Alternative medicine

By Mayo Clinic Staff

Sometimes alternative or complementary medicine may benefit people with lupus. However, these therapies are usually used with conventional medications. Discuss these treatments with your doctor before initiating them on your own. He or she can help you weigh the benefits and risks and tell you if the treatments will interfere with your current lupus medications.

Complementary and alternative treatments for lupus include:

  • Dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA). Supplements containing this hormone have been shown to reduce the dose of steroids needed to stabilize symptoms in some people who have lupus.
  • Flaxseed. Flaxseed contains a fatty acid called alpha-linolenic acid, which may decrease inflammation in the body. Some studies have found that flaxseed may improve kidney function in people who have lupus that affects the kidneys. Side effects of flaxseed include bloating and abdominal pain.
  • Fish oil. Fish oil supplements contain omega-3 fatty acids that may be beneficial for people with lupus. Preliminary studies have found some promise, though more study is needed. Side effects of fish oil supplements can include nausea, belching and a fishy taste in the mouth.
  • Vitamin D. There is some evidence to suggest that people with lupus may benefit from supplemental vitamin D.
Oct. 26, 2011