I was reading an article on ImmuneSupport.com where a gentleman contacted the ProHealth founder, Rich Carson, asking how in the world is he to keep up paying for his supplements per month that total $400? The insurance companies do not cover the cost of our supplements and if you are going to the Fibro & Fatigue Centers, the cost of supplements per month can get extremely high. I know too well. Don’t get me wrong – I think the Fibro & Fatigue Centers have been a God send for many of us with these illnesses. But they are in it to make money too and recommending several supplements is part of their job.
Rich Carson wrote an article explaining the role supplements play in CFS & FM health and what we should be doing. According to Rich, “First, let me make it clear that nutritional supplements are intended to supplement your diet. This means that the vast majority of your nutrients should come from the food you eat – not from a vitamin bottle. Its your diet that provides most of the minerals, vitamins, antioxidants, enzymes, co-enzymes, fatty acids, and countless other nutrients that your body needs and craves. They are not all going to come from those expensive supplements you take! Lets put supplements in perspective. A successful self-treatment program for ME/CFS/FMS must include sleep, diet, exercise, and stress reduction. Together, these are the pillars of health and healing.”
Some other suggestions Rich has:
– If we ignore sleep, we have already lost the battle.
I know particularly for me this is an extremely difficult problem. Most of us with CFS/FM feel wired when it’s time to go to bed and after feeling like we have a hangover all day, when we feel better at night, we want to be up to enjoy it. But sleeping at least 8 hours a night is crucial, crucial, crucial for our bodies. He also recommends plenty of rest throughout the day.
– “The second weapon in your arsenal is diet.”
We need to be eating fresh fruits, vegetables, unprocessed foods, whole grains, nuts, lean meats & fish. Junk food makes CFS & FM symptoms worse.
– “Your third tool is exercise – and it is a powerful and fast acting weapon against ME/CFS/FMS.” Here is Rich’s theory on exercise:
Exercise, for most of us, however, is the quickest path to relapse and most patients avoid it like the plague. It seems logical to avoid something with such significant downside effects. But because you have these diseases, you have a greater need for exercise than someone who is completely healthy. Hear me out.
One of the hallmarks of ME/CFS is exercise intolerance; you exercise, you get sick. This is absolutely true, but only if you go over the invisible line. The invisible line is the point at which the intensity and duration of your exercise exceeds your bodys relapse threshold.
Go over that line, and you relapse. Go up to it, and you benefit your body in countless ways, including: improved blood flow (especially brain blood flow – a big problem for ME/CFS sufferers); elevated levels of the brains feel good chemicals – endorphins, enkephalins, and dynorphins – and these can be a great way to deal with the depressive aspects of chronic disease; improved lymphatic flow for improved immune function; increased bone density; improved muscle tone; improved joint flexibility; better posture; a healthier complexion; improved digestion and regularity; and the list goes on.
For patients, exercise does not necessarily mean running, jogging, swimming, bicycling, or other vigorous forms of movement. Those are great for non-patients, but for us, well, were talking relapse city. No, the exercise I am talking about is movement exercise – just moving your body, whether its stretching or flexing your muscles, moving your arms or legs, or walking slowly for short distances. The point is that you need to move and stretch your bodybut always, always, respecting the invisible line..)
Like it or not, we need to recognize and honor the predicament that our fragile body is in. We need to adopt a lifestyle that includes stress avoidance and plenty of rest, relaxation, and quiet time.
These are very important for supporting our health in countless ways, especially in a time of health crisis. They can help with digestion, energy, sleep, joint health, mood, memory, endocrine function, and an almost never-ending list of other supporting roles. But Rich makes it clear that with illnesses as severe as ours, they are in no way as important as sleep, diet, lifestyle, and appropriate exercise. Supplements alone will not fix us. It is the combination of everything above AND supplement use that makes our lives livable.