Oral Combination Enzyme Formula for Difficult to Treat Joint Disease
by Michael Loes, M.D., M.D.(H.) from The Doctor's Prescription for Healthy Living - Volume 2, Number 5 Both rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) often present as progressive disabling diseases. RA and SLE frequently cause internal organ damage secondary to chronic inflammatory responses. These inflammatory responses can be modulated, and arrested before irreversible damage ravages and individual. These types of patients are some of the most difficult patients a pain specialist sees. A balanced approach must be considered - one that uses the best conventional medicine, as well as nutritional, and alternative strategies available to preserve life and function.
The drugs that we use such as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), corticosteroids, gold salts and methotrexate are of some benefit but are extremely toxic and can result in damage to the bones and joint matrix. And when it comes to young children and inflammatory diseases, we still have only these extremely toxic drugs. It is tough to see young children on corticosteroids, but doctors try to control the complications the best that we can.
Now, thanks to a mountain of evidence, we know that a specific combination of systemic oral enzymes called Wobenzym N, available at health food stores, may be one of the best medicnes for both adults and children with difficult-to-treat inflammatory / joint conditions.
In both rheumatoid arthritis and SLE, the immune system is out of control and turns on the body. Although medical science is unsure of the exact cause of either rheumatoid arthritis or SLE, we do know that for some reason the body's immune system begins to form antibodies that cause a chronic inflammation of the joints.
Enzymes Accelerate Elimination of Circulating Immune Complexes
Both rheumatoid arthritis and SLE are immune and inflammatory diseases, but few conventional treatments address their underlying systemic condition. Most treatments reduce the inflammation and pain but do nothing to start the healing process. In this sense, enzymes may be superior. Their influence on the immune system is profound and they stimulate healthy production of cytokines that quench inflammation and rev up immunity to produce a cleansing effect, helping to cleave or break up circulating immune complexes (CICs) at the center of the body's RA or SLE immune / inflammation firestorm.
Enzymes and Difficult-to-Treat Rheumatoid Arthritis
In rheumatoid arthritis, the thin membrane surrounding the joints (synovium) becomes swollen and extremely inflamed. As these attacks continue to occur, the bones and joint tissues are weakened and eventually destroyed, destroying the integrity of the joint, including cartilage which provides a cushioning effect.
By knocking down inflammation, enzymes allow healing to occur. A sampling of the studies on Wobenzym N:
Excellent early results using the patented enzyme formula Wobenzym N were noted by researchers writing in 1985 in Zeitschr. f. Rheumatologie. In this study, patients took eight Wobenzym N tablets four times daily. Sixty-two percent of patients improved.
A 1988 report in Natur- und Ganzheitsmedizin showed that the same formula can prevent further flare-ups and helps to lower levels of inflammatory-related circulating immune complexes in rheumatoid arthritis patients.
Another study also published in Natur- und Ganzheitsmedizin in 1988 noted that Wobenzym N has demonstrated produced similar benefits to gold therapy but without toxic side effects.
Most recently, researchers from the Ukrainian Rheumatology Centre, in Kiev, tested Wobenzym on 78 patients with severe, crippling RA and who were using other prime treatment drugs. All of the RA patients showed a decrease in CIC concentrations, averaging between 28 and 42 percent, and decreases in rheumatoid factors. Twenty percent of patients reduced their NSAID doses by 50 to 75 percent. One patient stopped taking methotrexate and experienced a clinical remission of the disease. Morning stiffness scores improved. More than half the patients rated thier treatments with Wobenzym as good, compared to only about a third of the patients using only medical drugs.
"The study results therefore confirm that Wobenzym is a new and quite effective antirheumatic agent, which also presents the properties of a second-line agent," said the Russian researchers at the Second Russian Symposium on Oral Enzyme Therapy in St. Petersburg, Russia, 1996.
At this same conference, researchers presented findings on Wobenzym and juvenile arthritis. In the study, among 10 children from the Paediatric Clinic of the Institute of Rheumatology of the Russian Academy of Medical Science, 10 children with JCA were given five tablets three times a day. They could also receive treatment with one NSAID in addition to Wobenzym. In the children, the number of actively inflamed joints was reduced from 44 to 15, especially in the second month. One patient with psoriatic arthritis experienced a significant reduction in dermal signs of the disease. The drug proved effective generally after four to five months of treatment.
Enzymes Benefit Persons with SLE
Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE or lupus) most often strikes young women between the ages of 20 to 40.
The condition is characterized by severe fatigue and butterfly rash across the face; debilitating pain and sweeling often occur in the hands, wrists, elbows, knees, ankles or feet. There may also be morning stiffness in the joints. Other signs and symptoms of lupus include a worsening of the butterfly rash across the face following sun exposure; a pale or blue tinge to the fingers when exposed to cold; and possibly hair loss.
Lupus is a serious condition because it may also cause diseases of the internal organs, including the heart, brain, lungs, and kidneys, as well as bleeding, anemia, and chronic infections. With proper treatment, however, lupus can be controlled, and sufferers can expect normal life expectancy.
While lupus is usually not a primary cartilage destroying disease, people with lupus may be put on high dose steroids for long periods of time and their joints wear out sooner.
Enzymes also help to dissolve circulating immune complexes and antibodies that cause severe inflammation or SLE. According to D.A. Lopez, M.D., associate clinical professor of medicine at the University of California at San Diego Medical School and co-author of Enzymes: The Fountain of Life, animals suffering from this inflammatory condition, when given combination enzymes, have shown significant improvement.