Many of you read my first book, Treating and Beating Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. That book was based on my experiences in treating these illnesses over the last 8 years.
My new book will be ready to ship during the first week in April. It's a self-help manual for treating and beating Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. It is written for anyone wanting to use my protocols and enjoy the consistent success I get with my patients. You can treat yourself by following the questionnaires contained in the manual. Based on your unique profile, you'll know exactly what to do, when to do it, and how to do it. Each chapter has a step-by-step protocol that guides you and tells you what you need to do for each particular ailment. All the protocols use natural medicines and are designed to correct the cause and not merely cover-up the symptoms. I've also included a question and answer section at the end of each chapter. This manual takes all the guess work out of knowing what to do when a problem arises.
I talk to people from all over the world and I'm constantly asked to refer patients to a doctor in their area. They want someone who understands their illness. Some patients are able to come to my office in Birmingham, Alabama. Many others elect to do a phone or email consultation. A phone consult is great but I really wanted to put all my information at the patient's fingertips. This new manual does just that. It provides the same step-by-step approach that I use to teach other doctors and the same approach I use with my patients.
I hope you'll be another success story! You CAN feel better. You CAN get well. I encourage you to read this manual, do the step-by-step protocols, and beat your illness. You'll find a sample chapter below and link at the end of it which takes you to another free sample chapter. Be sure to check out these two free chapters.
"If you wish to know the road up the mountain, ask the man who goes back and forth on it." Zenrin
The following material is a sample chapter from my new book, Treating and Beating Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome - A Patient's Self-Help Manual.
"How are you sleeping?" is the first question I ask new patients. If you don't get a good night's sleep, you're not going to get well. It really is that simple. Most people with FMS/CFS haven't slept well in years. Many of my patients take tranquilizers, muscle relaxants, or over-the-counter sleep aides to get them to sleep. But most of them never go into deep restorative sleep. It is in this deep delta-wave sleep that the body repairs itself. It does this by making human growth hormone (HGH) and other hormones that help repair damaged muscles, tissues, and organs. Deep sleep also builds and rejuvenates the immune system. Years of poor sleep, on the other hand, create an imbalance within a person's sleep regulatory system known as the circadian rhythm. The longer someone's sleep cycle has been compromised, the longer it usually takes for her to experience lasting symptom relief. But just a few nights of consistent deep sleep will provide a tremendous amount of improvement for most patients.
A Good Night's Sleep
Poor sleep has been linked to various health problems including depression, poor immune function, anxiety, weight gain, muscle pain, irritable bowel syndrome, fatigue, CFS, FMS, and headaches. This is not news to those who suffer from FMS and CFS. They already know that their symptoms get worse when they don't get a good night's sleep.
One study showed that college students who were prevented from going into deep (REM) sleep for a week developed the same symptoms associated with FMS and CFS: diffuse pain, fatigue, depression, anxiety, irritability, stomach disturbances, and headache. Another study, conducted by the University of Connecticut School of Medicine, compared the sleep patterns and associated symptoms of fifty women with FMS. The study showed that a poor night's sleep was followed by an increase in the subjects' symptoms, including body pain. Sadly, the study also showed that a poor night's sleep, followed by an increase in symptoms, then went on to prevent the person from getting a good night's sleep the next night, even though the subject was exhausted. This cycle continues and creates a pattern of declining health. (1)
Research presented at the Endocrine Society in San Francisco, by Vgontzas in June 2002, showed that sleep deprivation markedly increased inflammatory cytokines (pain causing chemicals)--by a whopping 40%.
Deep Restorative Sleep
If you're not dreaming, you're not going into deep sleep. Many of my patients have been on brain-numbing medications that render them brain-dead for eight hours. Most of these powerful sedatives (tranquilizers) don't allow a person to go into deep restorative sleep. So the patients have their eyes closed while they're knocked out for eight hours, but they don't receive the health benefits of deep restorative sleep. They will often feel hung over in the morning. Rarely do they feel rested and refreshed in the morning.
