Is CFS Caused by Allergic Reactions to Infections?

An Intriguing Hypothesis — and NAET May Help!

In an interesting article, Dr. Sarah Myhill (one of my favorite CFS researchers) theorizes that it may not be the bacterial or viral infections themselves causing CFS, but rather an allergic reaction to those infections. This is common in illness. For example, rheumatic fever and rheumatoid arthritis are not caused by the associated infections (which are trivial in those conditions) but rather by the body’s excessive response to those infections.

In my March 12, 2012 newsletter, I told you about a new study (funded by our foundation) showing that treating food allergies with NAET dramatically improved function in 23 of 30 autistic children — compared to a control group of 30, where none of the children significantly improved. NAET-related techniques can also decrease excess reactions to infections. (I have personally experienced the symptoms of a cold improving within minutes of being treated with NAET!) And NAET can also successfully treat arthritis.

But there’s a trick to using NAET to treat reactions to specific infections: knowing which infection(s) to treat! Another challenge is that NAET doesn’t routinely include infections in the list of what it treats, so a practitioner has to specifically consider these infections and muscle test for them. (Muscle testing is very much an art, and not everyone does it well, so it’s good to work with an experienced practitioner.)

An intriguing possibility? It may be possible to treat the infections without needing to know the specific infection involved. If so, a simple, low-cost 20-minute treatment could be more effective than 6 months of antibiotics or antivirals! This can be done by muscle testing, using four bodily substances:

  1. Saliva
  2. Blood (a drop collected with the same lancets used for blood sugar fingerstick testing in diabetes)
  3. Stool
  4. Nasal mucus (blow your nose or collect a bit with a cotton swab)

For each of these, a small amount (e.g., a few drops) of the sample is put in a clean, empty glass jar (like a baby food bottle) and taken with you to the NAET visit. The practitioner muscle tests each of the samples. If necessary, each of these four specimens can be treated, one per visit. (However, the basic 10 allergen food groups should have been tested first.) The effects of the blood treatment can be especially powerful.

Though NAET has been very helpful in treating food and other sensitivities in CFS/FMS — and it’s also effective for treating day-to-day infections — we have not really looked at it for treating infections in CFS/FMS. We will be doing this soon. Antiviral medications like Valcyte cost tens of thousands of dollars, and treating secondary bacterial infections can take months or years of antibiotics. Could it be that a simple, 20-minute NAET treatment may have the same or better effect! It’s an intriguing thought…

Might it also help those with severe die-off reactions while taking antifungal or other anti-infectious agents?

Stay tuned for more on this. Meanwhile, if you are seeing an NAET (or related) practitioner, ask them to consider this type of testing in their treatment — and then share your experience with us. On this cutting edge of our understanding, we all get to teach each other!

(See Dr. Myhill’s article on allergies to infections at ProHealth.com.)

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Effective Treatment for Autism! A New Study

Imagine witnessing an authentic medical miracle.

Well, I did — when I saw an autistic girl become verbally normal after receiving an NAET treatment from my wife Laurie Teitelbaum, MS, who practices NAET in Kona, Hawaii.

I was shocked. Thinking it must be a fluke, Laurie and I explored further, and found that autistic children recovering with NAET was the rule rather than the exception. We happily and excitedly decided that our foundation needed to fund a study to explore this!

NAET is short for "Nambudripad’s Allergy Elimination Technique." This unique treatment for allergies and sensitivities (to foods, nutrients and other environmental factors) draws from many natural healing modalities, including acupressure, kinesiology, chiropractic and nutrition. It works by positively reprogramming the person’s negative responses to allergens/sensitivities — like hitting a "reset" button — and by balancing energies throughout the body.

NAET was discovered in 1983 by Devi S. Nambudripad, MD, PhD, DC, LAc. (Yes, she’s an MD, and a chiropractor, and an acupuncturist, and a PhD … and without an ego!) Since then, countless thousands of patients have been helped through NAET. Including me.

I first encountered NAET when my severe hay fever symptoms were eliminated by a 20-minute NAET treatment from Laurie — and they never recurred! And yes, Laurie continues to amaze and inspire me. I tease that if the holistic medicine I do is 25-50 years ahead of standard medicine, then NAET and what Laurie does is 50 years ahead of me!

But the healing power of NAET isn’t limited to curing allergies and sensitivities, because many other conditions are caused or complicated by sensitivities. The list includes (but isn’t limited to) CFS, fibromyalgia, backache, migraines, arthritis, asthma, hyperactivity, anxiety, depression, addictions … and autism.

