Autoimmune Disorders

Paul L. Reller L.Ac. / Last Updated: August 03, 2017


Information Resources: Additional Information and Links to Scientific Studies

  1. Diagnosis and a more holistic approach to autoimmune diseases will soon benefit from such Big Data approaches as Metabolomics, which uses mass spectrometers and advanced MRI technology to assess a quantum field of small molecules in bodily fluids and tissues. Here, experts at Zhengzhou University, in China, explain how this will soon greatly enhance the ability to research autoimmune diseases. This could be applied to a more complex treatment approach that integrates Chinese Herbal Formula as well, providing guidelines for accomplishing a set of tasks in therapy:
  2. A description of the advances in testing related to autoimmune disorders in the last decade is presented by the esteemed Cleveland Clinic in the United States. Here we see that a large array of markers of disease and immune function have now replaced the few markers that we have used for decades, the RF, ESR and ANA. This array of disease tests now available present not simplified and direct diagnosis, but do present a complex array of test results that need to be thoroughly analyzed and applied individually to patients with difficult syndromes of autoimmune dysfunction. Patients may look at this new and promising complexity in testing and diagnosis and now demand that they are provided specialist Medical Doctors that actually take the time to thoughtfully analyze such data and provide a realistic differential diagnosis to explore. Proactive patients may also see that often a clinical nursing specialist is needed to oversee and coordinate care effectively, and that sensible integration of Complementary Medicine is sorely needed to achieve the best outcomes:
  3. A 2016 consensus guideline on systematic assessment and reporting of the many comorbidities (associated diseases and symptoms) with autoimmune diseases (rheumatism) by a number of prominent University Medical Schools in Europe and their Departments of Rheumatology, as well as rheumatology research institutes, proposed needed guidelines to address at least the 6 main comorbid conditions common to autoimmune disease, cardiovascular disease, cancer malignancies, infections, gastrointestinal diseases, osteoporosis and depression, some of which may be caused by the medications used, such as immune suppressant biologics and corticosteroids. This consensus statement in Europe shows the need for a broader and holistic approach to treatment to both prevent and treat these comorbitiies. A polypharmaceutical approach is not sensible, and integration of Complementary Medicine is needed, but still largely ignored in standard medicine:
  4. An article in Clinical and Experimental Immunology, Journal of Translational Immunology, from a study of TPO antibodies in Hashimoto's thyroiditis and healthy subjects, from the Chiba University School of Medicine in Japan in 2008, found autoimmune thyroid antibodies in healthy subjects that did not trigger a typical response. The actual triggers or causes of autoimmune disorders are multifactorial and require a holistic protocol in treatment, as well as a more holistic diagnostic assessment:
  5. A 2013 study at The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, in Baltimore, Maryland, U.S.A. noted that statins are commonly associated with a variety of degrees of muscle dysfunction, or myopathy, even autoimmune myopathy with progressive symptoms. This study suggests that a marker of anti-HMGCR antibodies should be used to differentiate patients on statin drugs that develop such autoimmune muscle diseases (e.g. dermatomyositis), and that statin drugs should be discontinued and patients monitored for improvement before starting immunosuppressive therapy. HMGCR (a coenzyme A reductase enzyme) is a target of the statin drugs, and chronic use may induce an autoimmune antibody response:
  6. A 2008 study by the National Institute of Mental Health, National Institute of Medicine (NIH), Rockville, Maryland, shows how progesterone and cortisol both play essential roles in autoimmune disorder, with dysregulation of these hormones causing a complex feedback disorder involving the adrenal-pituitary axis, the autonomic nervous system, and the CNS-immune cytokine responses:
  7. A thorough 2014 assessment of adrenal insufficiency and Addison Disease is presented by experts at the University of Athens, in Greece:
