Thursday, March 24, 2011

Neurontin-Here We Go Again

A recent Cochrane Report, embracing the use of Neurontin for Fibromyalgia is making noise in the medical profession. It apparently doesn’t matter that Neurontin has been largely abandoned by most doctors who treat fibromyalgia and by patients who have fibromyalgia. Once the side effects of Neurontin became well known and sales started to become compromised, Lyrica was released-same drug different name.

The Cochrane Report-
Gabapentin (Neurontin) for chronic neuropathic pain and fibromyalgia in adults
Antiepileptic drugs like gabapentin are commonly used for treating neuropathic pain, usually defined as pain due to damage to nerves. This would include postherpetic neuralgia (persistent pain experienced in an area previously affected by shingles), painful complications of diabetes, nerve injury pain, phantom limb pain, fibromyalgia and trigeminal neuralgia. This type of pain can be severe and long-lasting, is associated with lack of sleep, fatigue, and depression, and a reduced quality of life. 

In people with these conditions, gabapentin is associated with a moderate benefit (equivalent to at least 30% pain relief) in almost one in two patients (43%), and a substantial benefit (equivalent to at least 50% pain relief) in almost one in three (31%). 

Over half of those taking gabapentin for neuropathic pain will not have good pain relief, in common with most chronic pain conditions. Adverse events are experienced by about two-thirds of people taking gabapentin, mainly dizziness, somnolence (sleepiness), edema (swelling), and gait disturbance, but only about 1 in 10 (11%) have to stop the treatment because of these unpleasant side effects. Overall gabapentin provides pain relief of a high level in about a third of people who take it for painful neuropathic pain. Adverse events are frequent, but mostly tolerable. This review looked at evidence from 29 studies involving 3571 participants.

I have several issues with this drug:
It only works in about 30% of patients who take it-if you’re in the 30% group, great. Most folks with fibromyalgia won’t notice any pain relief. And two-thirds of patients taking the drug will have side effects. Please keep in mind that two-thirds is extremely conservative and the percentage of those who will experience side effects is realistically more like 75%-90%.
You can read more about the deceitful marketing campaign Pfizer orchestrated in their attempts to take a worthless drug and turn it into a multi-billion dollar block-buster seller-click link below-

In my experience of treating hundreds of patients who’ve tried Neurontin and Lyrica I find both drugs to be potentially dangerous, toxic and ineffective for fibromyalgia.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Do You Have Fibromyalgia or Chronic Fatigue Syndrome or Both

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) shares many similarities with FMS. Several studies have suggested that they are the same illness. One study comparing 50 CFS patients with 50 FMS patients showed the following symptoms to be the same for both groups: low-grade fever (28%), swollen lymph nodes (33%), rash (47%), cough (40%), and recurrent sore throat (54%). Another study comparing CFS patients with FMS patients showed that brain wave patterns, tender points, pain, and fatigue were virtually identical in both groups.

A 1997 study by Allen N. Tyler, MD, ND, DC, muddies the water even further. Ten patients, all of whom met the ACR criteria for FMS, were selected at random for blood testing. They were tested for influenza type-B antibodies, and three of the ten tested positive. Another randomly selected group of ten FMS patients (meeting all the ACR criteria) were tested for antibodies to influenza type-A. Nine of them tested positive.

Symptoms of CFS include-
mild fever
recurrent sore throat
painful lymph nodes
muscle weakness
muscle pain
migratory joint pain
prolonged fatigue after exercise
recurrent headaches
neurological or psychological complaints, such as:
excessive irritability
sensitivity to bright light
inability to concentrate
sleep disturbances

Due to weakened immunity, individuals with chronic fatigue have terrible problems with energy as well as recurring bouts with the flu, colds, sinusitis, and other immune problems. As with so many complex chronic illnesses, CFS may be aggravated by a wide variety of environmental and physiological challenges. Food allergies, environmental sensitivities (odors), heavy metal toxicity (mercury, aluminum, etc.), yeast overgrowth, parasites, and vitamin/mineral deficiencies can all contribute to CFS.

