Coronavirus and CFS/Fibromyalgia (Part 2)

Published: March 18, 2020
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Woman Wearing Surgical Mask

In last week's newsletter I discussed some of the actions you can take to help protect yourself from the coronavirus. I want to update that with important additional information that can also be helpful— including a very helpful prescription treatment that you may be starting to hear about.

Let me begin by emphasizing again how critically important it is to your immune system that you have optimal levels of zinc, vitamins A, D, C and E, and that you have healthy adrenal function (all of which you can get in the Energy Revitalization System™ vitamin powder and Adrenaplex®).

Zinc Promotes a Healthy Immune System

Zinc is important to supporting a healthy immune system, the system you depend on in defending against coronavirus. In the face of this pandemic, I would reommend that you "load" your system with zinc by taking 50-100 mg of zinc a day for 2-3 weeks (as long as this doesn't cause stomach upset). After that, a much smaller daily dose would be fine (such as the 15 mg of zinc that you get from one drink using the Energy Revitalization System vitamin powder drink mix). This outstanding multi contains optimal levels of vitamin A, C, D, E, and selenium. It also has a little bit of copper to prevent problems with too much zinc. Basically, it has all the key nutrients needed at the perfect levels to optimize immunity.

Also helpful is to suck on zinc lozenges (if you can find them) whenever you're out of the house or in social situations where coronavirus might be a concern.

Social Distancing

Many of us with CFS and fibromyalgia have experienced the angst of needing to be housebound, forced to practice our own form of "social distancing." Unfortunately, everyone else is about to get a taste of what we've had to go through.

We've all heard about the importance of social distancing to help prevent coming into contact with, or spread, the coronavirus. This is important and represents a prudent caution, even as it introduces some inconvenience into our lives. But it can be done calmly, and even enjoyably. In fact, for the introverts out there it can be the perfect holiday :-)

Your attitude in how you approach this matters as it can actually impact your health. Feelings of anxiety and panic over extended periods of time can make your immune and adrenal systems less effective. Those systems work better when you're calm and enjoying yourself. So rather than feeling frustrated by the current situation, try to see the upside — an opportunity to rest and enjoy home movies, reading, and to spend time with your family. Basically, a "staycation." Even without CDC recommendations to do so, I enjoy having one or two of these stay-at-home vacations every year. And they're some of my favorite vacations!

You should also limit the time you spend reading and watching the news on coronavirus to 5-10 minutes a day. That's enough to keep you up on everything that's important, without driving you nuts.

So once you've adjusted to the new habits of hand washing and social distancing, and embraced the upsides of a staycation, the next step is to institute some simple but effective additional measures.

Steps to Support a Healthy Immune System

Take High-Potency Multivitamins

Keep your immune system strong! Although most advice has focused on avoiding contact with the virus, it's also critical to make sure your immune system has the nutritional support it needs to remain healthy just in case you do come into contact with it. Four nutrients are especially important for this, with the most critical one being zinc. Zinc has been shown to slow coronavirus replication by blocking its RNA Polymerase, and may even kill the virus on contact (as zinc lozenges) — it's like a spay and neuter procedure for coronavirus.

Vitamin A (2,500 mg a day, but no higher as doses over 8,000 units a day can cause birth defects in pregnant women), vitamin C (200-500 mg daily), and vitamin D (1,000 units daily) are also important. (The Energy Revitalization System™ vitamin powder has each of these at the right levels.)

Take Elderberry and Andrographis

The last I checked, these supplements can still be found on Amazon. These have been shown to suppress coronavirus.

Get Your Sleep

Don't forget the power of getting a good night's sleep. That means 8 to 9 hours for most people. Getting optimal sleep has been shown to be associated with enhanced immune function, so getting optimal sleep can decrease the risk, and the severity of, coronavirus infections. For those with fibromyalgia, this becomes doubly important.

You can support healthy sleep using natural approaches. To learn how, see Got Fibromyalgia? Get Great Sleep — Naturally!

Adding the medications Ambien (zolpidem 5-10 mg), trazodone (Desyrel 25-50 mg), gabapentin (Neurontin 100-600 mg), Benadryl (diphenhydramine 12.5-50 mg), and/or Flexeril (cyclobenzaprine 2.5-10 mg) in combination with the natural remedies is also very reasonable. Most people with fibromyalgia find a combination of the natural and prescription therapies leave them sleeping 7 to 8 hours a night. You might also consider trying the supplement Hemp Select™ from the Terry Naturally line of nutritional supplements. A concentrated hemp oil, Hemp Select is an example of the growing market of hemp-based oils that people are discovering help with numerous health issues (see CBD Oil from Hemp, a Powerful New Tool for Pain Relief!). Taking 3-5 capsules at night of this can be very worthwhile in helping you sleep, with 3 capsules twice daily helpful for pain and anxiety.

