Attacking Antiphosopholid Antibody Syndrome (APS) with Alternative Treatments

by Renée Canada

When I was in the clock-ticking years of my late 20s, I happily watched a number of my friends and former classmates become mothers and fathers. Ironically, while I was probably expected to be the first of my group of friends to have children, it was turning out that I would be among that last, even after those friends who had vehemently declared they would never be parents.

Yet I was trying to be patient as my body was working on healing. With a flurry of health problems, and the resulting pain and energy issues, my boyfriend at the time asked me, “Can you even have children right now?”

That question carried a different gravity when I was diagnosed with a blood coagulation disorder, which later turned into the diagnosis of antiphospholipid antibody syndrome (APS), also known as Hughes Syndrome, AKA “Sticky Blood.”

APS is an autoimmune disorder in which the body produces antibodies that mistakenly disable proteins in the blood needed to prevent excessive clotting. A majority of patients do not realize they have APS until they first experience blood clots—in large veins, arteries and lungs, early strokes (one third of strokes occurring in people under the age of 50 are due to APS), early heart attacks or most pertinent to this story, multiple miscarriages, especially in the second and third trimesters. APS accounts for up to 15 percent of recurrent miscarriages.

“You will need to plan in advance having a baby and be in consultation with several doctors before conception,” my doctor said to me a couple of months ago.

He also told me that I would likely need to take anti-coagulant medication during pregnancy. For now, he put me on daily baby aspirin and took me off of estrogen-based birth control pills. Being on those pills may be enough to give a woman with this disease a blood clot in the lungs, if she is unlucky—even worse, lead to death.

src: nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus

I was fortunate to have caught my APS due to a chance finding on a random coagulation blood panel years earlier and later, due to complications with another autoimmune disease: lupus. According to APS Foundation of America, Inc., 40 to 50 percent of patients with lupus also have APS.  With the sudden onset of a movement disorder, livedo reticularis, migraines and a family history of early strokes and heart attacks, the specialist was not at all surprised when the lab results for anticardiolipin antibodies came up positive.

I dutifully began taking my baby aspirin and embarked on what has now become my signature hunt for additional ways to treat this elusive illness.

Src: free-desktop-backgrounds.net

According to Medline Plus of the National Institutes of Health, there are a number of herbs and supplements that might slow blood clotting, including alfalfa, celery, chamomile, clove, garlic, ginger and licorice. Garlic thins blood by decreasing blood pressure and platelet aggregation, helping the blood to flow more easily and not clump. Aged garlic has been shown in studies to inhibit blood platelet adherence and aggregation. Ginger reduces inflammation and relaxes muscles surrounding the blood vessels, which may allow it to act as a blood thinner, according to LIVESTRONG.COM. An anti-inflammatory compound found in licorice was found to prevent platelet aggregation induced by thrombin, a key clot promoter.

Bromelain is a digestive enzyme found in pineapples that can help dissolve a blood clot, according to Glen P. Wilcoxson, M.D., director of the New Beginnings Medical Group in Alabama. It can be taken no sooner than a day after an initial stroke to prevent a second stroke. Wilcoxson recommends 1500 milligrams three times a day, between meals. Bromelain can also be continued on an ongoing basis as a preventative measure.

src: nutrihealth.in

Curcumin (tumeric) also plays a role as a blood thinner, stopping platelets from clumping together to form blood clots.  Sulfur compounds in onions have also been shown to have significantly more potent “anti-platelet aggregation action” than aspirin at nearly equivalent doses.”

Considerable levels of vitamin E have been linked with a 21 percent decrease in the risk of developing a blood clot, according to the Linus Pauling Institute. In the Women’s Health Study, there was also 21 percent reduction in risk of venous thromboembolism in women receiving vitamin E (400 mg) intervention. Some foods that are good sources of vitamin E include: carrots, spinach and avocados; walnuts, peanuts and hazelnuts; and olive, sunflower and safflower oils.

src: realage.com

Finally, essential fatty acids are also known to inhibit platelet formation. DPA (docosapentaeonic acid), an omega-6 fatty acid found in corn, as well as safflower and sunflower oils, was found to be a powerful inhibitor of platelet formation in several recent studies. Omega-3 fatty acids rich in alpha-linolenic acid, like flaxseed, were found in other studies to be even more effective at decreasing collagen-induced platelet aggregation.

Many of the above can interact with anticoagulant drugs and affect the bleeding of patients during surgery, so please use caution. As always, all supplements should be used with care and taken under the guidance of a knowledgeable doctor.

References:

Alternative Cures: The Most Effective Natural Home Remedies for 160 Health Problems by Bill Gottlieb. Rodale Books, March 2000.

List of Blood-thinning Foods by Erica Wickham, M.S., R.D., March 9, 2011 http://www.livestrong.com/article/323888-list-of-blood-thinning-foods/

Natural Thrombosis Prevention by Ronald Steriti, ND, PhD, 2002 http://www.naturdoctor.com/Chapters/Research/thrombosis_prevention.html

The Autoimmune Connection by Rita Baron-Faust and Jill P Buyon, M.D. McGraw-Hill, 2003.

Comments

  1. says

    Great advice as I am awaiting results for APS check.,, I suffered with Lupus in my 20s and was pretty bad… Worked very hard and got through it, and don’t like to say I have lupus ( call me in denial but I can tell you bed ridden to super healthy I, I had the upper hand )
    Recently in my just turned the corner 40, put on a few stones got lazy, no pain no rashes just very lethargic and terrible memory.., with catching colds every time someone passed me had to check myself and go doctors which I rarely do until recently..,

    Immune system low obviously…

    Anyway I am aware that my lack of exercise, my eating things that don’t agree, and not as positive as I used to be, for me is a fab recipe for going down under without having to catch a plane to get there. So totally working on it and importantly whatever results come back will opt for natural path…

  2. Sherrie says

    I see that spinach was cited as a vitamin E containing food, and that vitamin E helps with clotting. With Antiphospholipid Antibody Syndrome, my hematologist advised me to refrain from eating spinach because it contains too much vitamin K, which is not good for me or any patient who takes Coumadin (warfarin) to thin the blood.
    I do consume foods high in vitamin K rarely (spinach dip at parties) but I have to take one adult enteric coated aspirin (in addition to Coumadin) when I eat a high vitamin K food.
    I think those on other blood thinners will still be able to eat anything they wish, however.

    Thank You, Renee, for creating this very informative page for those of us out here who have difficulty finding natural therapies for our disease. ❤️

    • themindbodyshift says

      Hi Sherrie, if you already taking blood thinners, it’s absolutely best to eat leafy greens in limited moderation, if at all, as they naturally help thin the blood too.

      This article is more than 5 years old, so it definitely needs updating. Thanks for that reminder and for reading and sharing your knowledge! <3

  3. Mary says

    Hi Renee.Mary here.lived with asthma my life time latter developed sinuses even had a surgery now in late thirties. Have one child aged three.been trying for another but have had several miscarriages.Aps or antiphosfolipid syndrome is suspected and now i am out looking for interventions even fory daughter developing asthma and allergies.

    • themindbodyshift says

      Hi Mary, I’m so sorry to hear about your miscarriages. I’d definitely work with your doctors if they suspect APS. Were you specifically looking for allergy and asthma interventions as well? I’ve found diet to be crucial for helping to manage allergies and food sensitivities. Have you identified trigger(s) for your asthmatic and allergic responses?

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