Sleep Medications that don't Promote Deep Restorative Sleep:
· Gabitril (tiagabine) and Neurontin (abapentin) are discussed in chapter 4.
· Zanaflex (tizanidine) is discussed in chapter 4.
· Xanax (alprazolam), Ativan (lorazepam), Valium (diazepam), Tranxene (clorazepate dipotassium), Serax (oxazepam), Librium (chlordiazepoxide), and Restoril (temazepam) are discussed in chapter 4.
· Soma (carisprodol) is a muscle relaxant that can be very sedating.
· Klonopin (clonazepam) is discussed in chapter 4.
· Unisom (doxylamine) is an over-the-counter antihistamine.
· Sleep Medications that do Promote Restorative Sleep
These medications do promote deep restorative sleep. However, they have potential side effects (see previous chapter) and usually start to lose their effectiveness over time. No one has an Ambien deficiency. You may have a serotonin deficiency but not a drug deficiency. The best way to boost serotonin levels is with the natural nutrients that actually make serotonin; 5-Hydroxytryptophan, B vitamins, calcium, and magnesium.
The Importance of Serotonin and Sleep
· Serotonin, a neurotransmitter, helps regulate sleep, digestion, pain, mood, and mental clarity. Normal serotonin levels help:
· raise the pain threshold (have less pain).(2)
· you to fall asleep and stay asleep through the night.(3)
· regulate moods. It is known as "the happy hormone."
· reduce sugar cravings and over-eating.
· increase a person's mental abilities.
· regulate normal gut motility (transportation of food-stuff) and irritable bowel
· syndrome (IBS).(4)
Irritable Bowel Syndrome and Serotonin
You have more serotonin receptors in your intestinal tract than you do in your brain. Low serotonin interferes with proper intestinal function. Symptoms associated with IBS, diarrhea and constipation, usually disappear within 1-2 weeks once serotonin levels are normalized.
More about Serotonin
The amino acid (found in protein) tryptophan turns into 5-hydroxytroptohan, which turns into serotonin, and then into melatonin. Vitamins and minerals are essential, too, of course. A deficiency of any of the synergistic nutrients magnesium, calcium, and vitamins B6, B12, B1, and B3 will prevent the production of serotonin. Prescription medications (see chapter 4) can block the production of these nutrients and so deplete serotonin.
Stress, Stimulants, and Serotonin
We are all born with a stress-coping savings account. This account is filled up with the chemicals we need for the body to work properly. These chemicals which include serotonin, dopamine, noriepinephrine, 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. If we aren't careful we can bankrupt this account. When we do we start to have health problems like those associated with FMS and CFS. Individuals with FMS and CSF have bankrupted their stress coping savings account. They're making more withdrawals then they are deposits.
We make deposits into our stress-coping savings account by going into deep restorative sleep. When a person goes into deep restorative sleep they make more serotonin which then gets deposited into their stress coping savings account.
The more stress a person is under the more serotonin they'll need.
A Vicious Cycle
A person needs a good deal of serotonin before they can consistently go into deep restorative sleep each night. If they don't have enough serotonin they won't be able to go into deep restorative sleep and then they don't make more serotonin.
Why Not Just Take an Antidepressant?
Antidepressant drugs have been used with varying degrees of success in treating the sleeplessness of FMS and CFS. Many of my patients are on Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors or SSRIS (Prozac, Paxil, Celexa, Lexapro, Zoloft, etc.). SSRIS are supposed to help a patient hang on to and use his or her naturally occurring stores of serotonin. This is like using a gasoline additive to help increase the efficiency of your car's fuel. But most of the patients I see are running on fumes; there is no gasoline in their tank (no serotonin in their brain)! A gasoline additive (SSRI) won't help. SSRIS don't make serotonin, they only help a person hang on to and use the serotonin they already have. Unfortunately, most individuals with FMS don't have any serotonin. There is nothing to reuptake.
No one has a SSRI (anti-depressant) deficiency.
