I was recently diagnosed with Sjögren’s syndrome.
Q. Dear Terry, “I was recently diagnosed with Sjögren’s syndrome and hope there are some natural options to help.” — Yasaman K., Dallas, TX
A. Dear Yasaman, Sjögren’s syndrome is an autoimmune disease that causes inflammation and dryness in the mouth, tear glands, lining of the bronchial airways, and vagina. Sjögren’s syndrome can also be associated with rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, and scleroderma. Not surprisingly, it is more common in families with members experiencing autoimmune illnesses.
About 90% of patients with Sjögren’s syndrome are female. The vaginal dryness associated with the condition causes pain during intercourse, as well as recurrent vaginal infections. In a placebo-controlled, double-blind, crossover study, patients with Sjögren’s syndrome used either sea buckthorn oil (featuring the berry and seed oil) or a placebo for three months. Those in the sea buckthorn group showed greater improvement in vaginal mucosa and overall symptom relief, including burning, itching, pain, secretion, and dryness – including dry eyes and mouth.
When you look for a sea buckthorn extract, make sure it is rich in many nutrients, including omega-7, but also omega 3, 6, and 9. Plus, a complete sea buckthorn oil extract from both the berry and seeds should include beneficial phytosterols, tocopherols and carotenoids, just like the material used in the clinical studies. I believe environmentally-friendly, solvent-free supercritical CO2 extraction technology is the best extraction method for sea buckthorn. That way, you know you’re getting the same type of sea buckthorn oil that has been clinically tested. I would take this sea buckthorn four to six times per day.
Additionally, there is a cream that features this unique sea buckthorn extract that specifically targets vaginal dryness.
For enhanced support, you may also want to consider adding curcumin. Keep in mind that standard curcumin is very poorly absorbed, so make sure you choose a curcumin with excellent absorption and has been proven in published human studies. The best form I have ever found uses curcumin blended with turmeric essential oil. This curcumin has been shown in published human studies to be better absorbed than standard curcumin. I would take this high absorption curcumin once or twice per day.
Lastly, I would consider adding omega-3 fatty acids from salmon, naturally bound to phospholipids, as this is much closer to nature and how people were meant to absorb and use these nutrients.