Scleroderma natural treatment by Ray Sahelian, M.D.
August 6 2014

Scleroderma is a chronic, degenerative, autoimmune disease that leads to the over-production of collagen in the body's connective tissue. The word "scleroderma" means "hardening of the skin" and refers to one of the possible physical effects of the disease. If systemic (throughout the body), scleroderma is known as progressive systemic sclerosis. Scleroderma has been described in South African gold miners, where it is thought to be related to silica dust exposure. Scleroderma has also been found in jewelry workers and miners who worked with quartz. People who live near airports having a higher incidence of Scleroderma.

Natural Scleroderma Treatment
Hardly any research is available regarding the treatment of scleroderma with natural herbs and nutrients. However, some lab studies are beginning to be done regarding the benefit of herbal extracts. One such herb being evaluated is curcumin. Little is known whether taking a curcumin supplement would have an influence on the actual clinical picture of scleroderma.

Pol Merkur Lekarski. 2013. Increased level of lipid peroxidation products and disturbances in oxidation-reduction balance in erythrocytes from patients suffering from systemic sclerosis, who are chronically treated with vitamin E. In view of the reports of essential role of oxidative stress in development of disease, trials with supportive care with vitamin E are undertaken. The aim of the study was to estimate parameters of oxidation-reduction balance in erythrocytes from scleroderma patients, who were chronically treated with vitamin E compared with healthy controls. In scleroderma patients despite chronical treatment with vitamin E, oxidation-reduction balance disturbances are observed in the form of increased level of lipid peroxidation products. Besides, a lower activity of catalase and superoxide dysmutase in patients who suffer from diffuse form of systemic sclerosis is noted. Patients with limited systemic sclerosis have higher glutathione peroxidase activity.

Scleroderma symptom and sign
The first warning signs of scleroderma usually involve the skin. Hard round or oval patches may appear on your skin. These patches are usually white with a reddish area around them. They may appear on your chest, stomach, face, arms, legs or other parts of the body. If you have generalized scleroderma a larger area of skin will be affected. You may also have other warning signs. Small white chalky lumps may form under your skin. These lumps usually form around the fingers but can occur anywhere in the body. If these break through your skin a chalky white material might ooze out. Your fingers and toes may turn blue and become numb and painful when you are cold or upset. You could have trouble swallowing or get heartburn.

Scleroderma treatment
Systemic sclerosis is a disease whose treatment is focused at pathogenic pathways causing variable types of damage in the individual organs. There are 3 major pathways that cause organ damage in scleroderma. First, t-cells, cytokines and inflammation are prominent very early in the disease. Early alveolitis which occurs before interestial fibrosis in the lungs is the best example of inflammation. Second, endothelial cell damage causes severe thickening of vessels and two of the most deadly complications in scleroderma, pulmonary arterial hypertension and renal crisis. Scleroderma renal crisis is now very treatable with angiotensin converting enzyme inhibitors. There are now treatments for pulmonary arterial hypertension which should improve outcome in these patients as well. Third, fibroblasts lead to severe cutaneous fibrosis or skin thickening that is the hallmark of the disease. No treatment is available but new antagonists to the cytokine, TGF beta, may prove helpful.

Localized Scleroderma Treatment
Phototherapy is an effective therapeutic option in localized scleroderma, Phototherapy should be considered among the first approaches in the management of localized scleroderma. Morphea scleroderma.

Finger Workout for Scleroderma
Finger-stretching exercises can improve range of motion in the joints. Dr. Minoru Hasegawa, of Kanazawa University Graduate School of Medical Science, Ishikawa, Japan, and colleagues assessed the efficacy of self-administered stretching of each finger in 32 patients with diffuse cutaneous systemic sclerosis and 13 with limited cutaneous systemic sclerosis. The patients received instruction on finger stretching exercises and were asked to perform them daily. Each finger was maintained in a stretched position using the opposite hand for 10 seconds; this was repeated 3 to 10 times. After 1 month of finger stretching, the total passive range of motion was significantly improved and was maintained or further improved at 1 year. Patients with diffuse cutaneous systemic sclerosis had less range of motion than those with limited cutaneous systemic sclerosis. However, there was a significant increase in range of motion regardless of disease duration or severity of skin sclerosis. Journal of Rheumatology 2006.

Scleroderma Research studies
Curcumin -induced apoptosis in scleroderma lung fibroblasts: role of protein kinase cepsilon.
Am J Respir Cell Mol Biol. 2004. Tourkina E, Gooz P, Oates JC, Ludwicka-Bradley A, Hoffman S. Department of Medicine, Medical University of South Carolina, Charleston, SC, USA.
Scleroderma, a disease involving excessive collagen deposition, can be studied using fibroblasts cultured from affected tissues. We find that curcumin, the active component of the spice turmeric, causes apoptosis in scleroderma lung fibroblasts (SLF), but not in normal lung fibroblasts (NLF). This effect is likely to be linked to the fact that although curcumin induces the expression of the phase 2 detoxification enzymes heme oxygenase 1 and glutathione S-transferase P1 (GST P1) in NLF, SLF are deficient in these enzymes, particularly after curcumin treatment. In summary, our results suggest that a signaling pathway involving PKCepsilon and phase 2 detoxification enzymes provides protection against curcumin-induced apoptosis in NLF and is defective in SLF. These observations suggest that curcumin may have therapeutic value in treating scleroderma, just as it has already been shown to protect rats from lung fibrosis induced by a variety of agents.

Scleroderma natural treatment questions and testimonials
Is there a natural product that would be useful for treating my wife who has scleroderma. I am a physician and have tried all of the traditional treatments and have had no success. We are currently in the process of having her dental work redone to remove any mercury containing fillings removed. I am open to any suggestions.
   We have not much research with scleroderma and natural herbs or supplements. Perhaps turmeric or curcumin could be one option.

I have Scleroderma, and it effects the outside of the body, especiallly the hand, it is stiff and I can't open my fingers out, they are permanately in a position like i'm holding a snooker ball, can you suggest anything that might help?
   At this time we are not aware of any effective natural treatment for scleroderma that has been tested in humans.

Iím trying to learn more about what Dr. Shelianís website would say, if anything, with regard to supplements that might or may be used for supporting one who may have scleroderma. Any references or thoughts on this ailment would be of interest to me. A Iíve passed on your valuable website to many and we all read it!

My sister was diagnosed with scleroderma. What advice can you give such as the best known medical treatment and/or natural supplements or herbs that can help? Would a homeopathic or Naturopathic Doctor help with slowing down the process? Do you know of any one who has been cured or able to reverse the scar tissue breakdown? Please help.

I wonder if you might be interested in the true story of my successful self treatment of scleroderma by my having implemented a very simple vitamin regimen. All the scleroderma forums I looked at seemed to have adamantly ruled out advocating any particular vitamin therapy with regard to scleroderma, even though that is one pretty obvious possible avenue of exploration. One year after I had raised my intake of niacin amide to 800 mg per day, an inflammation and thickening of the skin, plus 10 ulcers, some of them quite large, developed on the lower halves of both my lower legs. Three years later, while I was fasting for a laboratory blood test, the ulcers appeared to get noticeably better in just that short fasting period. I therefore lowered my daily intake of niacin amide to 50 mg per day. By two years later all the ulcers had gone; and no further expansion of the sclerosed tissue has taken place. It seems to me that my unfortunate experience with high niacinamide use should be a pretty useful clue to the cause of at least one type of systemic scleroderma. I also take 50 mg of nicotinic acid per day just in case that prevents Raynaud's disease, which I used to have a mild version of, and which I theorize could happen if the nicotinic acid gets crowded out of the system by the presence of too much niacin amide.

I wonder if you might be interested in the true story of my successful self treatment of scleroderma by my having implemented a very simple vitamin regimen. All the scleroderma forums I looked at seemed to have adamantly ruled out advocating any particular vitamin therapy, even though that is one pretty obvious possible avenue of exploration. One year after I had raised my intake of niacin amide to 800mg per day, an inflammation and thickening of the skin, plus 10 ulcers, some of them quite large, developed on the lower halves of both my lower legs. Three years later, while I was fasting for a laboratory blood test, the ulcers appeared to get noticeably better in just that short fasting period. I therefore lowered my daily intake of niacin amide to 50 mg per day. By two years later all the ulcers had gone; and no further expansion of the sclerosed tissue has taken place. It seems to me that my unfortunate experience with high niacin amide use should be a pretty useful clue to the cause of at least one type of systemic scleroderma.

Other topics of interest
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