Fighting Lupus with Turmeric

Different autoimmune diseases tend to target different organs. If our immune system attacks the insulin-producing cells in our pancreas, we can end up with type 1 diabetes. If it attacks our thyroid gland, we can end up with hypothyroidism. But, in the autoimmune disease lupus, our immune system attacks the very nucleus of our cells, often producing antibodies and attacking our DNA itself.

So, lupus can damage any organ system and result in almost any complication. Women are nine times as likely to get it, and the peak age of diagnosis is too often at the peak of life. Hundreds of thousands, or even millions, of Americans suffer from this dreaded disease. One of the most common organ-threatening manifestations is kidney inflammation, occurring in as many as half of the patients.

Kidney inflammation is also one of the most serious effects of lupus, caused by the disease itself “or as a result of intense immunosuppressive drug toxicity.” Chemotherapy drugs like Cytoxan (cyclophosphamide), for example, can have severe, life-threatening side effects that may include leukemia and bladder cancer, and many women lose their hair and become permanently infertile. There is a desperate need for better treatment options.

Oral supplementation of turmeric decreases proteinuria, hematuria, and systolic blood pressure—the cardinal clinical manifestations in patients suffering from relapsing or refractory (meaning, untreatable) lupus kidney inflammation—according to a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study. The study looked at proteinuria, the spilling of protein into the urine, “an ominous prognostic sign.” In the control group, three people got better, three people got worse, and the rest pretty much stayed the same. In the turmeric group, one got worse, one stayed the same, but the rest all got better.

Note that the researchers used turmeric, the whole spice, and not curcumin, which is an extracted component often given in pill form. They took women with out-of-control lupus and had them take a quarter teaspoon of turmeric with each meal for three months. From my local supermarket, that would come out to be about a nickel a dose, compared with $35,000 a year for one of the latest lupus drugs. Which of the two treatments do you imagine doctors are more likely to be told about?

In health,

Michael Greger, M.D.

PS: If you haven’t yet, you can subscribe to my free videos here and watch my live, year-in-review presentations—2015: Food as Medicine: Preventing and Treating the Most Dreaded Diseases with Diet, and my latest, 2016: How Not to Die: The Role of Diet in Preventing, Arresting, and Reversing Our Top 15 Killers.

Related:
Heart of Gold: Turmeric vs. Exercise
Turmeric Curcumin vs. Exercise for Artery Function
Turmeric Curcumin, MGUS, and Multiple Myeloma 

89 comments

Jeramie D
Jeramie D26 days ago

I have followed Dr. Greger's diet for a few years now and my Lupus has been in remission, however, my RA still requires Humira.

SEND
Peggy B
Peggy B27 days ago

Good to know

SEND
Elena Poensgen
Elena Poensgenabout a month ago

Thank you

SEND
Elena Poensgen
Elena Poensgenabout a month ago

Thank you

SEND
Ruth S
Ruth Sabout a month ago

I wish it was that simple.

SEND
Janis K
Janis Kabout a month ago

Thanks for sharing.

SEND
ERIKA S
ERIKA Sabout a month ago

thank you for sharing

SEND
Chad Anderson
Chad Aabout a month ago

Interesting.

SEND
Julia R
Julia Rabout a month ago

Great information! It is a shame that doctors don't share of don't know many of these natural super healing spices and foods! I think there's an overall tendency in the medical profession to scoff at these natural cures and too listen too much to pharma despite the evidence which doesn't speak well of the medical establishment in our country!

SEND
Cindy M. D
Cindy M. Dabout a month ago

Really wish I had this information a lot sooner. My neighbor passed away from Lupus many years ago. TYFP. Hope this will help many people.

SEND