I have had SLE for 20+ years, have RA, fibromialgia, hashimoto's and have a few unanswered questions, if anyone out there has had similiar things come up and may have the solution. First, I hope everyone is experiencing a good new year so far.
1. I have heard that SLE patients should watch their intake of amino acids, is this true and why?
2. Are there any good supplements out there for low potassium levels, mine are always extremely low?
3. Any supplements, foods, etc., to help raise white blood cell counts?
4. Anyone been to an alternative health care provider and have they helped?
5. Any strategies/supplements to help with memory, thinking during relapse, (been in one for 7 months)?
Thank you and I hope all of you are well and happy
Hi, Kelly - you are obviously a very strong person to get through twenty years dealing with these problems. There are several on the forum with an interest in alternative/complementary therapies - hopefully they will chime in with their experiences. As far as amino acids, my understanding is that certain supplements can be harmful to people with lupus kidney involvement. There are a number of different amino acids, and some individual ones may be good in certain conditions. But if you are eating a healthy and balanced diet, you should be able to get the essential amino acids you need through food. Any additional supplements need to be discussed with your doctor and included as part of your overall treatment program. As far as potassium supplements go, this is something that should be done only under a doctor's supervision, because too much potassium is just as dangerous as too little. So the best way to get extra potassium is to include a lot of potassium-rich foods in your daily diet, and avoid things that deplete your potassium levels, like alcohol and caffeine. Milk, yogurt, bananas, raisins, sunflower seeds, canteloupe, potatoes, sweet potatoes and avocados are all high in potassium. If you are eating potassium-rich foods and your potassium levels are still low, this could mean an underlying problem in your digestive system that is keeping you from absorbing nutrients from your food.
As far as raising your white cell count through supplements, this is an area where you have to be very careful. Supplements like echinacea that boost the immune system may raise your white count, but can also trigger a major lupus flare by sending your immune system into overdrive. You might ask your doctor about Astragalus root, which some holistic doctors recommend to boost white cell counts in patients taking chemo drugs. My doctor is a board-certified rheumatologist, but he also practices holistic medicine. and uses herbs, vitamins, accupunture, biofeedback, massage, and other complementary therapies in addition to all the standard treatments. So I've never really had the need to go to an alternative practioner.
Thank you for your answers, they were very helpful. I do remember now about why amino acids are harmful when my kidneys were being attacked 14 years ago and I had protein in my urine. Presently, I am not having kidney problems. I am going to talk to my doctor about potassium supplements, and it was helpful to learn that alcohol and caffiene deplete potassium. I am trying to get an appointment with an alternative physician and hopefully will get some answers about the best supplements I can take for my conditions. Every little thing will help and I can feel more in control of my life instead of feeling like I am at the mercy of SLE.
Hope you are having a good day!