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This page covers the following:

Should I take supplements?

Most of your body’s vitamin and mineral requirements should be met by a healthy and balanced diet. An autoimmune disease, however, as well as the treatments provided for it, can put the nutritional demands of your body under strain.


There is mixed scientific evidence for taking supplements. We cannot recommend any specific additions to an otherwise healthy diet but some supplements are often reported by patients as resulting in positive outcomes.


However, you should ALWAYS check that any supplement you select isn’t harmful and that it doesn’t interact with any medication you take. Not all dietary supplements are good for you and we are all unique.


Here we discuss a few of the supplements that we are aware of. It is not an exhaustive list, but we hope to mention some of the diet supplements that we regularly hear of from other patients.


Some additions to your diet are important for controlling the side effects caused by the drug regime you are following. Your Health Care Practitioner should advise on these requirements when they prescribe.


Some supplements are also thought to be helpful in managing the consequences of your pemphigoid or pemphigus and you may choose to add these to your diet. Do check with your doctor if you have any questions or concerns about the possible effects of either a deficiency or an excess of any specific supplement. Don’t forget that not all are good for everyone and may interact with other drugs.


What should I take to counteract side effects of my drugs?

Steroids carry many side-effects and your doctor will often prescribe other drugs to counteract these. One very important addition is calcium accompanied by vitamin D3, which facilitates the absorption of the calcium into your bones.


A drug frequently prescribed as a steroid sparing immunosuppressant is Methotrexate and this is usually supplemented by Folic Acid to reduce the negative effects it can produce.


What additions to my diet might help with my disease?

Please check the daily recommended levels and also any interactions or specific health issues when you consider adding these to your regular diet.

Should I take supplements?
What should I take to counteract side effects of my drugs?
What additions to my diet might help with my disease?


Patients taking steroids are usually prescribed calcium with vitamin D3, unless you have problems with calcium absorption

Vitamin D

Helps the body absorb calcium. Sunshine helps produce vitamin D in the body naturally


Vitamin B3 or Niacin and often prescribed by your Dermatologist to counteract inflammation


Helps heal wounds and plays an important role in the immune system, reproduction, growth, taste, vision, and smell, blood clotting, and proper insulin and thyroid function


Important for healthy bones and has been cited as helping reduce aches and pains when reducing steroid levels. Also associated with helping to reduce inflammation

Vitamin K

Helps build bones, with wound healing and also has anti-inflammatory properties. May be harmful if taken with warfarin or for people with kidney disease

PEM Friends does not endorse any of the items shown above. These items have been suggested by individual members because they have found them useful.

How can I take the supplements?
How much supplement should I take?

Further information on vitamins can be found on the NHS website.

The International Pemphigus and Pemphigoid Foundation also have information about supplements including this paper and a Patient Education Webinar recording by Dr Victoria Werth MD on the topic given on 3rd August 2023.

How much supplement should I take?

Do check the recommended daily dose, but everyone is different and these amounts tend to be on the higher side rather than an average. With some supplements, it is possible to take more than your body can absorb and, in some cases, excess can be harmful so read the instructions on dosage very carefully.


How can I take the supplements?

Some in tablet or liquid form to be ingested, some can be smoothed on the skin and absorbed, some are in oil to be dropped under the tongue. Some doctors recommend taking supplements with a meal – rather than before or after the meal.

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