I always enjoy your newsletter and read with interest your article on the inflammatory disease systemic lupus erythematosus (vol 4 no 11). As a specialist in food allergy, I would like to make quite clear that I have never believed SLE is caused by food intolerance. The genetics and immune response of this disease suggest that autoimmune processes are the background to the whole problem. I do think that foods can aggravate certain symptoms in a proportion of people.
There have been no long term studies of dietary elimination in SLE, although I think it would be most interesting to look. We have studied so few patients that I think it would be unreasonable to say that dietary manipulation will help SLE sufficiently for a patient to quit some of the drugs they are on. This would be very dangerous unless this was under the close supervision of a very experienced rheumatologist. Dr Jonathan Brostoff, London.....
WDDTY replies: Although our article made the points you raised, thank you for underscoring that treatment is not as simple as making dietary changes and needs to be overseen by someone who really knows what he or she is doing.