Monday, June 25, 2012

Why Is My Serotonin Level So Low?

Emotionally stressful situations cause the body to release adrenaline, cortisol, and insulin. These stress hormones stimulate the brain to secrete serotonin. The more stress, the more serotonin needed to deal with the stress. Long-term stress, along with poor dietary habits, can deplete the body’s serotonin stores. Stress can also deplete the body of magnesium (a common occurrence in FMS and CFS patients), B6, dopamine, norepinephrine, and GABA.

Stimulants like caffeine, diet pills, sugar, and nicotine cause a rapid rise in blood-insulin levels. This is followed by the brain’s release of serotonin. Serotonin helps a person feel better and think clearer, but only temporarily. A stimulant high is always followed by a low. This then leads to further use of stimulants to keep serotonin levels high, and an addiction is created. People become dependent on stimulates to help raise serotonin levels, and this addictive process causes further depletion of serotonin.

Low thyroid function is associated with stress, depression, anxiety, and fatigue, because thyroid hormones help regulate concentration, mental clarity, moods, and proper brain chemistry. The thyroid hormone triiodothyronine (T3) regulates the levels and actions of serotonin, norepinephrine, and gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA). Serotonin is decreased when T3 levels are deficient, which is more common than might be suspected. So if you suffer from depression, be sure to investigate your thyroid as a possible cause.

Stress is the catalyst for fibromyalgia, I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again and again. Stress depletes the happy hormone serotonin which then brings on the poor sleep, pain, low moods, and IBS associated with fibromyalgia. Obviously restoring optimal serotonin levels is crucial for reversing these fibromyalgia symptoms.

See my previous blog on Fibromyalgia and Brain Function Questionnaire

Friday, June 22, 2012

Fibromyagia-Less Stress With a Healthy Diet

The way to reverse fibromyalgia is to get healthy! Traditional medicine and drug therapy doesn't work. Drugs don't make healthy. Changing your diet, moving away from overly processed nutrient depleted foods will help restore your optimal health. Will eating healthy reverse your fibro symptoms in a week or two? No it won't. This is why I recommend nutraceuticals or high doses of certain vitamins, minerals, amino acids, and other natural supplements to restore the damage stress, fibro, drugs, and poor health has caused.

However eating a healthy diet will begin to take the stress off of your already stressed out fibromyalgia assaulted body. Stress is the catalyst for fibromyalgia and anything you can do to lower your intake of stress and build up both your stress coping chemicals and resistance,  the better.

• A healthy diet is based on fresh, unprocessed plants (fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds) which can be made into a variety of delicious recipes (raw food chefs are especially good at this craft).

• Minimizes consumption of meat or animal products (including dairy)-a little goes a long way, moderation is the key.

• Avoid virtually all processed, manufactured foods and beverages, or only uses them sparingly. Soda pop isn’t a food-it’s a liquid health hazard. Less is best. Eat real food.

• Consists of a wide variety of different foods so that phytonutrient diversity is high, providing consumers with a steady supply of plant-based medicine that prevents disease.

Phytonutrients are the active  health enhancing chemicals found in fruits and vegetables.

• Includes substantial time outdoors, in nature, where vitamin D can be created and stored in the body.

• Minimizes or eliminates all refined sugars and carbohydrates (like white flour). Avoid white foods-sugar, white bread, and white potatoes.

• Eliminates GMOs from the food supply in order to avoid the health damage caused by GM foods.

• Minimizes consumption of foods sprayed with chemical pesticides or fungicides. This not only helps prevent disease caused by such chemicals; it also protects the environment from chemical contamination. Try to eat as much organic food as possible.

• Stay hydrated drink plenty of clean water (while avoiding dubious liquids such as sodas and sports drinks). Our bodies are 75% water. I recommend drinking half your weight in water each day.

• Take nutritional supplements to correct nutritional imbalances or deficiencies. Everyone should be taking a good optimal daily allowance multivitamin on a daily basis-this includes your children.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Fibromyalgia and Low Moods

See which brain chemicals (neurotransmitters) you may be low in by taking the quiz below…

The “S” Group – Serotonin

Please mark the items which apply to your present feelings:

__ It’s hard for you to go to sleep.

__You can’t stay asleep.

__You often find yourself irritable.

__Your emotions often lack rationality.

__You occasionally experience unexplained tears.

__Noise bothers you more than it used to.  It seems louder than normal.

__You “flare up” at others more easily than you used to.

__You experience unprovoked anger.

__You feel depressed much of the time.

__You find you are more susceptible to pain.

__You prefer to be left alone.

If three or more of the above apply, then read below.

