My Personal Journey: How I Beat Chronic Fatigue Syndrome After 20 Years of Suffering
Today I want to share a very personal story.
For 20 years, I fought a losing battle with chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS).
I heard all of the usual crap from the M.D.s, like “there’s nothing wrong with you,” “it’s all in your head,” and my personal favorite, “you’re just lazy.”
Thankfully, I finally managed to turn things around and beat this insidious disease without a lick of help from conventional medical doctors.
My Breaking Point
The first step on my road to recovery actually started back in 1993 when a client of mine got very frustrated with me for missing deadlines and being unavailable for work for weeks and months at a time due to the debilitating effects of chronic fatigue.
I’m a freelance journalist and direct mail copywriter by profession. And missing deadlines is the death knell of a career in the writing field.
My freelance writing business was down the tubes. I was dead broke. And I barely had the energy to get up for several hours a day, at best.
I was at my breaking point, and knew I had to do something…but what could I do that I hadn’t already tried?
Fortunately, this particular client was compassionate and understanding of my problems with chronic fatigue syndrome.
He actually bought me a plane ticket and flew me up to a clinic run by a naturopath in Portland, Oregon who had a lot of experience in dealing with chronic fatigue syndrome, and who had studied the treatment of chronic fatigue syndrome in Germany where the disease is taken much more seriously by the medical establishment than it is here in the U.S.
This client not only flew me up to the naturopathic clinic, but paid for my hotel room, and paid for all of the diagnostics and treatment this naturopath recommended, to boot.
I will never forget his kindness and generosity.
I only wish I knew then what I have since learned about beating chronic fatigue syndrome. I could have solved my chronic fatigue problem a whole lot sooner.
Here’s the rest of my story…
Raising the Body’s Cellular Energy Levels – Naturally!
This naturopath, Dr. Brian MacCoy, ordered a series of blood tests to be done, along with other medical tests. And what he discovered floored me.
The tests showed that my blood titres of Epstein Barr virus and Cytomegalovirus were basically off the charts.
In fact, Dr. MacCoy’s comment was “Whenever we have patients come in with viral blood titres this high, they usually come in horizontal, meaning they are too weak to even walk into my office and must be carried in.”
Dr. MacCoy explained that the pathogens responsible for chronic fatigue – and there are many of them besides Epstein Barr virus and Cytomegalovirus – have one thing in common: they all tend to damage and disrupt the body’s cellular energy production mechanisms.
What’s more, these energy-robbing pathogens tend to be ubiquitous – just about everybody has them. These include including Candida yeast, mycoplasmas, the Lyme Disease pathogen, Human Herpes Virus 6, and, to a lesser extent, retroviruses such as XMRV, murine leukemia viruses, coxsackievirus and others.
But most people’s immune system is able to keep the activities of these insidious disease-causing pathogens in check and prevent them from spreading and causing the kind of damage to cellular energy production that results in chronic fatigue.
Unfortunately, some people – like me – have had past immune system damage for one reason or another, whether from physical injury, aging, severe illness, chronic stress or post-traumatic stress, poor dietary habits, addiction, excessive drinking, smoking, etc.
And because of this weakened immunity, the pathogens tend to overwhelm the immune system and begin to run riot in the body, eventually infiltrating the cells and damaging cellular energy production in the process.
So Dr. MacCoy’s primary method of treatment was to gradually raise the body’s cellular energy production back to more youthful levels. The idea is to give the body the added cellular energy it needs to restore peak immune system function.
His method of raising the body’s cellular energy production was to use intramuscular injections of a natural compound called adenosine monophosphate, or AMP for short.
In the body, AMP converts to ATP (adenosine triphosphate), which is the molecule made by the cells to create energy throughout the body. It’s like fuel to a car engine.
Dr. MacCoy taught me how to give myself the deep muscle injections of AMP once daily in the upper quadrant of the buttocks.
After a week of daily injections, I got to taper off to three injections per week, and then to one per week, and then to “whenever needed,” which after a short while, was about twice a month.
When I started taking these AMP injections, I experienced immediate beneficial effects. Even after the very first injection, I could feel the cloud lifting from my mind, the depression vanishing, and energy returning to my body.
Within the first month of taking the shots, I was back to working 8-hour days with only minor struggles with fatigue, whereas before starting the AMP injections, even working a two- or three-hour day at home was a real chore if I was able to work at all.
Enter the Amazing Energy Booster, D-Ribose
About six months later I learned about a unique nutritional supplement known as D-Ribose, which had recently been introduced to the sports nutrition community.
Weight lifters and athletes of all sorts were taking this new supplement because it naturally fuels the body’s production of adenosine triphosphate (ATP), which as I mentioned above, is the molecule the body produces in the cells that provides energy.
D-Ribose was being sold as a sports nutritional supplement chiefly because it was known to help athlete’s recover from long, hard workouts in record time by boosting the ability of the cellular mitochondria to produce ATP.
So I reasoned that D-Ribose might work for chronic fatigue victims as well. After all, in the end, chronic fatigue is little more than an energy deficit disorder. And energy deficits are what athletes are recovering from after long, gruesome workouts.
So I tried the D-Ribose in place of the painful AMP injections. And bam! It changed my life for the better, almost instantly. Indeed, for me, this wonderful supplement completely eliminated the need for the painful, deep muscle AMP injections.
At that point, whenever I felt the need for a boost in cellular energy, I began taking a capsule of D-Ribose rather than the painful AMP injections. The capsules worked just as well – actually, better – and they were significantly less expensive than the shots to boot!
