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Sjogren’s Syndrome Solutions

September 20, 2011 Written by JP       [Font too small?]

This year’s U.S. Open was marked by an unexpected medical headline. Venus Williams, a top ranked singles and doubles tennis player, announced that she was dropping out of the prestigious tournament because of debilitating symptoms relating to Sjogren’s syndrome. This autoimmune condition can manifest itself in a number of ways including musculoskeletal pain, persistent fatigue and severe dryness in the eyes and mouth. Thankfully, preliminary research points to several natural options that may help manage it. The first alternative to consider is an “elimination diet” that avoids common food allergens such as gluten and milk. Food allergies and sensitivities appear to be relatively common in those with Sjogren’s syndrome and their removal may lead to immunological and symptomatic improvements. Next on my list is a select group of lipids worth noting: borage oil, evening primrose oil and sea buckthorn oil. These nutritional supplements provide rare fatty acids (gamma-linolenic acid and palmitoleic acid) which may reduce some of the primary symptoms of Sjogren’s syndrome, namely, dry eyes and mouth, and fatigue. Last, but not least, an old study dating all the way back to 1986 describes the utility of an amino acid-based antioxidant known as N-acetylcysteine (NAC). A 4 week trial involving 51 patients with Sjogren’s syndrome determined that NAC outperformed a placebo by decreasing several indicators of oral and ocular discomfort. The dosage used in the study was 200 mg of NAC, thrice daily. My hope is that natural and safe alternatives such as these will one day enter the medical mainstream and help all those with Sjogren’s syndrome live active and healthier lives.

To learn more about the studies referenced in today’s column, please click on the following links:

Study 1 - Reversal of Premature Ovarian Failure in a Patient With Sjögren (link)

Study 2 - Cow’s Milk Protein Sensitivity Assessed By the Mucosal Patch (link)

Study 3 - Gluten Sensitivity in Patients With Primary Sjögren’s (link)

Study 4 - Systemic Omega-6 Essential Fatty Acid Treatment and … (link)

Study 5 - Patients With Primary Sjögren’s Syndrome Treated for Two (link)

Study 6 - Effects of Oral Sea Buckthorn Oil On Tear Film Fatty Acids (link)

Study 7 - A Double-Blind, Cross-Over, Study of Oral N-Acetylcysteine (link)

Gamma-Linolenic Acid May Control Dry Eye Signs & Symptoms

Source: Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. December 2005 vol. 46 no. 12 4474-4479 (link)

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6 Comments & Updates to “Sjogren’s Syndrome Solutions”

  1. James Lockwood Says:


    There already is a natural highly effective treatment for Sjogren’s syndrome. You can take a look at this discussion group for more information about helminthic therapy.

  2. James Lockwood Says:

    Sorry, that web address is:

  3. JP Says:

    Thanks for the tip, James. I’ll look into it.

    Be well!


  4. Iggy Dalrymple Says:

    Speaking of helminthic therapy, I’m seriously considering it for my asthma. Acupuncture worked for me for years but no longer. My sister died from asthma a few years ago. The medication is almost as bad as the disease.

    I live in hookworm country. Growing up, the school kids were tested each year and I was usually the only kid in my class to test negative. I was a city boy but we all went barefoot in the summer. I bet I’d be asthma free if I had caught hookworms.

  5. JP Says:

    Update: Fish oil benefits dry eyes caused by lengthy computer time …


    Cont Lens Anterior Eye. 2015 Feb 16.

    Oral omega-3 fatty acids treatment in computer vision syndrome related dry eye.

    PURPOSE: To assess the efficacy of dietary consumption of omega-3 fatty acids (O3FAs) on dry eye symptoms, Schirmer test, tear film break up time (TBUT) and conjunctival impression cytology (CIC) in patients with computer vision syndrome.