The Importance of 5-Hydroxytryptophan (5HTP)
5HTP is a derivative of the amino acid tryptophan. When taken correctly, it turns right into serotonin. Serotonin is the neurotransmitter or brain chemical that is responsible for regulating your sleep (getting you to sleep), raising your pain threshold (decreasing your pain), and elevating your moods. Using 5HTP is like pouring gasoline straight into your tank; you fill your brain with serotonin. There's no need for an additive when you can simply replace your serotonin stores any time you get low. It may take months to get well, but once you start consistently going into deep restorative sleep you'll feel better than you've felt in years. Therapeutic administration of 5HTP has been shown to be effective in treating a wide range of health problems, including depression, FMS, insomnia, binge eating, pain, and chronic headaches.
5HTP and Depression
Studies (including double-blind) comparing SSRI and tricyclic antidepressants to 5HTP have consistently shown that 5HTP is as good if not better than prescription medications. Furthermore, 5HTP doesn't have some of the more troubling side-effects associated with prescription medications. (13)
5HTP and Insomnia
5HTP has been shown to be beneficial in treating insomnia, especially in improving sleep quality by increasing REM sleep (deep sleep).(14)
5HTP increases the body's production of melatonin by 200%.(15)
5HTP and Headaches
5HTP has been used to successfully treat and prevent chronic headaches of various types, including migraines, tension headaches, and juvenile headaches.(16)
5HTP and Obesity
Clinical trials of obese individuals have demonstrated decreased food intake and subsequent weight loss with 5HTP supplementation.(17)
5HTP and Fibromyalgia
Most of my patients are prescribed 5HTP. Double-blind placebo-controlled trials have shown that patients with FMS were able to see the following benefits from taking 5HTP:
· decreased pain
· improved sleep
· less tender points
· less morning stiffness
· less anxiety
· improved moods in general, including in those with clinical depression
· increased energy
Studies comparing 5HTP to prescription antidepressants generally used to treat FMS, including tricyclic (amitriptyline) and SSRIs, showed 5HTP to be as or more effective than prescription medications.(18)
One European study showed that the combination of MAOIs, such as Nardil or Parnate, with 5HTP significantly improved FMS symptoms, whereas other antidepressant treatments were not effective. The doctors conducting this study stated that a natural analgesic (pain blocking) effect occurred when serotonin and norepinephrine levels were enhanced in the brain. More norepinephrine means more energy and improved mood. Other tests in Europe show tryptophan to be just as effective in treating depression as the prescription drugs Elavil and Tofranil, which have side effects.(19)
5HTP and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
CFS patients are more likely than FMS patients to have trouble taking 5HTP. One theory is that those with CFS have too much serotonin and that this is why they are so tired. Additional serotonin, then, can't be tolerated. This may be true; I don't know. However, increasing serotonin levels is the number one priority for 95% of the patients I see. There are patients--usually at the far end of the CFS scale--who have serotonin sensitivity. And excessively high serotonin levels can cause insomnia, hyperactivity, headache, and increased heart rate. But I suspect that most patients who have a serotonin sensitivity reaction do so because of a sluggish liver. These are usually the same patients who have trouble taking most medications. They get depressed from taking an antidepressant and hyperactive from sleeping pills. They usually can't take the normal dose of medicine and instead need a smaller dose. If you're having trouble sleeping, test positive to low serotonin (checked a lot of statements on the "S" portion of the Brain Function Questionnaire in the New Patient History chapter) try 5HTP for one or two nights. If you have a hypersensitive reaction (5htp makes you more alert at bedtime), simply discontinue the 5HTP at night and begin to take with food; 100mg three times a day with food (see below for more details).
5HTP should be taken on an empty stomach, 30 minutes before bed, with four ounces of grape juice. This allows it to get past the blood-brain barrier and be absorbed directly into the brain. 5HTP will never leave you feeling dopey, drugged or hung over. If you need to wake up in the middle of the night, you can, and then you should be able to go right back to sleep.
Important! One of three things will happen when taking 5HTP. See below.
