Are Herbs & Vitamin Supplements Worth Trying?

Discussion in 'Fibromyalgia Main Forum' started by Bigfoot, Mar 18, 2003.

  1. Bigfoot

    Bigfoot New Member

    My Dr. says NO..
    Hi all. I've been trying the advice of Dr's for quite a while and so far have no improvement. I asked my rheumy about herbs/vitamins and he gave me a long speach about how they are not regulated and wouldn't help even if they were. He said it's just wasting money. How many of you have tried them and had relief? Medicines aren't working, so what do I have to lose? How do you know if they are good quality? Thanks! Dave

    P.S. Finally updated my profile.
  2. northwoodssue

    northwoodssue New Member

    Hi Bigfoot:
    Is he afraid that something other than conventional medicine will help you???? I wonder about adoctor who excludes something that has worked and is working for people in Europe for years. Over here, the drug companies want total control of the market.
    I've found relief with herbal remedies for sleeping. I tried all the other prescription drugs (elavil, ambien,etc) to help sleep, but they were too strong, didn't work, or made me drugged up so I was cloudy all the next day at work. I tried an herbal sleep remedy called Dr's Restaid containing Valerian, passion flower, and hops. It works great! I take 2 tablets 1 hour before bedtime, and fall asleep and , the best part, wake up rested without medicine hangover. I can actually function the next day on this med plus get to sleep easier!!! It has been a life saver for me. The main ingredient is Valerian. It stinks, but get it past your nose and it works. This has been used in Europe for years, prescribed by their doctors, as other herbal remedies have been. For a doctor to say vitamins are a waste of money, I can't believe it. Just get on google or some other site and check them out! The health benefits are staggering. The doctors I worked for took Vit C and E before it became fashionable to do so. I take Vit C, E, a multivit, valerian, and started ZMA.
    Please don't let anyone, even a professional, keep you from trying herbs or vitamins. Make your own mind up and see just what work s for you. I suggest you check on all of them to become informed what might work for you. Herbs take longer to work, but hang in thereand let us know. I care.
  3. nct

    nct New Member

    if you found relief with herbals, then what would you need him for?
    Nah, I'm not totally knocking regular docs. But if prescription stuff was useless, what's the harm?
    I also found relief from insomnia.
    I've only had one round of it, but used a natural herbal instead of buying right from the drug store. It was mild, but did what I needed.
    When I was diagnosed with EBV, the first thing my regular doc told me was to take a good multivitamin. I believe everyone should, regardless of what else is happening...

    Good luck.

  4. kellbear

    kellbear New Member

    I think everyone needs a different regimen in order to heal or get back some of your pre-flair health. I myself, have been on some vitamins and herbs for about a month and am just now starting to notice a different. not a huge difference but enough to make me feel better.
  5. julie4

    julie4 New Member

    Dear Bigfoot

    Hi, I feel quite strongly about this one for slightly different reasons to what the others areand you are talking about. I got FMS folowing Hodgkins Disease (Lymphoma- cancer) 16 years ago. I started attending a complementary cancer care group who advovcate alongside trad methods (9 months chemotherapy in my case) radical diet, herbal and vitamin supplements and healing. Well, they meant well and in some ways I think did help BUT I felt terribly under pressure and I was paying out for supplements I couldn't afford and weren't proved would help and on a diet tht cost a lot for stuff only available at health food shops and so on. More important though was if I did any thing 'wrong' for example eating processed food or not getting a paarticular vitamin then I got told "Don't you want to get well?" I 'm not saying we should hand ourselves over to Docs but we should also not feel its our fault if we can't or don't do a particular thing that MIGHT make us better.
    JULIE from the UK
  6. Mikie

    Mikie Moderator

    Stick around and see what seems to be helping people the most. Supplements are trial and error, just like medications. The thing is that some supplements, like immune system boosters, may not make you actually feel any better even though they may be making a big difference in helping to rebuild the immune system's efficiency.

    Love, Mikie
  7. BethM

    BethM New Member

    Dave, pick up a copy of Prevention magazine. I think you will find it very informative. As others have said, there is a lot of good information on this site as well.

    Those of us with FMS and CFS need all the nutritional support we can get. Our bodies are already compromised from the illness, and the pharmaceuticals we use compromise them further, at least in my humble opinion. (Yes, I do use pharmaceuticals, as needed. I'm not perfect either!) A good multi-vitamin/mineral supplement is, if nothing else, an insurance policy. None of us eat perfectly, after all! I use Fibro-Response by Source Naturals, and do feel better when I take it consistently. Also, I just started using an herbal anti-inflammatory capsule, Zyflamend, recommended by Dr. Andrew Weil, (another great source for alternative and complementary medicine). I cannot tolerate any NSAIDs (ibuprofen, aspirin, Celebrex, etc), so I have great hopes this will help. Too soon to tell, though, only week so far. I figure after about one month I'll be able to know if this product helps or not.

    I do believe in being conservative with use of alternative therapies, as with any therapy. I try to do research before I use anything alternative or AMA approved, and try not to try anything out of desperation. As 'they' say, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

    Hope this helps!

  8. Plantscaper

    Plantscaper New Member

    and approximately a few months ago, I may have said I haven't found any help in supplements,either..There is a lot of information on this board, that one can review and see what fits his/her particular situation...and there are a lot of research articles, that should enable you to design your own treatment plan, as well as, talking it over with others here..I think there is so much to gain in knowledge, here, than ever I encountered in any physician's office.. Good Luck and hope you find what you need....LOL, AMELIA
  9. lumediluna

    lumediluna New Member

    just like meds, different herbs will help some and not others - but I say give it a go. You are so right about all the money we spend on meds, why not try herbs.
    Chamoile tea helps me at night with sleep - I swear by the teas. I am also researching the herbs too - just hope to find some that will help. Good luck foot!
  10. layinglow

    layinglow New Member

    Bigfoot---I get relief, and have fixed many problems with a COMBINATION of Prescription meds, herbs, supplements, and other alternative care. Each of us is an individual in these disorders...and must find the right combo for us.

    I would not be so much better today, if I had not been afforded treatment with an integrated approach.
    I see one Dr. who specializes in Fibro and CFS and treats with prescription meds, herbs, supps, and other alternatives. He and I have come up with a combination that is working for me...and has erradicated IBS, and systemic candida, restless leg syndrome, sensory overload. We have greatly reduced pain to a manageable level, I am now sleeping well (as compared to the onset of these disorders when I had 20 wake ups a night), and now we are working on fatigue/malaise with B-12 injections I take at home, and making headway.

    You must experiment with treatments---it takes time, and research, to find that which will work for you. Having a knowledgeable Doctor who has already done this many times over is very helpful, and cuts down the time immensely. I see a D.O., who is knowledgeable in prescription meds for the treatment of fibro/cfs/mcs and who also is very knowledgeable in supplements and herbs.

    Best wishes, LL
    [This Message was Edited on 03/19/2003]
  11. Hippo

    Hippo New Member

    For me personally, I DO feel the majority of the money I have spent on supplements was wasted. But that doesn't mean they won't help you. Everyone is so different. I am on a tight budget now, and just take minimal supplements, such as Vitamin B, Vitamin E, Magnesium and Calcium, and a couple others. I used to take twenty or thirty different things and didn't feel a bit better. I was probably spending $300 a month at one point on supplements alone, not counting prescription meds. Good luck.

  12. Dustie

    Dustie New Member

    you are getting some great advice from the members of this board. Everyone is different and must find the right combination for trial and error. I have been taking supplements for a year now...mega doses of a lot of calcium and magnesium plus other things...and my pain level has gone down dramatically...way over 80 percent. Check this out for yourself..but if you go the supplement route, don't waste your money on generic...get a good brand with a proven track record...listen to these wonderful people on this board. All the best...have faith...patience...and we will make it through.
  13. teawah

    teawah New Member

    I decided to go off of prescription drugs. The ones taken every day. I made a decision to try the natural kind to see for myself if they worked or not. Now after all this time I think that for me at least, they have. I SUFFERRED for about 6 mos because my body no longer produced it's own pain fighting and sleep producing chemicals it needed because it was getting all of this from scrips. I had to literally force it to work on it's own. If I had stayed on the scrips who's to say that I wouldn't be diagnosed with more body damage due to the meds? Thirty years ago they didn't think anything about spraying the fields over us with DDT and other chemicals as bug killers. I played in those fields and swam in the poisoned water. Today I am sick as a dog and can directly link alot of my symptoms to that time. Our bodies are designed to create their own defenses to pain, etc. but as a whole we have found easier softer ways to deal with anything uncomfortable. IE, weight loss, etc. It used to be that to lose weight yu had to excersise now you just take pills. How do you think all these docs and drug COs get so freaking RICH? If they told us the truth, it would directly effect their wallets and do you think it's not all about the mighty dollar????

