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Antioxidants may be a key in the natural treatment of lupus

Harold Mandel's picture
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Researchers have uncovered a potential key for the natural treatment of lupus may be antioxidants.


In patients suffering from lupus their own immune system attacks their own tissues and organs. There are many possible complications to this illness which can be debilitating. Although some medications can help control lupus and associated organ damage it has been found natural measures such as rest, a healthy diet and regular exercise can be very helpful reports Mayo Clinic.

There may be a natural treatment for lupus target involving the immune response for lupus

The University of Vermont has reported via EurekAlert there has been only one new drug in the past fifty years which has shown any promise in the treatment of lupus. However it has been discovered in new research that there may be a natural treatment target involving the immune response which may be significant for the treatment of lupus.

Lupus is a chronic autoimmune disease which millions of people suffer from

Lupus is also known as systemic lupus erythematosus. It is a chronic autoimmune disease which about 1.5 million Americans and over 5 million people worldwide suffer from. In this disorder the body's own healthy tissue is seen as being foreign undesirable tissue and is attacked by the immune system. This can result in damage to many organs including the kidneys, joints, and skin.

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Researchers, including Iwona Buskiewicz, Ph.D., and Andreas Koenig, Ph.D., who are assistant professors of pathology and laboratory medicine at the University of Vermont's Larner College of Medicine, discovered that in patients suffering from lupus a protein which normally signals an immune system pathway during viral infections is activated spontaneously. This protein is known as mitochondrial antiviral signaling or MAVS. MAVS has the responsibility of recognizing viral infections.

A mark of lupus is elevated levels of type I interferon, which is a substance that is normally secreted by immune cells in response to viral infections. The researchers found that something other than a viral infection or nucleic acids can activate the interferon pathway. What was observed is that oxidative stress in cells which is strong enough to induce the clustering of MAVS at the level of the mitochondria can set off interferon production when viruses are not present. The mitochondria are the energy-producing organelles of each cell.

Antioxidants may target lupus

Buskewicz and her colleagues have hypothesized that in patients suffering from lupus the production of type 1 interferon may be sparked off by environmental stress. In the study introducing an antioxidant reversed the clustering of MAVS and resulted in the prevention of the subsequent interferon production. It is the belief of Buskiewicz and her colleagues that antioxidants directed to the mitochondria could therapeutically target MAVS therefore offering an effective natural treatment for lupus.

This study has been published in the journal Science Signaling. The researchers say their study shows that oxidative stress in lupus patients may set off type I interferon production and this could potentially be targeted therapeutically. Antioxidants are found naturally in many foods including vegetables and fruits reports MedlinePlus. The potential for natural prevention of lupus and natural treatment of lupus with antioxidants is a groundbreaking discovery which offers new hope for the millions of people suffering from this illness.