Written by Slawomir (“Swavak”) Gromadzki, MPH
Sarcoidosis is a condition caused by abnormal collections of inflammatory immune cells that form lumps known as granulomas. The disease typically begins in the lungs, skin, or lymph nodes.
Whenever human immune system detects a threat, it sends special immune cells to fight off the invaders, thus triggering inflammation involving redness, swelling, pain, increased temperature, some tissue damage, etc. Normally, when the enemy is defeated and the war is over, the inflammation goes away and the tissue is gradually returning to normal. Unfortunately, in people who develop sarcoidosis, the inflammation continues for no known reason.
As a result, the immune cells start to group together forming lumps called granulomas which most often appear in the lungs, skin and chest lymph nodes, but they can be formed in any organ including liver, heart, or even eyes and brain.
The disease is most dangerous when granulomas impact organ function.
SARCOIDOSIS OF THE LUNGS
Sarcoidosis of the lungs (pulmonary sarcoidosis) is the most frequent form of this disease. About 90 % of people with sarcoidosis experience lungs problems caused by the disease.
STAGES OF SARCOIDOSIS
Sarcoidosis may cause symptoms that are severe but it may also exist without any symptoms at all. The stages and symptoms may also disappear and appear ageing.
– Stage 1: Lumps (granulomas) in the lymph nodes but not in the lungs
– Stage 2: Lumps in the lymph nodes and lungs
– Stage 3: Lumps in your lungs but not in the lymph nodes
– Stage 4: Scars (fibrosis) in lungs
In some cases, individuals with sarcoidosis experience no symptoms and may go into remission in a few months or years. In others, the lumps can affect internal organs causing pain, breathing problems, skin rashes and other symptoms. The disease becomes most dangerous when large lumps affect the function of heart or brain as it may cause severe problems.
15 to 20 % of people with sarcoidosis have functional limitations, and most of those problems resolve on their own.
Since the disease most often affects the lungs, sarcoidosis symptoms often include: Wheezing, Coughing, Feeling short of breath, and Chest pain.
Apart from typical lung symptoms, sarcoidosis may trigger other following symptoms: Night sweats, weight loss, joint pain, anaemia, fatigue (feeling very tired), feeling uneasy or depressed, eye or vision problems, swollen or tender lymph nodes in the neck, armpits, or groin, skin issues such as itchy or discoloured patches, sores, or lumps on the back, legs, arms, scalp, or near the nose and eyes, rash, swollen liver or spleen, irregular heartbeat, headaches, vision problems, and many other symptoms.
A correct diagnosis often takes time as sarcoidosis is often misdiagnosed as bronchitis, asthma or lung cancer. The disease is often diagnosed as a result of a chest X-ray for another reason, such as pneumonia.
CAUSES & RISK FACTORS
Some medical experts believe that sarcoidosis is an autoimmune problem, and others suggest that some substance or pathogen may triggered this inflammation. Nevertheless, there is no agreement about the cause of this illness. However, although the specific trigger of sarcoidosis is still unknown there are reasons to assume that it has a lot to do with oversensitive and abnormally functioning immune system. There are many factors which may gradually lead to the weakness and dysfunction of this system. They are similar to those that contribute to the development of autoimmune diseases:
– Vitamin D deficiency (as expected): “A significant negative correlation was obtained between vitamin D deficiency in sarcoidosis patients and disease chronic course and stages two to four of lung involvements” (>).
– Deficiency of Magnesium, Zinc and Selenium. Both minerals, like Vitamin D, also help prevent autoimmune responses.
– Hormonal Imbalances: Too much Cortisol (from stress).
– Stress, anxiety and depression. A number of published papers have shown that stress and negative emotions contribute to immune system abnormalities.
– Toxins: Mercury (from dental fillings, tap water, fish, flu shots, etc.) lead, fluoride, and other toxins.
– Consumption of trans fats, margarine and bad oils (high in pro-inflammatory omega 6) and deficiency of omega 3 healthy fats high in foods such as Flax seed, Chia seed, etc..
– Bad lifestyle, unhealthy diet high in sugar, processed refined foods, nutritional deficiencies, artificial sweeteners, lack of exercise, stimulants, drugs, medication, and in particular excessive stress, depression and pessimism may lead to the oversensitivity of the immune system and its abnormal function.
– Consumption of meat and dairy products (can trigger autoimmune response and causes hormonal imbalance), refined, junk and processed foods, refined sugar, white flour products, high glucose (high fructose) syrup, stimulants (including coffee, tea, green tea, cola, etc., nutritional deficiencies, white pasta, white rice, processed foods, stress, lack of exercise, etc.
– Deficiency of probiotic bacteria in the gut and leaky gut syndrome.
Most people diagnosed with sarcoidosis do not need medication as the condition usually does not cause symptoms that interfere with daily life and it often resolves on its own in a few months or years.
Treatment is usually recommended when the lumps cause symptoms or when they affect functions of various organs such as heart, brain or eyes, even if there are no symptoms.
The goal of the treatment is to reduce inflammation and the size of lumps, and to minimise the risk of getting scar tissue in lungs or other organs.
Unfortunately steroid medication such as prednisone causes serious side effects and it may take a few months to start working effectively.
If the steroid does not work or due to its serious side effects, physicians may suggest another drug, such as an antimalarial drug, immunosuppressant, hydroxychloroquine or TNF-alpha inhibitors.
Due to possible dangerous side effects of drugs, it is wise to try first more natural and free from side effects treatment including healthy diet, stress control, exercise, water treatments, nutritional supplements, super foods, and herbal remedies.
– Vitamin D3 supplementation: “In conclusion, results of the current study implies in the role of vitamin 25(OH)D deficiencies in predicting the course of chronic sarcoidosis. Furthermore, it was concluded that vitamin 25(OH)D deficiency can direct pulmonary sarcoidosis toward stage 2–4 of lung involvements”. (>). In severe hypercalcaemia in sarcoidosis Vitamin D3 supplements are safe if they are taken with Vitamin K2 (MK-7) – 50mcg per every 1000 IU of Vitamin D3! It must be K2 and not K1.
– Padma 28. I remember certain Polish sarcoidosis sufferer who claimed to recover fro this condition as a result of taking Padma 28 together with Borage oil. According to 2013 study reviewing available research on this herbal remedy, “The results suggest a favourable safety profile for Padma 28, also in the children examined (41% of the study population). Furthermore, the results show a broad field of applications. According to clinical evidence, Padma 28 has shown to be a safe and effective symptomatic treatment option for atherosclerosis-related diseases such as intermittent claudication. It also seems to have a potential for application in certain chronic inflammatory diseases such as recurrent respiratory tract infections, viral hepatitis, and multiple sclerosis” (>). Padma 28 has been approved in Switzerland as a medicine since 1977 and is produced according to a recipe of Tibetan medicine with over twenty-two plants including camphor formulation, on which Padma 28 is based. It is known to have antibiotic, antiviral and antioxidant properties, helps stimulate blood circulation and oxygenation of cells, promotes normal immune system function, inhibits inflammation, detoxify the body and liver, helps in chronic hepatitis, lung problems and respiratory tract infections.
– Borage oil is sometimes found to be very beneficial, especially when combined with Padma 28.
– Ashwagandha is the best anti-stress remedy and therefore recommended in sarcoidosis as chronic stress greatly contributes to dysfunctional immune system, autoimmune diseases and sarcoidosis.
– Black Seed Oil (Nigella sativa) has been reported to be very beneficial for people suffering from sarcoidosis symptoms. Unlike Echinacea that require caution for those with autoimmune conditions, Nigella sativa seems to normalise human immune system supporting its function without stimulating autoimmune responses in people with oversensitive immune system. For this reason black seed oil is often recommended for people with various autoimmune problems. Due to its anti-inflammatory and immune-modulating properties black seed oil can be beneficial for people suffering from sarcoidosis and autoimmune inflammatory conditions such as eczema or psoriasis. There are numerous testimonials available online written by individuals who claim to be benefited by Nigella sativa. In addition, Black seed oil contains nigellone, shown by research to be an impressive antihistamine agent and dilates contracted bronchial tubes.
– Turmeric may be effective in treating lung diseases > Be sure to consult a doctor before taking turmeric or curcumin supplements, as they may interact with medication.
– Reishi mushroom (Ganoderma lucidum): A patient with annular cutaneous sarcoidosis showed almost complete regression of lesions >
– Bromelain (enzyme extracted from pineapples) has been known to help reduce inflammation.
– A good Probiotic supplement containing live and acid and bile resistant strains or 1-2 tablespoons of home-made raw sauerkraut every day. Make your own home-made raw Sauerkraut (don’t buy it as it is heated) and have at least 1-2 tablespoons with meal every day as it is the highest natural source of extremely beneficial Probiotic Bacteria you desperately need in your intestines. Alternatively, you may take a good probiotic formula. But make sure it contains live bacteria that are stomach acid- and bile-resistant as majority of probiotic supplements and yogurts on the market contain dead bacteria or bacteria that are not able to survive in the stomach.
– Systemic enzyme therapy, including serrapeptase and nattokinase, will help address the inflammatory mediators involved in sarcoidosis. Serrapeptase is clinically proven to assist the immune system in regulating inflammation helping reduce accumulations and lumps that are formed by the migration of inflammatory cells. Nattokinase has natural blood-thinning effects that reduce the fibrotic precursors in circulation. In doing so, nattokinase is capable of preventing fibrosis caused by the inflammatory response.
– Every day after breakfast take one tablet of a good quality Multivitamin-mineral formula such as VM-2000 (Solgar), VM-75 (Solgar), Special Two (NOW Foods), Earth Source (Solgar), etc. Never buy cheap vitamins or popular multivitamin supplements such as Centrum as they are very low in vitamins and minerals and contain only poor quality low strength vitamins and minerals and only few or no additional ingredients such as herbs, super foods, or enzymes. Always compare the number of ingredients and strength of vitamins and minerals per tablet.
– Take about 5,000 to 10,000 IU of Vitamin D3 daily (don’t take vitamin D2 (ergocalciferol). Vitamin D is the strongest immune system booster and deficiency of this vitamin today is rampant. Even in hot parts of the world such as Africa or India majority of people are deficient in vitamin D because they do not expose their uncovered bodies to the sun. Remember to take Magnesium every day as vitamin D without enough magnesium in the body is useless. In addition, taking vitamin D supplements lead to magnesium deficiency resulting in sleeping problems, muscle cramps, and other symptoms! Apart from magnesium also Vitamin K2 (MK7 is the best supplement – based on fermented Natto) is important for prober absorption of vitamin D and prevents this vitamin from leading to calcification of joints, arteries, pineal gland, and from forming calcium kidney stones.
– Take Magnesium of high bioavailability such as magnesium chloride oil spray (highly absorbed through the skin), magnesium citrate tablets or magnesium citrate in powder form as it is free from binders and fillers: 200-400mg about 30 min before breakfast and the same amount about 1 hour before bed. Due to soil depletion and refined diet millions suffer from magnesium deficiency without even knowing it. Magnesium deficiency contributes to all health problems and it is almost impossible to detect it because it does not show up in blood tests as only 1% of the body’s magnesium is stored in the blood.
– Take 1,000-2,000mcg of B12 supplement only in the form of methylcobalamin (must be sublingual – dissolved under the tongue) every day only after breakfast. Vitamin B12 is the best vitamin to protect our nerves from being damaged by high blood sugar levels, toxins, statins and other factors. It is also an excellent energy booster and detoxifier. Deficiency of this vitamin is also very common.
– Take about 30-50 mg of Zinc after breakfast (or 15-30mg if you take multivitamin-mineral formula with 10-15 mg of zinc). Make sure your zinc formula includes about 1mg of copper. Other minerals and trace elements such as selenium, molybdenum, manganese, etc. you should have in a good multivitamin formula mentioned above.
– Alpha-Lipoic Acid (600-1200mg a day): Very affective in reversing nerve damage in the body (especially when combined with sublingual methylcobalamin form of B12) such as peripheral neuropathy, diabetic neuropathy, multiple sclerosis, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, etc. It also helps prevent and treat diabetes, heart damage and cataract. It increases body levels of glutathione and CoQ10, improves skin condition, memory, removes heavy metals from the body and increases energy. Together with Acetyl L-Carnitine reduces sciatic pain caused by a herniated disc, lowers blood pressure and was able to improve vascular function in patients with coronary artery disease. Read more >
– Every day, about 30 minutes before breakfast, take 1-2 full tablespoons of mixture of super greens that should include some or all of the following (ideally organic) powders: Chlorella, Spirulina, Barley grass, Wheat grass, Alfalfa, Moringa, Turmeric, Bee Pollen, and Maca (most important among them are Chlorella and Spirulina, plus either Barley grass or Wheat grass). You may also buy them separately and mix at home. Take 1 to 2 tablespoons of the mixture with warm water or a vegetable juice (the only good fruit juice you can use is a 100% grapefruit juice) about 30 minutes before breakfast. If you don’t like powders or taste of the mixture you can have about 10-20 tablets (500mg each) of chlorella and 10-20 tablets of organic spirulina every day about 30 minutes before breakfast with 1-2 glasses of water, fresh vegetable juice or a smoothie. Super greens are excellent sources of best quality protein, chlorophyll, natural iron, iodine, EPA and DHA omega-3 fatty acids, vitamins, minerals, phytochemicals, and trace elements that are often missing in commercially grown foods. Chlorella, Spirulina, Wheat grass (it’s gluten-free), and barley grass powder, like cold-pressed vegetable juices and raw vegetables, should be the most important and always present ingredients of your diet! The above mentioned super foods can be taken two times a day but most important is to consume them before breakfast. If you take them before or instead of the second main meal (probably not later than 2pm) make sure you don’t do it too late as chlorophyll is a powerful energy booster and in case of some individuals it may make it more difficult to fall asleep.
LIFESTYLE & NUTRITIONAL RECOMMENDATIONS
– Drink 2 times a day 2 glasses of cold-pressed Vegetable Juice (mostly carrots, beets, and dark green leafy vegetables such as spinach and kale) about 30 minutes before each meal, then start you meal with most healthy and nutritious foods. Fresh raw vegetable juices contain much higher concentration of nutrients than raw vegetable salads or smoothies as vegetables are high in fibre while juice is deprived of it. Therefore, one glass of carrot juice will contain all the nutrients found in approximately one kilo of raw carrots and those nutrients are much easier and quickly assimilated by the body.
– Often consume foods which increase levels of Glutathione (king of all antioxidants): Asparagus, Okra, Garlic, Onions, Rice bran, Mangosteen, Chlorella, fresh Dandelion leaves and fresh Nettle leaves (rinsed with very hot water to prevent stinging), Chickpeas (Garbanzo beans), Broccoli, Brussels Sprouts, Cabbage, Cauliflower, Maca, Turmeric, Lentils, Parsley leaves, Collard greens, Kale, Brazil nuts, Mustard greens, Radish, Turnip, Watercress, Bok Choy, Rosemary, Berries, Avocado, Peaches, Watermelon, Beets, etc. Keep in mind that cooking (heating) reduces the glutathione content of vegetables by 30-60%! Canning is even worse as it almost completely destroys glutathione!
– Vitamin C: 3 x 1000mg with meals.
– The only oil to use is raw coconut oil as it can kill virus and bacteria.
– Avoid products with refined sugar, dairy, cheese, glucose, fructose, pizza, white flour products, and anything that weakens immunity.
– You can eat as much fresh and raw vegetables as you want (especially carrots, green leafy vegetables, and cabbage family), but if you prefer to cook them do it moderately or steam your vegetables. You will achieve much better results if your diet consists of at least 50% or even better up to 85% of raw (uncooked) and unprocessed plant foods (especially raw vegetables and raw vegetable juices).
– Stress control and positive thinking.
– Avoid stimulants such as alcohol, caffeine (in coffee, guarana, chocolate, green tea, cola drinks, etc.), theophylline (in tea) or and theobromine (in cacao and chocolate) because although they appear to give you a short time energy boost yet it is only a borrowed energy, which means sooner or later you will have to pay for it with the loss of energy. And, as soon as you feel exhausted you it will force you to use stimulants again and again thus causing a vicious circle and addiction. Apart from that, stimulants also weaken your immune system and lead to nutritional deficiencies and may contribute to depression and other health problems. Don’t believe media promoting coffee and chocolate as beneficial for our health as those claims are based on studies that are sponsored by coffee and chocolate industry.
– Avoid pollution and lung irritants.
– Get regular exercise.
– Stop smoking and avoid exposure to second-hand smoke.
– Get regular eye exams and lung function tests.
– Eat foods that reduce inflammation.
– Ask a health care professional about herbs and supplements to reduce inflammation.
– Avoid calcium and vitamin D supplements unless someone who is also aware of your sarcoidosis diagnosis prescribes them.
– Join a sarcoidosis support group.
– Talk to your health care provider if you are pregnant or planning a pregnancy.
HYDROTHERAPY (WATER TREATMENTS)
Alternative (contrast) hot and cold showers can help eliminate scar tissue and will give a tremendous boost to the blood circulation, improve metabolism, the elimination of toxins, and stimulate both the nervous and the immune system.
Always start with hot shower and after about 3 – 5 minutes when your body is warm enough take a 3 – 5 min cold shower slowly reducing the temperature until it is really cold. After that, repeat this procedure alternating the flow of water from hot to cold, back and forth 3-5 times in a row. You can also start the whole treatment with hot shower followed by prolonged cold bath.
Cold water stimulates blood to flow toward the internal organs whereas the hot water directs blood toward the skin. Hot water enlarges blood vessels while cold water causes them to shrink. Therefore, the alternating hot and cold makes the circulation move in and out like an accordion. This has the effect of increasing the rate of detoxification and moving nutrients more readily to various parts of the body. Hot and cold showers can be taken 1 to 2 times a day.
The cold shower or bath, which is even more beneficial than hot, will not harm you if you precede it with good hot shower. Cold water by cooling our body forces it to burn more calories by activating the brown fat which boosts fat burning. Brown fat can play a very important role in controlling body weight because it is a heat-generating type of fat which burns energy instead of storing it. Although it is called “fat” it actually works more like a muscle than fat.
Apart from cold also hot treatments such as sauna can be beneficial in treating inflammations, infectious diseases, skin problems, poor blood circulation, obesity, etc. as it boosts immune system and helps in eliminating toxins from our body. In addition it is also effective in removing excess fat which can be explained by the fact that fats become water-soluble when they are exposed to the temperature higher than 45 degrees Celsius (113 degrees Fahrenheit) thus forcing the body to eliminate the excess fat together with water during the process of sweating triggered by sauna or another prolonged hot treatment such as hot foot bath, hot shower, etc.
Sauna is recommend especially after exercising.
If your main goal is to lose more fat it is suggested that you should drink a lot of water (1 to 2 litres) about 30 to 60 minutes before sauna and 30 minutes after but not during the time you stay in sauna.
Also remember that although sauna or other hot treatments can be beneficial and help to lose weight it must be frequently interrupted with cold showers. Apart from that, during any prolonged hot treatment a cold compress on the forehead and neck should be applied constantly.
If you experience any health problems please consult the use of sauna and other prolonged hot or cold treatments with your physician.
Find out more about HYDROTHERAPY >
SPIRITUAL, MORAL & EMOTIONAL EMPOWERMENT
Most of us know from experience that it is very difficult and often even impossible to control stress, overcome fear, anxiety and depression, or to become a positive-thinking person simply because those negative emotions and fears seem to be a part of our nature. The good news however is that many people claim to find inward peace and great improvement in emotional health as a result of daily heart-felt meditation and spiritual communion with a Higher Power. However, according to medical research this kind of spiritual approach is effective only when combined with a sincere faith in a powerful but at the same time loving and carrying God. On the other hand, believing in a demanding, punishing and vengeful God was associated with increased risk of depression and mental disorders.
Also thoughtful reading an uplifting spiritual literature such as the Gospel of John (found in the Bible), which presents God as always loving, saving, healing, forgiving, and self-sacrificing, is another great way to find inward peace, hope and happiness, if your reading is combined with true faith.
In case you lack strong will power, which is required to improve lifestyle, avoid junk food and stimulants, don’t forget about fervent daily prayers (not mantra-type or short but talk to God using own words until you fill His peaceful and empowering influence) and reading or listening to a good spiritual literature (such as the Bible, Desire of Ages > and “Ministry of Healing” > by Ellen G White available online free of charge). It will greatly increase the effectiveness of your improved diet and lifestyle.
“Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus” (1Thessalonians 5:16-18);
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:6-7, NIV).
Because from my own experience I know and remember how difficult it was, in my case, to change my eating habits and give up on junk food and stimulants using my own pathetic at that time will power, I recommend to you reading or listening to a book “Steps to Christ” > and Great Controversy > by Ellen White. If you carefully study all the information presented there and follow the steps, you will not only become victorious but will actually experience an inward peace and transformation which will enable you to enjoy your new lifestyle (including diet and regular physical activity).
Don’t ignore sarcoidosis symptoms, especially if they impact your eyesight or breathing. See a health care professional about any signs or symptoms you have that may indicate a sarcoidosis diagnosis or, if you have already been diagnosed, a change in your health.
Before making any changes to your supplements or medications, talk with a health care professional.
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