Our foundation approached Dr. Devi and her team of researchers at the NAET Research Foundation (NARF) in Buena Park, California, and we all decided to move forward with the study. We hypothesized that food and nutrient sensitivities were major contributors to the development and symptoms of autism — and we tested that hypothesis in a study of 60 autistic children. The study and our resulting findings were recently published in Integrative Medicine — A Clinician’s Journal (IMCJ).[1]

The children were 2 1/2 to 10 years old. Thirty of them (26 boys and 4 girls) were randomized to receive NAET treatments for one year, targeting 50 key allergens. Another thirty (the control group, with 25 boys and 5 girls) did not receive NAET. For the children receiving NAET, the improvements were life-changing.

Twenty-three of the 30 children in the NAET group were able to return to regular school classes with their healthy, non-autistic peers — as opposed to none of the 30 untreated children in the control group!

The children receiving NAET also had other, highly significant improvements, including:

  • 68.4% decrease in mean total score in the Autism Research Institute’s Autism Treatment Evaluation Checklist (ATEC) — a set of four tests designed to help evaluate the extent of a child’s autism.
  • 64-82% range of decreases in the four ATEC subtests.
  • 47.4% average increase in the Childhood Autism Rating Scale (CARS) — another tool for asssessing autism severity.
  • 85% decrease in the total Allergy Symptom Rating Scale (ASRS) — a tool for evaluating allergies.

I was honored to be the lead author of the study, helping to make sure that it was properly done from start to finish.

We found that NAET is an effective, safe and simple treatment for children with allergy-related autism. In human terms, NAET can provide profound and dramatic benefits, giving children with autism and their families their lives back.

More Good News About NAET

There are over 10,000 NAET practitioners worldwide, all trained by Dr. Nambudripad (including my wife Laurie, who practices in Hawaii; You can visit Laurie’s website at NAET Hawaii). You can find a NAET practitioner near you by using the "Practitioner Locator" at the NAET Autism Treatment Center website.

All I can say is WOW! Miracles really do happen!

Know anyone with autism? Please pass this info to anyone you know who can be helped by this new treatment. Let’s make this blessing happen!

Reference

[1] “Improving Communication Skills in Children With Allergy-Related Autism Using Nambudripad’s Allergy Elimination Techniques: A Pilot Study.” Jacob Teitelbaum, MD; Devi S. Nambudripad, MD, PhD, DC, LAc; Yvonne Tyson, MD; Ming Chen, MD; Robert Prince, MD; Mala M. Moosad, RN, LAc, PhD; Laurie Teitelbaum, MS (reprinted with permission)

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X-Rays Often Meaningless for Arthritis and Back Pain

X-Rays, MRIs and CT Scans:
Radiologists Love Them … But They’re Often Meaningless!

We’ve known for decades that spinal x-rays, MRIs and CT scans add very little information about back pain. They most often don’t tell doctors whether the pain is coming from the spine or from disc, arthritic or bone disease (though they may reveal if the problem can be fixed with a chiropractic adjustment.)

Research also shows that, if back pain is present, radiologists tend to interpret x-ray results as confirming the presence of a host of horrific (and scary-sounding) problems. Yet remarkably, if those same radiologists are shown x-rays and MRIs from both healthy people and those with back pain, they can’t tell one group from the other!

Nonetheless, doctors continue to scare people by telling them how horrible their x-rays look. And they continue to operate on people based on those x-rays — even though the x-ray results are often meaningless, with much of the back pain coming from muscular and ligament problems that are totally reversible without surgery.

The same folly applies to x-rays for arthritis. An exception? X-rays for rheumatoid arthritis may show the scope of, and severity of, the disease, and help guide how aggressive the needed treatment should be.

Now, a new study shows the same type of radiological "madness" for TMJ/jaw joint dysfunction — with doctors reaching conclusions that simply aren’t true, and unnecessarily operating on people based on these! Here is yet another study showing that x-rays simply do not tell if the jaw joint is the source of jaw pain. And, here’s a very practical way to protect yourself from unnecessary procedures based on mistaken conclusions.

In the study, CT scans of the jaw joint showed that bony/arthritic changes on CT scan were very poorly correlated with pain and other clinical signs and symptoms of TMJ. To put it more bluntly: the x-ray changes were mostly meaningless!

But that didn’t stop doctors from showing many patients the x-rays … telling them they had jaw joint problems … and recommending surgery to relieve their symptoms. Scary!