    SETTING AND DESIGN: Interventional, randomized, double blind, multi-centric study.
    METHODS: Four hundred and seventy eight symptomatic patients using computers for more than 3h per day for minimum 1 year were randomized into two groups: 220 patients received two capsules of omega-3 fatty acids each containing 180mg eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and 120mg docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) daily (O3FA group) and 236 patients received two capsules of a placebo containing olive oil daily for 3 months (placebo group). The primary outcome measure was improvement in dry eye symptoms and secondary outcome measures were improvement in Nelson grade and an increase in Schirmer and TBUT scores at 3 months.

    RESULTS: In the placebo group, before dietary intervention, the mean symptom score, Schirmer, TBUT and CIC scores were 7.5±2, 19.9±4.7mm, 11.5±2s and 1±0.9 respectively, and 3 months later were 6.8±2.2, 20.5±4.7mm, 12±2.2s and 0.9±0.9 respectively. In the O3FA group, these values were 8.0±2.6, 20.1±4.2mm, 11.7±1.6s and 1.2±0.8 before dietary intervention and 3.9±2.2, 21.4±4mm, 15±1.7s, 0.5±0.6 after 3 months of intervention, respectively.

    CONCLUSION: This study demonstrates the beneficial effect of orally administered O3FAs in alleviating dry eye symptoms, decreasing tear evaporation rate and improving Nelson grade in patients suffering from computer vision syndrome related dry eye.

    Be well!


  6. JP Says:

    Update: Maqui berry extract shows promise re: dry eye symptoms …


    Panminerva Med. 2014 Sep;56(3 Suppl 1):1-6.

    MaquiBright™ standardized maqui berry extract significantly increases tear fluid production and ameliorates dry eye-related symptoms in a clinical pilot trial.

    AIM: Dry eye symptoms, resulting from insufficient tear fluid generation, represent a considerable burden for a largely underestimated number of people. We concluded from earlier pre-clinical investigations that the etiology of dry eyes encompasses oxidative stress burden to lachrymal glands and that antioxidant MaquiBright™ Aristotelia chilensis berry extract helps restore glandular activity.

    METHODS: In this pilot trial we investigated 13 healthy volunteers with moderately dry eyes using Schirmer test, as well as a questionnaire which allows for estimating the impact of dry eyes on daily routines. Study participants were assigned to one of two groups, receiving MaquiBright™ at daily dosage of either 30 mg (N.=7) or 60 mg (N.=6) over a period of 60 days. Both groups presented with significantly (P<0.05) improved tear fluid volume already after 30 days treatment. Schirmer test showed an increase from baseline 16.3±2.6 mm to 24.4±4.8 mm (P<0.05) with 30 mg MaquiBright™ and from 18.7±1.9 mm to 27.6±3.4 mm with 60 mg (P<0.05), respectively. Following treatment with 30 mg MaquiBright™ for further 30 days, tear fluid volume dropped slightly to 20.5±2.8 mm, whereas the improvement persisted with 60 mg treatment at 27.1±2.7 mm after 60 days treatment (P<0.05 vs. baseline).

    RESULTS: The burden of eye dryness on daily routines was evaluated employing the “Dry Eye-related Quality of life Score” (DEQS), with values spanning from zero (impact) to a maximum score of 60. Participants had comparable baseline values of 41.0±7.7 (30 mg) and 40.2±6.3 (60 mg). With 30 mg treatment the score significantly decreased to 21.8±3.9 and 18.9±3.9, after 30 and 60 days, respectively. With 60 mg treatment the DEQS significantly decreased to 26.9±5.3 and 11.1±2.7, after 30 and 60 days, respectively. Blood was drawn for safety analyses (complete blood rheology and -chemistry) at all three investigative time points without negative findings.

    CONCLUSION: In conclusion, while daily supplementation with 30 mg MaquiBright™ is effective, the dosage of 60 significantly increased tear fluid volume at all investigative time points and decreased dry eye symptoms to almost a quarter from initial values after two months treatment.

    Be well!


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