Starting with 50 mg. of 5HTP
1. The person falls asleep within 30 minutes and sleeps through the night. If so, stay on this dose. After a few days if start to have problems with sleep again then increase your dose of 5HTP as described below.
2. Nothing happens. This is typical response to such a low dose. Continue to add 50 mg. each night (up to a max of 300 mg.) until you fall asleep within 30 minutes and sleep through the night.
You should stay at the minimum dose needed for deep sleep (up to a maximum of at 300 mg per night).
Example: You take 50mg of 5HTP 30 minutes before bed on an empty stomach with 4 ounces of grape juice but don't fall asleep with in 30 minutes and or don't sleep through the night. If this happens then add an additional 50mg for total of 100mg of 5HTP. Take as directed above. If you don't fall asleep within 30 minutes and or don't sleep through the night (7-8 hours of sleep) add an additional 50mg for a total of 150mg. Keep increasing as needed up to 300mg or until you fall asleep with in 30 minutes and sleep through the night.
3. Instead of making you sleepy, the dose makes you more alert. This occurs more often in CFS patients and is due to a sluggish liver. If this happens, you should discontinue taking 5HTP at bedtime and instead take 50 mg. with food for 1-2 days. Taking 5HTP with food will slow it down and allow the liver to process it like any other food stuff. Taking 5HTP with food will not (usually) make you sleepy. If after 1-2 days you have no further problems with 5HTP, you should increase to 100 mg. of 5HTP with each meal (300mg a day).
Taking 5HTP with food will help raise your serotonin and normalize your sleep/wake cycles. It may take a little longer to see positive results when taking 5HTP with food (1-2 weeks). But don't worry you'll eventually build your serotonin stores up and start to see an improvement in your sleep, pain, moods, IBS, and energy.
Questions and Answers
Can I take 5HTP along with antidepressant medications?
Yes, you can take 5HTP or any amino acid along with antidepressant medications. In fact, 95% of my patients are already taking antidepressants when they come to see me. Most individuals are on selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitors (SSRIs), such as Paxil, Prozac, Zoloft, Lexapro, and Celexa. These medications are trying to re-uptake serotonin in the brain (gasoline additive). However, since you don't have any serotonin (bankrupted stress coping account) these medications don't provide much help. Once you start filling your brain up with serotonin (from taking 5HTP) the prescription SSRI medications will then have something to re-uptake.
Can I take 5HTP with sleep medications?
Yes. I don't recommend patients discontinue taking their sleep medications. Instead I suggest they start using 5HTP and increase the bedtime dose until they sleep through the night. At some point they should be able to work with their medical doctor and slowly wean off the prescription sleep medication. Remember all prescription sleep medications have side effects. I also remind my patients that 5HTP never causes a hangover. Taking 5HTP with some prescription sleep medications may cause a hang over. However, it's not the 5HTP but the combination of 5HTP and the prescription medication.
What if I'm taking a prescription sleep medication and sleeping all night?
If you're taking Elavil (or other tricyclic antidepressant), Trazadone, Ambien, or Flexeril ?(one of the prescription drugs that promotes deep restorative sleep) and you're falling asleep within 30 minutes, dreaming, and sleeping 7-8 hours, then you should continue taking the sleep medication. You should add 5HTP (50 mg.) three times daily with food. If no problems arise after 2-3 days, they should then increase to 100 mg. with each meal. Remember the reason you're taking these prescription drugs is because you have a serotonin deficiency, not a drug deficiency. You want to build up your serotonin levels so that eventually you won't need prescription sleep medications.
A person may be taking a sleep medication that helps them to go into deep sleep. This does help them to build up their serotonin stores. However, these medications don't actually produce serotonin. Instead they help you use serotonin more effectively. However, you'll quickly use up most of your serotonin from daily stress. So even if you're using sleep medications that help you sleep through the night, the key is to build up serotonin levels with 5HTP and the vitamin and mineral cofactors. Nothing is better than 5HTP. 5HTP and its cofactors are what make serotonin.
What if I'm using sleep medications that don't promote deep sleep?