  8. A thorough explanation of just one of the various combination autoimmune disorders that center on adrenal insufficiency, or Addison Disease, called Schmidt Syndrome, or the trio of chronic Addison Disease, hypothyroidism of an autoimmune origin, and often an autoimmune Diabetes Type 1, is presented here in 2016 by the esteemed Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. A variety of such combinations of autoimmune disorders and comorbid health conditions, such as Graves' Disease, Celiac Disease, hypoparathyroidism, chronic disseminated Candidiasis, and Metabolic Syndrome are rising in incidence, termed autoimmune polyglandular syndrome (APG-1 and APG-2), with APG-2 now considered the most prevalent of the immune endocrinopathies. The standard treatment approach is a polypharmaceutical approach with chronic use of an array of harsh pharmaceuticals with many adverse health effects, but integration of Complementary Medicine would allow for fewer drugs and side effects, prevention of comorbid conditions, and better quality of life if it ever really adopted:
  9. A 2013 study at The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, in Baltimore, Maryland, U.S.A. noted that statins are commonly associated with a variety of degrees of muscle dysfunction, or myopathy, even autoimmune myopathy with progressive symptoms. This study suggests that a marker of anti-HMGCR antibodies should be used to differentiate patients on statin drugs that develop such autoimmune muscle diseases (e.g. dermatomyositis), and that statin drugs should be discontinued and patients monitored for improvement before starting immunosuppressive therapy. HMGCR (a coenzyme A reductase enzyme) is a target of the statin drugs, and chronic use may induce an autoimmune antibody response:
  10. A 2011 study at Semmelweis University in Budapest, Hungary, noted the association of celiac disease with angioedema; one of many studies showing a high rate of association between autoimmune disorders and celiac disease, a hypersensitivity immune disorder stemming from gluten intolerance:
  11. A 2015 review of scientific study of the contribution of an unhealthy human Biome, or symbiotic gut microbiota, by the U.S. National Cancer Institute Laboratory of Molecular Immunoregulation, and the Society for Women's Health Research in Washington DC, U.S.A. concluded that "clear and increasing evidence" exists to support the role of an unhealthy Biome in the pathogenesis of a number of autoimmune diseases, including diabetes, coeliac disease, and rheumatoid arthritis. Such information shows that a holistic approach to disease prevention is necessary, and overuse of antibiotics may be a major contributor:
  12. A 2004 study at the Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla, California, found that reduced T-cells (lymphopenia) with illness and stress results in a compensatory expansion of T cells that often results in an exaggerated number of T cells that generate autoimmunity. This T cell population is short-lived, and a reduced Th2 response, and reduced development of long-lived memory T cells, in fetal development and early childhood, is surmised as a potential cause of exaggerated short-lived T cell responses and increased autoimmune T cells later in life, as well:
  13. As far back as 1993, researchers were concerned that a broad reaction in the T-cell system, called the superantigen response, may be the key factor in autoimmune pathology. As the ability to study the genome of bacteria, viruses and parasites progressed, we found out that the number of such types of microorganisms that may stimulate superantigen and other T-cell inhibiting or dysregulating effects are numbered not in the tens, but perhaps in the tens of thousands:
  14. By the year 2000, many researchers had realized that a large number of viral antigens, called superantigens, were able to act as MHC class 2 immune modulators and activate particular types of T-cell families, such as the TH1 or TH2, affecting T-cell receptors, especially the V beta type, and break the protections afforded by the major histocompatability complex in our genes, activating T and B cells broadly to worsen autoimmune disorders. In many of these disorders, a variety of bacterial endotoxins and viral proteins may interact to cause the disorder:
  15. A thorough review of the pathogenesis of the very prevalent Lupus erythematosus disorder, long underestimated in prevalence, and which is particularly affecting women and minorities due to a variety of factors, was presented in 2003 by experts in Hong Kong, China:
  16. A 2003 explanation of the Complement Immune System and analysis (not just simplified testing and jumping to conclusions) was presented by experts at the University of Heidelberg, in Germany, and the University of Oslo, in Norway. Since such study we have seen a large growth in complement testing, yet little attention to the large complexity of differential diagnosis that is actually needed to utilize this important test data. We see from this analysis that complement deficiencies are difficult to directly apply to diagnosis, presenting an array, or differential, health problems to further analyze, but that key deficiencies are clearly related to the autoimmune disorders grouped as lupus, or SLE (systemic lupus erythematosus):
