Lupus, Anemia and Inflammation: Their Relationship and How to Treat Symptoms

Lupus and Anemia: What You Need To Know

  • Anemia and Lupus are rooted in the same problem: inflammation.
  • Lupus is a systemic autoimmune disease that with many different symptoms.
  • Anemia is an overlooked symptom of Lupus.
  • Anemia of Inflammation is commonly misunderstood as Iron Deficiency Anemia.
  • Purified bovine lactoferrin has been shown to provide anemia relief and improve symptoms of Anemia of Inflammation.
  • Eksem and Epiphany Moisturizing Body Creams can help soothe rashes brought on by Lupus

Lupus is an autoimmune disease that affects 1.5 million Americans and an estimated 5 million people worldwide, according to the Lupus Foundation of America.

While Lupus mainly develops in women of childbearing age (roughly around 90% of sufferers are women) it can also develop in children, teenagers and men.

Lupus is a systemic disease–meaning it manifests locally but affects the whole body. Lupus affects the body’s important signaling pathways, which can result in a diverse range of symptoms.

Symptoms include:

  • Joint pain
  • Transient rash
  • Kidney complications
  • Fatigue
  • Anemia

Other articles and resources

The Connection Between Anemia and Inflammation

Anemia is a blood disorder in which bone marrow fails to produce enough hemoglobin to meet the body’s demand for oxygen.

When levels of the pro-inflammatory cytokine Interleukin 6 (IL-6) are higher than normal, the liver produces a small protein (peptide) known as Hepcidin.

Hepcidin blocks the body’s ability to move iron from storage in cells to the blood to the bone marrow where hemoglobin is made. For long decades we have mistakenly called this Iron Deficiency Anemia.

The truth is, the vast majority of people diagnosed with Iron Deficiency Anemia are not iron deficient. They actually have iron tucked away in tissue due to abnormal levels of inflammation.*

Women are commonly diagnosed with Anemia when the hemoglobin content in one deciliter (10th of a liter) of blood falls below 11 grams. For men it’s 12 grams.* Anemia can run a full spectrum of severity, often falling to 9 grams and lower.

The Connection Between Lupus and Anemia

 Studies show that 50% of people with Lupus are also Anemic. Anemia is very common in people with Lupus, and for some patients it is a constant feature of the disease. For others it comes and goes with disease flares. We view Anemia in Lupus as classically Anemia of Chronic Disease (ACD).

This type of anemia is commonly called Anemia of Inflammation, because inflammation is the connecting factor of Lupus and Anemia of Inflammation.

The Research: Treating Anemia and Inflammation

Studies have shown that Anemia of Inflammation can be treated with highly purified bovine lactoferrin.

Valenti et al conducted several clinical studies in several hundred pregnant women treating for iron-deficiency anemia (Anemia of Inflammation). In the study, highly purified bovine lactoferrin was the “treatment” and ferrous sulfate (iron) was the control supplement.

The Results:

  • These studies demonstrated a significant increase in hemoglobin in anemic pregnant women in a 30-day period.
  • Lab results also demonstrated the subjects who took iron supplements had an increase in Interleukin 6 (IL-6), a pro-inflammatory cytokine. This is because Iron, a readily oxidizable substance, is quite clearly inflammatory.
  • Subjects who took lactoferrin supplements shows a decrease in pro-inflammatory IL-6. 
  • The investigators also conducted the identical study in non-pregnant women with the same results, demonstrating that the results are completely independent of pregnancy.

These studies have provided a large body of evidence on both the safety and efficacy of highly purified bovine in resolving anemia during pregnancy and anemia of inflammation by non-drug, natural means.

For more information about these studies, read about their findings related to Pregnancy Associated Anemia.  

Patient Tips For Treatment With Purified Bovine Lactoferrin

There is plenty of evidence to suggest that 250mg of purified bovine lactoferrin can be taken twice daily to treat symptoms of anemia of inflammation.

However, Lupus is a difficult and complicated disease. For this reason patients should always be careful with “self medicating” by using nutritional supplements.

As with any supplement, there are some precautions patients should take before adding purified bovine lactoferrin to a regular treatment plan:

  • Talk To Your Physician First – If you are interested in taking purified bovine lactoferrin to treat symptoms of anemia of inflammation associated with Lupus, talk with your physician before using supplements.
  • The Best Patient is a Well Educated Patient – There is no known cure for Lupus, and we may not have many tools to manage the symptoms, so do what you can to educate yourself about the disease and treatment options educated patient.
  • Monitor Your Symptoms – It is advised that patients carefully monitor their other Lupus symptoms and that they immediately stop taking lactoferrin if any of their symptoms worsen.


anemia relief

Purified bovine lactoferrin is a versatile supplement that can relieve symptoms associated with:

  • GI-Tract Issues including diverticulitis
  • Compromised immune health
  • Damage related to aging
  • Anemia

The effectiveness of purified bovine lactoferrin depends on the purification process of the supplement.

Acacia Purified Bovine Lactoferrin is produced with extremely careful purification processes and is virtually free of endotoxin.  


Treating Lupus Rash Naturally

Those who suffer from Lupus often experience a butterfly-shaped rash that develops across the bridge of the nose and on the cheeks. This rash is called malar rash, and it is a pro-inflammatory response to the disease flare or from sun exposure. This rash is also common for people with rosacea or a bacterial infection. While this rash is a helpful signal that something is “off” in the body, the rash is unsightly and uncomfortable.

lupus rash treatment naturalDoctors will typically prescribe a steroid, antibiotics or an immunosuppressive treatment, which have their various side effects. If you’re looking for a non-steroid topical treatment for malar rash, try Eksem cream or Epiphany Moisturizing Body Cream. Both of these products contain natural essential micronutrients that reduce inflammation on the skin, which helps to reduce the severity of the rash.




Additional Notes and Disclaimers

1* This view of anemia is not universally accepted.  Many physicians still prefer to have their anemic patients take iron supplements to raise their hemoglobin, which it frequently does. If you can tolerate oral iron and get by the cramps and constipation that is a workable solution.

2*Scientists differ on the exact threshold for anemia, with many defining it as 13.5 and 13.0 grams respectively.

About the Authors

Bill Goolsbee

William Goolsbee has spent his career in Life Sciences including leading roles in drug development in immunology and genetic medicine. Recent senior positions include Chairman of the Board at Sarepta Therapeutics and Founder and CEO at Metrodora Therapeutics.

Dr. Gil Price

Gil Price M.D. is the Chief Medical Officer at the Propharma Group, where he provides medical supervision for all clinical trials. He previously served as the Chief Executive Officer of Drug Safety Solutions, where he oversaw safety monitoring for drugs in clinical development. Dr. Price also served as the Director of Clinical Development at Medimmune Oncology and Director of Medical Affairs at Glaxo.

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By and | October 10, 2018 | Anemia of Inflammation, Inflammation and Lactoferrin | 0 comments

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