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Role of Vitamin E in Lupus Treatment

What can vitamin E do to relieve the signs and symptoms of lupus? The answer to that question begins with looking more closely with what we are up against. The most dangerous and common type of lupus disease is Systemic lupus Erythematosus (SLE), which can affect and damage any of the body’s organs such as skin, liver, kidney, joints, blood vessels, brain, blood, and nervous system. The second most common type of lupus disease is Discoid Lupus Erythematosus (DLE), which only affects skin. The signs and symptoms of this type of lupus are skin rash and scaly sores appearing on the face, neck, and chest. The signs and symptoms of SLE will be specific to the part of the body affected, although usually the rash is also present, and can often be misdiagnosed as a different disease.

The other major sign and symptoms of lupus, common to both SLE and DLE, include chronic inflammation in various parts of the body. This causes free radicals to be released, reactive molecules with unpaired electrons that reek havoc amongst healthy cells in the body. Free-radicals are extremely destructive and so increase the severity of lupus symptoms, causing more discomfort to sufferers.

Luckily, rampaging free-radicals can be “mopped up” by antioxidants, a group of vitamins, minerals, and herbs that are immensely powerful in restoring and maintaining the body’s health. It is vitamin E’s membership of this elite group that makes it helpful in the treatment of lupus. But there is also moreā€¦

The Properties of Vitamin E

Vitamin C, E, and beta carotene are recommended by doctors to treat lupus. Vitamin E posses many useful properties that help in the treatment of lupus disease:

1. It’s a Powerful Antioxidant: Intake of Alpha-tocopherol (a-tocopherol), a form of Vitamin E, is a natural way to treat lupus disease. A-tocopherol is the most active form of Vitamin E and a powerful antioxidant, which protects the body from the ill effects of free radicals and the damage caused by them. Because of its antioxidant properties, Vitamin E plays a key role in protecting body from a number of chronic disorders, besides lupus disease, that affect various parts of the body. Vitamin E does this by donating its own electrons to make a pair with a free radical’s unpaired one, thereby “neutralizing” its destructiveness.

2. It Reduces the Levels of Cytokines: Vitamin E also plays an important role in the treatment of lupus disease because it possesses the ability to control the levels of pro – and anti – inflammatory cytokines. Cytokines are a group of proteins and peptides, which work as signaling compounds and play important roles in the immune system function.

3. A study conducted on mice showed that Vitamin E can significantly lower the levels of inflammatory cytokines, and inhibit the main symptom of lupus disease: inflammation.

Another study conducted on 67 people suffering from DLE showed that high doses (1,500 to 3,000 IU) of Vitamin E per day for 19 months along with pantothenic acid helped to treat DLE to great extent. However individual doses of pantothenic acid were ineffective in the treatment of lupus disease. With vitamin supplements, as with so many things in life, commitment is crucial.

What Next?

Now that we know Vitamin E has a number of properties making it beneficial in lupus treatment, we can think about using natural supplements as opposed to synthetic drugs.

Vitamin E in the form of a-tocopherol is available as supplements. The most natural form of a-tocopherol is labeled, confusingly, with a ‘D’, while the synthetic form of this supplement is labeled “DL”. It is the more natural, D, a-tocopherol that is biologically active in the human body, and more easily absorbed to treat the signs and symptoms of lupus. A-tocopherol, vitamin E supplements are often mixed with Vitamin C to make a more effective supplement for the treatment of lupus.