Sorry - this is a bit of a long post, but might be interesting for some...I was recently introduced to a local(ish) GP who has Lupus and spent a couple of hours over coffee with her yesterday. It was an incredibly exciting conversation and left my daughter (the Lupie) and I feeling encouraged and inspired, so I thought I'd share a bit of the story.
She is 43 and has had Lupus since she was 15. It went undiagnosed for quite a long time and she had very severe symptoms, several hospital admissions and problems with several organs as well as 'the usual'. She ended up missing a year of school, but still managed to go through medical school and qualify, which is an incredible achievement in itself. She has also done a PhD (not sure what in).
She didn't respond well to Hydroxychloroquine and I don't know all of her medication details, but basically she went on very high dose steroids, which she has been on for 26 years, which has now affected her bone density so she's on medication for that (and other medication to deal with the effects of etc. etc....).
A couple of years ago she was at a conference and talking to someone who was into Functional/Integrative Medicine (more recognised in the USA than here) and nutrition. She started researching it for herself and took on what she calls a 'clean' diet. Again, I don't know all the details, but it definitely excludes gluten, dairy (although she does now take a bit of milk in her coffee!), refined sugar, etc. (Having read some books on how to reduce inflammation and address auto-immune issues myself, I think most of the key nutritional recommendations are very similar.). She also started taking probiotics as well as something called digestive enzymes (I think), in order to support her gut/digestive system to heal, preventing things getting through to a cellular level where they shouldn't be (and thereby trigger the immune reaction).
Through those changes (and she also runs alot), she has now managed to reduce her steroids from super-high to just 1g a day, which she is planning to come off in the next couple of weeks. So she will be on no Lupus medication at all (although presumably still taking things for Osteoporosis). She was incredibly well, positive, high energy, etc. Whilst she is very restricted in what she can do for patients within the constraints of the NHS system, she has recommended it to some of her patients with chronic conditions, with some very positive results.
She is now studying Integrative Medicine and although she intends to continue to work as a GP for the forseeable future, I'm hoping she will also set up an Integrative Medicine practice in due course. I think people who are fully medically qualified and can then also add to that knowledge and experience by drawing on other elements of healthcare (nutrition and other types of complementary therapy) is a very exciting direction, which is very very difficult to find in the UK.
Our personal experience is that diet and other therapies have made an enormous difference to my daughter, who has been feeling 100% well again recently (still on Hydroxychloroquine though). The medication is essential, but we have to also take other steps to support our bodies to heal themselves, and a 'clean' diet is a zero risk starting point which can make a massive difference.
Hope that's of interest, and maybe encourages a few people to try dietary changes. It's taken about 6 months on the gluten/dairy/refined sugar free diet for my daughter to get back to feeling 100% and once you get used to the shopping and cooking (lots of fresh veg, spuds, rice, fish, meat, GF oats, smoothies, almond/soya milk, etc. - as good quality as you can afford, organic if poss) it's not difficult.