If someone is using one of the sleep medications that don't promote deep restorative sleep, then he or she will definitely need to take 5HTP. Medications which don't promote deep restorative sleep include the following, Zanaflex, Neurontin, Klonopin, Ativan, Xanax, Restoril, Dalmane, Doral, Halcion, Prosom, Buspar, Librium, Serax, Tranxene, Valium, Risperdal, Symbyax, Topamax, and all muscles relaxants (except Flexeril). You'll want to build up your serotonin levels with 5HTP. Try taking 5HTP with these medications. If this combination makes you feel hung over the next day, try reducing the dose or frequency of your prescription medication. I recommend you consult your medical doctor about slowly weaning off these medications. The medications can cause severe withdrawal symptoms if discontinued to quickly.
Another option is to try the recommendations below.
If you're sleeping well: start with 50 mg. of 5HTP with food and, after a couple of days, increase to 100 mg. with each meal. After a couple of weeks, you can try (with the help of her medical doctor) to slowly reduce her sleep medications and add 5HTP at bedtime. You should start with 50 mg. and then increase each night until you fall asleep within 30 minutes and sleep through the night.
Can 5HTP be taken with any medications?
Yes, 5HTP can be safely taken with all prescription medications. I wouldn't recommend 5HTP be used for patients with manic depression or schizophrenia. These conditions are best referred to orthomolecular psychiatrist who specializes in these complicated disorders.
What if someone has a serotonin syndrome reaction?
Serotonin syndrome occurs when a person gets too much serotonin. This can cause rapid heartbeat, increased pulse rate, elevated blood pressure, agitation, and in its worst case scenario, irregular heartbeats (arrhythmia).
I have thousands of individuals on 5HTP and have seen only one person have a serotonin syndrome reaction. She was not a patient. She had a history of irregular heart beats and chemical sensitivities. She also had CFS. I would have never recommended she take 5HTP at bedtime. Instead, I would have had her start with 50 mg. with food (if I would have recommended it at all). She took 50 mg. at bedtime. The first night, it made her more alert (a sign not to take it at night). She then increased to 100 mg. the next night. She began having serotonin syndrome. This caused her to be anxious and have arrhythmia for the next few hours. This is not to scare you. I use 5HTP with individuals with known heart conditions: MVP and heart disease. I always start with a low dose (50 mg.) and warn the patient to stop taking it at bedtime if she has a funny reaction. These people are on incredibly toxic heart medications that increases their risk for heart failure, stroke, and death. If I don't get them to consistently go into deep restorative sleep each night, they'll never get well. So I don't worry about using 5HTP. Once you start reading about the medications and combinations of medications you've been taking, you'll know just how safe 5HTP is. I have been using 5HTP for the last 4-5 years and now have thousands of individuals taking it around the world.
What are some of the other potential side effects of 5HTP?
Other than some patients becoming more alert when taking 5HTP at bed time, I have very few complaints from patients. The literature says that individuals may have headaches and nausea from taking 5HTP. I have had less than half a dozen patients have one of these side effects. The headaches and any nausea go away after a couple of days. Some patients will complain of fatigue when taking 5HTP during the day with food. If so, I have them take 100 at lunch and 200 mg. at dinner. If they continue to have problems with fatigue after taking the lunch time dose, I'll suggest they try 300mg at dinner.
When should I increase my 5HTP dose?
I ask (or have the nurse ask) how the patient is sleeping. This is the most important benchmark for how well he is doing. If he is sleeping through the night, I know he is feeling much better. He'll have less pain, less depression, less anxiety, improved energy, and increased mental clarity. If he is sleeping through the night and dreaming, then I leave him at that dose. However, if he continues to have IBS symptoms, sugar cravings, low moods, or a lot of pain, I have him continue to take the night dose that is putting him to sleep, along with taking additional 5HTP with food during the day (up to a total of 300 mg. daily). For example: The patient is taking 200 mg. of 5HTP at bedtime. He's sleeping through the night but continues to have a good deal of pain. I'll instruct the patient to take an additional 100mg. of 5HTP a day with food (lunch or dinner). Patients who aren't taking 5HTP at bedtime should simply increase their dose with each meal (up to 400mg a day if needed).
