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Weight Loss & Exercise in Lupus: the science & patient view

The video provided below offers valuable insights into practical information regarding weight management and exercise for individuals with lupus. This informative content, featuring the collaborative efforts of Kelli Roseta and More Than Lupus.

It is from the perspective of a patient with autoimmune disease (Ashley Nicole of RA Warrior Fitness) who proactively teaches exercise and healthy lifestyles for autoimmune disease patients. Dr. Donald Thomas goes over the science. Below are some important parts of the video:

  • Mitochondria are the powerhouse (energy producers) in our cells. Mitochondria work abnormally in lupus patients and there is a link to fatigue.
  • An NIH study showed that exercise not only improved fatigue in lupus patients, but their mitochondrial function improved as well.
  • Obesity is associated with worse lupus disease activity.
  • Most systemic lupus patients are obese due to less muscle mass and higher fat mass related to steroids and reduced physical activity (related to fatigue and pain).
  • But, there is a lot that patients can do to reduce fat and increase muscle mass in healthy, safe ways.
  • Physical therapy evaluation and training can help teach a safe and effective exercise regimen.
  • Eating a healthy, anti-inflammatory diet can be beneficial.
  • A typical Western diet, with simple carbohydrates and unhealthy fat is bad for lupus.

By including these insights into their daily lives, individuals with lupus can take proactive steps toward managing their weight and incorporating exercise in a manner that promotes overall well-being. It is important to consult with healthcare professionals for personalized guidance and to ensure that any lifestyle changes are implemented safely and effectively.

“It is OK to grieve who you used to be… then you have to accept where you are now… figure out how to move from there and create a new normal”

Ashley Nicole, RA Warrior Fitness

For more in-depth information on weight loss and lupus in greater detail:

Read chapters 6, 38, and 39 of The Lupus Encyclopedia, edition 2

Look up your symptoms, conditions, and medications in the Index of The Lupus Encyclopedia.

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What are your comments and opinions?

If you have had success losing weight or are having trouble losing weight from lupus, what has your experience been? What do you recommend for other patients?

Do you have any questions to ask Dr. Thomas?

Please click on “Leave a Comment” above to comment.

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  1. Dr. Thomas-your comments were so informative and empowering. Thank you for continuing to educate us so we may be our own best caretaker and advocate! I appreciate this being made available after the live event. I often have conflicts with the live events so posting afterwards really helps.

  2. Informative ..
    Have you any u tube video???

  3. This is good information..but if you also make any video and upload on u tube it be b also very useful.

  4. Thank you so much Dr. Thomas! You always have great information for us and this info make me really want to make daily exercise a priority.
    I have been trying to eat an anti-inflammatory diet and have added fermented foods and other foods you have recommended.
    I found a blog called ” Dr Ann Wellness” and she is a physician who has a blog with lots of videos on you tube and she is on instagram. She echoes all of what you say about diet and microbiome, sleep, movement and breathing. I have learned so much from her blog as well and recommend it highly.
    The changes I have made have really helped me feel better.
    Thanks for everything
    Anne Marie

  5. Thanks, Dr. Thomas, for new information and reminders. My rheumatologist said probiotics are not important for me, but I can’t eat foods with probiotics. Long before I was diagnosed (but clearly sick) with lupus, yogurt mades my gut hurt. I didn’t eat salads until my 20s because I thought most veggies tasted like what turned out to be the taste of vinegar that was overwhelmingly distasteful to me. (Yes, I eat veggies now–plain!) I have trouble with Asian food, presumably because of fermented sauces. Recently, allergy testing showed that I react to vinegar, yeast, and other such ingredients found in just about anything that isn’t whole food items. No more raisins or dates, I guess. I do still have gut issues that my GI doctor is still trying to sort out, though he also does not think probiotics will help.
    So, any suggestions for having better gut health for less fatigue? I appreciate any guidance. — Sheri

    • Sheri: that is a tough one. I suspect in your case, your GI doc would recommend one of the probiotic supplements. However, I’d have no idea which would be the best or safest or even if you really need one. I sure hope things get easier for you in the future

      Donald Thomas, MD

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