A growing body of scientific research now being conducted suggests that newly identified nutritional supplements might play an important role in alleviating some of the most debilitating symptoms of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Fibromyalgia. In particular, the following nutritional supplements have recently been making headlines for their ability to increase energy, improve cognitive function, restore memory, stimulate the immune system, or relieve sore muscles and stiff joints.
The number one complaint of people with CFIDS or other chronic fatigue is lack of energy. What is perceived as a lack of physical and mental energy many times correlates with a lack of energy in the muscles and brain cells. Tests are currently underway to determine if the coenzyme NADH can supple these cells with energy in a convenient, oral form.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently approved NADH for clinical trials, which began at Georgetown University Medical center in June of this year, under the direction of Harry Preuss, M.D., Division of Nephrology, and Joseph Bellanti, M.D., Director Georgetown’s International Immunology Center. Georgetown’s initial trial of NADH will focus on its potential efficacy in patients with CFIDS.
NADH is found naturally in all living cells and plays the key role in the energy production of the cells. The more NADH a cell has available, the more energy can be produced to perform its processes efficiency. Muscle and brain cells, which are very active and need to perform for a long time contain high levels of NADH.
DHEA is a naturally occurring hormone produced in most mammals by the adrenal gland. It is part of the process by which testosterone is produced, and is critical to the release of testosterone and cortisol by the adrenal gland.
A recent study in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism (1996; 81:1173-1178) points out that the hormone DHEA is “…suggested to have a role in many aging-related diseases and perhaps in aging itself.”
Studies have been conducted by Dr. George Fletchas of Hendersonville, NC in which he attempted to thread CFIDS patients with DHEA. In a recent study of 23 patients, 5 were able to work full time after the studies were concluded. The patients with CFIDS were noted in these tests as having low DHEA levels. Symptoms of the patients tested included: dizziness, dry skin, loss of sex drive, brittle nails, increased weight with decreased ability to lose weight, and loss of cognitive function. With replacement of DHEA at 25 to 50 mg a day over a three-month period, an improvement was noted in many or all of the abnormal symptoms. Dr. Fletchas noted that many patients with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome may also need thyroid replacement in conjunction with the DHEA for noticeable improvement.
DHEA studies and testing are in the beginning stages, and much is still unknowing about the supplement.
Pregnenolone is a steroid precursor. Pregnenolone converts both progesterone and DHEA, and is made in the body from cholesterol. Proper levels of pregnenolone require adequate amounts of cholesterol, plus other nutrients including vitamin A, thyroid hormone and enzymes.
Pregnenolone apparently has the ability to repair enzyme activity. In addition, pregnenolone may help restore impaired memory, according to the neurobiologist Eugene Roberts of the City of Hope Medical Center in Los Angeles. There tests suggested that pregnenolone is several hundred times more potent than any memory enhancer that has been tested before.
Organic germanium is the common name or the chemical name, biscarboxyethyl germanium sesquioxide. Organic germanium has recently received significant interest following the publication of numerous papers on its therapeutic effects. Evidence suggests that organic germanium increases interferon production, thereby making it an immunostimulant. There are currently tests on its effect on cancer, as well as for fighting heart disease.
Arnica gel has recently gained a reputation for relieving soreness to joints and muscles. Arnica is supposed to increase the flow of blood through affected capillaries, causing the escaped fluids to be absorbed. This brings relief by removing the fluid that caused the pain. Many patients with Fibromyalgia find that Arnica gel can offer some temporary relief to areas of pain in their bodies.