The good news is that more often the pain comes from tight jaw muscles such as the masseter muscles, which can generate as much as 1,000 pounds of pressure per square inch during chewing. And it’s easy to tell if the pain is coming from the muscle rather than the joint. Here’s how:

  1. Put your thumb in the side of your mouth, aiming the tip of your thumb at the ear on the side that hurts.
  2. Put your index finger over your outer cheek, pressing it against the tip of your thumb.
  3. Using your thumb, find the area of your cheek where it gives way to a thicker area of muscle, about two inches wide, in front of your ear.
  4. Squeeze up and down that thickened area between your thumb and index finger, pressing hard.

If it hurts like the dickens, reproducing the TMJ-type pain, it proves the pain is coming from the muscle — not the joint. For relief, the muscle simply needs to be released.

On the upside, jaw muscles seem to be involved with "setting" tension in other muscles throughout the body. So when jaw muscles start to relax, other pains often go away as well!

Below is an abstract of the new study, so you can take a look at it for yourself.

Resources

"Correlating cone beam CT results with temporomandibular joint pain of osteoarthritic origin."
Palconet G, et al., Center for Neurosensory Disorders, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Dentistry, Dentomaxillofac Radiol. 2012 Feb;41(2):126-130. Epub 2011 Nov 24.

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Nutritional Approaches for Beating Osteoporosis

With new studies showing that long-term use of osteoporosis medications like Fosamax offer no continuing benefit after five years[1], people are wondering what to do to improve their bone density.

And a lot of people should wonder. Thirty-five million American women and 17 million men have low bone density: thinning, weakening and breakable bones. One out of two women will have an osteoporotic fracture in their lifetime.

The good news is that there are excellent nutritional approaches that dramatically and safely increase bone density (and health), and help prevent osteoporosis.

The bad news? Most physicians aren’t familiar with those approaches!

Fortunately, knowledge is power. And this article provides the knowledge you need. Let’s start by examining five common beliefs about bone health. I’ll tell you which ones are TRUE, and which are myths that have been BUSTED — and discuss the very best strategies for building bone.

Five Common Beliefs About Bone Health

1. Antacids are good for strong bones, because they contain lots of calcium.

BUSTED! An analysis of data from the massive Women’s Health Initiative linked calcium supplements to a 31% increased risk of heart attacks[2]. And a new study from Swedish researchers shows that only intakes below 750 mg of calcium a day  put a person at increased risk for fractures — while intakes above 1,100 mg might increase risk[3]! In other words, supplementing your diet with high doses of calcium may do you more harm than good!

BEST STRATEGY: Regularly eat calcium-rich foods like leafy greens, fatty fish with bones (such as sardines and salmon) and dairy products. Keep supplementation of calcium (including antacids) to a minimum — no more than 500 to 600 mg daily. (For more info on calcium’s downside, see the Research Briefs section of my February 15, 2012 newsletter.) If taking a calcium supplement, be sure it also contains magnesium and vitamin D.

2. Avoid sunshine, because even though it raises levels of bone-building vitamin D, it needs to be avoided because of melanoma, a deadly skin cancer.

BUSTED! It is unlikely that most of the increase in melanoma rates is being caused by an increased exposure to sun. Most melanomas are not in sun-exposed areas. They are under our clothes. If there is an increase in rates of melanoma, it’s more likely to occur because of a fatty, salty, sugary diet; an environment saturated with toxic chemicals; and a population that is sleep-deprived — all resulting in weakened immune systems. The real cancer problem is lack of vitamin D, which study after study links to the development of cancer. In fact, it’s estimated that the vitamin-D depriving advice to avoid sunshine doesn’t prevent cancer. In fact it causes an estimated 145,000 unnecessary cancer deaths every year[4]!

BEST STRATEGY: Avoid sunburn, not sunshine. Go for at least a 30-minute outdoor walk several times a week, particularly during the summer months. And don’t wear sunblock unless you’re out long enough to sunburn. Both sunlight exposure and walking help build bones.

3. The longer you use osteoporosis medications, the stronger your bones.

BUSTED! New research shows that taking Fosamax for more than five years may actually weaken the crystalline structure of bones, resulting in bones that are less elastic and therefore more fracture-prone[5].

BEST STRATEGY: If you must take Fosamax, take it with vitamin D — a strategy that makes it five times more likely the drug will effectively build bones[6].

