Vitality 101 Newsletter
Which Infection Causes CFS & Fibromyalgia?
The question of which infection, if any, is the cause of CFS and fibromyalgia has been both the Holy Grail and bane of CFS/fibromyalgia researchers. Literally dozens of infections have been implicated, with virtually all of them failing to have reliable testing available to confirm the infection. Because of this, taking a good clinical history, and looking for the response to treatment, continues to be the best approach.So which infection is the cause of CFS and fibromyalgia? The simple answer is that it isn't a specific infection, but rather an immune dysfunction. This allows many opportunistic infections, ones that cannot survive in a healthy immune system, to cause problems.
Our impression is that the body shows many areas of immune dysfunction, including the inability to turn off the immune system even after certain common viral infections have been eliminated. This contributes to overactivity, followed by exhaustion, of the immune system, resulting in multiple "hitchhiker" infections being present.
It isn't necessary to treat every infection. But some do need to be addressed. The most important: Candida overgrowth. There is no test that I find reliable for this, but I treat most people who have CFS and fibromyalgia with six weeks of the medication Diflucan 200 mg a day, combined with a low-sugar diet and a weaker antifungal (such as berberine or nystatin) to decrease the risk of developing resistant strains of Candida.
Learn more about the connection between infections and CFS/FMS »
Love & blessings,
Low Vitamin D Levels Associated With Increased Risk of Dementia
In a study published in the September 2015 issue of JAMA Neurology, low levels of vitamin D were common in those with dementia and associated with a much more rapid rate of decline. A study we are currently recruiting for includes vitamin D as one treatment we are giving to see if it improves cognitive function.
The study authors note, "Independent of race or ethnicity, baseline cognitive ability, and a host of other risk factors, vitamin D insufficiency was associated with significantly faster declines in both episodic memory and executive function performance, which may correspond to elevated risk for incident Alzheimer's dementia."
See a report on the study (free registration required) »
See the study at JAMA Neurology »
Q&A With Dr. T
Dr. T invites readers to ask him questions through his website's Ask Dr. T page. Some Q&A that may be generally helpful to the public will be answered in this newsletter.
Low Blood Pressure in CFS
QUESTION: I sleep over six hours a night, but wake up groggy and in pain. I have low blood pressure and low blood sugar. I take trazadone and Vicodin and Lyrica at night to sleep but still can't get enough rest to recover, and the problem seems be getting worse everyday. Everyone I speak with who has fibromyalgia seems to have the same problems. What should I do? Thank you very much for your kind heart.
ANSWER: One of the components of chronic fatigue syndrome that can cause severe disability is the low blood pressure. This comes from what is called autonomic dysfunction, and goes by various names, such as POTS, Neurally Mediated Hypotension, etc. New research is leading me to suspect that an underlying component of this is called Small Fiber Neuropathy. This is often associated with deficiencies of certain immune-fighting antibodies called IgG 1 to 4 subtypes.
I know this all sounds like "blah blah blah," but what makes this exciting is that this has been responding well to intravenous gamma globulin, with often marked increase in function and decrease in pain after 4 to 5 months in some of the most severe cases. Most people, however, improve if they use the treatment approach discussed in Dizziness in CFS, without needing the IV gamma globulin.
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Jacob Teitelbaum, M.D. is one of the world's leading integrative medical authorities on fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue. He is the lead author of eight research studies on their effective treatments, and has published numerous health & wellness books, including the bestseller on fibromyalgia From Fatigued to Fantastic! and The Fatigue and Fibromyalgia Solution. Dr. Teitelbaum is one of the most frequently quoted fibromyalgia experts in the world and appears often as a guest on news and talk shows nationwide including Good Morning America, The Dr. Oz Show, Oprah & Friends, CNN, and Fox News Health.