What do you do when you still can't fall asleep and sleep through the night even when taking 300mg of 5HTP?
OK, nobody said this was going to be easy. Most people will be consistently sleeping through the night within a week of starting the 5HTP protocol. However, there are always those who won't. If after two weeks, someone is not falling asleep and staying asleep through the night, I add melatonin. First, I make sure she is taking 5HTP as she should be and at the maximum dose of 300mg.
Melatonin is the primary hormone of the pineal gland and acts to regulate the body's circadian rhythm, especially the sleep/wake cycle. Serotonin turns into melatonin, which then promotes deep restorative sleep. You want to use 5HTP to build up your serotonin levels first and foremost. Remember serotonin reduces pain, anxiety, depression, and IBS symptoms. It also increases mental clarity. So you never want to take melatonin without taking 5HTP (unless you don't have these symptoms but just can't sleep at night).
Dr. Joan Larson discusses how melatonin and the immune system are connected: "Melatonin rejuvenates the thymus gland to protect our immunity. Melatonin will 'reset' your immune system when it has been under siege from infections, cancer, stress, and so on. Such attacks disrupt its rhythms and diminish its effectiveness. Any disruption in our immune system's twenty-four-hour rhythm lowers our immunity, leaving us prone to more illness."(5)
Human Growth Hormone (HGH)
Deep (delta-stage) sleep initiates the pituitary to release HGH. Eighty percent of HGH is produced during delta stage sleep. Low HGH levels will cause further fatigue, reduced capacity for exercise, muscle weakness, impaired cognition, depression, pain, and decreased muscle mass.(6)
The best way to boost HGH levels is to get 8-9 hours of deep restorative sleep.
When administered in pharmacological doses (1-6 mg. before bed), melatonin acts as a powerful sleep-regulating agent that controls the circadian rhythm. A low dose of melatonin has also been shown to be effective in treating insomnia and jet lag. In a recent study, volunteers were either given a .3 mg. or a 1 mg. dose of melatonin or a placebo. Both levels of melatonin were effective at decreasing the time needed to fall asleep.(7)
Delayed Sleep Phase Insomnia
Patients with altered circadian rhythms (sleep wake cycles) often find it hard to fall asleep before the early morning hours. They then end up sleeping through the day. This causes a further disruption to normal circadian rhythms. It can be hard to get these patients' rhythms normalized. Studies have shown that 5 mg. of melatonin given at 11 p.m. helps advance and reset circadian rhythms.(8)
If you aren't falling asleep within 30 minutes and sleeping through the night on 300mg of 5HTP, then it's time to add melatonin. I have patients who aren't able to fall asleep with in 30 minutes (while taking 300mg. on 5HTP) try taking 3mg. of sublingual (dissolves under tongue for rapid absorption) melatonin 30 minutes before bed, along with the 300 mg. of 5HTP at bedtime If you're taking 5HTP with food make sure you're taking 300-400mg a day. Then if you're still not sleeping well add 3mg. of sublingual melatonin at bedtime.
What if I can fall asleep with in 30 minutes but can't stay asleep?
Make sure you're taking 300mg. of 5htp at bedtime or 400mg with food. Then if you're falling asleep within 30 minutes but continue to wake up throughout the night, try taking 3mg of timed release melatonin.
Can I take 5HTP, melatonin, and prescription sleep medications at the same time?
If you're taking prescription sleep medications and not sleeping through the night, you'll need to follow the protocols above. Start with 5HTP first. If you don't consistently fall asleep and stay asleep while combining your prescription sleep medication (preferably one that puts you into deep sleep, see list above) with 300mg. of 5HTP then you need to add melatonin as well. Please follow the advice above.