4. You can literally "walk away" from bone fracture risk.

TRUE! Dozens of studies show that regular walking builds bone. One of the most recent showed that walking or jogging three times a week increased several biomarkers of bone density[7]. Even better is that those who exercised and took 1,000 mg a day of omega-3 fatty acids (fish oil) had even healthier levels of those biomarkers than people who just exercised.

BEST STRATEGY: A brisk, 30-minute walk, at least three times a week, along with a fish oil supplement.

5. Natural, nutritional approaches for helping prevent osteoporosis are an unproven scam.

BUSTED! And busted over and over again. For example, the mineral strontium has been shown in many studies to protect bone. In one of the most recent, researchers from Belgium analyzed bone strength in osteoporotic women who had been treated for a decade with strontium and found a 35% reduced risk of spinal fractures and a 38% reduced risk of non-spinal fractures[8]. In another recent study published in the January 2012 edition of Osteoporosis International, strontium outperformed Fosamax in building bones[9]. Another review of dozens of studies with thousands of patients found strontium to be very effective and safe in long-term treatment of osteoporosis[10]. So much for the scam!

BEST STRATEGY: Take 340 to 680 mg of strontium daily. This is best combined with other bone-building nutrients such as vitamins D and K, magnesium, and Boron (strontium absorption is modestly improved by taking it at a different time of day than calcium and vitamin D).

For a collection of articles (and a video) with more ideas on the best ways to beat osteoporosis, see Health A-Z: Osteoporosis.

References

1. "Fracture risk associated with continuation versus discontinuation of bisphosphonates after 5 years of therapy in patients with primary osteoporosis: a systematic review and meta-analysis." Lisa-Ann Fraser, Kelly N Vogt, Jonathan D Adachi, and Lehana Thabane. Ther Clin Risk Manag. 2011; 7: 157–166. Published online 2011 May 9. doi:  10.2147/TCRM.S19385

2. "Calcium supplements with or without vitamin D and risk of cardiovascular events: reanalysis of the Women’s Health Initiative limited access dataset and meta-analysis." Bolland MJ, et al. BMJ 2011; DOI: doi:10.1136/bmj.d2040.

3. "Dietary calcium intake and risk of fracture and osteoporosis: prospective longitudinal cohort study." Warensjo E, et al. BMJ. 2011;342:d1473.

4. "What is the Dose-Response Relationship between Vitamin D and Cancer Risk?" Garland CF, et al. Nutrition Reviews, August 2007(II): S91–S95.

5. "Bone micromechanical properties are compromised during long-term alendronate therapy independently of mineralization." Bala Y, et al. Journal of Bone and Mineral Research, 2011 Dec 20. doi: 10.1002/jbmr.1501 [pub ahead of print]

6. "The 25(OH)D level needed to maintain a favorable bisphosphonate response is (greater than or equal to) 33 ng/ml." Carmel AS, et al. Osteoporosis International. 2012 Jan 12. [Epub ahead of print]

7. "Long-term aerobic exercise and omega-3 supplementation modulate osteoporosis through inflammatory mechanisms in post-menopausal women: a randomized, repeated measures study." Tartibian B et al, Nutrition & Metabolism. 2011 Oct 15;8:71.

8. "Maintenance of antifracture efficacy over 10 years with strontium ranelate in postmenopausal osteoporosis." Reginister JY, et al. Osteoporosis International. 2011 Nov 29 [Epub ahead print]

9. "Effects of strontium ranelate and aledronate on bone microstructure in women with osteoporosis. Results of a 2-year study." Rizzoli R, et al. Osteoporosis International. 2012 Jan;23(1):305-15. Epub 2011 Sep 10.

10. "Strontium Ranelate: Long-term Efficacy Against Vertebral, Nonvertebral and Hip Fractures in Patients With Postmenopausal Osteoporosis." Jean-Yves Reginster; Mickael Hiligsmann; Olivier Bruyere.Posted: 07/29/2010; Ther Adv Musculoskel Dis. 2010;2(3):133-143

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Avoid Your Doctor – A Healthy Habit for 2012?

If you listen to messages about cancer testing from public health "authorities" the bottom line is obvious: Test early and test often — for breast cancer, with a mammography; for prostate cancer, with a PSA test (prostate specific antigen); for colon cancer with a colonoscopy.

You’re told who should be screened — such as every women 40 and over, for breast cancer. You’re told when the screening should happen — such as once a year for mammograms. And you’re told that cancer screening is one of the best deals going for health and longevity.

