Scleroderma is not believed to be related to any type of a nutritional deficiency, however, nutrients, especially in the form of liquid vitamins and minerals can help with this disease in several different ways. Because of the scarring and the bacterial overgrowth that this disease causes, one of the biggest challenges that you will face is malabsorption, especially with the fat soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K, which can very easily lead to several other potentially dangerous conditions.
What is it?
Scleroderma is not a disease in itself, but rather a grouping of rare but very progressive diseases that do two things to your skin and its connective tissues; they harden them as well as tighten them. The connective tissues are the fibers that provide both the framework as well as the support for your body, and they can be especially hard hit by the disease. It can affect anyone at any age; however, there are groups of people that seem to be affected much more commonly. Although it is not considered to be contagious, it can severely impact both your way of life as well as your self-esteem.
There are two types of scleroderma, localized and systematic. If it is the localized form, it will affect only your skin which can be dangerous, but it is the systemic form, it can affect your internal organs where it is considered extremely dangerous. The symptoms of this disease can be quite different, depending on which organ in your body is affected, and it can be very difficult for your doctor to diagnosis as some of them are quite common with other diseases or conditions.
One of the first of the possible symptoms is referred to as Raynaud’s phenomenon, which is condition where your body will have an almost exaggerated response to one of two things; cold temperatures or some type of emotional distress. This phenomenon causes constriction in your small blood vessels in your hands and your feet and can also cause pain, numbness, as well as color changes to these areas. Another very common symptom is GERD, which is much better known as acid reflux disease. However, if it is scleroderma, it is doing more than just damaging your esophagus; your body is also having trouble absorbing nutrients.
However, perhaps the most telling of the symptoms will involve slowly developing skin changes that may include swollen fingers, swollen hands, as well as patches of skin starting to become thick. This thickening can also occur in your hands, face, or mouth. You may not notice these changes at first, but what you will notice is that your skin will start to appear very shiny as it begins to tighten up.
There are also symptoms that are unique to each form. If is localized, you will start to see what is referred to as Morphea. This is a condition where circular or oval shaped patches of thickened skin will start to appear and will have an almost purple like ring or border and will be white in the middle. They will gradually disappear, but the area affected may remain dark. Linear scleroderma is very common in children that are affected by this disease, and will appear as bands of hardened skin on the arms, legs, as well as the forehead.
There is also one other very important aspect about this disease in the localized form; you may experience Raynaud’s phenomenon several years before other symptoms begin to appear. The systematic form is not nearly as common, but in addition to your skin, it can affect both your blood vessels as well as your internal organs. With this form, your skin changes can occur quite suddenly and increase in severity and then start to level off after a couple of years.
The medical community is still not sure what causes this abnormal collagen production by your body, but because of it, your immune systems turns against itself and the result is inflammation.
Scleroderma can affect any one, however, it is much more common in women that in men at almost a 4 to 1 ratio, and will usually starts to appear somewhere between thirty and forty years of age. It is also much more common in certain ethnic groups. Native Americans as well as African Americans seem to be at a much higher degree of risk, especially from the systemic form and this group may develop severe lung complications as a result. However, there are also other risks groups, with the most common being miners that work in coal mines or rock quarries, as well as anyone that works around paint thinning solutions for extended periods.
How Liquid Nutrients Help:
Scleroderma is usually treated with drugs that help to suppress the immune system, and as a result, reduce inflammation. Although most all experts agree that a nutrient deficiency plays virtually no role in this disease, they can play a huge role in maintaining your overall health as well as fighting the malabsorption that it causes. Doctor Sheldon Paul Blau, M.D. and clinical professor of medicine at State University of New York and the co-author of Living with Lupus, suggests that most doctors treat this disease with liquid nutrients.
They will use liquid nutrients or intravenous feeding as they add both vitamins and minerals that help to reduce the inflammation as well as the stress on any effected organs such as the heart or lungs. Vitamin E, Selenium, as well as beta-carotene are all extremely critical as antioxidants that help to fight inflammation by neutralizing several bio-chemicals that produce this reaction in your body. When inflammation in your body occurs, it produces free radicals which damage your cells by taking electrons form the healthy molecules in your cells outer membranes.
However, when anti-oxidants are present and at full operating force in your body, they help to offer free radicals their own electrons, and as a result, they no longer attack your cells. However, perhaps the biggest role with liquid nutrients is fighting against the absorption problem your body is having. Scleroderma and the malabsorption problems that it causes make it very difficult for your body to absorb the fat soluble vitamins that include Vitamin A, D, E and K. This disease often results in soften bones from a lack of vitamin D, as well as potential hemorrhaging caused by a lack of vitamin K.
Scleroderma can also cause a vitamin B12 deficiency which can result in memory loss, fatigue, as well as an abnormal gait, which can affect your ability to walk normally. Although a lack of nutrients do not cause this disease, they can help to at least fight back and help with your absorption issues. Liquid nutrients are recommended for one specific reason; the way they absorb into your body. Pills and caplets absorb at about a 25 percent ratio, while liquid forms absorb at over a 90 percent ratio, which is why they are used.