Seasonal Affective Disorder
Melatonin production is affected by a person's exposure to light. Melatonin levels start to rise as the sun goes down and drop off as the sun comes up. The retinas of the eyes are extremely sensitive to changes in light, and an increase in light striking the retina triggers a decrease in melatonin production--this is nature's wake-up call. Conversely, limited exposure to light increases melatonin production--nature's lullaby. This explains why some individuals suffer from seasonal affective disorder (SAD). This disorder is triggered by the onset of winter and the reduction of sunlight. As melatonin levels increase and serotonin levels decrease, depression sets in. One in 10 people, including children, suffer from SAD. Symptoms associated with SAD include depression, fatigue, lethargy, anxiety, and carbohydrate cravings. One to two hours of exposure to bright, ultraviolet light will usually decrease melatonin levels to a normal level. Special ultraviolet (full spectrum) bright lights are found in various stores and catalogs. Individuals with SAD should use these lights every day during the winter months. Those suffering from insomnia should avoid bright lights two to three hours before bed.
Other Effects on Melatonin Production
Melatonin production can also be decreased by exposure to electric and magnetic fields, stress, and the aging process. Exposure to both static and pulsed magnetic fields has been shown to significantly decrease melatonin production in the pineal gland of experimental animals.
What Can Decrease Melatonin Levels? (9)
· exposure to bright lights at night
· exposure to electromagnetic fields
· NSAIDs (Celebrex, Vioxx, Mobic, Alleve, Bextra, etc.)
· SSRIs, yes the very same antidepressants that many take for FMS and CFS including Prozac, Zoloft, Celexa, Paxil, and Lexapro.
· Anxiety meds (benzodiazepines) like Klonopin, Ativan, Xanax, Restoril, etc.
· Anti-hypertensive meds including, Inderal, Torprol, Tenormin, Lorpressor, etc.
· Over 3 mg. of vitamin B12 in a day.
· Evening exercise (for up to three hours afterwards)
Foods High in Melatonin (10)
· Sweet corn
· Japanese radish
Drugs That Raise Melatonin Levels (11)
· Fluvoxamine (Luvox)
· desipramine (Norpramin)
· most MAOIs
· St. John's wort (acts as an MAOI and may help raise melatonin levels)
You should already be on CFS/Fibro Formula or other high-dose broad-spectrum multivitamin and mineral formula with a minimum of 700 mg. of magnesium. If you aren't having a daily bowel movement then you're probably still deficient in magnesium. Increase your magnesium by 140-150mg. (use magnesium chelate, citrate or taurate) at dinner each night until you begin to have normal bowel movements each day. If you start to have loose bowel movements simply reduce the amount of magnesium you're taking. Magnesium is a natural muscle relaxant and sedative. A deficiency can cause low serotonin states, muscles tightness, constipation, fatigue, anxiety, and insomnia.
I get sleepy after dinner but then catch my second wind right before bedtime, what should I do?
High cortisol levels: Some patients have trouble falling asleep because their cortisol levels are too high at bedtime. These are the individuals who get a little sleepy but then catch their second wind and can't fall asleep. They may be sleepy earlier in the evening but attempt to stay awake a little longer (don't want to go to bed at 8 o'clock or want to finish with household chores, watching a movie, reading, etc). An adrenal cortex test profile would help uncover any abnormal cortisol fluctuations (see resources below for test information).
You can do a trial of L-theonine along with phosphatidylserine. Phosphatidylserine helps block the release of cortisol. L-theonine boosts alpha brain waves as it reduces mind chatter. Patients should take 200-400 mg. of phosphatidylserine at dinner or two hours before bed, and 100 mg. of L-theonine before dinner and 100 mg. of L-theonine one and half hour after dinner (on an empty stomach).
Hypoglycemia: Some patients have bouts of hypoglycemia during the night, and this wakes them up. Low blood sugar stimulates the release of cortisol. If you're waking up during the night, eating half a banana or other carbohydrate-rich food should help you go back to sleep.
Hidden problems: Become a detective look for clues
I had one patient who had a terrible problem with blood sugar levels. She was very sensitive to any juices. I missed this on the intake, but when she couldn't sleep, I started asking her questions. She just happened to bring up that she had trouble with fruit juices. Needless to say, I took her off juice and had her take 5HTP with water. She started sleeping.
Herbal Sleep Formula is Another Option
Some of my patients have had success using all natural herbal remedies. I've taken three of the best herbal remedies for sleep and combined them into one formula. The relaxing properties of three standardized botanicals are combined in one capsule intended for use at night.
Hops (Humulus lupulus)
Passion Flower (Passiflora incarnata) leaf
Chamomile (Matricaria chamomilla) flower
(Available by calling my office, on-line, or perhaps at your local health food store.)
I've tried everything above now what?
For individuals you try everything recommended above I suggest they consider ordering a Comprehensive Melatonin and an Adrenal Cortex Profile to find out why you can't get to or stay asleep at night (see resource section below for ordering tests). If you're striking out and just can't sleep at night, I'd recommend you consult your medical doctor for a trial of prescription sleep medications that promote deep restorative sleep (Trazadone, Ambien, Elavil, or Flexeril).
I recommend you continue taking 5HTP along with the prescription medication. After a few months you may be able to wean off your prescription sleep medication and just use 5HTP and if needed melatonin.
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Phase 2® is a safe yet powerful nutritional ingredient, clinically studied to reduce the absorption of carbohydrate calories. Phase 2® allows you to enjoy those foods that you love without all the calories. It has also shown to reduce body fat (love handles) by 10%. Losing weight just got easier. No excuses. Simply eat a moderate carbohydrate diet (don't go crazy on carbs!) and take 2 Slim 'N'Trim capsules twice a day with your meals.
Slim 'N' Trim - Human Studies Show Efficacy, Safety
Two recent double-blind, placebo-controlled, cross-over studies on human subjects showed that starch absorption averaged 66% lower in the group taking Phase 2(TM), compared to the group on placebo. No negative side effects were observed. A double-blind, placebo-controlled study of 60 human subjects, who took a Phase 2(TM) containing product, lost an average of 6.45 lbs. in 30 days, compared to those on placebo, who lost less than one lb. on average. Those participants on Phase 2(TM) also lost, on average, over 10% of body fat mass, more than 3% in waist circumference, and measurable percentages off their hips and thighs. There was no loss of lean body mass, and researchers said participants showed "good tolerability," to the product.
1. Vinson JA. Investigation of the efficacy of Phaseolamin 2250, a purified bean extract from Pharmachem Laboratories. Unpublished results, 2001.
Vinson JA, Shuta DM. In vivo effectiveness of a starch absorption blocker in a double-blind placebo-controlled study with normal college-age subjects. Unpublished results, 2001.
3. Ballerini R. Evaluation of the safety and efficacy of a food supplement for weight control through the reduced calories intake from carbohydrates vs placebo (double blind test). Unpublished results, EVIC Italia, 2001.
Do You Want to Lose those Love Handles?
Burn fat and replace it with muscle with CLA. CLA is an all natural weight loss supplement. CLA increases lean muscle tissue, which naturally slims your body (and makes you feel strong and healthy). And, the more muscle you have, the more calories your body uses in order to function, thereby speeding up the fat burning process.
Dietary CLA has been shown to effect body composition by creating a reduction in body fat and an enhancement of lean tissue or muscle. According to Michael Pariza at the University of Wisconsin, this area of CLA research is the most supported. Recently, the research has focused on clinical studies with much success; showing statistically significant reduction in body fat as measured by BMI (Body Mass Index).
A significant decrease measured in waistline measured in inches, a positive result for weight loss in mildly overweight subjects and an increase in strength. Human clinical studies to substantiate improved body composition have been conducted worldwide. Positive results of CLA supplementation have been seen at research centers worldwide.
Extensive research is now showing CLA to play an important role as a multi-beneficial health promoter. More than 200 studies worldwide are indicating that CLA may help reduce the incidence of breast cancer, improve asthma, allergy control, and blood sugar control (diabetes), and limit the extent of atherosclerosis which can lead to heart disease.
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Dr. Rodger Murphree
3401 Independence Drive
Homewood, AL 35209
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