Curcumin May Help Lupus

By: Byron J. Richards, Board Certified Clinical Nutritionist
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A new study has demonstrated a powerful regulatory mechanism by which curcumin returns the malfunctioning immune system of lupus to normal. The study likely has widespread implications for many autoimmune problems which share the common mechanism of immune system inefficiency causing health problems.

Lupus is a problem wherein the immune system attacks red blood cells when their nucleus is exposed during recycling processes in the spleen. This causes red blood cells to stick together with immune components, forming a sticky mess that behaves like Velcro floating around in the circulation. This sticky complex clogs and damages the kidneys, one of the major side effects of lupus.

The animal study showed that curcumin calmed down excessive immune activity and promoted better kidney health (protein levels inappropriately leaking into the urine, reflected of kidney damage, declined). It reduced the number of sticky complexes and prevented inflammation in the kidneys. Of specific interest is that the researchers were able to prove that curcumin was exerting its benefits by restoring the healthy function of T regulatory cells. In others words, curcumin was commanding the immune system to behave in a normal manner.

Since T regulatory cells are misbehaving as a common feature of most autoimmune problems, this finding likely has significant implications for a variety of health problems. Western medicine relies on strategies to poison immune cells in the hopes of calming down excess activity. A far superior strategy is to try to return the immune system to normal function. This study supports the idea that curcumin could be used as nutritional support to help promote immune system efficiency.

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