All of us have been exposed to mono or the Epstein-Barr virus (or other viruses) at one time or another (usually as teenagers), but our bodies are usually strong enough to overcome the exposure. We develop immunity to the virus. We carry the virus around inside of us until we die. Normally, this dormant virus never causes any more problems. It is kept in check by a healthy immune system.
Individuals with CFS aren’t able to squelch the normally dormant virus (or other bug), and it begins to raise its ugly head once again. Individuals with CFS may feel like they are walking around with the “flu from hell.” They have all the symptoms of a very bad case of the flu. But unlike most cases of the flu, CFS doesn’t disappear after one or two weeks.

A positive EBV panel is a clear indicator that someone has CFS. However, you don’t need a blood test to diagnose CFS. If you have chronic fatigue (hard to get out of bed each day), achy diffuse pain, chronic sore throats, and a lowered immune function (chronic infections), then you either have CFS or you’re at high risk of developing it.

The CFS patient usually has chronic infections (sinusitis, upper respiratory, urinary tract infections colds, flu, etc.) and is sick several times a year. He or she gets at least two bad infections a year. They will usually have chronic or intermittent sore throats, swollen lymph nodes, and periodic fevers. They usually ache all over. FMS patients may ache all over as well, but they usually have specific areas (neck, low back, etc.) that are the most troublesome.

Many CFS patients will also have a sluggish liver (more likely than in those with FMS). Clues that would lead you to suspect a sluggish liver include funny or negative reactions to medications (they take something to put them to sleep, and it wakes them up, or “a little goes a long way”); intolerance to caffeine, alcohol, or odors (the longer they’ve had the illness, the more sensitive they become to odors, perfumes, gasoline, smoke, cleaners, etc.); and a history of elevated liver enzymes on past blood work. Of course, anyone with hepatitis or fatty liver has a sluggish liver. Long-term prescription-medication therapies can also create a sluggish liver.

CFS patients are more likely than FMS patients to have a sluggish liver. Clues that would lead you to suspect you may have a sluggish liver include:
chemical sensitivities (see below)
funny or negative reactions to medications (you take something to put you to sleep but it wakes you up, or a little goes a long way)
intolerance of caffeine
intolerance of alcohol
intolerance of odors (the longer patients have had the illness, the more sensitive they become to odors, perfumes, gasoline, smoke, cleaners, etc.)
a history of elevated liver enzymes on past blood work.

CFS patients may have severe chemical sensitivities and may not be able to tolerate nutritional supplements. They may have allergic reactions to even the purest multivitamins. This complicates things. It is best to start slow, especially with individuals who have severe chemical sensitivities.

Individuals with fibromyalgia have a lot of similar symptoms of CFS but in general their immune system is not compromised-they don’t get chronic sore throats, and infections. A person can be a true fibromyalgia patient-poor sleep, chronic pain, etc. but intact immune function or a true CFS patient fatigue, achy pain, and KEY poor immune function. However patients can share symptoms of both of these illnesses and have both.
You can read more about fibromyalgia and CFS on my website

Friday, March 11, 2011

Does the Weather Affect Your Fibromyalgia Symptoms?

Fibromyalgia patients often report that changes in the weather affects many of their symptoms. Many fibromyalgia sufferers feel that their symptoms vary according to temperature changes, changes in air pressure, and changes in precipitation. Most fibromyalgia sufferers claim that they experience “flares” when the weather changes.
They may experience a worsening of their fibro symptoms including -

More pain
Poor sleep
Decreased moods
Low energy
Foggy thinking

Numerous studies have been conducted in order to evaluate whether or not fibromyalgia symptoms do appear to be influenced by changes in the weather. Most of these studies have had surprising results.

In 2002, a study was conducted in Cordoba, Argentina, where there are four distinct seasons every year. The study involved fibromyalgia sufferers and a healthy control group and aimed to find out whether pain symptoms could be linked to specific weather changes. Participants were asked to rate their pain symptoms on a scale from one to ten, every day for 12 months. After 12 months, these symptoms were correlated to weather patterns for the entire year.

