Transcript: Fighting Lupus With Turmeric: Good as Gold
Different autoimmune diseases tend to target different organs. If our immune system attacks the insulin-producing cells on our pancreas, we can end up with type 1 diabetes. If our immune system 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 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 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. For example, chemo drugs, like Cytoxan and cyclophosphamide, can have life-threatening side effects which may include leukemia and bladder cancer, as many women lose their hair and become permanently infertile. There is a desperate need for better treatments.
Fortunately, there are. 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 nephritis: according to a randomized and double-blind placebo-controlled study.
Here’s the proteinuria data, an ominous prognostic sign, the spilling of protein in the urine. 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 they said turmeric, the whole spice, not curcumin, which is an extracted component often given in pill form. They took women with out-of-control lupus, and just had them take like 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 to $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?
To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring, watch the above video. This is just an approximation of the audio contributed by Katie Schloer.
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