If you’re living with lupus, chances are you’ve tried different medications to ease your symptoms, but have you ever thought about taking vitamins? Some members of MyLupusTeam have been wondering about LupaVita.
LupaVita is a once-a-day multivitamin designed for people with all forms of lupus. ImmunaRelief manufactures LupaVita to promote health and wellness for people with lupus or similar autoimmune diseases, like Hashimoto’s disease, Sjögren’s syndrome, and psoriatic arthritis.
Although LupaVita has many positive reviews on its website, some members of MyLupusTeam are unsure whether LupaVita can provide additional benefits compared to a regular multivitamin. “I wonder if it’s really beneficial — I’m going to ask my doctor,” one member wrote.
There are some good reasons to consider LupaVita, but it might not be right for everyone. Here’s what the science says about LupaVita’s ingredients, along with some pros and cons to help you decide for yourself.
Evaluating LupaVita’s ingredients can help you decide if the combination pill is worth buying or if you’d rather get a few single-ingredient supplements instead.
Each capsule of LupaVita contains the following vitamins and minerals:
LupaVita also provides small amounts of calcium (2 percent of the daily value) and magnesium (6 percent of the daily value). But these doses are likely too small to provide any significant impact.
Vitamin C has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects that may be beneficial for people with lupus. Because many healthy foods (including fruits and vegetables) are high in vitamin C, you can aim to get more from your diet along with supplements.
Vitamin D reduces inflammation and potentially lupus disease activity. It also supports stronger bones. Vitamin D deficiency is common, especially in people with lupus who avoid the sun and use glucocorticoids for disease control. Glucocorticoids are a type of hormone that is naturally produced in the body or can be prescribed as medication. This hormone can help regulate metabolism, immune response, and stress. The type of vitamin D used in LupaVita (D3) is considered better because it has a long shelf life and can effectively increase the levels of vitamin D in the bloodstream.
There are mixed opinions on the benefits of vitamin E supplements for people with lupus. According to the National Resource Center on Lupus, “Vitamin E has been implicated in heart disease and should be avoided.” However, some studies from the journal Experimental and Therapeutic Medicine say vitamin E is helpful because of its anti-inflammatory effects. Although LupaVita contains just under half the daily value of vitamin E, remember that vitamin E is also found in various foods, particularly nuts and seeds.
Homocysteine is an amino acid that can be found in the body, and high levels of it may contribute to various health problems. Lupus raises the risk of elevated homocysteine levels, which, in turn, can cause heart disease. This is one of the reasons doctors often recommend B12 supplements. In addition, low levels of vitamin B12 commonly contribute to lupus fatigue. Because the amount of B12 in LupaVita is so much higher than the daily recommended value, make sure to discuss the supplement with your doctor. They can test your blood to determine if you need a B12 supplement and recommend the right dosage for you.
Zinc isn’t considered especially beneficial for lupus. Some studies advise restricting zinc. However, the amount of zinc in a dose isn’t excessive, at just 35 percent of the total daily value.
Selenium’s anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects are likely beneficial for lupus. However, selenium is found in various foods (such as nuts, whole grains, eggs, and ricotta cheese), so you may be getting enough through diet alone.
Every capsule of LupaVita also provides these ingredients, which do not have an established daily value:
One of the active compounds in black pepper — piperine — showed benefits in a study on mice with lupus nephritis. However, there haven’t been studies to show how black pepper affects humans with lupus or other autoimmune diseases.
Flaxseed oil is a good source of anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acids. People with lupus and lupus nephritis may benefit from taking flaxseed oil every day, as it can help improve markers like serum creatinine levels — a measurement used to assess kidney function. However, to achieve this benefit, a daily dose of 30 grams of flaxseed oil per day is recommended, which is much higher than the 60 milligrams you’ll find in a daily LupaVita supplement. You may be better off learning ways to incorporate flaxseed oil into recipes (like salad dressing) to get the maximum effect.
Studies on tart cherry juice have shown beneficial health effects, particularly for blood pressure and cholesterol. Although there isn’t much research specifically for lupus, most people would likely benefit from tart cherry and other high-antioxidant plants.
Turmeric contains the active compound curcumin, which has beneficial antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects. However, some studies suggest that taking curcumin with vitamin D (as in LupaVita supplements) may reduce the absorption of vitamin D. Therefore, taking these two supplements separately may be more effective.
MyLupusTeam members have wondered about LupaVita, and some have experience with it. “I saw an advertisement selling LupaVita, a vitamin to help cope with lupus. I was wondering if anyone knows anything about it before I try it,” one member wrote.
Some members weren’t very enthusiastic about it. “I asked my doctor, and she said it sounds like an overpriced multivitamin,” one noted. Another responded, “After taking it for two weeks, I agree with your doc.”
Several other members were curious about the product, but none posted particularly promising experiences from using it. Some suggested finding a cheaper version with the same ingredients (or buying multiple supplements to replicate what’s in LupaVita). Others recommended It’s Vital Complete Nutrition Packs or Juice Plus+ as supplements that worked well for them.
The dietary supplement industry isn’t strictly regulated, so judging the quality of products like LupaVita can be challenging. Although manufacturers are expected to follow “good manufacturing practices,” the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) doesn’t ensure that supplements are free of contaminants or that they even contain what’s listed on the label. Unfortunately, that means the actual dosages may be higher or lower than what’s listed.
Some third-party organizations conduct supplement quality testing. These include:
LupaVita is made in the United States, but right now, it doesn’t have any special certifications from outside organizations to prove its quality. However, as LupaVita becomes more popular and trusted, it might have the opportunity to earn certificates that show it meets certain industry standards. These certificates would be a way to show that LupaVita is reliable and meets the expectations set by experts in the field.
You can take LupaVita, but remember that you can also stay healthy by eating a balanced diet and taking a regular multivitamin. A balanced diet means eating lots of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and healthy fats, which give your body the important nutrients it needs. If you want to make sure you’re getting all the vitamins and minerals you need, a multivitamin can help fill any gaps.
Some ingredients in LupaVita may be unsafe or interact with your medications. You should be particularly careful about making any changes during lupus flares. It’s up to you and your doctor to decide whether LupaVita or a balanced diet with a regular multivitamin is the right choice for you.
MyLupusTeam is the social network for people with lupus and their loved ones. On MyLupusTeam, more than 223,000 people with lupus come together to ask questions, give advice, and share their stories.
Do you use any lupus supplements or professional health products as part of your treatment plan? If so, which vitamins, minerals, or herbal supplements do you find most helpful? Post your thoughts in the comments below, or start a conversation by sharing on your Activities page.