    If you decide to try natural supplements, do your homework and take what you need to give YOUR body what it is lacking from poor eating habits and chronic illness. If we smoke we rob our bodies of certain things. If we drink, we rob our bodies of other things. You can figure it all out with the proper reading and asking of questions to the RIGHT people. The docs have NO vested interest in Natural Supplements. The profits DO NOT line their pockets. Therefore they are not going to push these at you. There are some docs that have realized the benefits of natural meds to their patients and have begun to learn about them. Those that say that they are a waste of time are just trying to keep themselves from losing $$$.

    I take 1000ius of vitamin E every day. I have very soft skin and less pain with fibrocystic breast disease. It is a great antioxidant with cancer preventive properties.

    ZMA is what I take for sleep and I sleep better than I have in my whole life. It also helps with my pain factor. I know this because when I ran out, I tried melatonin for a couple of weeks and my pain factor rose about 40%. People with chronic illness lack the proper amounts of Zinc so this one is great as it is Zinc Acetate and Magnesium Acetate, hence the A in ZMA.

    Calcium/Magnesium are good also. Large doses of B vitamins and minerals.

    The reason we need to take vitamins and minerals is that as a whole, we eat such crap for food, fast food, etc., that we need to supplement our diet just so that we can get the things that our body NEEDS to be healthy.

    It all goes back in time. We used to eat healthy now we don't. Every thing is about fast now days and in doing this we have robbed ourselves of the very things that keep us healthy and capable of fighting illness.

    I hope that in my rambling that I have said something to help you as that is all this was about.

    As I said earlier, When I changed my regimin, I sufferred to begin with. Don't give up if this happens to you. It will get better and then the best of all. In twenty years, all the man made meds that we take may turn out to be cancer causing themselves and we already KNOW through centuries that Vitamins aren't.

    Luv, teawah
  14. Bigfoot

    Bigfoot New Member

    Thanks everybody for the great advice. I'm glad my gut feeling about my dr. was confirmed by most of you. I'll dig into this and try to find something that works for me. This board has been great. I know I don't write a lot, but when I do I'm always given support. Thanks! It helps make this DD just a little more bearable. Dave
  15. Shirl

    Shirl New Member

    You have gotten some very honest replies here. I have had Fibro for 20 plus years, I have been to many doctors through out this time.

    I did have one great gentleman for a doctor that was a big help to me, we worked together with the meds and the supplements, I had HIM taking vitamin C and E years ago, but he died. That left me with the most awful doctors in history!

    I am one of the success stories with supplements, for over two years I have had more success with this illness than I had in the years before this with doctors.

    In the last year I have finally found something for sleep, that to me was the biggest problem that I had with the Fibo pain. I could not sleep no matter what I did or took.

    I have been sleeping soundly and deeply now for one year, thanks to Mel, who would not let up on me to try ZMA!

    I am going to make this easy on you, I will just list everything that I take, and you can do the research for yourself.

    One thing that is very sad about these illnesses, is that no two of us seem to be alike with medication, whether it be drugs or supplements. So it is a lot of trial and error for each one of us.

    I will say this about supplements, they do not work like a silver bullet, they take time to get into the system, where as drugs will have an instant effect, be it good or bad.

    Below is listed what I take and what it does for me.....

    I am mainly on supplements, herbs, vitamins, etc. The only med I take is Xanax, low dose (0.25 milligrams) at 6pm for racing brain syndrome. It can also be taken with OTC's Advil gel caps, the Xanax enhances the effect of the Advil, and it is a great pain reliever. BUT do keep in mind that Xanax can be very addictive if used consistantly.

    Xanax is an anti anxiety drug, a rather old one. It is addictive, but I only use it once a day, or if I feel an attack coming on.