  17. By 2014, experts at the Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine at the National University of Singapore, Malaysia, noted that Systemic Lupus Erythematosus involves a wide array of B cell autoantibodies, and that complex T helper cell responses are needed to trigger these B cell antibody responses, and complement proteins tune down this inflammation. It is clear that a broad treatment protocol is needed to treat this disorder, and that the pathological causes involve epigenetic triggers and oxidative stress, as well as the usual culprits, with many types of potential genetic propensities, and chronic infections and toxicity driving immune dysfunction. New strategies are being explored due to poor control of the disease with immune suppressant drugs, such as calcineurin inhibitors, and research is showing how herbal treatment and CIM/TCM could enhance these narrow treatment strategies:
  18. A 2014 study by experts at the Rutgers University New Jersey Medical School, in the U.S.A. and the Laboratory of Anti-Inflammatory Signaling, in Mexico, found that electroacupuncture aids control of systemic inflammation and helps prevent inflammatory problems when adrenal insufficiency, such as Addison Disease, occurs, and one pathway to explain this in studies is the inhibition of cytokine production via dopamine receptors, as well as direct modulation of the adrenal function:
  19. A 2010 randomized controlled study at the Harbin Medical University, in Harbin, China, found that a short course of eclectroacupuncture can regulate the balance between Th1 and Th2 (T-helper cell) cytokines in splenic T cells, improving immune homeostasis. In this study, the treatment of laboratory animals exposed to immune suppression showed an inhibition of Th2 cytokine expression and increase in Th1 cytokines, which would benefit most autoimmune diseases. The points used were ST36 and ST37 in this study:
  20. A 2013 randomized controlled study at the Gansu University of Traditional Chinese Medicine, in Gansu, China, induced laboratory animals with an autoimmune disease and measured the effects of electroacupuncture at the SP6 points on inflammatory cytokines and other markers of autoimmune disease. The subjects receiving this short course of simplified acupuncture treatment, performed frequently for 2 weeks, showed markedly lower levels of TNF-alpha, inducible NOS, and malondialdehyde (cell toxicity), and significantly lowered total antioxidant capacity (T-AOC). Such study demonstrates the value of acupuncture as part of the treatment, or an adjunct treatment, for autoimmune disease:
  21. A 2010 review of Sjogren's Syndrome by the Clinic for Immunology and Rheumatology in Hannover, Germany, revealed that a large percentage of patients with Sjogren's Syndrome do not complain of the common symptoms of dry eyes and mouth due to the slow and insidious onset of the disease, and that diagnostic testing with Schirmers and Saxon tests, and salivary and lacrimal gland biopsy analyzing autoimmune antibodies to Ro (SS-A) and La (SS-B) should be more routinely administered when a dry eye, or sicca, syndrome is suspected: http:/
  22. A 2006 study at Zhejiang University in Hangzhou, China, revealed that a common professional Chinese herbal formula, Yiqi Yangyin Quyu, could improve clinical curative rates and regulate immune function in Sjogren's Syndrome patients, affecting antibody and cytokine levels. :
  23. A 2010 systematic meta-review of randomized controlled clinical human trials of Chinese herbal medicine in the treatment of Sjogren's Syndrome by the Beijing University of Chinese Medicine revealed that evidence supports Chinese Herbal Medicine to treat this autoimmune syndrome:
  24. A 2011 systematic review of Chinese Herbal Medicine (CHM) as an adjunct treatment for Sjogren's Syndrome, including 52 randomized controlled human clinical trials, performed at the Beijing University of Chinese Medicine, in China, showed again that CHM improved symptoms and immune responses. This review showed that use of CHM improved the symptoms of dry eyes and mouth better than used of standard drug therapies, and that the improvement in the marker of the erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR) was also improved more than with standard drug therapy. Rheumatoid factor and antibody responses were statistically the same between groups using CHM and standard drug therapies. What is important is not whether to use one type of therapy or another, but that clearly integration of CHM may provide better outcomes at low cost, and can be combined with short courses of acupuncture that is also proven to provide more aid to immune responses:
  25. A 2003 study at the Stanford University School of Medicine, in Stanford, California, U.S.A. showed that the Chinese herb Trypterygium wilfordii (Lei gong teng) contains triterpenoids that exert significant immunosuppressive, immunomodulating, and anti-inflammatory mechanisms on T cells and is effective in treatment of a wide variety of immune inflammatory disorders, including Systemic Lupus Erythrematosus, Rheumatoid Arthritis, Sjogrens, related Nephritis, and Asthma:
  26. A 2015 study by the University of Maryland School of Medicine, in Baltimore, Maryland, U.S.A. confirmed that the herbal drug Celastrol, developed in China to treat autoimmune disorders such as Rheumatoid Arthritis, and derived from the herb Celastrus, commonly called Trypterygium wilfordii, or Lei Gong Teng, was very effective. The research showed that this herbal remedy achieved a balance of Th1/Th2 expressions, reduced Th17 in the synovial tissues of affected joints, and increased T-regulatory expression in the tissues. Celastrol was found to suppress autoimmune RA by modulating the immune effects in inflamed joints, and the recommendation was "it should be tested as a potential adjunct/alternative for RA therapy":
  27. A 2015 meta-review of current studies of new therapeutic drugs for the treatment of Rheumatoid arthritis, by the Nanjing Medical University, in Nanjing, China, noted that in China, the largest number of published patent applications for new anti-rheumatic drugs used research concerning herbal chemistry in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), showing that the obvious efficacy of these chemicals cannot be denied. While synthesized drugs containing herbal chemicals or analogues may be stronger and more specific, traditional use of herbal medicine is obviously effective, and very safe:\
  28. A 2015 study at the Kyung Hee University School of Medicine, in Seoul, South Korea, showed the measurable benefits of integrating Chinese Herbal Medicine in care of autoimmune disorders, such as Multiple Sclerosis. Here, laboratory animals benefited from the formula with much improved immune modulation in the spinal cord, brain stem and brain of immune complements and cytokines, the balance of T helper cells, and even the expression of protective adhesion molecules and junctional proteins that are often subject to imbalance in these autoimmune disorders, allowing for antigens and superantigens to cross the blood brain barrier to hyper-stimulate unwanted immune responses. This formula, Hyung bang pae dok San, consists of Ostericum koreanum (Angelica grosseserrata / Bai zhi), Aralia continentalis (Tu Dang gui), Bupleurum falcetum (Chai hu), Angelica decursiva (Dang gui or Bai zhi), Schizonepeta tenufolia (Jing jie), Saposhikovia divaricata (Fang feng), Poria cocos (Fu ling), Rehmannia glutinosa (Sheng di huang), Lycium bararum (Di gui pi), and Plantago asiatica (Che qian zi), is consistent with many Chinese Herbal Formulas used to support immune and neurological health:
  29. A 2011 study at the Graduate Institute of Medical Sciences, in Taipei, Taiwan, of a simple Chinese herbal formula used to treat kidney dysfunction in autoimmune pathologies, consisting of Eucommia cortex (Du zhong), Atratylodis macrocephalae (Bai zhu), Lonicerae caulis (Jin yin hua), and Hedyotidis diffusae (Bai hua she she cao), found that this formula in vivo exerted a significant protectant effect on kidney function in subjects with acute autoimmune Lupus. The effects noted were decreased autoantibody production, regulation of T cell and B cell functions, suppression of key cytokines IL-18, IL-6, IL-17, and blocking of NF-kB production in the kidney, and prevention of lymphoid and kidney apoptosis (cell death):
  30. A 2004 study of the Chinese herbal formula Yin Zi Huang, by the U.S. National Cancer Institute, in Frederick, Maryland, found that this formula, composed of 10 herbs, was a potent inhibitor of T-cell activation, explaining its clinical efficacy to treat a variety of immune and inflammatory disorders. Specific chemicals in these herbs, baicalein (Scutellaria baicalensis, or Huang qin), scoparon (Artemesia capillaris, or Yin chen hao), luteolin (Lonicera japonica, or Jin yin hua), crocin (Crocus sativus, or Fan hong hua), and ursolic acid (Ligustrum lucidum, or Nu zhen zi) exhibited significant dose-dependent inhibition of IL-1, IL-2, IL-6, TNF-alpha, and interferon-gamma, which are implicated in many autoimmune diseases:
  31. A 2011 study at Tianjin University in China found that a key chemical in the Chinese herb Scutellaria baicalensis (Huang qin), Scutellarin, significantly inhibits the inflammatory cytokines TNF-alpha, IL-1beta, and the liposaccharide induced production of nitric oxide, and cleared reactive oxygen species (oxidants) - liposaccharides are membrane molecules on bacteria that are believed to induce autoimmune reactions in low-grade deep bacterial infections:
  32. A 2011 study at Beijing Military Command General Hospital, in Beijing, China, found that the Chinese herbal chemical Curcumin, found in a number of commonly used Chinese medicinal herbs, such as Curcuma zedoaria (E Zhu) abd Curcuma aromatica (Yu Jin), as well as Turmeric (Huang Jing), significantly exerts antifibrotic activity by inhibiting the TGF-beta (transforming growth factor) pathway, which plays a key role in autoimmune disorders such as Scleroderma. This would make Curcumin an important adjunct treatment in such autoimmune disorders. Curcumin, found to be affected by effective dose limitations in circulation due to metabolic pathways in humans, now has been researched and an optimized standardized medicine made available to increase the effective dosage to peripheral tissues, in the form of LongVida. TGF-beta is a key pathological growth factor in lung fibrosis, a common side effect of immune-suppressant and steroid drugs used to treat autoimmune disorders, as well as sclerosing liver disease, and may play a role in the pathology of Rheumatoid Arthritis:
  33. A 2013 study at Zhengzhou University Affiliated First Hospital, in Zhengzhou, China, found that the Chinese herb Cordyceps sinensis (Dong chong xia cao), an widely used immune modulator, increased the levels of T-regulatory cells, and interferon-gamma (IFN-gamma) via upregulation of Th1 cells, in peripheral lymph nodes, making this herbal extract a valuable adjunct treatment in autoimmune disorders. The herbal extract had no effect on the central Treg T-cell differentiation in the thymus, and is thus not an immune suppressant, but a valuable modulator of immune response:
  34. A 2009 study at the Cancer Research Laboratory of the Methodist Research Institute, in Indianapolis, Indiana, U.S.A. showed that the Chinese herb Ganoderma lucidum (Ling zhi, or Reishi mushroom) markedly inhibits Th2 cytokines that drive chronic inflammation, such as TNF-alpha, IL-6, NO, PGE2 and LPS-stimulated murine, and mediates macrophage cytokine responses through inhibition of NF-kappa beta and AP-1 complement signaling pathways. Such study shows that this herbal extract could play a valuable role in a broader holistic treatment strategy:
  35. A 2009 study of the effects of electroacupuncture on the immune system, specifically the balance of Th1 and Th2 responses that are important in autoimmune pathology, showed significant benefits:
  36. A 2004 study of the effects of electroacupuncture on the immune system, specifically the balance of Th1 and Th2 responses that are important in autoimmune pathology, showed that electroacupuncture at a single point could decrease the level of IgE in circulation by suppression of the Th2 cytokines IL-4, IL-13, and other immune cells:
  37. A 2011 study showed that electroacupuncture could effectively lower the circulating levels of the inflammatory cytokine TNF-alpha and VEGF (vascular endothelial growth factor) that are highly associated with a number of autoimmune diseases, including rheumatoid arthritis:
  38. A 2010 study showed that electroacupuncture could effectively inhibit specific T-cell proliferation and help rebuild the CD4 T-cell subset balance, restoring the Th1/Th2/Th17/Treg Th cell subset balances by stimulating the hypothalamus to increase ACTH secretion:
  39. A 2011 study showed that electroacupuncture could effectively recruit mast cells in local tissues as a response to electroacupuncture, and that stem cell factor is involved in this recruitment of mast cells in local tissues stimulated by acupuncture points. Research has confirmed not only the local effects, but systemic effects that affect the immune responses and modulations in autoimmune disorders:
  40. A 1998 study, published in the Medical Journal Neuropeptides, found that acupuncture stimulation increased the neurohormone peptide called vasoactive intestinal polypeptide, and that this increased the salivary flow rates in patients suffering from dry mouth in Sjogren's disease:
  41. A 2011 study at the Laboratory of Cutaneous Physiopathology of San Gallicano Dermatologic Institute in Rome, Italy, and the Unversity of Amsterdam, Netherlands Institute for Pigment Disorders, proved that there is a strong link between the cutaneous and systemic antioxidant systems and levels in vitiligo pathology. Systemic antioxidant metabolism should be promoted in this autoimmune pathology: vitiligo
  42. A 2010 study at Seoul National University College of Medicine, in South Korea, found that glutathione levels in red blood cells was significantly lowered in vitiligo patients compared to control subjects. The accumulation of aldehydes, from candidiasis, was also explored, but found to be insignificant:
  43. A 2009 study at the Chinese Academy of Sciences and Shanghai University of Traditional Chinese Medicine found that the Chinese herb Xiang jia pi (Periploca sepium) significantly inhibited T-helper cell 17 and IL-17 to benefit autoimmune encephalomyelitis, the inflammatory model for Multiple Sclerosis. This herb does have dose-dependent toxicity, though, and should be used with professional guidance:
  44. A 2010 study at the National Defense Medical Center, in Taipei, Taiwan, found that a chemical compound in the Chinese herbs from Nelumbo nucifera could effectively improve kidney function in autoimmune disorders, with modulation of both T cells and B cells, regulation of NF-kB and WBC infiltration, and protection from cell death (apoptosis) in both the kidney and spleen. Nelumbo nucifera provides a number of medicinal herb parts in Chinese herbal medicine, including Lian xin (lotus plumule), Ou jie (lotus rhizome), Lian zi (lotus seed), and He ye (lotus leaf). :
  45. A 1992 study of the Chinese herb Poria cocos, or Fu ling, by the National Taiwan Normal University, found that this herb could inhibit the cytokines TNF-alpha, IL-1 beta, and IL-6, which are implicated in many autoimmune disorders with Th2/Th1 dominance:
  46. A 2012 study, at Tianjin University in China, of an alcohol extraction of the Chinese herbs Coptidis rhizome and Evodia fruit (Huang lian and Wu zhu yu) showed that this type of extraction, capturing alkaloids from the herbs, significantly inhibited the inflammatory cytokines IL-1beta, IL-6 and TNF-alpha, which are prime drivers of the TH1/Th2 imbalance seen in a majority of autoimmune diseases:
  47. A 2013 study, at The Chinese University of Hong Kong, China, found that the Chinese herbs Salvia miltiorrhiza (Dan shen) and Pueraria lobata (Ge gen) inhibits production of IL-1beat and Il-6, as well as MCP-1, key inflammatory cytokines driving many autoimmune diseases:
  48. A 1994 study at the Rhone-Poulenc Rorer Central Research, in Collegeville, Pennsylvania, U.S.A. showed that the Chinese herb Lei gong teng (Trypterygium wilfordii) was a potent dose-dependent inhibitor of IL-1 alpha and IL-1 beta, implicated in many autoimmune diseases. This research led to human clinical trials of Trypterygium that were very positive for treatment of various autoimmune diseases and showed that there was little toxicity with even a high dose, but unfortunately, this treatment has never been promoted in standard medicine:
  49. In 2012, a phase 1 human clinical trial of an herbal extract from Trypterygium wilfordii (Lei gong teng), (5R)-5-hydroxytryptolide (Leitengshu) was started at the Shanghai Institute of Materia Medica, in Shanghai, China, to prove the efficacy and safety of this widely used herb in China, for treatment of Rheumatoid Arthritis. A number of controlled randomized human clinical studies in Asia and Europe have demonstrated that a Trypterygium wilfordii extract is effective in treating a variety of autoimmune disorders by modulating the Th1/Th2 balance in immune response. Hopefully, a safe standardized extract will soon be available to treat autoimmune disease:
  50. A 2012 study at the University of L'Aquila in Italy found that that the Chinese herbs Boswellia serrata (Ru xiang) and Salvia miltiorrhiza (Dan shen) exert significant inhibition of TGF-beta:
  51. A 2012 review of the research concerning Chinese herbs and their effects on key inflammatory cytokines at the University of Vienna, Austria, Gadjah Mada University, Indonesia, and University of Innsbruck, Austria, found that 6 different herbal species reduced TNF-alpha and NF-kB activity significantly, including Arisaema (Dan and Tian Nan Xing), Cnidium monnieri (She chuang zi), Forsythia suspensa (Lian qiao), Albizzia julibrissin (He huan pi), Pinellia ternata (Ban xia), and others, were found to have signficant potential to inhibit the key pro-inflammatory cytokines that drive many autoimmune diseases:
  52. A 2010 meta-review of probiotic benefit as part of a package of maintenance therapy for ulcerative colitis is presented by experts at the Research University of Alberta Edmonton in Canada:
  53. A 2004 German meta-analysis of clinical studies of extraintestinal health problems associated with inflammatory bowel disease found that more than 50 percent suffered with a more systemic inflammatory, hormonal or metabolic problem:
  54. A 2005 meta-analysis by the University of Alberta Division of Gastroenterology concluded that probiotics and nutriceuticals have been proven and explained sufficiently in treatment of gastrointestinal disorders to warrant clinical usage, but that different strains of probiotics have different levels of efficacy:
  55. A 2001 study published in the Oxford Journals Carcinogenesis found that N-acetyl cysteine, a key antioxidant in treatment of inflammatory bowel disease, inhibited ulcerative colitis-associated colorectal cancer in animal studies:
  56. A 2014 study at the University of Heidelburg, in Germany, the Ulm University, in Germany, Jena University, in Germany, and the University of Medicine and Pharmacy in Bucharest, Romania, and associated university hospitals, proved that phosphatidylcholine produced significant benefit in the treatment of Ulcerative Colitis:
  57. A 2004 study of standard treatment for ulcerative colitis, at the University of California San Francisco and Mt. Zion Inflammatory Bowel Disease Center, in San Francisco, California, shows that standard treatment options for IBD / ulcerative colitis are limited, with the sulfa drug antibiotic sulfasalazine or the metabolite of this drug 5-ASA (mesalazine) used most often, and subsets of patients given the medication as a suppository or buffered oral pill, and that serious chronic adverse effects were commonly noted in therapy, or that corticosteroid injections were given, but due to the strong adverse health effects, repeated courses of corticosteroid were rejected by a large percentage of patients. These findings suggest that integration of Complementary Medicine is very important in treating these diseases, as well as improved diet and lifestyle regimens that are proactive with increased patient education:
  58. A 2013 meta-review of published randomized controlled human clinical trials of acupuncture and moxibustion for ulcerative colitis, performed at Shanghai University, in Shanghai, China, found that standard acupuncture and moxibustion provided better VAS scores of symptom relief for ulcerative colitis than the standard drug therapy with sulfasalazine in 10 such trials, and that 43 randomized clinical trials showed efficacy for acupuncture and moxibustion, although none of these trials was large, and they lacked specific physiological benefit measurements, which will be included in future trials:
  59. A 2014 meta-review of published randomized controlled human clinical trials, and clinical practice, of TCM herbal formulas for ulcerative colitis, performed at the University of Lodz, in Poland, found that standard drug therapy for IBD (ulcerative colitis and Crohns) continues to be problematic, with poor compliance due to significant adverse health effects, and that a growing utilization and integration of Traditional Chinese Medicine and herbal formulas has occurred in both Asia and Europe:
  60. A 2011 review of a TCM herbal product, Yu Nan Bai Yao (San Qi or Tian Qi), in the treatment of IBD, or ulcerative colitis, by Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, Maryland, U.S.A. found that this patent version of the single herb San Qi proved to be very effective as an immunomodulating and anti-inflammatory medicine, and hence, would integrate well with the antibacterial sulfa drugs commonly used, and perhaps decrease the need for corticosteroids. Other studies have shown that Frankincense resin, or Ru xiang, may be effective as well, and often such tree resins long touted for inflammation and tissue repair are combined with San Qi in TCM formulas:
  61. A 2013 meta-review of published randomized controlled human clinical trials, and clinical practice, of TCM herbal formulas for ulcerative colitis, performed at the Chinese University of Hong Kong, showed that 21 randomized controlled human clinical trials showed efficacy for TCM herbal formulas in this regard, but that all of these trials are still too small and poorly designed to offer definitive proof, with larger and better designed trials occurring in the near future. The herbs studied included San Qi, Boswellia, Ru Xiang, Plantago seed, Artemisia absinthium, and Trypterygium wilfordii (Lei gong teng), as well as dried aloe, and standardized curcumin:
  62. A 2014 study at the University of Duisburg-Essen, in Essen, Germany, demonstrates that Europe is utilizing and researching various treatment protocols with herbal and nutrient medicine in the treatment of Ulcerative Colitis. Here, the protocol of the Chinese herb Myrrh resin (Mo Yao), chamomile extract, and detoxifying charcoal, is compared to standard pharmaceutical treatment with mesalazine (5-ASA), a metabolite of a sulfa antibiotic. This study showed that this simple herbal/nutrient formula decreased the problematic CD4 count prior to flare-ups of the disease. Such research will help refine the strategy in herbal/nutrient medicine, which obviously has the potential for such variance and refinement as research progresses. A prior randomized controlled clinical trial of Myrrh, chamomile and charcoal at the University of Duisburg-Essen in 2013 showed that this simple herbal/nutrient medicine was "non-inferior" to the gold standard of treatment, mesalazine (PMID: 23826890). The researchers recommended that such therapy be integrated with mesalazine for greater efficacy, and the further research noted that it provides measurable benefits that mesalazine does not: