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QUESTION: I have been told that I have Scleroderma and Fibromyalgia. I just found your books. I will start the type A diet. Is there anything else I should do or take that could help with the pain and the skin. Thank you for your time.
ANSWER: One of the best methods for controlling fibromylagia is to follow the type A diet, with an emphasis on nixing the grain and legume 'avoids'. It has been supposed that many of these foods contain lectins which can upregulate anti-self antibodies, increasing auto-immune damage. Lectin blocking with anti-adhesive therapy may also be effective.
Systemic Sclerosis ("scleroderma") is a rare, chronic autoimmune (arthritis) disease that primarily affects females who are 30 to 50 years old at onset. It is a serious illness that can affect any part of the body. It is broken down into categories such as Diffuse, Limited, CREST, and Overlap. This type is often referred to as the "disease that turns people into stone" for the distinctive skin hardening that often occurs eventually. The hardening typically affects the hands, causing the fingers to curl inwards.
Scleroderma is a more challenging problem. Older evidence points to the use of the amino acid l-glutamine and the water soluable flavone +catechin as being of benefit in scleroderma. These belong to a group of agents that can inhibit the formation of connective tissue, especially the biosynthesis of collagen, (1) During an experimental search for inhibitors of the synthesis of collagen and ground substance glycosaminoglycans, a few connective-tissue active agents were selected for therapy of scleroderma. These included the standard drugs (D-penicillamine, benzyl-penicillin-diethylamino-ethylester-hydroiodide and glucocorticoids) and the more natural products L-glutamine,and (+) catechin. Treatment for several years was required to bring about an arrest of progression in 89% of the patients, a regression in three-quarters, and subtotal or total recovery in more than 40%. Indications of favorable prognosis are youth, short disease history, a high total dose of agent, and long duration of the treatment. I've used catechin in a patient who was also taking penicillamine; it certainly did no harm and may have helped a bit.
Vitamin D analogs have been studied for use in scleroderma, but it remains unclear if supplementation withthe vitamin would be equally effective.(2) Among other anti-oxidants, melatonin has also been mentioned as being of possible benefit. (3)
1. Asboe-Hansen G.. Treatment of generalized scleroderma with inhibitors of collagen synthesis.Int J Dermatol 1982 Apr;21(3):159-61
2. Sapadin AN, Fleischmajer R. Treatment of scleroderma. Arch Dermatol. 2002 Jan;138(1):99-105.
3. Simonini G, Pignone A, Generini S, Falcini F, Cerinic MM, Gabriele S, Alberto P. Emerging potentials for an antioxidant therapy as a new approach to the treatment of systemic sclerosis. Toxicology. 2000 Nov 30;155(1-3):1-15.