Many People in Pain Share One Thing in Common

Dear Pharmacist,

After recent blood tests, I have been diagnosed with Lyme disease, fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome. Can you suggest supplements to help me get a life?

A.D. Cape Cod, Massachusetts

Answer: Lyme disease – an infection transmitted by ticks- can cause headaches, severe muscle and joint pain, dizziness, heart palpitations, memory loss and difficulty concentrating. It sounds a lot like fibromyalgia and CFS doesn’t it? I can’t determine whether or not you genuinely have all three conditions. Regardless, your complex disorders each have various causative factors and their own cluster of symptoms. They are almost always associated with high levels of pain-causing inflammatory chemicals, one of which is called TNFa. 

It stands for Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha, and we shorten it to TNF. This bad boy increases your risk for tumors, and it causes systemic pain (think pain all over). It’s associated with chronic low back pain, rheumatoid arthritis, hepatitis, Alzheimer’s, peripheral artery disease, Crohn’s disease, asthma, ankylosing spondylitis, psoriasis and guess what else, fibromyalgia, chronic Lyme disease and chronic fatigue syndrome! If you are reading this and suffer from one of these conditions or any type of “itis” problem (like pancreatitis, arthritis, etc.) talk to your doctor about reducing TNF and other nasty pain-causing chemicals like substance P. It’s not a cure-all, but it may help.

Doctors often prescribe injectable drugs like Enbrel, Remicade, Cimzia and Humira to block TNF. Certainly, this is one option but this class of drugs makes me nervous. New studies suggest that TNF blockers almost double your risk for shingles and they may cause life-threatening fungal infections. To reduce Substance P, doctors usually prescribe narcotics like Vicodin, Percocet or morphine which dull your sense of pain. Whether or not these are right for you is between you and your doctor. Believe it or not, there are natural TNF blockers in your own kitchen:

Curcumin: It’s a natural yellow dye found in the spice turmeric. High-quality curcumin supplements are terrific antioxidants and many studies prove that curcumin reduces TNF. 

Ginger: A powerful anti-inflammatory. Buy it fresh, not powdered. Peel it, and grate about an inch into your soups, sauces or  morning juice. Steep it in hot water to make tea which is terrific for nausea and indigestion. If you supplement take about 1,000 mg two to four times daily. 

Cook with fresh rosemary and oregano. Green tea lowers TNF also. If you want to supplement, consider Zyflamend, a unique product that combines many strong anti-inflammatory herbs that may help with the painful disorders I’ve discussed today. I have no connection to the makers, I just like to point you in healthy directions.  This product is sold at health food stores, online and there is information at 

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Suzy Cohen, RPh

Suzy is a graduate of the University of Florida and has been a licensed pharmacist for nearly 20 years.  People call her “America’s Most Trusted Pharmacist” because she has spent the last 10 years writing a syndicated column on health which reaches millions of people each week. People write to her from all over the world and thank her for giving them natural options, or for helping them stay safe on medications they need to take.  She realizes the importance and need for medications, but prefers to think outside the pillbox.  This mindset comes through in her work and has made her quite popular around the world.

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Suzy Cohen, RPh

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  1. lancesmom says

    He has medication for blood pressure but other than that, no other medical problems. I have him taking B vitamins and turmeric but it doesn’t help.

  2. john.miller says

    Kay, he needs a good strength and flexibility training program.

    If he can get the bones of your pelvis and spinal column back in alignment there’s a fair chance the pressure will be taken off the nerves. All it takes is an hour or so every night in front of TV and 3 trips to the gym each week and in a couple of months the old bloke should be feeling much better.

    It’s a big ask expecting to get better by having someone do somethiung to you. Sooner or later you have to do something to yourself.

    Muscle and nerve pain is a symptom of tight and weak muscles, plus bones out of alignment. It’s not due to a lack of surgery or Viox or whatever other drugs he is likely to be prescribed.

    Go to for the exercises.

  3. lancesmom says

    My husband has spinal stenosis and has had two back surgeries. Now he is experiencing numb toes and leg cramps at night. Is there any help for him other than surgery?


  4. rjfhjf says

    If we assume that the spinal nerve compression has been relieved by the two surgeries, then he could have a peripheral neuropathy. Does he have other medical problems like diabetes?
    You can try supplementing with B vitamins which will help with a neuropathy.


  5. lancesmom says

    Thanks. He has been going to an excercise class 3 times a week at the pool. I will check out the website. Thanks.

  6. Anonymous says

    I’ve had Fibro for 15 years. On Morphine (5x day) After 4 days on “Glutathione Accelaretor”, my Cronic fatigue was gone. I was able to sleep like I haven’t been able for years, no more anti depressants, after 3 months, 65% of the pain was gone,I have been on it since October,pain totally gone. This product is backed up by the PAST PRESIDENT of the AMERICAN ASSOCIATION ,Dr JOHN NELSON , it is provable, quantifiable and verifiable in a blood test . It is a medical breakthrough with a natural product, which has been awarded a ‘Composition Patent
    usually reserved for only Pharmaceuticals. If you want more info.
    on it, my e-mail address is: ADSIDE@DISHMAIL.NET. There is HOPE out there. Oh, by the way, i forgot to mention that MAX
    raises the levels of Glutathione ( which is produced by your body
    and , after the age of 20, the production slows down and you loose 1 to 2% a year ) by 292% intracellularly , not in the stomach where it would get absorbed. Aline Adside

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