But what you’re typically not told is the possible danger of being screened for cancer — how visiting your doctor for standard screening can not only cost you money, but also your health and well-being!

The truth is that much of what is touted in medicine as life-saving causes more harm than good. New research shows men getting PSA testing were actually more likely to die of breast cancer — while getting very expensive and toxic tests and treatments because of the test.

Several new scientific papers and recommendations are doing their best to inform the public that medical care is often counterproductive — that a routine visit to your doctor for cancer screening may do more harm than good. This is especially so for PSA testing for prostate cancer and mammograms (though colonoscopies still are a good idea — darn!)

Though there are times that these tests may be warranted in high risk cases, I suspect they are horribly overdone overall. The antidote? Being well informed!

"It’s easy to sell screening," wrote Dr. Michael Stefanek, a researcher from Indiana University, in a recent issue of the Journal of the National Cancer Institute. "Just magnify the benefits, minimize the cost, and keep the numbers less than transparent." (By which he means confuse the public about the real benefit of screening.)

The Downsides to Cancer Screening

There are several possible downsides to screening.

Any medical test can generate a "false positive" — a result that says you might have the disease, when in fact you don’t. These false positive can lead to more testing … overdiagnosis … and overtreatment, with lots of pain and side effects.

The article by Dr. Stefanek followed a recommendation in October, 2011 from the US Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) against routine screening for prostate cancer using the PSA test. In their review of research on PSA testing and prostate cancer, the USPSTF found "there is a moderate or high certainty that the service has no benefit or that the harms outweigh the benefits."

In fact, one of the studies they reviewed showed no reduction of mortality from prostate cancer after 10 years of screening — and risks from prostate cancer treatment that included erectile dysfunction, urinary incontinence and bowel dysfunction. Men in the screening group were actually slightly more likely to die of prostate cancer!

Bottom line from the USPSTF: "After about 10 years, PSA-based screening results in small or no reduction in prostate-cancer-specific mortality and is associated with harms related to subsequent evaluation and treatments, some of which may be unnecessary."

The main problem with the PSA test: It can’t distinguish a slow-growing and probably harmless cancer from a fast-growing and deadly one, leading to unnecessary and aggressive treatments. "So you go from being a guy who feels fine and who is potentially one of the majority who would never have known they had this disease to being a guy who wears adult diapers," said Virginia Moyers, MD, chair of the USPSTF panel.

"The PSA test is hardly more effective than a coin toss," wrote the discoverer of the PSA in the New York Times, calling the test a "hugely expensive public health disaster … The medical community must confront reality and stop the inappropriate use of PSA screening. Doing so would save billions of dollars and rescue millions of men from unnecessary, debilitating treatment."

Bottom line for PSA: If you’re a candidate for testosterone replacement therapy (TRT), it’s reasonable to do a PSA test, to make sure you don’t have preexisting prostate cancer. And it’s reasonable to do a PSA test three to twelve months after starting TRT. (Free PSA tests are more specific than the commonly used PSA test, so ask your doctor about that test.) Otherwise, PSA should not be done routinely. Also, be careful to decrease the risk of false positives by not having a PSA test within 24 hours of having a rectal exam or colonoscopy.

But PSA tests aren’t the only type of cancer screening that doesn’t hold up to scrutiny.

In 2009, the USPSTF recommended against routine mammography to detect breast cancer.

"About 5 in every 1,000 women aged 50 to 59 years will die of breast cancer over the next 10 years," wrote Dr. Stefanek. "Annual screening over those 10 years would reduce that number to about 4 deaths, meaning that 999 women screened for 10 years will have gained nothing, and may have been subject to as many as 50% false-positive tests, unnecessary biopsies, overdiagnosis, and overtreatment for breast cancer."

Bottom line for mammography: A yearly mammography isn’t worth it. But if you have a lump, have your doctor conduct a sonogram (ultrasound) and a mammography to check it out. If the lump is new, it is reasonable to wait six weeks to see if it goes away on its own. If it’s still there after 6 weeks, biopsy it.

Bottom line for medical testing: In response to the recommendations from the USPSTF, many medical authorities started saying the organization was "anti-screening" and trying to "ration" medicine. I consider this to simply be nonsense.

I’m beginning to suspect that, except perhaps for blood-pressure screening (most pharmacies have free blood-pressure machines), a few cancer screening tests, and diabetes screening, people who feel well may do best staying away from doctors.

