Natural health: Sarcoidosis and bruising

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Q. I have been told that there is no treatment for sarcoidosis. Is there anything you can suggest, even if it isn’t an outright cure?

This is quite correct — there are no treatments in conventional or natural medicine that have been proven to cure sarcoidosis. It is considered to be chronic and progressive, particularly affecting the lungs, lymph glands, skin, and liver, where nodules are formed. Other symptoms may include fever, fatigue, and weight loss.

The cause for sarcoidosis is also a mystery, with scientists investigating as to whether it is a result of exposure to a certain bacteria, virus, or environmental pollutant, dietary in origin, or if genetic inheritance play a role.

The good news is that in many cases, sarcoidosis will actually vanish as quickly as it appeared, with no apparent reason. This typically happens after a year or two, but about 10% of sufferers have persistent symptoms and it may even develop further into a condition where steroid treatment is considered to be the only viable option.

Melatonin, only available by prescription, has been used to regulate the immune system and slow down the nodule growth. This hormone is usually associated with treating insomnia and jet lag, since it helps to induce and regulate sleep-wake cycles, however it is also thought to reduce the accumulation of abnormal cells.

If you do find a health practitioner who is either aware of this melatonin therapy, or willing to investigate further, the dosage used in trials to reduce sarcoid nodules in the lungs was 20mg of melatonin daily. This dosage was also found to trigger a reduction or even complete disappearance of skin lesions.

Of course, what you choose to eat and drink does play a key role in the healing of any condition — eating a balanced wholefood diet, with plenty of fresh produce, avoiding foods that are highly processed, and keeping any foods or ingredients to which you have a known sensitivity, intolerance, or allergy reaction off the menu.

I bruise very easily, which seems to have become worse in my 40s. I don’t take any medications, and I am in otherwise good health. Are there any remedies I can take to fix this problem, as it is quite unsightly?

To begin, it’s vital that you organise a visit to your doctor to rule out any underlying health conditions, despite the fact that you experience no obvious problems other than the bruising.

Individuals who bruise easily are typically prone to weakened blood vessels as a result of medications (particularly aspirin, prednisone, prednisolone, and oral contraceptive pills), clotting deficiency, or related diseases such as haemophilia or leukaemia.

Bruising is common in the elderly due to weakening of tissues and vessels as a part of the ageing process, but you are far from being in this category. It is also worth noting that diabetics can have patches of what looks like bruising, but in fact is a skin discolouration as a result of insulin resistance.

Bruising occurs when tiny blood vessels (capillaries) in an affected area are damaged to a point where the red blood cells leak out. The change from purple/black/blue through to brown/green/yellow colouration is a result of the blood cells and bilirubin pigment being metabolised by the body.

Vitamin C is one of the best nutrients to treat easy bruising. Taken together with bioflavonoids to maximize the effectiveness and absorption of vitamin C, it works to strengthen tissues and vessels, and promote healing. Taking as little as 2,000mg of vitamin C daily, along with bioflavonoids such as hesperidin or rutin, will likely sort out your problem after only a few weeks.

Solgar has created a formulation of 500mg vitamin C combined with 500mg of bioflavonoids. You need to take one capsule, four times daily, for two to four weeks, then you can take one capsule twice daily as a long-term maintenance measure.

Solgar’s Hy-Bio tablets are available from health stores (also see www.hereshealth.ie) where 50 tablets cost €10.10 or 250 tablets cost €38.29.

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