    I have listed below what I take, hope it is helpful. If you have a question, please feel free to ask me, be glad to help.

    Shalom, Shirl

    Product; Pro Energy: Malic Acid & Magnesium Glycinate
    (I take one before breakfast, and one before lunch)
    This is for energy and pain.

    Product; Ultra B-Complex (High Potency with Folic Acid)
    (1 capsule after or during lunch) This helps with brain fog, and energy too.

    Product; 800IU's of Natural Vitamin E
    (For numbness, heart, blood etc)

    Product; Ester C 500 milligrams
    (antioxidant, helps prevent colds, virus etc.)

    Product; ZMA (zinc, magnesium, Vitamin B-6)
    For sleep, deep sleep also helps with muscle pains.
    (2 capsules at 10pm )

    Product; Jarro-Dophilus (Probotics)
    3 a day for IBS, replaces good bacteria

    Product; Melatonin (5milligrams)
    To help fall asleep, take right before bedtime.

    All the above can be bought from Pro Health, be sure to ask for a free catalog/Newsletter too. If you want to call the number is; 1-800-366-6056 or you can order on-line. Just go to the 'Store' link on the top right of this page for additional information on supplements.

    Product; Essiac Herbal Tea by Resperin Corp.
    This is a blood/liver cleanser. It is also known as a cancer cure/preventive.
    I take two ounces in the morning two ounces at night.
    Can be bought at most health food stores and Supplement catalogs.

    Product; Polynesian Pure Noni Juice
    (I take one teaspoon before breakfast, one before lunch for my IBS, it is a great product). I order it by the case!
    Can be bought in most health food stores, be sure you get the 'pure' juice or it won't work.

    Product; Natural Calm put out by 'Natural Vitality'
    This is a powdered Magnesium Citrate.
    (I take a teaspoon a day for pain, especially spasms . But don't take too much it will give you diarrhea).

    This is about it for the time being, as for a multi vitamin, I have trouble digesting them, so I drink two cans of Ensure a day for the multi.

    Also, I drink half my body weight in ounces of water per day, along with a quarter teaspoon of Sea Salt. This has helped with severe sinus headaches, and it seems to have helped the Fibro Fog too.

    Here is some good advice; I strongly recommend you add ONE thing at a time for at least a week or two, this way if you have a problem with a product/supplement, you know what is causing it. If you try to take too much at once then if you have a problem, you would have to quit everything and start over again.
    I learned this the hard way, so though I would pass on this wise advice!

    It took me years to get the right things that I could take. Wasted a lot of money on eyerything from doctors, prescription meds, and vitamins and herbs too.

    Just remember, we are all different, so some of what I take might not be the right thing for you. It really is trial and error with these illnesses.

    Hope this helps, and if you have any questions, please feel free to ask. I am usually here everyday, but not at a special time.

    PS, always buy the best supplements you can afford, as you really get what you pay for with supplements. Pro Health has some of the best ones I have ever taken, and I am not just promoting them, its the truth. I have taken there products before I ever heard of this board.

  16. Singleton

    Singleton New Member

    All I know about them is they are found in pineapple-I think, and have never seen them ref. to for fibromyalgia. What form, how much you take, and what does it do for you?Thanks-always looking
  17. Singleton

    Singleton New Member

    I have had fibro/cfs acutely for 30 years, chronically all my life. If I had not gotten into organic food and supplements 30 years ago, I would probably be dead by now. The pain has been so bad, and I had no one to guide me. It wasn't even considered when I began having my worst pain. Of course doctors didn't know about it, they are just beginning to catch on. I can tell the difference if I leave off B complex, C, E, OM3 fatty acid oil, ginko and magnesium. I take others, but those really help me think and give me energy. I tried St. John's Wort for depression though, and it made it worse. it would be much better to have a real holistic practitioner who really wanted to help you get better, because many of us react differently to anything we put into our body. Don't forget Emu oil and MSM cream-Ultra Blue. It WORKS! i shared it with a friend who came back ten minutes later and said he was going to buy an emu.
    All I take that I mentioned(I take others too) can't hurt you unless you are allergic to too much Vitamin C, but I never knew anyone who had a real problem with it.
    Hope we all feel better.