Nutritional Supplements and Fibromyalgia

I’ve recently reconnected with a distant cousin whom I haven’t seen since I was a child (thanks internet and Facebook messenger!) and she also has Fibromyalgia. It’s been so great to see what works for her and what doesn’t, so we can compare notes and things to try.Nutritional supplements

She recommended kefir and describes it as a supercharged probiotic which can help the gut problems often associated with Fibromyalgia.  “Kefir grains contain about 30 strains of bacteria and yeasts, making it a very rich and diverse probiotic source.”

There’s a heap of research in the gut and microbiome connection to many illnesses.

There are those that swear by nutritional supplements and those who believe they are basically sawdust. I have always taken supplements, namely magnesium and have tried others on and off. It’s a game of trial and error as we are all unique in our symptoms, deficiencies and how we got sick.

I have also been astounded by the difference in my energy levels since December when I added two nutritional supplements in particular.

The first is iron –  I have managed to get my iron levels up to 70! The bare minimum line is 12 and I have always hovered at 20 (yes, I eat meat and dark leafy greens!), my GP and I were aiming for 80. The range is huge, 12-150 nanograms per milliliter of blood for women. But living on the bottom end clearly didn’t help me. I had an injection of iron in December and then took a low dose iron supplement daily after that. I can’t handle the prescription ones as they upset my system.

The second, is the Energy Revitalization Formula, which I wrote about recently. This has the B vitamin group, and B12 is particularly useful for energy. It also has the other usual vitamins (including a good dose of vitamin C), magnesium, iodine, calcium, and a range of amino acids that if you Googled them and their health benefits you’d consider trying them on their own. All in a handy powder.

Nutrition and eating well appears to be very useful in Fibromyalgia, and I would tend to agree with the physicians who believe we need extra doses of some vitamins. I can’t seem to keep my iron and other important vitamin levels up through diet alone.

Have you found nutritional supplements to be helpful? What do you recommend when people ask what works for you?


Flare Ups: Tips & Tricks

Flares are difficult at the best of times, when you have a toddler it’s trickier.PhotoGrid_1462911925562

Recently the fatigue has super powered itself to a much more moderate level. Needing to be in bed by 8pm and up with the toddler at 6.30am as if I hadn’t slept half as much. Needing a nap by lunchtime when the toddler does. Walking seems impossible at the moment.

So how does one help oneself and deal with the toddler?

1. Keep the best sleep habits that you can.
The going to bed and getting up around the same time, winding down appropriately and other good sleep hygiene applies, but common sense also works here. I needed to go to bed early, so I did.

2. Rest when you can.
Periods of lying down, even if you can’t nap are really useful. Meditation is my favourite way to rest body and mind.

3. Distract yourself.
I have listened to a Pride and Prejudice audio book as I can keep my eyes closed and almost know it by heart.

4. Read to the toddler in bed.
We have read unlimited numbers of books snuggled together.

5. Do the bare minimum.
Let the rest go for now.

6. Do your best to eat well.
A day or two of poor eating might be OK, but it will catch up with you if you persist. Gentle, nourishing food like soups can help.

7. Keep moving as much as your body allows.
I have managed about 5000 steps on the Fitbit most days. Some days have been less and some more, and that’s OK for now. One of the keys I have found for dealing with the pain is gentle exercise, conversely, lack of exercise makes the pain worse.

8. Ask for, and accept help.
I have been very lucky as my father in law has been off work for the past little while and he loves to take Nu for some time. Our carer, who has Nu three short days per week has picked him up for me. And my brother has come to stay to help and be good company while my husband works night-shift. I have good people.

Do you have any other tips for managing a flare up and a toddler?

This post was shared on BEING FIBRO MOM.

Potent Multivitamin – The Energy Revitalization Formula

A lot of protocols/treatment plans/advice for Fibromyalgia advise starting with a high quality multivitamin.Energy Revitalization System

The Energy Revitalization Formula is a high potency multivitamin that focuses on the key vitamins, minerals and amino acids that research shows people with Fibromyalgia can benefit from. You can find the full list of ingredients here.

I have taken it since December 2015 and found it be very useful in assisting my energy levels, keeping my immune system up and getting all of the vitamins in one drink. 

It costs approximately $30 for one to two months supply – I take half a dose as I find it difficult to get a whole dose down, it is jam-packed with nutrients and tastes strong. I get mine from as it is difficult to get these things shipped to New Zealand.

