Say Good-bye to Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Fibromyalgia

Are you tired, achy, can't sleep and have brain fog, weight gain and loss of libido? Then you probably have chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) and/or fibromyalgia (FMS)--two syndromes that devastate the lives of over six million Americans. In addition, at any given time, over 25 million Americans are suffering from disabling fatigue that has lasted at least one month. These problems are so common that it is likely that you or someone you know has for years dreamed of the day when s/he would see the headline "Effective Treatment Developed for Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Fibromyalgia." We are very excited to report that that day has arrived.

The lead article in the summer 2001 issue of the Journal of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome is titled "Effective Treatment of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Fibromyalgia--the Results of a Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Study." After decades of hard work by hundreds of researchers in the field, we have progressed to the point where effective treatment is now available for these illnesses. In our study, over 90 percent of patients improved with treatment.

In the average patient, after two years of treatment the improvement in quality of life was 90 percent. Pain decreased by over 50 percent on average. Many patients no longer even qualified for the diagnosis of CFS or fibromyalgia after treatment. (The full text of the study can be seen at www.endfatigue.com.)

In addition, in April 2002 the American Journal of Pain Management (the official journal of the American Academy of Pain Management--the largest organization of pain specialists in North America) noted "the study by Dr. Teitelbaum, et al. confirms what years of clinical success have shown . . . that the comprehensive and aggressive metabolic approach to treatment detailed in Teitelbaum's study are all highly successful approaches and make fibromyalgia a very treatment responsive disorder [and] ... makes this approach an excellent and powerfully effective part of the standard of practice for treatment of people who suffer from fibromyalgia and myofascial pain syndrome, both of which are common and devastating."

That the vast majority of patients improved significantly in the active group while there was minimal improvement in the placebo group proves two very important things. The first is that these are very treatable diseases. The second is that anyone who now says that these illnesses are not real or are "all in your head" are clearly both wrong and unscientific. A new day is dawning in how CFS/fibromyalgia will be treated. It is important to recognize that these syndromes can be caused and perpetuated by a large number of different triggers. When all these different contributing/perpetuating factors are looked for and treated effectively, patients improve significantly and often become vibrantly healthy.

What is causing these illnesses?
As we noted above, CFS/FMS is not a single illness. Our study has shown that it is a mix of many different processes that can be triggered by many causes. What these processes have in common is that most of them can suppress a major control center in the brain called the hypothalamus. This center controls sleep, the hormonal system, temperature and blood flow/blood pressure. When one doesn't sleep deeply, the immune system also stops working properly and the patient will be in pain. When we realized this, the myriad symptoms seen in CFS/fibromyalgia suddenly made sense. It also gave us a way to effectively treat patients.

Problems with marketing hype
Even though the natural products industry does an incredible service in advancing our health, the amount of marketing hype often makes it difficult to figure out which things are most likely to help. I have found this to be so even as a trained physician who has reviewed many thousands of research studies and treated thousands of CFS/fibromyalgia patients. Because of this, and the importance of getting clear information about effective treatment out to those who suffer with CFS/fibromyalgia (and even those who simply would like more energy), I made a decision many years ago. I decided not to take money from any company whose products I recommend. This also includes the products I have personally developed. I do this because it makes my role as a teacher more effective.

Four main categories of problems need to be treated.
Disordered sleep. Most patients with these illnesses find that they are unable to get seven to eight hours of deep sleep a night without assistance. In part this occurs because the hypothalamus contains the sleep control center. Unfortunately, most prescription sleep medications actually aggravate sleep problems by decreasing the amount of time spent in deep sleep. For one to get well, it is critical that s/he get seven to nine hours sleep at night. Although some medications can be helpful (these include Ambien and Desyrel), it is best to begin with natural remedies that can help sleep. These include valerian, Jamaican dogwood, L-theanine, hops, wild lettuce, kava, passion flower, lemon balm, 5-HTP, melatonin, magnesium and calcium. It is interesting that while most of these natural remedies are calming and help to deepen sleep, they are not sedating and can also be used during the day for anxiety. For the first six months of treatment, because of the severity of the hypothalamic sleep center disturbance, it is not uncommon to need to take most if not all of these different sleep aids simultaneously to get eight hours of sleep. Because of this I have made a natural sleep aid (called "Revitalizing Sleep Formula") that combines the first six natural remedies listed above. It will be available in health food stores and health practitioner offices beginning September 2002.
Hormonal deficiencies. The hypothalamus is also the main control center for most of the glands in the body. Most of the normal ranges for our hormonal blood tests were not developed in the context of hypothalamic suppression and are not valid for these syndromes. Because of this (and for a number of other reasons) it is usually necessary, albeit controversial, to treat with natural thyroid, adrenal (e.g. adrenal cortical extracts and DHEA) and ovarian and testicular hormones despite normal blood tests. These hormones have been found to be reasonably safe when used in low doses. Growth hormone has also been shown to be helpful in fibromyalgia. We don't use it because, unfortunately, it can cost over $15,000 a year and is given by injection. Fortunately, there may be a cheaper way to raise one's low growth hormone. The amino acid arginine (2-3grams a day do not take this if you have oral or genital herpes) can stimulate growth hormone production. In addition, colostrum (which takes five months to work) contains IGF-1--a natural hormone that carries out the function of growth hormone, as well as infection fighting compounds. In addition, most growth hormone is made during deep sleep. This may be another reason why getting seven to nine hours of deep sleep a night can be critical.
Unusual infections. Several studies have shown immune system dysfunction in FMS/CFS which can result in many unusual infections. These include viral infections (e.g.--HHV-6, CMV and EBV), parasites, Mycoplasma, Chlamydia, Lyme disease and most importantly, fungal/ yeast infections. Although the prescriptions nystatin and Diflucan can be very helpful in treating yeast infections, there are natural remedies that are very effective as well. These include (among many others):
• Avoid sweets. Stevia can be used instead.

