7]
Supplement your protein intake with green vegetables containing Omega-3 fatty acids, vitamins and minerals for joint, skin and cardio health. While the Paleo Diet may not be the cure-all for lupus. Many people have praised its effects on the management of their illness.

Can the Ketogenic Diet Help?

The purpose of the ketogenic diet is to remove inflammatory carbohydrates to put your body into a state of ketosis. This state forces the body to use its existing stored fat cells as its energy source. Like the Paleo Diet, but more extreme, the ketogenic diet cuts your carbohydrate intake to approximately 10 percent of your total caloric intake. That means that the calories that consumed should be comprised mostly of healthy fats and an adequate amount of protein. [8]
A 2006 study by the National Center for Biotechnology Information noted the positive effect of the ketogenic diet on illnesses such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and Epilepsy. Despite the lack of scientific studies regarding the relationship between the ketogenic diet and lupus specifically, people have given positive feedback on the way that the ketogenic diet has helped them manage many symptoms from joint pain and mental health to swelling and rash. [6]
How Diet & Nutrition Can Help Lupus Patients

Consult Your Doctor

Before beginning any extreme diet to manage the symptoms of lupus, be sure to consult with your primary care physician.

Are you considering trying the ketogenic or Paleo diet to help fight fatigue from lupus? Factor offers home-delivered, dietitian-approved keto and Paleo meal options! Learn more here.



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Underscore Editors

Underscore Editors