Supplement Pain and Low Energy Away: Naturopathic Protocol Part 3



I had an appointment with my naturopath last week. She was happy with my progress so far. My stomach issues have been much better.  Last August, I did a food sensitivity test in combination with a food diary, and identified my trigger foods. After I eliminated these triggers, which included eggs, wheat/gluten, cruciferous veggies (broccoli, cauliflower, brussels sprouts) and beef, my gastrointestinal tract is been much happier. In addition, I also take a probiotic, an anti-yeast/anti-microbial supplement (Genestra Candicin) and intestinal support supplement (Metagenic Glutagenic with glutamine, aloe and licorice). This cocktail helps to keep things humming along nicely! If you’d like to know more, I wrote about it in a previous post: naturopathic protocol part 1. In the second phase of my protocol, my naturopathic prescribed D-ribose. I take 5 g daily, which is lower than the 10 to 15 g advised by some leading CFS/FMS researchers, but I found a higher doses gave me headaches. So far I have seen an increase in my energy levels – about 25%. At my most recent appointment, the naturopath wanted to address my pain issues more directly. She added a proteolytic enzyme called serrapeptase, which acts as an anti-inflammatory and pain killer. This enzyme, which was originally found in bacteria from the guts of silkworms, digests protein, and helps silkworms to break down their cocoons! In the human body, it reduces swelling by promoting drainage, inhibits pain-inducing amines called bradykinins, and breaks down dead tissue like plaques or adhesions.* It has been used in Asia and Europe for over 25 years and is backed by a significant body of research. Although it has not been studied specifically for use in treating fibromyalgia, it has been found to be effective for sprains and torn ligaments, carpal tunnel syndrome, post-op swelling, clots, arteriosclerosis and upper respiratory infections.* I think that this might be particularly effective for myofascial pain syndrome, which is characterized by trigger points in muscle groups, and frequently associated with fibromyalgia. Anti-inflammatories are more effective for myofascial pain syndrome than fibro, and I can imagine that in addition to its anti-inflammatory component, serrapeptase might help also help break down the adhesions and trigger points. My pain has been significantly reduced since I began taking it twice daily. The only tricky part is that you have to take it on an empty stomach so that the enzyme is absorbed into your bloodstream and not used up in the gut digesting protein in your food. My naturopath also prescribed an additional energy enhancing supplement which contains acetyl-L-carnitine and Coenzyme Q10. Both of these supplements have been found to improve fibromyalgia symptoms in recent studies. This past October, Spanish researchers published a study demonstrating clinical and molecular benefits from CoQ10 supplementation. This randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study included 20  participants diagnosed with fibromyalgia. Half of the subjects were given 300 mg of CoQ10 daily for 40 days. These subjects were found to have significantly reduced pain, fatigue and morning tiredness. Interestingly, these clinical results were corroborated by molecular findings. The researchers found recovery of inflammatory biomarkers, levels of antioxidant enzymes, mitochondrial function and expression of a gene called AMPK. This gene codes for an enzyme that plays an important role in cellular energy metabolism. The study concluded that CoQ10 may be beneficial for fibromyalgia sufferers. In 2007, researchers published a study that looked at the effects of acetyl l-carnitine supplementation in patients with fibromyalgia. Over 100 patients were enrolled in the study. The active group were given over 1000 mg of acetyl l-carnitine daily plus 1 intramuscular injection of 500 mg weekly for 10 weeks, and the control group was given a placebo. Researchers found significant benefits in the active group from supplementation, specifically in reduced tender point pain, overall musculoskeletal pain and depressive symptoms. They concluded that acetyl l-carnitine is a helpful supplement for pain and mental health in fibromyalgia patients. I am taking different amounts of these two supplements than were studied. My formula includes 80 mg of CoQ10 and 100 mg of acetyl l-carnitine daily. I have only been taking this supplement for a few days, so I will have to report back later on any effects I feel. If I don’t see any effects, then maybe I will have to consider taking a higher dose! Both of these supplements are involved in cellular energy metabolism, which is interesting because the primary theory at the moment is central sensitization of pain processing. Fibromyalgia must be some kind of crazy jigsaw puzzle – but obviously it has far-reaching effects in our bodies. Anyway, that’s enough research nerding for one day! Have a happy day! Rossini M, Di Munno O, Valentini G, Bianchi G, Biasi G, Cacace E, Malesci D, La Montagna G, Viapiana O, Adami S. ‘Double-blind, multicenter trial comparing acetyl l-carnitine with placebo in the treatment of fibromyalgia patients’. Clin Exp Rheumatol. 2007 Mar-Apr;25(2):182-8. . **Mario D. Cordero, Elísabet Alcocer-Gómez, Manuel de Miguel, Ognjen Culic, Angel M. Carrión, José Miguel Alvarez-Suarez, Pedro Bullón, Maurizio Battino, Ana Fernández-Rodríguez, and José Antonio Sánchez-Alcazar. Antioxidants & Redox Signaling. October 20, 2013, 19(12): 1356-1361. doi:10.1089/ars.2013.5260. *’All about supplements: Serrapeptase – the natural anti-inflammatory’. Life Extension Magazine, September 2003. Accessed November 14, 2013. ‘Studies show benefit of CoQ10 in fibromyalgia’. Natural news, April 26, 2013. Accessed November 18, 2013.

4 thoughts on “Supplement Pain and Low Energy Away: Naturopathic Protocol Part 3

  1. Trisha says:

    Very interesting! I sure wish my insurance would pay for naturopathy. The treatments you describe are ones I’d be willing to try. I did try 200 mg of CoQ10 last month and it improved my energy level a lot. I also tried acetyl-l-carnitine but could only tolerate 500 mg. I’m glad you’re feeling more energy and hope your new supplements bring you even more improvement!

    • Katarina says:

      Hi Trisha! I absolutely agree with you that there should be more coverage for alternative health care options. I’m lucky enough to have coverage to see a naturopath, but not for my supplements. My parents help us out a little bit with the cost. It’s a shame that there is a lack of funding,research and approval of effective supplements. I don’t think that ‘natural is always better’, but I think it’s preferable if it has solid science behind it! There are some great books out there like Dr. Teitelbaum’s From Fatigued to Fantastic! that do a good job discussing both natural and mainstream medical choices for CFS?FMS. I hope you find some improvement too! Thanks for stopping by and reading!

      • Trisha says:

        I really like From Fatigued to Fantanstic! because it covers medications and supplements. It definitely is a shame that there isn’t more research into supplements. Unfortunately, our medical system is run by the prescription drug companies. But if they could come up with something that didn’t have side effects worse than what I’m already experiencing, I’d give it a try!

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