Alternative Therapies for Juvenile Scleroderma
Written by Julie James, CNC
East Village Wellness
Long Beach, CA
In the runaway process known as scleroderma, too much collagen is produced, replacing normal cell structure and causing scar tissue to build up on skin, lungs, and circulatory organs. Little is known about his disease, but possible causes may be genetic predisposition, exposure to environmental toxins, and stress factors. There is no known cure at this time.
Scleroderma is an autoimmune disorder, a condition where the immune system responds excessively and inappropriately to stimulation, so in scleroderma, as in all autoimmune disorders, one way to keep the disease in check is to stabilize immune function. Specific nutrients have been studied which may help alleviate discomfort by reducing pain and inflammation, reducing tissue calcification, healing ulcerations, softening scar tissue and improvement of skin texture. Nutritional support may also result in increased range of joint motion, normalization of immune response and prolonged lifespan.
The antioxidant nutrients C, E, and selenium may help with reduction of pain and inflammation and help maintain the immune system. They also, in their role as antioxidants, help to protect against environmental toxins that can stimulate progression of the disease. Vitamin E has also been shown in clinical studies to reduce tissue calcification in scleroderma.
The essential fatty acids, known as omega 3 and omega 6, are vital in treatment of any autoimmune conditions. These nutrients balance certain hormones which mediate inflammation and immune response. They may also slow progression of autoimmune diseases and can increase survival rate. These “good fats” also help to improve skin texture and reduce ulceration and pain.
Two nutrients in particular show significant promise in the treatment of scleroderma. Methylsulfonylmethane, commonly known as MSM , has been used extensively, as it helps to support the healing process, softens scar tissue, and has analgesic and anti-flammatory properties. It is exceptionally safe, having very low toxicity even in progression stages of the disease. Creams and lotions containing MSM are also of great benefit in softening the skin and relieving pain.
The B vitamin PABA (para-amino-benzoic acid) has also been the subject of numerous studies on scleroderma. Though it is used high doses (up to 12 grams, or 12,000 mg, in adults) and may have some side effects , inducing nausea, skin rashes and fever, the response can be quite amazing. Many report a “highly significant” difference in the softness of their skin an increase in lifespan. Because of the possible side effects, this nutrient should be used under the supervision of a health care practioner, and dosages should be increased gradually.
All of this information should be discussed with your child’s doctor before implementing a nutritional program for your child. Until a true cure is discovered, individuals with scleroderma can utilize a combination of nutrition and medicine to combat this disease.
Please keep in mind, this webpage is for your information only.
Please check with your child's physician for any treatments.
For more information on Juvenile Scleroderma, contact:
Juvenile Scleroderma Network, Inc.
1204 W. 13th Street, San Pedro, CA 90731
Tel: (310)519-9511 (Pacific Time)
24 Hour Support Line: 1-866-338-5892 (toll-free)
Speak to another JSD parent for emotional and logistical support
provided by home-based JSD volunteers. For medical advice, please
contact your child's physician.
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