Researchers found that pain symptoms of the participants with fibromyalgia correlated directly to weather changes. Specifically, pain increased as temperatures fell and atmospheric pressure increased. The healthy control group did not show any correlation between pain and weather patterns.

Another study performed in Norway found a similar relationship between fibromyalgia symptoms and the weather. Fibromyalgia symptoms appeared to get worse during the months of December and January, but began to improve during April and May. This suggests a direct relationship between colder temperatures and lower barometric pressures and a rise in fibromyalgia symptoms.

According to a study performed in 1981, a large percentage of fibromyalgia sufferers may actually be sensitive to changes in the weather. In this particular study, 90% of patients claimed that weather was one of the most important influences on their fibromyalgia symptoms.

Why Does Weather Affect Fibromyalgia Symptoms?

Unfortunately, researchers do not yet know why weather appears to affect fibromyalgia symptoms so much. However, here are a few possible explanations:

Change in Sleep Cycle: Weather, particularly hot and cold temperatures, can sometimes affect the way in which you sleep. This could have a great affect on symptoms and flares if you are a fibromyalgia sufferer.

Change in Circadian Rhythm: Your body operates using an internal clock known as the circadian rhythm. Changes in seasons and the amount of light that your body receives can throw off your circadian rhythm, causing you to feel fatigued and more achy then usual.

Pro-Inflammatory Cytokines: There does appear to be a relationship between low temperature levels and an increase in the number of pro-inflammatory cytokines in the body. These cytokines appear to be related to pain intensity.

Weather Factors That May Affect Fibromyalgia Sufferers?
There are five major weather factors that appear to affect fibromyalgia symptoms. These include:

Changes in Temperature: Rapid changes in temperature can sometimes trigger a fibromyalgia flare or help to ease fibromyalgia pain. Cold weather tends to make fibromyalgia symptoms worse, while warmer weather tends to ease those troublesome symptoms.

The Barometric Pressure: Barometric pressure is a measurement of the weight that is exerted by the air all around us. On beautiful sunny days, barometric pressure tends to be quite high, but during a storm or similar weather front, barometric pressure drops suddenly. Fibromyalgia sufferers often find that these changes in barometric pressure can trigger muscle aches and pains.

Increased Humidity: Absolute humidity is a measurement of the amount of water vapor present in each unit of air. When absolute humidity is low, fibromyalgia sufferers often report stiffness, and flares in widespread pain.

Precipitation: Precipitation is the term used to refer to any type of water that falls to the ground from the sky, including rain, sleet, snow, or hail. Precipitation is often accompanied by a change in barometric pressure, and therefore may exacerbate your symptoms of pain and fatigue.

Wind: Whether it’s a light wind or a gale-force wind, wind generally causes a decrease in barometric pressure. This means that wind can trigger fatigue, headaches, and muscle aches in fibromyalgia sufferers.

Do you have flares when the weather changes? How does changes in temperature affect you? What about storm fronts? I find that my patients with fibromyalgia can lessen their weather flares by building up their stress coping savings account and stress coping glands with my Fibromyalgia Jump Start Program.
Staying hydrated, drinking plenty of water, getting a consistent good night’s sleep, and reducing your overall-stress are crucial for reducing future flares. Making time for prayer, meditation, or stress reducing reflection are important health enhancing daily routines and should be incorporated into your daily routine.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Heartburn, Reflux, and Gerd

One estimate is that 40% of the US population has some degree of esophageal reflux, with 20% of adults complaining of weekly episodes of heartburn and 7–10% complaining of daily symptoms. Esophageal reflux occurs when the lower esophageal sphincter malfunctions, allowing the backward flow of acid, bile, and other contents from the stomach into the esophagus. Reflux can result from gastritis (inflammation of the stomach itself), peptic or duodenal ulcers, a hiatal hernia, or even the chronic use of NSAIDs.

GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease) can cause esophageal scarring or Barrett’s syndrome, a chronic esophageal irritation that causes normal cells to be replaced by precancerous ones. An endoscopy test is used to diagnose GERD. Conventional treatment usually involves H2 antagonists (such as Tagamet, Pepcid, Zantac, or Axid) and antacids (such as Tums or Maalox) as the first line of treatment. Proton-pump inhibitor drugs (such as Nexium, Prevacid, or Prilosec) might also be initiated.
are antacids the answer?

No! These medications block the absorption of nutrients like zinc, folic acid, B12, calcium, and iron. This can lead to fatigue, anemia, and depression. And long-term use of these medications can block all stomach acid. But your body needs acid! Here’s why:

The esophageal sphincter is stimulated to close by the release of stomach acids. Picture the esophageal sphincter as being a door that separates our esophagus (throat) from our stomachs. The door is opened by the food we take in and closed when the naturally occurring stomach acid is released. When there’s not enough acid present—because antacids have neutralized them—the esophageal sphincter may not close properly, allowing acid to travel back up into the esophagus and cause heartburn. Ironic, isn’t it? Antacids can actually make heartburn worse.

The stomach needs acid to break down proteins for digestion. No protein digestion means no amino acids. No amino acids means no neurotransmitters (serotonin, dopamine, norepinephrine, etc.). This can lead to all sorts of problems: including
intestinal permeability, anemia, fatigue, increased allergy disorders, depression, anxiety, and bacterial and yeast overgrowth.

An acidic environment is one of the body’s first lines of defense, destroying viruses, parasites, yeast, and bacteria.
protocol for low stomach acid
If you’re suffering from heartburn and you have FMS or CFS, low stomach acid is most likely the problem. Try these solutions rather than antacids:

Take a digestive enzyme with each meal. If you’ve been taking Nexium, Prevacid, Pepcid, Prevpac, Prilosec, Propulsid, Reglan, or Zantac for over three months, then you may have to stay on the medication as you begin the digestive enzyme. But many of my patients have found that they don’t need these prescription medications once they start taking a good high-potency digestive enzyme. Still, don’t discontinue any prescription medication without consulting your medical doctor first.
I recommend my patients use a potent 8X (double the strength of most) pancreatic digestive enzyme formula that utilizes USP porcine-derived high-potency pancreatin for reliable and consistent enzyme activity.

Consider supplementing with hydrochloric acid if the problem persists (see the next page). If this makes your heartburn worse, then you probably have enough stomach acid. Stop supplementing the HCl, and continue using digestive enzymes.

Avoid foods that can relax the esophageal sphincter and make heartburn, reflux, and GERD worse. These include fried, spicy, or fatty foods; carbonated drinks; citrus fruits; peppermint; chocolate; coffee; tea; alcohol; tomatoes; garlic; and onions.

Avoid lying down for at least three hours after you finish eating. When you do lie down, try elevating the head of your bed about six inches (to facilitate keeping the gastric contents in the stomach). You can also try sleeping on your side, which would remove pressure from the esophageal sphincter, helping to keep gastric contents from backing up into your esophagus.

Try to eat smaller meals, and more frequently (perhaps four or five in a day). 

Friday, March 4, 2011

Fibromyagia-Stress Coping Savings Account

We’re all born with a stress-coping “savings account” filled with chemicals—such as hormones, amino acids, and nutrients—that can be deposited and then withdrawn when needed. Depending on our genes, some of us have large accounts, and some of us have smaller ones. The more stress we’re under, the more withdrawals
We make. If we make more withdrawals than deposits, we get overdrawn, and poor health quickly follows. Individuals with fibromyalgia and/or CFS have bankrupted their stress-coping savings account.
Although some patients bankrupt their accounts with one overwhelming event, most experience a series of stressful events over the years. These events typically involve stressful jobs, marriages, family dynamics, surgeries, illnesses, loss of a loved one, divorce, financial failure, etc.

Many of my patients can remember the day when their account went belly-up. It might have been after a surgery or following the loss of a parent. Whatever happened, the person was never the same from that point on; she just couldn’t get well. My CFS patients often relate how they came down with a bad case of flu and just never completely got over it. Once these individuals get enough rest and stop making withdrawals, they may attempt to do something as mundane as sweep the kitchen floor only to be wiped out once again. And forget about grocery shopping! 
That could put them in bed for weeks.

