There are only a few natural products that have demonstrated the wide range of protective properties as curcumin. Turmeric has three main bioactive components which are curcumin, desmethoxycurcumin and bisdemethoxycurcumin. These curcuminoids have many biological effects including anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, antitumor, antibacterial, and antiviral properties.

According to a new study published yesterday in Lupus, researchers investigated the efficacy of curcumin on systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) disease activity.

This review consisted of three double-blind, placebo-controlled, randomized clinical trials, three human in vitro studies, and seven mouse-model studies. In human trials, curcumin decreased 24-h and spot proteinuria. In these studies, the trials were small ranging from 14 to 39 patients with varied curcumin doses and different study durations ranging from one to three months. On average, patients took three capsules a day, but the total constituent curcumin dose ranged from 60 mg to 150 mg a dose. There was no change in C3, dsDNA, or the Systemic Lupus Erythematosus Disease Activity (SLEDAI) scores. The mouse-model trials and human trial data demonstrated that it requires at least an average of 12-16 weeks of curcumin use to have an immunological effect. In addition, I would expect a greater and possibly sooner effect with a higher dose of curcumin.

This review demonstrates that curcumin can be a potential therapeutic for the management of SLE.

Autoimmunity can occur a few different ways. First, there can be a mistaken identity and the body attacks itself. This can occur with a virus where there is tissue destruction, and it appears to be foreign to the body. Second, is called molecular mimicry. This occurs when the body makes an antibody (a protein in the body that attacks objects in the body that appear to be foreign) to a specific antigen. These antigens can resemble certain proteins in the body and the antibodies attack our body’s own tissues. Third, is the development of the T cells (the immune system). This can be affected by genetics, stress, and environmental triggers.

Environmental triggers are what integrative doctors mainly work with in functional medicine. These can be food triggers such as gluten or food sensitivities that can trigger inflammation as well as anything coming in with the food such as toxins or molds. In addition, the nutrient status of the person. This can be antioxidant status, vitamins, essential fatty acids, vitamin D, etc. Also, gut health. This includes “leaky gut” and dysbiosis. Finally, there are toxins that can be affect the status of the immune system. These are heavy metals, xenobiotics, as well as the total toxic burden in the body.

By Michael Jurgelewicz, DC, DACBN, DCBCN, CNS

Source: Ramessar N, Borad A, Schlesinger N. The impact of curcumin supplementation on systemic lupus erythematosus and lupus nephritis: A systematic review. Lupus. 2023 Mar 3;9612033231161961.

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