Dr Jacob Teitelbaum is one of a few prominent physicians who treat Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. He wrote From Fatigued to Fantastic! And has developed the SHINE protocol to help manage the illnesses. An important part of the SHINE protocol is nutrition. Based on research Dr Teitelbaum found that people with Fibromyalgia/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome tend to be short on some key nutrients, including the B complex, vitamin C and D and magnesium.
Fatigued to Fantastic

He has written an article on coping with pregnancy with Chronic Fatigue and Fibromyalgia and suggests this is suitable to continue taking for pregnancy. The doctor will probably recommend iodine, folic acid and iron to make up the full schedule. 

I am loving the combination in this supplement and will continue to take it to make the base of my nutritional plan.

Have you tried it? What has your experience been?


Shared on Being Fibro Mom

Living Our Aspirations

I was recently discussing with a friend how much we could do if we didn’t have such limited energy and then I came across this post by Grace is Sufficient.Qualities

It talks about how we can still write our stories, despite our limitations. It inspired me. And I’m pretty proud of the story I’ve written, and continue to write, despite operating at 60 or so percent of the “normal” energy tank.

I was gifted with many aspirations. This has enabled me to achieve a lot, more than some people with more “normal” energy tanks. I choose to do more. And I tend to pay for that. But there’s a whole list of things that fall under the opportunity cost section.

My definition of “living well” includes achieving certain personal goals, in addition to the family obligations, while keeping my health relatively balanced.

How can you achieve your goals with so much pain and fatigue?

1. Write a list! Write out the things you’d like to do/achieve/see/feel/have/give.

2. Pick out the ones that are most important, or easily achievable right now, and gently add them to your schedule. Do you like walking in the bush? Take the dog once a week for a stroll. Do you love being outside, but are currently really limited in your energy? Sit on your porch steps for 5 minutes in the morning.

3. Recognise your achievements, journal or blog or vlog, or tell your best friend, everything you have achieved. Be aware of what you have managed, despite the limitations.

4. If you’re feeling game, pick a big aspiration and make a plan to work toward it – make that plan reasonable and build in flexibility. If you want to run a 5km marathon and you currently manage a 15 minute walk per day, then you’ll probably need a fair amount of time to build up your physical ability (working with pain and fatigue levels). If you want to travel far away, research everything that can help you achieve that and make a smart plan for coping before, during and after – and choose a time in your life when you feel you can make it work. For me, with a small child, now is not the time for far-flung travels.

Do you have any other tips for following our aspirations despite limitations?

This post was shared on Being Fibro Mom

Suffered Long Enough – A Book

I have recently read the book Suffered Long Enough: A physician’s journey of overcoming Fibromyalgia, Chronic Fatigue, & Lyme by William Rawls and thought it would be a good one to share with you.23905944._UY115_

Like much of my reading on Fibromyalgia, I tend to find useful nuggets rather than a whole protocol to enact. This books has some great nuggets.

The book begins with Dr Rawls sharing his health journey. The rest of the book is how he is recovering. He is still journeying towards better health, but, by maintaining some lifestyle changes (which includes tradeoffs) he lives well.

The first few chapters discuss Fibromyalgia/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome from a health/scientific perspective and then suggests how the system gets disrupted, causing the illness. As we know, there are multiple suspects for how we get sick.

Part Two includes the chapters Enhance Healing (supplements) and Symptom Control (pain and sleep). For me, the sleep and pain section didn’t have anything new, however the thorough list of supplements and what they can do, hitting the multiple levels of the illnesses (immune system, infection, antiinflammatory and energy boost) were useful.

Part Three outlines recommended lifestyle changes – exercise, healthy eating, remove toxins, pursue balance.

Page 174 provides a quick list of the recommendations.

Overall I found this book to be quite useful and really appreciated that Dr Rawls was clear that he controls, not cures the illness.

Dr Rawls is one of the founders of The Vital Plan supplement protocol. So his recommendations can be easily sourced from the website. However, he does make it clear you don’t have to purchase from him and gives enough detail on dosing to find it all elsewhere. When I looked into them, I found that I already take a few things that are in the mixes, so it’s good to check.

The only note I would add is to Google the herbs recommended and discuss them with your Dr, as some of them do have more side effects and drug interactions than included. Not many of them can be safely taken in pregnancy.

The key learnings:

  • Lifestyle changes are necessary, including healthy eating, exercise and rest.
  • A whole range of herbs and supplements can support the multifaceted illnesses of Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.
  • We’re looking at a journey towards recovery, not a cure at this stage.