Dr. Jacob Teitelbaum's Column
...expert advice on CFS, Fibromyalgia and other Health Topics.
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Monday, August 15th, 2011:
Top 10 Nutritional Supplements for CFS & FibromyalgiaTop 10 Nutritional Supplements for CFS & Fibromyalgia
by Jacob Teitelbaum MD
There are many treatments that can help chronic fatigue syndrome and fibromyalgia, and most are encompassed by my SHINE protocol, which addresses sleep, hormones, infections, nutrition and exercise. One important feature of SHINE is the use of targeted nutritional supplements, and there are many of them. Over the years, people have often asked me for a list of my top 10 supplements — the ones to take if you don't have the money, time or inclination to take more than a few and you'd like to be able choose those that give you the most "bang for the buck." Below I've listed my favorite 10 supplements, along with brief descriptions of each. I've also included several supplements that are excellent for other health problems, such as heartburn and osteoporosis.
1. Energy Revitalization System vitamin powder (Enzymatic Therapy). One daily scoop of this supplement replaces over 35 tablets of supplements — talk about saving money and time! Use 1/2 to 1 scoop a day — whatever feels best to you. Blend it with milk, juice, water or yogurt — as you prefer. (Folks with blood sugar problems might want to skip the juice.) If the supplement seems to trigger gas or stomach upset, mix the powder with milk and start at a lower dose, working your way up to the dose that feels best. Or divide the dose into smaller doses, taking it 2 to 3 times a day. I formulated this product, which is available from Enzymatic Therapy and is available on our website and in most health food stores.
2. D-Ribose (Corvalen) (BioEnergy Labs). Ribose supplies the substrate of ATP, the body's main fuel. Use 1 scoop (5 gm) of powder, 3 times a day, for 3 weeks, then 2 times a day. (If you find the supplement too energizing, take it with food, or lower the dose.) Most people see a boost in energy within 2 to 3 weeks of starting the supplement, and sometimes the first day. A recent and very positive development: in our study of 257 patients with CFS/FMS, conducted at 53 health centers, those who took ribose saw a 61% average increase in energy after just three weeks. We've submitted the study for publication in a medical journal.
3. Revitalizing Sleep Formula (Enzymatic Therapy). This formula includes: Valerian, 200 milligrams (mg); Passion Flower, 90 mg; L-Theanine, 50 mg; Hops, 30 mg; Piscidia, 12 mg; and Wild Lettuce, 28 mg. Take 2 to 4 capsules every night, 30 to 90 minutes before bedtime. You can also take it during the day for anxiety. Don't take more than 8 capsules a day. If the valerian energizes rather than relaxes you (which occurs in 5 to 10% of those who take it), take the other components of the formula as separate supplements. Sleep Tonight is another sleep formula I like from Enzymatic Therapy. It's particularly helpful in people who feel wide awake at bedtime, a problem often caused by levels of the adrenal hormone cortisol that are too high at night, even if they're too low during the day. You can take it with the Revitalizing Sleep Formula. You'll know if it these 2 herbal mixes are helping within 2 or 3 days — and usually after the first night of use. They can be taken together and also along with other sleep medications.
4. Acidophilus Pearls Elite (Enzymatic Therapy). This probiotic supplement of "friendly" acidophilus bacteria delivers five times more probiotics than an earlier version of the pearls — which means you only have to take 1 a day, rather than 5, saving you time and money. Probiotics that aren't in "pearl" form are doomed: 99% of them are destroyed by stomach acid before they ever reach your intestines, their site of therapeutic action.
5. Anti-Yeast (NutriElements). This is an excellent mix of natural antifungals. Take it 2 times a day for 3 to 5 months.
6. Adrenal Stress End (Enzymatic Therapy). This mix of adrenal glandulars, licorice and other key nutrients provides outstanding adrenal support. Take 1 to 2 capsules every morning (or 1 to 2 in the morning and 1 at noon).
7. Tri-Iodine (EuroPharma). As I recently wrote in my new book, Real Cause, Real Cure, the intake of iodine has dropped by around 50% in the last 30 years, mostly because flour is now fortified with bromine rather than iodine. In fact, bromine and other chemically related compounds added to food and water (the halides chlorine and fluorine) may actually block iodine. The result: a little-recognized but very important recurring epidemic of iodine deficiency. And since iodine's main role is to manufacture thyroid hormones, an accompanying epidemic is hypothyroidism. Iodine deficiency also is a common trigger for breast tenderness and fibrocystic breast disease, and I routinely use Tri-Iodine in women with these problems. It's also low in women with breast cancer, and I routinely supplement the diets of my patients who have breast cancer with 6.25 to 12.5 mg daily.