• Acidophilus or other milk bacteria (3-6million units/bacteria daily).

• Caprylic acid (1800-3600 mg/day with meals).

• Garlic. One clove three times a day as tolerated.

• Oregano oil (enteric coated). One capsule two to three times a day.

• Olive leaf extract (500 mg). Three capsules three times a day (effective against many infections).

4 Nutritional deficiencies. Because the Western diet has been highly processed, nutritional deficiencies are a common problem. In addition, bowel infections can cause poor absorption and the illness itself can cause increased nutritional needs. The most important nutrients include: a) Vitamins--especially the B vitamins, vitamin B12 and antioxidants (e.g.--vitamin c and E). b) Minerals--especially magnesium, iron (only if blood levels are sub optimal) and selenium, c) Essential fatty acids (e.g. flax seed or fish oil) and d) Amino acids (proteins). Deficiency of a critical antioxidant, called glutathione, may be a major problem in these syndromes and could account for most of the symptoms. Taking it by mouth is not effective as it gets digested in the stomach. It can be raised inexpensively, however, by taking NAC 500-1000 mg/day and vitamin c (500-1000mg/day). There are many other nutrients that can be very helpful also.

What makes it so complicated is that there are over 50 different nutrients that are commonly deficient and/or essential in CFS/fibromyalgia. To decrease the large number of tablets needed, I have made a powder supplement, consisting of one tablet and one drink daily. This replaces 25 tablets of vitamin supplements daily. By doing this I hope to decrease dramatically the hassle and costs of one's taking the necessary supplements. I suspect, in fact, that this product (called "Daily Energy Enfusion") is the best single dose nutritional supplement available for anyone who wants more energy or who suffers from chronic pain. Now you can see why I instructed the vitamin company to give my entire share of the profit from making these products to charity--otherwise I know my eyes would start to glaze over when I read things like this.

Determining which treatments are needed by any given individual and then teaching them how to use them can be very difficult and time consuming, even for doctors who are very skilled in treating these syndromes. (A new patient visit in my office usually takes at least four hours of my "one-on-one" time). Since it is often difficult to find a health care specialist who knows how to treat these syndromes, I've created a Web site (www.endfatigue.com) that contains many tools, including a list of over 700 health care practitioners who treat CFS/FMS and a sophisticated computer program that is like a computerized CFS/FMS specialist. This program can do a detailed analysis of one's medical history, symptoms and lab tests to determine which of over 100 underlying medical problems are contributing to one's CFS/fibromyalgia, create a detailed medical record of the case for patient and health care practitioner and determine which of over 150 treatments are most likely to help in each case (with detailed instructions). Most of these treatments are natural and can be begun on one's own.

In the last 20 years my associates and I have had a wonderful time in our quest to make the possibility of effective treatment available for everyone with CFS and EMS related problems. Finding effective treatment, doing the research to prove its effectiveness, writing a book that teaches people how to get well (and their doctors how to treat them) and creating the Web site educational program that can help one tailor a treatment program for a specific situation has fulfilled this goal. You have no idea how joyful this has made me and my associates. Our next job is to get the word out to the many millions of people suffering worldwide--these illnesses are treatable. Once a person has effectively used our protocol (or even before), please e-mail us on our Web site if you would like to help us get the word out. Your help is very much appreciated.

You now have the tools you need to get well.

PHOTO (COLOR): Most patients with these illness find that they are unable to get seven to eight hours of deep sleep a night without assistance

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By Jacob E. Teitelbaum, M.D.

Jacob E. Teitelbaum, M.D. is a board-certified internist and director of the Annapolis Research Center for Effective CFS/Fibromyalgia Therapies. Having suffered with and overcome these illnesses in 1975, he spent the next 25 years creating, researching and teaching about effective therapies. He treats patients from all over the world in his office in Annapolis, Maryland (410-573-5389) and lectures internationally. He is also the author of the best-selling book From Fatigued to Fantastic! completely revised and updated August 2001. His Web site, which contains a sophisticated computer program which can analyze and create a complete medical record of a case and determine the treatments one needs to take to get well, can be found at: www.endfatigue.com

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