You need to get as much health bang for your health buck as you can, rather than being banged around by an industry that, though well meaning, is motivated and trained to scare you. So when considering a medical test or treatment, use your common sense — and save your dollars and cents!

A Healthy Exception?

Give yourself a vitality promoting "tune up" when you get to around 50 years old. This serves to optimize health, rather than to scare people. For men, that includes checking testosterone levels and other functions. An excellent program called "TOM," (The Optimized Male), is offered by most Chronicity/FFC physicians (see The Optimized Male for more information and a center near you).

For women, a similar program, called "WOW" (Well Optimized Woman) is also available (see Well Optimized Woman).

Your car gets a 45,000 mile tune up and system check. You deserve one too!

References

"Uninformed Compliance or Informed Choice? A Needed Shift in Our Approach to Cancer Screening," Stefanek, ME, Journal of the National Cancer Institute, first published online November 21, 2011.

"Screening for prostate cancer: a review of the evidence for the U.S. Preventive services task force," Chou R, Croswell JM, Annals of Internal Medicine, 2011 Dec 6;155(11):762-71. Epub 2011 Oct 7.

"Draft Guidelines Recommend Against PSA Screening: USPSTF Review," Medscape

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HCG – A New Pain Treatment Breakthrough?

If you’ve heard of the hormone HCG (Human Chorionic Gonadotropin) — a hormone produced by the placenta during pregnancy — it’s probably because you’ve either heard of, or been on, the HCG Diet.

The HCG Diet is a weight-loss approach that combines a very-low-calorie diet with injections of fat-burning HCG. It’s a dieting method that’s been recommended by some holistic physicians for decades. It’s recently seen an upsurge in popularity, driven by questionably effective, over-the-counter preparations of HCG … plus a lot of annoying spam!

Well, 2011 was a year of dramatic news about HCG — some negative, some positive.

In December, both the FDA and the FTC sent warning letters to several manufacturers of over-the-counter HCG weight-loss products, putting them on notice that their pellets, liquids and sprays were "fraudulent and illegal," and giving them 15 days to stop selling them (this did not apply to prescription forms of HCG).

Good News for Patients with Fibromyalgia or Pain

Now for the good news! Earlier in the year, at the 27th annual meeting of the American Academy of Pain Medicine, one of the top pain doctors in the U.S. presented some super-positive news about HCG. In a small study, HCG injections provided remarkably effective pain relief for patients with fibromyalgia and others who suffered from severe, intractable pain — so severe that they needed the equivalent of 120 mg of morphine a day for pain.

The doctor conducting the study was Forrest Tennant, MD, from the Veract Intractable Pain Clinic in West Covina, California. Dr. Tennant specializes in treating pain patients who no one else has been able to help. In this case, he was treating people even he’d not been able to help much.

"These were not run-of-the-mill patients," he said. "These were ‘the severest of the severe,’ what we would term as very intractable patients."

Dr. Tennant began his HCG study after learning about a nearby weight-loss clinic that used HCG injections as part of its weight-loss program. The clinic had observed that some of its clients who had been plagued by intractable pain were experiencing unexpected relief after receiving the HCG injections.

His one-year study included 12 patients who had severe, intractable pain for five years or more. Six of them had spinal conditions, and the other six suffered from either fibromyalgia, arthritis or headaches. All of them had constant pain, including:

  • peripheral pain (in the arms, hands, legs or feet) that responded poorly or not at all to local treatments,
  • severe insomnia,
  • two or more symptoms of a hyperactive sympathetic nervous system, like tremors and colds hand and feet, and
  • "presumed abnormal neuroplasticity" (pain so unrelenting that it alters nerve cells).

When the study started, all 12 patients were taking long-acting narcotics for chronic pain and short-acting narcotics for breakthrough pain. Their "morphine equivalencies" ranged from 500 to 1,500 mg a day — a massive dose.

Dr. Tennant gave the patients a challenge dose of 500 to 1,000 units of HCG subcutaneously. In just one week, 8 of the 12 patients reported feeling improvement in pain symptoms. For the next year, those 8 patients continued to receive 1 to 3 HCG injections per week (subcutaneous dosages were 1,000-3,000 units per week; HCG shots are easy to self-administer, like insulin). No other changes were made during the patients’ therapy.

And People Received a Lot of Relief

They had fewer flares of severe pain. Seven of the 8 patients cut their use of narcotics by 30-50%. Five of the patients said they experienced some pain-free hours. All the patients reported more energy, better concentration, and less depression. And after the year was up, all of them said they wanted to stay on HCG — which was hardly surprising, given the benefits.