FMS and CFS are the result of internal biochemical (hormonal, enzymatic, neuronal, and chemical) imbalances that manifest themselves as physical symptoms (pain, weakness, and mental impairment). So in order to right the homeostatic system, you must correct the underlying biochemical problems. Just like an onion, you peel away one layer at a time until you get to the core. But we’ll discuss these practical steps soon. For now, let’s make sure that you understand all of these “layers of the onion.” One of these is dysautonomia.

Dysautonomia is defined by Taber’s Cyclopedic Medical Dictionary as “a rare hereditary disease involving the autonomic nervous system with mental retardation, motor in coordination, vomiting, frequent infections, and convulsions.” But dysautonomia symptoms are usually nowhere near this severe. Dysautonomia patients are more likely to be suffering from mitral valve prolapse and neurally mediated hypotension (dizziness upon standing) than mental retardation and vomiting.

A better description, then, of dysautonomia would be a malfunction in the body’s master regulating (homeostasis) system, which—as you may recall from earlier chapters—is known as the autonomic nervous system or the HPA axis. The HPA axis (comprised of the hypothalamus, the pituitary gland, and the adrenal glands) controls millions of involuntary actions such as breathing, releasing of endocrine hormones, blood flow, smooth muscle tone, immune response, heartbeat, detoxification, and elimination. We don’t have to think about breathing; we just do it. We don’t try to pump blood through the heart and into the muscles; it is initiated and monitored by our HPA axis.

Normally all the systems in the body speak to and coordinate with one another. This is the essence of homeostasis. But when a person depletes her savings account of stress-coping chemicals, her HPA axis begins to self-destruct. This is dysautonomia. It’s as if the immune system starts to speak in Spanish, the endocrine system in German, the musculoskeletal system in Greek, and the digestive system in French! And when no one can communicate, chaos results!

Most of us can handle the ups and downs of our daily lives, even the occasional catastrophe. We dig in our heels, persevere, and eventually learn to cope. However, some individuals have an altered stress-coping system, which prevents them from managing daily stress. Human studies suggest that for some folks, the cumulative effects of physical, mental, chemical, or emotional burdens in early childhood may increase the affects of stress later in life. (It’s possible that the reason for his effect is an overstimulation or dysfunction of the HPA-axis). Retrospective studies show that the stress of emotional, physical, or sexual abuse during childhood also increases the future risk of developing certain symptoms, including many associated with FMS and CFS.

Apparently, for some children and adolescents, too many traumatic or stressful events decondition their normal homeostatic stress-coping abilities. Thus stress, particularly traumatic stress, early in life may alter the set point of their stress-response system. As they get older, have more responsibilities, and experience an increase in their daily stress, they often find their health beginning to suffer. They may start to have bouts of anxiety and depression, or perhaps they’re just tired all the time. They become extremely vulnerable to major stressors: the death of a loved one, chronic illness, invasive surgery, physical trauma, etc. Like a ticking time bomb, it’s only a matter of time before they explode.
This is especially true for those who have a genetic predisposition that makes them more susceptible to the ill effects of daily stress, including reduced serotonin levels. Some research has suggested that FMS/CFS patients may in fact by afflicted by this genetic abnormality.

Sadly, I find that many of my FMS and CFS patients have experienced physical, emotional, or sexual abuse as a child. Some patients report abuse from their spouse (sometimes physical but more often emotional). This stressful situation, though begun in adulthood, can still eventually deplete their stress-coping chemicals and lead to a state of disease.

The symptoms of fatigue, pain, poor sleep, poor digestion, irregular bowel movements, mental confusion, poor memory, anxiety, and depression are all warning signs that certain stress-coping chemicals (including vitamins, minerals, amino acids, essential fatty acids, and hormones) have become deficient. These deficiencies then complicate one another until the body’s homeostatic mechanism and 

HPA-axis become dysfunctional.
The final tick of the time bomb may be just another part of chronic daily stress, or it may be a sudden traumatic event like the birth of a new baby. I know I didn’t think I’d survive the first colic-plagued six months of my daughter’s life. And I’m extremely healthy! I pulled my weight and spent every other night walking and rocking my crying daughter into the early morning, and this is main reason it took another nine years before my wife could convince me to have another child!