The “S” group – Serotonin is a hypothalamus neurotransmitter which is necessary for sleep to occur.   A lack of serotonin causes difficulty in getting to sleep, as well as staying asleep.  It is often this lack of sleep that causes the symptoms mentioned above.

Serotonin levels can easily be raised by supplementing with the essential amino acid, L- 5 Hydroxytryptophan (5HTP), a form of Tryptophan, which is available over-the-counter and works extremely well for most patients.

The higher your serotonin the less pain you have.

The higher your serotonin the deeper your sleep-5htp raises your natural sleep hormone by 200 percent.

The higher your serotonin the happier, less anxious you are.

The higher your serotonin the less likely you are to have IBS.

Supplementing with 5HTP – Start with taking 50 mg. 30 minutes before bed.  Take on an empty stomach, along with 4 oz. of juice (apple or grape).  You may need to increase this dose, up to 200 mg. per night.  You should fall asleep fairly quickly and sleep through the night, possibly waking only once to use the bathroom.  If you do wake for the bathroom, you should be able to fall asleep quickly afterwards.  If you feel hung over the next day, decrease your dose of 5HTP, it should not cause ANY “hang over” effects.

Warning – a few individuals who attempt to take 5HTP at night will have an adverse reaction.  (These are the same people that usually have adverse reactions to NyQuil and other over the counter medications that usually cause drowsiness.)  Individuals with a sluggish liver may have trouble breaking down 5HTP fast enough.  Instead of making them sleepy, it revs them up and they become mentally alert.  If this happens, simply take 1 or 2 5HTP tablets with food 1 or 2 times a day instead of at night time on an empty stomach.

Natural weight loss and increased energy are side benefits of 5HTP!!!

The “O” Group – Opioids

Please mark the items which apply to your present feelings:

__Your life seems incomplete.

__You feel shy with all but your close friends.

__You have feelings of insecurity.

__You often feel unequal to others.

__When things go right, you sometimes feel undeserving.

__You feel something is missing in your life.

__You occasionally feel a low self-worth or esteem.

__You feel inadequate as a person.

__You frequently feel fearful when there is nothing to fear.

If three or more of the above apply, then read below.

The “O” Group is named for the opioid neurotransmitters contained in the hypothalamus gland.  Opioids are released in small bursts when we feel a sense of urgency (stress).  Some individuals thrive on this sense of urgency.  They love just meeting deadlines, racing around to get things done. They seem to feed off of this adrenaline rush.  A sense of urgency can help us get out of bed in the morning or get the kids off to school.  However, if you can never turn this sense of urgency off, you’ll eventually deplete the opioids along with other vital hormones including cortisol and DHEA.

As a way to turn off the constant mind chatter,  those in the “O Group” use stimulants and mind numbing chemicals (alcohol, marijuana, food, etc.) to escape the constant pressure they place on themselves to be more, do more, and have more.  Type A’s are often overcome by opioid burn out.  They cannot sit still.  Until one day the bottom falls out and they “just can’t do it anymore”.

Alcohol and other chemicals can temporarily relieve the anxious feelings associated with opioid overload.  They do so by providing artificial opioids.  Unfortunately, these artificial opioids also cause the opioid manufacturing cells in your brain to reduce their output.  In the long run these cells lose their ability to produce the needed opioid neurotransmitters.  You then crave the artificial opioids and an addiction has been born.  (Opioid comes from the word opium.)

When you exercise, your body causes extra quantities of the opioids to be released,

takes away the pain of sore muscles and may provide a feeling of euphoria.  Long           

distance runners and other avid exercise enthusiasts are well aware of the “the high” that comes from pushing the body past its normal limits.  The opioids play an important role in pain modulation.  A deficiency of opioids can lower our pain threshold.  A lowered pain threshold means being more sensitive to painful stimuli.

DL-Phenylalanine (a special form of the amino acid phenylalanine) can be extremely helpful in restoring proper opioid levels.

Supplementing with DL-Phenylalanine – Start with 1000 mg, 1 to 2 times daily, on an empty stomach.  If you don’t seem to notice any benefits, keep increasing the dose up to 4000 mg., twice daily.  If you experience a rapid heartbeat, agitation or hyperactivity, reduce or stop taking DL- Phenylalanine.  L-Glutamine increases the effectiveness of both DL and L-Phenylalanine.  Take 500 mg of L-Glutamine 1 to 2 times a day on an empty stomach along with the Phenylalanine.  Both DL and L-Phenylalanine can increase blood pressure.  If you already have high blood pressure, consult your doctor before taking either form of Phenylalanine.  It can also be stimulating and should not be taken after 3PM.

This vicious cycle can also affect your adrenal glands.  Extended periods of stress, caffeine and not enough sleep burn out our adrenals, which some people call our “life force”.  An adrenal glandular or herbs for gland support will help to support and rebuild the adrenals.

The “G” Group – (Anti-anxiety Amino Acids)

Please mark the items which apply to your present feelings:

__You often feel anxious for no reason.

__You sometimes feel “free floating” anxiety.

__You frequently feel “edgy” and it’s difficult to relax.

__You often feel a “knot” in your stomach.

__Falling asleep is sometimes difficult.

__It’s hard to turn your mind off when you want to relax.

__You occasionally experience feelings of panic for no reason.

__You often use alcohol or other sedatives to calm down.

If three or more of the above apply, then read below.

The “G” group symptoms are from the absence of the neurotransmitter, Gamma Amine Butyric Acid (GABA).  GABA is an important neurotransmitter involved in regulating moods and mental clarity.  Tranquilizers used to treat anxiety and panic disorders work by increasing the GABA.  GABA is made from the amino acid, glutamine.  Glutamine passes across the blood brain barrier and helps provide the necessary fuel needed for proper brain function.  A shortage of L-Glutamine can reduce IQ levels.  L-Glutamine supplementation has been shown to increase IQ levels in some mentally deficient children.  L-Glutamine is brain fuel.  It feeds the brain cells, allowing them to fire on all cylinders.  A deficiency in L-Glutamine can result in “foggy thinking” and fatigue.

Individuals with “fibro fog” may benefit tremendously from this essential amino acid.  The QXCI shows GABA helpful for “the electrical storms in the brain”, sometimes confused with ADD and ADHD, when it may simply be a amino acid deficiency.  Even a small shortage of L-Glutamine will produce unwarranted feelings of insecurity and anxiousness.  Other symptoms include continual fatigue, depression, and occasionally impotence.

Supplementing with GABA – Usually only a small dose of GABA is needed, 500 or 1000 mg, twice daily.  Some individuals may need to take GABA 3 or 4 times a day.  Like most amino acids , GABA needs to be taken on an empty stomach.

Don’t mistake glutamine for monosodium glutamate (MSG).  MSG can also pass by the blood brain barrier and can cause many health problems, including headaches, short term memory loss, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, and dementia.  MSG is a fake amino acid, with the same chemical structure as glutamine.  Your brain cells don’t know the difference and will uptake MSG, especially when it is prevalent in the body (because of our foods) and glutamine is lacking.  If the “G” group applies to you, be sure to avoid all MSG products while supplementing with GABA.  See attached page for additional MSG information.

The “D” Group – Dopamine

Please mark the items which apply to your present feelings:

__You lack pleasure in your life.

__You feel there are no real rewards in life.

__You have unexplained lack of concern for others, even loved ones.

__You experience decreased parental feelings.

__Life seems less “colorful”or “flavorful”.

__Things that used to be “fun”, aren’t any longer enjoyable.

__You have become a less spiritual or socially concerned person.

If three or more of the above apply, then read below.

The “D” Group – Dopamine is a neurotransmitter associated with the enjoyment of life, food, arts, nature, your family, friends, hobbies, and other pleasures.  Dopamine is considered the “happy amino acid”.   The popularity of cocaine (or chocolate) stems from the fact that it causes very high levels of dopamine to be released in a sudden rush.  This creates a euphoric state.  A dopamine deficiency can lead to a condition known as anhedonia.

Anhedonia is the lack of ability to feel any pleasure or remorse in life (lifeless).  It also reduces the person’s attention span.  For example, a person who has taken cocaine for some time will have used up most of his or her dopamine supply.  Their attention span is often reduced to 2 or 3 minutes instead of the usual 50 to 60 minutes.  Learning, for such a person, is nearly impossible.

Brain fatigue, confusion, and lethargy are all byproducts of low dopamine.  The brain cells which “manufacture” dopamine use the amino acid L-Phenylalanine as the raw material.  Like most cells in the hypothalamus, they have the ability to produce 4 or 5 times their usual output if larger quantities of the raw materials (amino acids and their co-factors) are made available through nutritional supplementation.

Supplementing with L-Phenylalanine – same as with “O” group

The “N” Group – Noriepinephrine

Please note the items which apply to your present feelings:

__You suffer from a lack of energy.

__You often find it difficult to “get going”.

__You suffer from decreased drive.

__You often start projects and then don’t finish them.

__You frequently feel a need to sleep or “hibernate”.

__You feel depressed a good deal of the time.

__You occasionally feel paranoid.

__Your survival seems threatened.

__You are bored a great deal of the time.

If three or more of the above apply, then read below.

The “N” Group – The neurotransmitter Norepinephrine, when released in the brain, causes feelings of arousal, energy, and drive.  On the other hand, a short supply of it will cause feelings of a lack of ambition, drive and energy.  It can even cause depression, paranoia, and feelings of apathy.  Norepinephrine is also used to initiate the “flow” of adrenaline when you are under psychological stress.  People under a great load of stress, or a continual stress loading of almost any size, often find their Norepinephrine levels too be too low.

An alternative to L-phenylalanine is S-adenosyl-methionine (SAMe). It works rather quickly and seems to provide the needed pep that many of my patients are looking for. Several well-designed studies have shown SAMe to be one of the best natural antidepressants available? More than 100 peer-reviewed studies reveal SAMe as an effective natural medication for depression. And it’s faster acting with fewer side effects than prescription antidepressants.

As you can see, amino acids are a very important part of our emotional and mental health and brain function.  Amino acids are also the building blocks of the body.  Our bodies are constantly renewing and rebuilding.  Amino acids and fatty acids are essential as tools for the body to regenerate healthy cells.  I recommend that you take a combination amino acid complex also, when taking individual amino acids for better results, and to keep the body in balance.

If need help interpreting this questionnaire feel free to call the clinic 205-879-2383.

Yes we do carry these amino acids including 5HTP, SAMe, and GABA in my clinic. They are also available at most health food stores.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Fibromyalgia-Vitamin Supplements Won't Help. Really?

It can be hard to believe that fibromyalgia,  an extremely complicated illness, one that continues to baffle most physicians, could ever respond to natural over the counter vitamin supplements. While doctors and medical researchers continue to look for the holy grail drug combination to “cure" fibro, the only result is the increase in the drug companies bottom line.

SEE my past blog on "Neurontin for Everything" or "Swimming in a Sea of Green"

Drugs don't make you healthier. They can save your life. They can dampen symptoms and make them manageable, but drugs don't make you healthy. And since the only way to reverse a complicated illness like fibromyalgia is to get healthy -- drugs, at least long term, aren’t the answer.

Why Vitamin Supplements Are So Important For Good Health

Many so-called experts will tell you not to worry about taking vitamins if you are eating a balanced diet. Unfortunately, dieting alone can’t provide enough essential vitamins and minerals to promote optimal health. For instance, you would need to consume 5,000 calories per day (mostly fat) in order to get the recommend minimum (400 IU) of vitamin E, and 12,000 calories per day to get the minimum amount of chromium. Most of our foods are processed and, therefore, the nutrients have been leeched out of them. Could this be one of the reasons pre-senile dementia and Alzheimer’s disease have increased so dramatically over the last few decades?

Thousands of studies validate the benefits of taking a multivitamin/mineral formula on a daily basis. These studies have been reported in medical journals, popular newspapers and magazines. A good multivitamin/mineral formula offers a broad range of health benefits. Taking a daily multivitamin/mineral formula reduces the incidence of heart disease, heart attack, stroke, glaucoma, depression, macular degeneration, diabetes, senile dementia, and various cancers.

