New patients frequently call our office and ask if we can help them with a specific disease, or diagnosis. As a doctor of chiropractic that emphasizes a nutrition and complementary and alternative medicine approach to natural health care, I would love to say, “YES.” The unfortunate part is that the answer is usually, “We do not know unless we try.” So, when a nice young lady called our office and asked if we could help her with skin issues as a result of Cutaneous Lupus Erythematosus, my first response was, “What is Cutaneous Lupus Erythematosus?” After getting a crash course on this autoimmune condition, we went to work on helping this patient to reduce the inflammatory load within her body.
Our first priority was to remove the potentially inflammatory foods. Since gluten has been associated with a variety of autoimmune conditions, including skin issues like blistering dermatoses, eczema, psoriasis, dermatitis herpetiformis, and others. After removing gluten containing foods, we also included other commonly seen inflammatory foods with our elimination diet in order to attempt to reduce possible reactions within the immune system. When we ask our patients that have autoimmune conditions to go through an elimination diet, the lectin free food program is what we generally ask them to start with, and then we slowly reintroduce the potential inflammatory foods looking for inflammatory reactions.
In addition to having the patient avoid potential inflammatory foods, we supported her body with specific supplements and herbs, based on her history, assessment forms, and physical exam findings. Some of these supplements and herbs helped to support optimal immune function, while others supported liver and anti-inflammatory pathways. We also performed chiropractic care to the associated areas in order to cover our bases structurally, as well as nutritionally.
In this patient’s situation, she responded really well to the complementary and alternative approach that we used with her. Rather than trying to create a specific treatment program for Cutaneous Lupus Erythematosus, we attempted an upstream approach to addressing the structural, neurological, and nutritional imbalances that we found that the patient presented with. In short, we looked at supporting her body’s natural ability to regulate itself, while using looking for common trends between the available medical research and other patients with autoimmune conditions in the office that have responded well to our approach. From a personal standpoint, it was exciting to see what happened with a patient that was diagnosed with something that I had previously never seen before in practice. The patient was excited and open to trying something new, and it was a good learning experience for both of us.
Will all future patients that are diagnosed with Cutaneous Lupus Erythematosus respond the same way? I have no idea. The good news, is many people with autoimmune conditions seem to respond favorably with reducing systemic inflammation, and removing inflammatory food triggers. It gives us a good starting point to see how the patient might respond, and it is usually something that patients have not tried before.