Readers’ Letters – Q&A Session 09-03-08

Lyme Disease Chat Room?
Q: I was wondering if you have thought about starting a chat room for people with Lyme Disease. I was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia in 1995 and then after 13 years I was diagnosed with Lyme Disease. I have been on antibiotics and supplements for the past 4 months. I think it would be great to talk to other people about Lyme, Fibro, CFS, and MS as they have so many similar symptoms. At one point my neurologist was testing me for MS.
I have over 20 lesions on my brain but it was caused by the bacterial infection (Lyme disease). I am finally, after years of severe pain and fatigue, feeling a little better and I can see the light at the end of the tunnel. I have gotten so much out of reading your newsletters and the support of the many users in the Fibro chat room. – Kathleen
A: Thank you for your excellent suggestion. In response to Lyme patients' requests, we have added a Lyme Disease Chat Room. We offer 21 condition-specific chat rooms, and Lyme was the last added, so you'll need to scroll down using the scroll bar on the right edge of the chat screen to find it. Also, remember that you can communicate with other Lyme disease patients on the Lyme Disease Message Board.

Website Featuring Medication Ratings?
Q: [What is the] website where consumers “rate” medications? Comment on particular prescription medications…whether they were helpful or not and what their personal experience was like? – S
A: One site that has been mentioned by a number of ME/CFS & FM Message Board users is It includes nearly 400 posts on the FM drug Lyrica®, for example, with comments and ratings by people who used it for a wide range of conditions, from post-shingles neuropathy to sciatica. Each comment indicates why the drug was prescribed, the person’s sex and age, and how long the drug was taken. Comments are listed by date received, but can be sorted by satisfaction rating (highest to lowest, or vice versa).

The Specific Carbohydrate Diet?
Q: I had a flare up of IBS in the new year and my doctor suggested I go on the Specific Carbohydrate Diet (on many sites on the Internet and also in the book Breaking the Vicious Cycle). Within 4 days, I noticed positive changes regarding my IBS symptoms. And within 2-3 months on the diet, I noticed positive changes regarding Chronic Fatigue. I have now been on the diet religiously for 6 months and I have energy, stamina and endurance which I haven't had in years. (Although I am still cautious about my energy envelope).
I haven't been bothered with brain fog for months. My sleep at night is much improved. My need for rest in the day is much reduced. I wonder if indeed I had Chronic Fatigue Syndrome or whether the crisis, which started it in September 2008, worsened everything, including my gut and digestive process. (I had always – although not consistently – had some digestive issues.) Was my body overburdened by trying to digest food which was not digestible for my system? And is my digestive system now healing?
Only 2 things have changed: the diet which I began in February and regularly practicing meditation (at least 3 times a day for a minimum of 20 minutes a time), which I began faithfully towards the end of April. However, by that time I had already noticed many improvements, which I'm sure is due to the diet. – Jenny
A: Essentially this diet excludes carbohydrates other than fruits, honey, properly prepared yogurt, vegetables and nuts. It specifically excludes gluten-containing foods. We asked Dr. Kristi Wrightson – our consulting Naturopathic Doctor specializing in nutrition and chronic disease – about the diet. Following is Dr. Wrightson's thinking on the subject:
I have seen the specific carb diet work. It can be really useful for people with IBS, especially in the acute phase of their disease. It basically advocates a very whole foods-based diet without the use of any processed foods or sugar. The reason most people are successful on the diet is that it reduces inflammation in the gut and allows for proper digestion (which we know can influence a whole host of symptoms).
Typically the people who have the most success are the ones who have undiagnosed food allergies, and when they reduce their intake of these items they have decreased symptoms.
It is a hard diet to follow, so compliance is a big issue. Also, occasionally I see someone who does not react positively to the diet. Sometimes this is because they could have an allergy to one of the components that are ‘legal’ on the diet (fermented cheeses, yogurt, some fruits, etc).
Most of my comments end with “consult your doctor,” and for anyone considering such a diet, this is not an exception. It is often hard to discern what is causing a symptom and how to treat it without the help of someone to aid you in this matter. If you do not have a physician who is trained in treating chronic conditions through diet and supplements, these websites can help you find a doctor in your area: – to find a Board-certified naturopathic doctor – to find a medical doctor focusing on integrated holistic care

– Dr. Kristi Wrightson, ND, MS, RD

Snack for Diabetics?
Q: I have had type 2 diabetes for 8 years. I currently don’t take anything for it but watch my diet and do ok. My question – Is there any type drink or meal bar; something small to keep blood sugars up for several hours without having to eat much? I am without an appetite many times and wouldn’t want to eat all, but must because of the diabetes. It is very hard to eat when you just aren’t hungry. Any suggestions would be appreciated.
A: A message board user suggested the Balance Bar® as a good snack or meal replacement for diabetics. A small pilot study indicated that the composition of 40% carbohydrate, 30% protein and 30% fat provides for a safe blood sugar response in insulin dependent (Type 1) and non-insulin dependent (Type 2) diabetics. Also, the American Diabetes Association has approved the Balance Bar for advertising in their publications. There are quite a few flavors, so hopefully you can find one or more you like. Another user suggests the Glucerna Bar®, marketed as a between-meal snack for people with diabetes.
For more insights and suggestions regarding healthy snacks you can prepare yourself, you can search on “snack” to find more than 20 past posts in the Diabetes Message Board. Or post your own new question there (see "POST TOPIC" in the upper right corner). Not yet registered? Registration takes but a moment.
Note: This information has not been evaluated by the FDA. It is generic and is not intended to prevent, diagnose, treat or cure any illness, condition, or disease. It is very important that you make no change in your healthcare plan or health support regimen without researching and discussing it in collaboration with your professional healthcare team.

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