A Few Vitamin Facts

1. Multivitamin Use Is Associated With Lowering A Risk Factor For Cardiovascular Disease. A study published in the American Journal of Medicine states that an independent risk factor for cardiovascular disease, C-reactive protein (CRP), can be reduced by the intake of a multivitamin. An elevated CRP level found in one’s blood serum is associated with the risk of cardiovascular disease and diabetes.

Source: American Journal of Medicine, Volume 115, Issue 9

2. Daily Multivitamin Use May Bring Significant Savings To Older Americans. According to a this study, the daily use of a multivitamin by older adults could bring about more than $1.6 billion in Medicare savings over the next five years.

3. Slash Cancer Odds. Taking 200 micrograms of selenium daily for four and a half years cut cancer rate 42 percent and cancer deaths in half in a group of 1300 individuals. The incidence of colorectal cancer dropped 64 percent and prostate cancer an amazing 69 percent!  University of Arizona Study.

4. Prevent Alzheimer’s. Not a single elderly person who took separate doses of vitamin E (200-800 IU) or vitamin C (500-1000 mg) developed Alzheimer’s disease during a four-year double blind study. Chicago’s Rush Institute for Healthy Aging.

5. Boost Immune System. Taking 200 IU of natural vitamin E daily boosted immune functioning in older people. A supplement with only 60 mg of vitamin E daily did not improve immune functioning. Obviously, superior immune functioning lessens infections, possibly cancer and heart disease. Tufts University Study

6. Stop Heart Attacks. A daily dose of 400-800 IU of natural vitamin E cut subsequent heart attacks in men with heart problems by an astonishing 77 percent. Cambridge University, England.

7. Stop Strokes. High doses of B vitamins decreased the amount of plaque in carotid (neck) arteries by 10 percent during a four-year study. Blocked carotid arteries can cause strokes. Plaque increased by 50 percent in non-vitamin B takers. University of Toronto.

8. Prevent Fractures. Taking 500 mg of calcium and 700 IU of vitamin D daily for three years significantly cut the rate of bone loss and non-vertebral fractures in men and women older than age 65. Tufts University Study.

9. Save Vision. Women taking vitamin C supplements cut their risk of cataracts by 77 per cent. Tufts University and the National Institutes of Health.

10. Prolong Life. Taking vitamin E and vitamin C (in higher doses than in a multivitamin) cut chances of death from all causes by 42 percent. Vitamin E users were 47 percent less apt to die of heart disease and 59 percent less likely to die of cancer. National Institute on Aging.

11. Help Decrease The Risk Of Stroke. According to researchers from Harvard, the long-term dietary intake of folate and vitamin B12 may help decrease the risk of ischemic stroke. Source: Stroke, Volume 35, 2004

12. Vitamin C Deficiency May Be Linked To Respiratory Disorders. In a two-year study, researchers found that vitamin C may prevent symptoms linked to airway diseases such as asthma, cystic fibrosis, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) Source: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Volume 101, Number 10, 2004

Almost as unacceptable as not recommending vitamin and mineral supplements is the recommendation of them based on the Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA). The RDA is the measured amount or dosage of nutrient per vitamin and minerals recommend. The RDA or as I call it the Recommended DiseaseAallowance,  may keep you from getting Scurvy, but it certainly won’t stand- up to the many chronic diseases that continue to plague modern man.

The U.S. federal government sets these levels based on the “average adult.”  The “average person plan” assumes that you are an adult under 60 years old who is in good health, has normal digestion, isn’t overweight, leads a relatively stress-free life, has no medical problems, doesn’t take any medication, eats a balanced diet, and consumes 5 servings of fruits and vegetables each day. Needless to say, most of us don’t fit into the definition of the average person defined by RDA. In fact, most adult women don’t meet the RDA for zinc, Vitamin B, calcium, magnesium, and Vitamin E.  Likewise, most adult men don’t meet the RDA for zinc and magnesium. Fewer than 29% of people eat 5 fresh fruits and vegetables a day. Furthermore, 20% of the U.S. population doesn’t eat ANY fruits or vegetables at all!

The recommended daily allowance is some fifty years out of date. It was never intended to advance health, only to prevent malnutrition diseases like scurvy or rickets. Taking the minimum amount of a nutrient to prevent gross deficiency diseases doesn’t help those people who want to be truly healthy and not just be free of symptoms.

The RDA is inadequate if your goal is for prevention and or treatment of heart disease, cancer, cataracts, depression, senility, diabetes, arthritis and other age related disorders. For optimal health and well-being, many health practitioners are recommending many times higher than the RDA on certain nutrients. It’s no secret, for the majority of the U.S. population the diet is poorly lacking in essential nutrients. Additionally, nearly all Americans are deficient even in the minimal RDA requirements, and are therefore exposed to premature death.

Taking an optimal daily allowance multivitamin/mineral formula is the best way to ensure you obtain and maintain optimal health.

No you most likely won't cure yourself of fibromyalgia by taking a handful of vitamins but you will help yourself become healthier. Combine the right supplements, diet, health habits, and when needed drugs and you stand the best chance of getting healthy and reversing your fibro symptoms.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Fibromyalgia Can Be Reversed-Don’t Give Up

Anyone can give up, it's the easiest thing in the world to do. But to hold it together when everyone else would understand if you fell apart, that's true strength.
-- Author Unknown

Battling fibromyalgia, the pain, fatigue, low moods, weight gain, insomnia, can be a real test of one’s willpower. It’s hard to be positive, even when we feel our best, but it’s almost impossible to be upbeat when we feel bad. And unfortunately with fibro more days are bad than good. 

It’s easy to understand why someone with fibro could become discouraged, bitter, and hopeless. The chronic symptoms of fibro could test the strongest optimist.

However, the old adage about “if you want to feel better, find someone less well off than you,” still rings true. I know, I KNOW, I’ve been working with fibro patients for 17 years, and yes it is one of the worst illnesses ever-no doubt about it. But,  there are always others who are less fortunate than we are. CANCER, especially terminal cancer-hard to imagine anything worse… I’ve watched a parent die to lung cancer-terrible, terrible death.

If you’re battling fibro and discouraged please don’t give up. You can reverse fibro-I didn’t say cure it, but reverse it. You can feel better. There are doctors who are having success treating and reversing fibro. You can get better, I know because I’ve been fortunate enough to have worked with some of the toughest fibro cases over the last 17 years. Don’t give up.

Don’t Give Up
A little girl had been shopping with her Mom in Target. She must have been 6 years old, this beautiful red haired, freckle faced image of innocence. It was pouring outside. The kind of rain that gushes over the top of rain gutters, so much in a hurry to hit the earth it has no time to flow down the spout. We all stood there under the awning and just inside the door of the Target.
We waited, some patiently, others irritated because nature messed up their hurried day. I am always mesmerized by rainfall. I got lost in the sound and sight of the heavens washing away the dirt and dust of the world. Memories of running, splashing so carefree as a child came pouring in as a welcome reprieve from the worries of my day.
The little voice was so sweet as it broke the hypnotic trance we were all caught in, "Mom, let's run through the rain," she said. "What?" Mom asked.
"Let's run through the rain!" She repeated.
"No, honey. We'll wait until it slows down a bit," Mom replied.
This young child waited about another minute and repeated, "Mom, let's run through the rain."
"We'll get soaked if we do," Mom said.
"No, we won't, Mom. That's not what you said this morning," the young girl said as she tugged at her Mom's arm.
"This morning? When did I say we could run through the rain and not get wet?"
"Don't you remember? When you were talking to Daddy about his cancer, you said, 'If God can get us through this, he can get us through anything!'"
The entire crowd stopped dead silent. I swear you couldn't hear anything but the rain. We all stood silently. No one came or left in the next few minutes. Mom paused and thought for a moment about what she would say. Now some would laugh it off and scold her for being silly. Some might even ignore what was said. But this was a moment of affirmation in a young child's life. A time when innocent trust can be nurtured so that it will bloom into faith.
"Honey, you are absolutely right. Let's run through the rain. If God let's us get wet, well maybe we just needed washing," Mom said.
Then off they ran. We all stood watching, smiling and laughing as they darted past the cars and yes, through the puddles. They held their shopping bags over their heads just in case. They got soaked. But they were followed by a few who screamed and laughed like children all the way to their cars.
And yes, I did. I ran. I got wet. I needed washing.
Circumstances or people can take away your material possessions, they can take away your money, and they can take away your health. But no one can ever take away your precious memories... So, don't forget to make time and take opportunities to make memories everyday. To everything there is a season and a time to every purpose under heaven.
I hope you still take the time to run through the rain.
Author unknown

I'd add that while fibro can take away so many things, good health, your social life, your ability to work, your marriage, and more, it can't take away your greatest asset-your ability to mentally decide to keep going, to keep living, to keep fighting to do whatever it takes to get better, to be healthier.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Fibromyalgia Isn't An Anti-Depressant Deficiency

Fibromyalgia patients are often bombarded with recommendations for mind altering, health robbing drugs. Antidepressants and tranquilizing benzodiazepine anxiety pills are common.

But these drugs often cause more problems than good. I'm not anti drug but no one has an antidepressant deficiency. Learning where the happy hormones or neurotransmitters come from allows you to use the raw ingredients (the gasoline) that make these hormones rather than a gasoline additive.

Using amino acids is certainly safer than drug therapy.  It works just as well most of the time, and costs pennies compared to their drug counter parts.

Benzodiazepines have numerous side effects, including poor sleep, seizures, mania, depression, suicide, ringing in the ears, amnesia, dizziness, anxiety, disorientation, low blood pressure, nausea, fluid retention, sexual dysfunction (decreased desire and performance), weakness, somnolence (prolonged drowsiness or a trance-like condition that may continue for a number of days), headaches and tardive dyskinesia. A mind boggling 40% of adults, 60 or older experience drug-induced tics or tardive dyskinesia (tremors or uncontrollable shakes) from taking a benzodiazepine drug. Sadly, for many, these tremors are permanent. Over 61,000 older adults have developed Parkinson’s disease from using antipsychotic drugs (benzodiazepines and antidepressants).  The crippling side effects and addictive nature of these drugs has been known for at least 40 years, yet doctors continue prescribe them at an ever-increasing rate. Surveys show that over 5.6 million adults over the age of 65 are now taking benzodiazepines.

A mouth dropping 50% of all women 60 and older will be prescribed a benzodiazepine drug. And since addiction often occurs within 2 to 4 weeks of starting these drugs, the majority of folks are now dependant on these drugs. Tolerance to the hypnotic (sleep) effects of these drugs may occur within one week.

Symptoms of tolerance are identical to drug withdrawal symptoms and may include anxiety, panic, severe insomnia, muscle pain and stiffness, depression, suicidal thoughts, rage, heart and lung problems, and agoraphobia (extreme fear of public or crowded spaces). Tragically, only 10 to 30% are able to successfully stop taking these drugs, most are addicted for life.

Nutrient Deficiencies Cause Anxiety and Depression

A deficiency in any of these nutrients can cause an assortment of health related illnesses, especially mood and sleep disorders-5HTP, tryptophan, GABA, SAMe, B vitamins, magnesium...

Inhibitory or relaxing neurotransmitters include serotonin and gamma-amino butyric acid (GABA). The neurotransmitter serotonin is produced from the amino acid 5-hydroxytryptophan (5HTP). GABA is mainly produced from the amino acid glutamine.  GABA, 5HTP, and L-Theanine Both GABA and 5HTP, have a calming effect on the brain. Benzodiazepines work by increasing the effectiveness of GABA. But, as we’ve learned these drugs have potentially lethal side effects.

Instead of using a GABA additive loaded with potentially dangerous side effects, why not use an over-the-counter GABA or 5HTP supplement to reduce anxiety, stress, or help with sleep? Both work rather quickly, have few side effects, and can be found at the local health food store. Usually only a small dose of GABA is needed, 500–1,000 mg. taken twice daily on an empty stomach. The brain doesn’t readily absorb GABA, but another amino acid known as L-theanine, can boost GABA levels.

I often recommend L-theanine, an amino acid found in green tea. It has a calming effect on the brain. For anxiety related disorders the usual dose is 50-100mg taken on an empty stomach, two to three times daily. Research with human volunteers has demonstrated that L-theanine creates its relaxing effect in approximately 30 to 40 minutes after ingestion.

Supplementing with the supplement 5-hydroxytrryptophan (5HTP), a form of the amino acid tryptophan, helps raise serotonin levels. Studies show that 5HTP is as effective in normalizing moods as antidepressant drugs. 5HTP also boosts melatonin levels by 200 percent. The recommended dose is 100mg three times a day.

Amino acid therapy offers a safe and effective way to reduce anxiety-without the numerous side effects associated with benzodiazepines.