It’s no wonder that many of my patients report that their fibromyalgia began after the birth of a child, often a firstborn. Anyone with children can relate to sleeping (if you can call it that) with one eye and two ears open, making sure the baby is breathing. Or how about trying to sleep without moving so that you don’t wake the baby up? Then there’s the endless nights of breast and bottle feedings, diaper changes at two in the morning, and the early morning piercing cry: “I’m awake, folks!” It’s enough to bankrupt anyone’s stress-coping savings account! Whew! Let’s move on.
we are all born with a stress-coping savings account filled up with chemicals we need for the body to work properly. These chemicals—serotonin, dopamine, norepinephrine, cortisol, DHEA, HGH, and others—help us deal with stress.

Every time we are exposed to stress (chemically, emotionally, mentally, or physically), we make withdrawals from our stress-coping savings account. These withdrawals can be triggered by any stimulus, including sounds (especially loud or irritating noise), odors, and bright light. You may have noticed that the longer you’ve had your illness, the less tolerant you are to certain odors, chemicals, or noises.

Emotionally stressful situations cause the body to release adrenaline, cortisol, and insulin, and these stress hormones stimulate the brain to secrete serotonin. Long-term stress and poor dietary habits can therefore deplete the body’s serotonin stores. If we aren’t careful we’ll find that we are making more withdrawals than deposits, bankrupting our own account. And when we do, FMS and CFS are often the result.

But when a person enters deep, restorative sleep, she makes more serotonin, which then gets deposited into her stress-coping savings account. The more stress a person is under, the more serotonin she’ll need to replenish. It’s a vicious cycle. If she doesn’t have enough serotonin, she won’t be able to go into the stage of sleep in which she is able to make more serotonin!
solving your serotonin problem

The first reaction of many physicians to a patient’s serotonin deficiency is to recommend a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) drug. But while prescription antidepressants can be helpful, they have some serious potential side effects (see chapter 6). In addition, they tend not to work for FMS patients. And here’s why: SSRIs can help a patient hang onto and use their naturally occurring stores of serotonin. They work like a gasoline additive would work in your car, helping to increase the efficiency of “fuel.” But most of the patients I see with fibromyalgia are running on fumes! A gasoline additive is not likely to help. If you don’t have any serotonin to re-uptake, then using a serotonin re-uptake inhibitor drug is pointless.

And by pointless, I mean exactly that. It’s money thrown away. In fact, depending on which study you quote, from 19% to 70% of those taking antidepressant medications would do just as well on a placebo. 
This is precisely why I recommend that my fibromyalgia patients boost their serotonin levels by taking 5-HTP, not an antidepressant. Why put an additive in your gas tank...when you can just fill it up with what it’s really thirsty for? The proper function of our adrenal glands is second only to a good night’s sleep in winning the battle against fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome.

The importance of restoring optimal adrenal gland function can’t be overstated. An individual with FMS or CFS who suffers from adrenal fatigue will find her stress-coping abilities to be severely depleted. Simply put, she “stresses out” easily. Consequently, she has to avoid stressful situations in order to just feel OK (which makes for complicated relationships). Stress causes her physical pain, worsens her other symptoms, and can cause a flare-up that lasts well beyond the time of the stressful incident.
If she has a day when she feel good, she’ll usually overdo it. Her reason? “I’ve got so much to do! And who knows when I’ll feel good again.” So she cleans the house, stays late at work, re-sods the front yard, goes Christmas shopping, and plays outside with the kids. Then she crashes—hard—the next day. 

She just doesn’t have any resistance to stress. If her sister calls at 9:00 p.m. with some bad news, she can just forget about sleeping. And of course she’ll feel terrible the next day, so she can go ahead and cancel that lunch date. “But how can I cancel on my friend again? She already thinks I’m avoiding her!” She just can’t make any firm plans, because she never knows if she’ll be having a good or bad day. Below are some sample accounts from patients of mine who have suffered from adrenal fatigue. Does any of it sound familiar?