Get Adrenal Support

This is especially important in people with fibromyalgia, who generally have low adrenal function. I frequently hear from people with fibromyalgia that they seemingly catch everything that comes around and that it takes forever for it to go away. But it doesn't kill them, and I want to stress that having fibromyalgia poses no more risk of long-term harm from the coronavirus than anybody else. When I give adrenal support to people, they routinely tell me "I went from catching everything year after year, to last winter when everyone was sick but me!" A very simple way to get the adrenal support is with a product called Adrenaplex®.

If You Have the Symptoms

If you begin to experience the symptoms of coronavirus (e.g., cough, fever, shortness of breath, or intestinal symptoms), don't panic. Most people will do fine, and the infection is often mild. Instead, continue the measures above and add the following:

  1. Call your physician. They probably won't want you to come in, as there is really nothing they can do. They may or may not instruct you to go to a drive-through coronavirus testing site (although there's little in the information in the test results that will help with your symptoms). Avoid sitting in a doctor's waiting room if you can, as that's more likely to cause harm than good if you have only mild symptoms.
  2. If you have a cough and severe shortness of breath, then it's especially important that you call your physician. This combination of symptoms raises the concern that you may have coronavirus and that it could potentially be leading to pneumonia. This is when it's important to see your physician.
  3. If you have any symptoms of coronavirus, increasing vitamin C to 500 mg four times a day (or as much as you can take without uncomfortable diarrhea or stomach irritation) can be helpful. I would then increase zinc to 50-75 mg a day for three weeks, add the Elderberry 300 mg a day, and add Adrenaplex®. With the exception of people who have high blood pressure, I would also suggest adding licorice extract or 2 cups of licorice tea, or a licorice supplement, each morning (note: although Adrenaplex® provides an amount of licorice appropriate for providing adrenal support, higher doses of licorice also provides even more direct antiviral properties; so adding a little more is helpful in this situation). Be cautious with using licorice if you have high blood pressure, as blood pressure can go up when you improve adrenal function with licorice.
  4. In the last few days, three studies have shown that an old, very safe and low-cost medication can be powerfully effective against coronavirus (see references at end of this article). This medication is called hydroxychloroquine (plaquenil). If your physician will prescribe it, it's good to have on hand to begin at first sign of coronavirus infection (e.g., cough and fever). As news is starting to get out about this, many pharmacies are being sold out. But if you call around, you may find one that still has the medication. Then see if your physician will call it into that pharmacy ASAP (as it might be quickly sold out).

    When you call the pharmacy, ask if they have Plaquenil 200 mg, 14 tablets. This is enough for one treatment course. In the one study, they gave two tablets twice a day for the first day, followed by one twice a day for five days. In another study, they gave the equivalent of one tablet three times a day for 10 days (30 tablets). After five days, 75% of people were no longer contagious, as opposed to a very few percentage in the untreated group. Clinically, they also did much better.

    If they don't have the Plaquenil, ask if they have chloroquine phosphate (aralen) 500 mg or 250 mg tablets. These can be dosed at 250 mg twice a day for 10 days. Using the GoodRx app, the 10 tablet course can be found for $30.

    As an aside, this is a perfect medication for the situation. The entire treatment course can be bought for $6 using the free Good Rx smartphone app, making it an outstanding choice for treating hundreds of millions of people. Sadly, most government agencies are focusing on new and potentially highly toxic medications that can cost thousands of dollars per person. I suspect because this is where the money is.

    Plaquenil has been used for many decades, and is very safe for short-term use, with the main side effects being uncommon, such as nausea and nuisance symptoms. If used for more than two years, it can cause an uncommon eye problem. But this isn't an issue in this situation, where it's being used short term.

    I think it would be very reasonable for everybody who can get it to have this in their medicine cabinet to take at the first sign of the virus.

Remember, most of you will do fine even if you get the virus. And if you do, it'll more than likely be mild and, ironically, may even have a side benefit of actually strengthening your natural immunity. With that said, a simple ounce of prevention using the measures above can go a long way to help keep you safe.

Hang in there. We are going to be just fine!

Love and Blessings,

Dr. T

References on Chloroquine for Coronavirus

Below are two studies/reports on the effectiveness of Chloroquine for coronavirus:

Jacob Teitelbaum, MD

is one of the world's leading integrative medical authorities on fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue. He is the lead author of four research studies on their treatments, and has published numerous health & wellness books, including the bestseller on fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome From Fatigued to Fantastic! and his newer 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. 

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