For Venus Williams, natural remedies may hold key to Sjogren’s syndrome relief
By Alexander Shikhman, MD, PhD, FACR
Tennis superstar Venus Williams has, for many years, maintained an air of invincibility on the court – one which few are likely to associate with the trademark fatigue brought on by an autoimmune disorder. However, Williams recently announced that she in fact suffers from a number of symptoms connected with the surprisingly prevalent yet little recognized Sjogren’s syndrome – and in doing so, shed sudden and much-needed media attention on the telltale signs, possible treatment options and risk factors linked to this and other common autoimmune diseases.
According to the New York Times, Sjogren’s syndrome is a disease caused by the over-activation of B lymphocytes, or B cells – immune system components that make antibodies. In Sjogren’s syndrome, immune cells attack the glands that produce sweat, tears and saliva. As a result, glands become clogged and subsequently cause dryness and discomfort of the eyes and mouth, as well as possible sweat gland obstruction and frequent tiredness. In addition, Sjogren’s syndrome also causes joint pain and arthritis. The disorder is more common in women than in men, and more frequently diagnosed around or after menopause; however, it can affect individuals of either gender at any age — and while Sjogren’s syndrome remains largely mysterious in origin and causation, gluten intolerance and celiac disease are among the most well documented risk factors for onset of the disorder.
Gluten-free therapy an important component in autoimmune disorder treatment and prevention
Gluten intolerance bears varying definitions according to different clinical study criteria; however, published data indicates that 20-40% of Sjogren’s patients also experience some form of gluten intolerance, while approximately 30% of gluten intolerant individuals show evidence of Sjogren’s symptoms such as eye and mouth dryness. The interplay between gluten intolerance and Sjogren’s is thus critical when it comes to effective treatment and lifestyle changes: and because there are so many unknown factors connected to the disorder, as well as major health risks associated with current medication options, gluten-free natural therapy is one of the safest and most integrated treatment methods for Sjogren’s and related autoimmune diseases.
At the San Diego-based Institute for Specialized Medicine, a series of extensive clinical trials indicate that early-stage Sjogren’s syndrome can be completely reversed by strict adherence to a gluten-free elimination diet, while even advanced cases can be slowed with a commitment to gluten-free living. In addition, the following natural supplements delivered in a gluten-free format can help mitigate symptoms of Sjogren’s:
- Oral probiotics
- Digestive enzymes
- Fish and krill oils
- Black currant seed oil
- Cordyceps sinensis and wormwood extract
- Zinc and elderberry lozenges
- N-acetyl-L-cysteine and glutathione
In the interest of furthering targeted and customized autoimmune therapies for all patients – gluten-intolerant and otherwise – we at the Institute for Specialized Medicine have developed a line of GLUTEN-FREE REMEDIES™ which, while suitable for all individuals, are specially formulated to help gluten-intolerant and at-risk individuals get the nutrients they need for optimal health and wellness. To learn more about our supplement line, or for information about autoimmune disorders, Sjogren’s syndrome and gluten-free living, visit us online: www.ifsmed.com.
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