Adrenal fatigue is already known to cause many of the same problems associated with CFS/FMS, such as muscle or joint pain, dizziness, fatigue, decreased mental acuity, low body temperature, a compromised immune system, depression, constipation, diarrhea, and abdominal pain.

For the past 14 years, I’ve successfully treated thousands of patients with high does of certain vitamins, minerals, amino acids, and other nutrients—an approach known as orthomolecular medicine (see ch. 7). It’s based solely on biochemistry, using the right chemicals inherently natural to your body’s optimal functioning.

In short, by using the natural building blocks that make up your normal biochemistry, we can correct, drastically improve, or even reverse the cause of your illness. Nutrients— including vitamins, minerals, and amino acids—make the hormones that regulate your body. They compose every essential chemical in the body, including thyroid hormone, testosterone, estrogen, neurotransmitters (serotonin, norepinephrine, etc.), antibodies, adrenaline, cortisol, and white blood cells.

Unlike with drug therapy, there is never any danger in getting healthy. Once you become familiar with my protocols, you’ll realize that they’re safer and often more effective than drug therapy alone. And they often work quickly, having a person feel better than she has in years.

I’ve found that it’s best to start with the following core nutrients, which I call the Jump-Start Package. The supplements in this package are essential for reversing fibromyalgia and CFS symptoms, and they don’t take a lot of measuring, counting, or reorganizing of your medicine cabinet. Ninety-nine percent of the time, I start my pain-and-fatigue patients on the four pillars of the Jump-Start Program from day one: 5-HTP, adrenal cortex, digestive enzymes, and an optimal daily dose multivitamin and mineral formula.

When my patients begin the jump-start package, they consistently report feeling better within 2–4 weeks. 
That’s because these supplements help address the core issues of fibromyalgia and CFS. I call these the four pillars, and we begin them all at the same time.
1. 5-htp
This builds serotonin and promotes deep restorative sleep, the most important step in beating fibromyalgia and CFS. See chapter 10 to read all about it, including what to do if it doesn’t seem to be working for you.

2. Adrenal cortex
Once you get sleeping well and restore you serotonin levels, you should start feeling better than you have in years. However, if you don’t repair your sluggish adrenal glands, you’ll crash every time you attempt to overdo it. I know you can relate to having a day or two when you feel good and then overtaxing yourself only to “flare up” again and end up in bed for several days. Supplementing with adrenal cortex (500 mg. daily divided into two doses) and/or other supplements that help the adrenal gland repair itself is a crucial step towards avoiding these flare-ups. Check out chapter 11 again if you’re not convinced.

3. Digestive enzymes
The majority of my patients are suffering from poor digestion, and most are taking antacids or proton-pump inhibiting medicines to block their stomach acids. As I’ve already discussed, this can cause further nutritional deficiencies. If you’re not breaking down and assimilating the nutrients in your foods or the supplements your taking, you’ll be wasting your money and never feel as good as you could. That’s why I recommend that all of my patients take an 8X pancreatic digestive enzyme—or betaine HCl with pepsin enzyme—with each meal. Read more in chapter 12.

4. The CFS/Fibro formula
I’ve already established the important roles vitamins, minerals, essential fatty acids, and amino acids play in reversing many of the most troubling symptoms of fibromyalgia and CFS. After working with fibromyalgia and CFS patients for over a decade, I’m firmly convinced that without taking a good optimal daily allowance multivitamin-and-mineral formula similar to the one I’ve developed, patients are doomed to a life-long battle with poor health. Chapters 26–29 will give you more details about the ingredients in the CFS/Fibro Formula.

The CFS/Fibro Formula is taken as one pack with food, twice a day. I’ve designed what I consider to be (and which has proved itself to be) the best on the market, if I do say so myself.
get jumping

This Jump-Start Package is the place to begin in your journey to wellness. Start here, and give yourself some time to improve. As your stress-coping savings account builds up for a couple of weeks, you should definitely feel better. Some of you will show a dramatic improvement. You won’t be totally well yet, and you might never feel like you did when you were 20. But you shouldn’t have to suffer like you have been.