It’s important to note that these kinds of positive results are very rare in patients with severe, intractable pain. "It’s been my experience that severe intractable pain patients with presumed abnormal neuroplasticity, who are being maintained on opioids, seldom report improvement with any non-opioid therapy," said Dr. Tennant. He added that it’s uncommon for intractable pain patients to reduce their narcotics while experiencing more pain-free hours.

How Does HCG Relieve Pain?

For now, the mechanisms are theoretical. Perhaps it’s by neutralizing the opioid-caused suppression of hormones, reversing abnormal neuroplasticity, said Dr. Tennant. Perhaps it’s because HCG directly strengthens and heals nerve and brain cells.

Dr. Tennant has put another 30-40 intractable pain patients on HCG, and says "we’re getting positive results in 85 to 90% of them."

What’s the Future for HCG as a Treatment for Pain?

I don’t see HCG injections becoming a first-line treatment. But I think it could be a big leap forward for severe pain patients who don’t respond to any other treatment — and a way for them to either avoid or reduce the use of narcotics, which can have so many downsides. Frankly, I suspect it has fewer side effects and would be lower cost than the 3 FDA approved medications currently available for fibromyalgia. The main down side is that it is an injection.

What a wonderful, new development in the treatment of chronic pain!

References

"Human Chorionic Gonadotropin in Pain Treatment," Practical Pain Management

"Patients With Intractable Pain Report Relief Using HCG," Medscape

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Top 10 Tips for Easing Colds and Flu

It’s cold and flu season again. And it’s not only the holidays that make it a very expensive season! Americans spend $3.5 billion yearly on doctor’s visits and nonprescription treatments for their one billion yearly colds, many caused by viruses such as the rhinovirus.

The rhinovirus charges even harder than its namesake African beast, and the flu virus is even worse — costing Americans about $10 billion yearly, while sending 240,000 folks to the hospital and killing another 36,000. And flu shots are no guarantee you won’t be a victim. In a recent two-year period, flu shots were only 44% effective in stopping the flu.

This article includes many simple, smart, and inexpensive ways you and your family can shorten the length and severity of a cold or flu (and better yet prevent them) by increasing the strength of your virus-fighting immune system. I also shed some light on whether or not patients with CFS and fibromyalgia should get a yearly flu shot.

This is the season to be happy, jolly, and merry — not miserable with a cold or flu!

An Ounce of Prevention …

For preventing cold and flu infections, simple common sense can be dramatically effective. The keys?

1. Take a good multivitamin.

Many nutrients, especially zinc and vitamin C, are very important for your body’s immune defense systems to work properly. Take a good multivitamin to ensure you’re getting a well-balanced set of nutrients. Especially important? If you have CFS/FMS, you probably have low zinc if you’re not on a good multivitamin. I recommend everyone with CFS/FMS take an extra 20 mg a day of zinc for 3 months to load the tank. Then the amount in a good multi should be fine. At $7 for a 100-day supply, this is one of the cheapest and most effective ways to improve immune function!

2. Remember your mother’s advice: Wash your hands!

We don’t "catch" most colds from inhaling the virus. Usually, the viruses were hanging out on a doorknob or other object, and they went from our fingers to our mouth or face. During cold season, wash your hands, which will wash off the viruses, when you get to work or get home. Do a thorough job. TIP: An effective hand-washing takes about as long as it takes to sing "Happy Birthday to You."

3. Get your 8 hours sleep a night.

Experiments show that depriving an animal of sleep suppresses its immune system. Don’t experiment on yourself! Your immune system is sleep-sensitive, too. Aim for 8 hours nightly. I suspect poor sleep in CFS/FMS is an important contributor to immune dysfunction. Can’t get a good night’s sleep? Here’s how you can!

What to Do if You Already Have the Infection

1. Don’t eat a lot of dairy.

Feel a cold coming on? Don’t overdo the dairy. Yes, foods like milk and cheese are filled with bone-building calcium. But their proteins can also make existing phlegm thicker and more irritating to the throat and sinus passages, which worsens uncomfortable upper respiratory symptoms like stuffiness and coughing, and sets the stage for a post-cold (and painful!) throat or sinus infection. It’s okay to have some dairy, but don’t overdo it during colds.

2. Skip the soda, too.

The nine teaspoons of sugar in the average 12 ounce can of soda suppresses immune function by 30% for up to three hours — just the opposite of what you want to do when you have a cold or flu!