A one-month trial of Tri-Iodine will be enough to tell if it's going to help you feel better. You can take either 6.25 mg or 12.5 mg capsules. However, don't take more than 12.5 mg a day unless you are doing so under a physician's supervision. And if you develop acne or indigestion after starting the supplement, stop taking it or lower the dose.
Pain — Two Outstanding Herbal Mixes
8. End Pain (Enzymatic Therapy) or End Fatigue Pain Formula (Integrative Therapeutics). I developed both of these formulas. Each of them contains willow bark, boswellia and cherry. Take 2 tabs, 3 times a day. It takes 2 to 6 weeks to see the full effect. Once you do, you may find that you can lower the dose to 1 tab, 2 or 3 times a day (or as needed).
9. Curamin (EuroPharma). This is a new and excellent natural remedy for pain. It contains boswellia, nattokinase and DLPA. But most importantly it contains curcumin, a powerful anti-inflammatory agent derived from the Indian spice turmeric (which gives curry its yellow color). The problem with curcumin is that it's hard to absorb. Curamin solves that problem, by using a form of the compound (BCM-95) that is absorbed seven times better than 95% pure curcumin. Curamin works very well in combination with End Pain. The standard dose is 1 capsule, 2 to 3 times a day. For those with fibromyalgia, it's more effective to start with 2 capsules, 3 times a day for 6 weeks. Then return to the standard dose.
Chronic Sinusitis/Nasal Congestion
10. Silver Nose Spray. Use 5 to 10 sprays in each nostril, three times a day, for 7 to 14 days, until the sinusitis resolves. If your doctor will prescribe it, I strongly recommend adding the Sinusitis Nose Spray (available from ITC Pharmacy; your doctor can call 303-663-4224 or 888 349 5453).
Supplements for Specific Problems
The above supplements are helpful for most people with CFS or fibromyalgia. The items below are helpful only if you have the specific problem listed.
Osteoporosis or Osteopenia (Loss of Bone Density)
OsteoStrong plus Strontium (both by EuroPharma). This combination of products is outstanding for building bone density. The latter contains the mineral strontium, which studies show is 170% more effective than the drug Fosamax for building strong bones — and a whole lot safer and more affordable. OsteoStrong contains bone-builders like vitamin D, calcium, vitamin K and magnesium. One caveat: strontium may be better absorbed when it’s taken apart from calcium, so some people prefer taking strontium-free OsteoStrong (Europharma) at bedtime, along with 340 to 680 mg of strontium in the morning. Also, don’t take calcium-containing products within 2 hours of taking thyroid medication.
Chol-Less (Nutri Elements). This natural mix of cholesterol-lowering herbs is excellent for optimizing cholesterol levels. Take 3 capsules daily, and give it 6 weeks to take effect. You can take it with a cholesterol-lowering drug statin drug like Mevacor. And if you do take a statin (which can severely flare fibromyalgia), I strongly recommend you take 200 to 400 mg a day of coenzyme Q10, which helps protect muscles.
Heartburn, Indigestion or Refux
CompleteGest Digestive Enzymes (Enzymatic Therapy). This product is an excellent addition to a regimen to treat and resolve heartburn. Take 2 capsules with every meal to help digest your food properly. (For more detailed information on getting off health-hurting acid blockers like Prilosec, see How to Get Off Acid Blockers — Naturally.) Other good techniques include: Sip warm liquids with meals instead of drinking cold water (digestive enzymes work poorly at cold temperatures). Take a minute to relax before eating. Chew your food well. Eliminate or minimize coffee (including decaf), aspirin and/or alcohol — all of which can worsen heartburn and indigestion.
There are several other good natural products for heartburn and indigestion:
- Mastic Gum (Allergy Research Group). Take 2, 500 mg capsules 2 times a day for 2 months, then as needed.
- Advanced Heartburn Relief (Europharma). It contains limonene, which can knock out infections that cause indigestion.
- Gut Soothe (DGL Licorice) (EuroPharma). This helps heal your stomach.
We will discuss new indigestion treatments in an upcoming article.
Calming Balance (Health Freedom Nutrition). This formula is outstanding for anxiety, and its effect increases with 1 to 4 weeks of use. It contains 500 mg of vitamin B1, as well as other B vitamins, passion flower, theanine, magnolia and magnesium. Take 1 to 3 caps, 1 to 3 times a day.
Used with permission from Dr Jacob Teitelbaum's free newsletters-available at www.Vitality101.com
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