Lupus: Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE)
Lupus is a systemic autoimmune disease driven by inflammation in which the immune system indiscriminately attacks "self-tissues" throughout the body. It is estimated that more than 16,000 people are diagnosed with lupus each year in the United States. Approximately 1.5 million Americans, and 5 million people worldwide, currently live with lupus.1
Lupus autoimmunity can cause variable symptoms from person to person. Parts of the body frequently affected by lupus include the skin, kidneys, heart and vascular system, nervous system, connective tissues, musculoskeletal system, and other organ systems.
The immune system is the primary facilitator of lupus; therefore, its treatment requires a strategy that successfully targets immune cells. Unfortunately, conventional medicine typically relies on global immune suppression to accomplish this goal, inadvertently predisposing patients to potentially deadly infections and a host of troubling side effects.
However, advancements in medical technology in recent years have led to the development of promising new medical therapies for lupus. These include the use of monoclonal antibodies targeted against cells of the immune system responsible for lupus autoimmunity, and stem cell therapy, which aims to replace aberrant immune cells with healthy immune cells in order to suppress autoreactivity.
Moreover, mounting evidence suggests that vitamin D may be a critical missing link in virtually all autoimmune diseases, including lupus. Vitamin D is capable of modulating the activity of immune cells, and studies have identified widespread vitamin D deficiency in lupus patients.2,3 For example, one study found that a mere 1.2% of lupus patients had adequate vitamin D levels, compared to 45% of healthy controls4; another found that lower vitamin D levels were linked with more aggressive lupus autoimmunity.5
Life Extension’s strategy is centered upon easing inflammation and combines several scientifically studied nutrients to complement the immunomodulatory role of vitamin D. Additionally, avoiding inflammatory foods high in omega-6 fatty acids in favor of healthy omega-3’s provides a nutritional foundation ideal for balancing an inappropriately reactive immune system.