3. Use a nasal rinse.

Coughing out mucus or blowing your nose is your body’s way of getting rid of billions of bacteria and viruses so your immune system doesn’t have to kill them in hand-to-hand combat. And one easy way to help your body get rid of those bugs is with a nasal rinse, which washes out more than 90% of the critters. You can rinse your nose with a netipot from your local health food store or drugstore, a product that will likely include the salts to make the rinse (e.g., the NasaFlow Netipot, from NeilMed). Or you can make the rinse at home, either sniffing it from the palm of your hand, or (lying down) squirting an eyedropper of the rinse into each nostril. After rinsing your nose, blow gently. (You don’t want to hurt your ears!) A recipe for the homemade rinse is to mix 1/2 teaspoon salt per cup of lukewarm water. You can add an optional pinch of baking soda to make it more soothing.

4. Drink a lot of water.

Drinking warm water (hot tea or hot water with a squirt of lemon for flavor) loosens the mucous, so it can be coughed out.

5. Inhale steam.

This is a great tip for colds that have turned into bronchitis. Just take a hot shower, and take a few deep breaths. This will loosen the mucous so you can cough it out.

6. Suck on zinc lozenges.

An analysis of several studies shows that using zinc lozenges during a cold can reduce its duration by 42% — in other words, the length of a typical cold is cut nearly in half! The keys to cold-shortening success when using zinc lozenges are the type and amount used. Use zinc acetate. And suck on lozenges that deliver at least 70 mg of zinc a day. For example, suck on four 20 mg lozenges per day. Can’t find lozenges with more than 10 mg? Suck on two at a time. GNC and the Vitamin Shoppe have tasty ones. (For more information, and the reference to the study, see Zinc Lozenges Can Cut Length of Colds by Half!)

7. Stock your medicine cabinet with ProBoost.

The thymus gland helps power your immune system, and natural thymic hormone — a remedy available in a supplement called ProBoost (made by Genicel, Inc.) — is a very effective immune stimulant. Dissolve the contents of one packet under your tongue, three times a day, until the infection clears up. Taken at the first sign of a cold or flu (or sinus infection, or acute bronchitis), it usually stops the infection within 12 to 36 hours. Because starting it early works best, and it is hard to find in your local health food store, this is one that I recommend be in everyone’s medicine cabinet.

8. And keep Oscillococcinum on hand, too.

Oscillococcinum is a homeopathic remedy (readily available at most health food stores, in some supermarkets, and online) that can help ease the symptoms of the flu (or the flu-like symptoms of a cold), such as chills, fever, achiness, and just plain old feeling bad (malaise). The remedy also speeds healing. For it to work, you need to take it early in the infection, as soon as you have any symptoms. Like ProBoost, this is also a good remedy to keep in your medicine cabinet — or to get at the first sign of the flu.

9. Don’t forget the vitamin C — 1,000 to 8,000 mg daily.

Vitamin C does help the common cold. Researchers analyzed 30 studies on vitamin C and colds, involving more than 11,000 people. They found that taking the vitamin shortened the duration of colds up to 13% in adults and up to 22% in children. For prevention, a multi with 500 mg of Vitamin C is optimal.

10. For "cough medicine," try dark chocolate!

You heard me right! A two-ounce square of dark chocolate can suppress coughs as effectively as cough medicines. (Dark chocolate contains at least 75% cacao.) Use the chocolate if you have a dry cough, which just irritates your lungs. A wet, productive cough that gets rid of mucous shouldn’t be suppressed.

Should You Get the Flu Vaccine if You Have Fibromyalgia?

It depends. People with CFS/FMS who have a history of having a bad reaction to the flu vaccine should not get it. People who have a history of being wiped out by the flu (or have other illnesses requiring a flu shot) should get it. For everybody else, the shot is optional.

Do I, personally, get a flu shot? No, I don’t. I prefer using the simple tips above. Is it reasonable for you to get a flu shot? Yes. But it’s simply an individual preference — and either way is OK. Be sure your zinc is optimized (see tip #1 above). If your zinc is low (which is common in CFS/FMS), the vaccine is not likely to work as well.

An important point is that I’ve never seen anybody develop CFS/FMS from getting the flu vaccine, though both the flu or the vaccine can cause a flare up.

My preference is that those with CFS/FMS skip the flu vaccine and use the immune-strengthening prevention tips at the beginning of this article!

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