In fact, D-Ribose worked so well for me, and for other chronic fatigue sufferers I knew, that it was the very first nutritional supplement I chose to market when I began putting together the nutritional supplement line for my first natural health company, Silver Bullet Enterprises, back in 1994 (which I sold six years later before starting Targeted Nutrients).
To the best of my knowledge, at that time I was the very first individual in the U.S. to market D-Ribose nationally as a remedy for chronic fatigue syndrome.
Literally millions of copies of my newsletter article, “D-Ribose: the Overlooked Energy Booster That Really Gets You Moving Again” were circulated at that time (and continue to be), helping make D-Ribose the #1 energy-boosting supplement in the world for the past 16 years.
Since then, much more clinical research has been conducted on D-Ribose. Its ability to bring new life and energy back to victims of chronic fatigue syndrome has been widely documented, particularly by Dr. Jacob Teitelbaum, M.D., author of the bestseller, From Fatigued to Fantastic.
And another major benefit – the ability of D-Ribose to reverse weak cardiac function – has also been brought to the public’s attention thanks to superb new clinical research that’s been conducted.
What’s more, thanks to all of this new research, numerous well-known natural health gurus now highly recommend D-Ribose as a remedy for chronic fatigue, poor heart function and other causes of energy-deficit disorders.
These D-Ribose advocates include such natural health luminaries as Dr. Stephen Sinatra, M.D., Dr. Jacob Teitelbaum, M.D., Dr. Julian Whittaker, M.D., Dr. Hyla Cass, M.D, Dr. Andrew Weil, M.D., Dr. Mehmet Oz, M.D. (from Oprah), and many others.
To learn more about the unparalleled energy-boosting benefits of D-Ribose, and the latest research into this powerful supplement, just click the link in this sentence.
Pregnenolone, the “Happiness Hormone”
Over the years I continued to research chronic fatigue in relation to its ability to disrupt the body’s cellular energy production mechanisms.
I found out that this slow destruction of the body’s cellular energy metabolism often resulted in depleted hormone levels.
So after having my hormone levels tested, and discovering them to be abnormally low, I also began taking small doses (i.e., 10-20 mg.) of Pregnenolone, which is the so-called “mother hormone.”
When ingested in small amounts, Pregnenolone gives the body the raw hormonal material it needs to trigger what’s called a “hormonal cascade” – which is to say, it boosts the body’s ability to create whatever additional hormones you may have become deficient in due to the poor cellular metabolism.
For me, Pregnenolone augmented the D-Ribose wonderfully, allowing me to raise my daily energy levels even more significantly than before.
As a secondary benefit, it relieved the underlying depression I’d been experiencing for years, which apparently, is one reason people refer to pregnenolone as the “feel good” or “happiness hormone.”
How much better did it make me feel?
Well, I could much more easily accomplish 8-hour workdays without getting exhausted at the end of the day. And rather quickly I was able to increase my workdays to 10 and 12 hours apiece.
What’s more, I still had enough energy on weekends to take my wife out for a few hours in the evenings without wiping myself out completely as in the past.
By this time, I was starting my second business, a publishing company called Life & Health Research Group. So the extra stamina really came in handy.
You can learn more about the powerful, vitality-enhancing (and depression-banishing) qualities of Pregnenolone at the link in this sentence.
Beta-1,3/1,6 Glucan – the World’s Most Powerful Immune Booster!
During that same time-frame, I had also become extremely intrigued by what I’d been hearing about a potent all-natural immune system booster called Beta-1,3/1,6-glucan – which I learned was being given to children with cancer in an effort to increase their ability to withstand the ravaging, immune-suppressing effects of radiation and chemotherapy.
So I called the company that manufactures Beta-1,3/1,6-glucan, and was able to speak with Byron Donzis, the man who invented the technical process used to extract this powerful natural substance from the cell walls of baker’s yeast.
Donzis is a multi-millionaire who also holds the patents on several Adidas sports shoe designs for professional athletes, as well as the patents on the anti-terrorist flak jackets used by many police departments around the country.
I discovered that Donzis’ favorite charity is a group called The Sunshine Kids. These are children with severe forms of cancer.
It was his charity work with The Sunshine Kids which led Donzis to study Beta-1,3/1,6-glucan. What he found through the clinical studies he helped fund at Tulane Medical University was that Beta-1,3/1,6 Glucan boosts the human immune system dramatically, so much so that kids with cancer could take it before undergoing radiation therapy, and the radiation therapy would not severely damage their immune system!
Previous to this discovery, excessive immune system damage from the radiation treatment was a “given” when treating children with cancer.
To make a long story short, I began taking the Beta-1,3/1,6-glucan capsules, along with the colloidal silver, D-Ribose and Pregnenolone supplements mentioned above.
And once again I had immediate dramatic results.
Apparently my immune system had never quite recovered from the years of suffering with chronic fatigue syndrome, even though my metabolism and energy production was doing much better thanks to the other supplements.
Within the first 24 hours, I could tell that the Beta-1,3/1,6-glucan was the key I’d been looking for to achieve that final 20%-30% recovery that had eluded me.
Within only a few short weeks I was back in peak form, and since that time have been able to work back-to-back 16-hour days (no kidding!) without excessive fatigue.
That’s pretty darn good for someone who only a few short years earlier could barely function for more than two hours per day without collapsing!
You can learn more about the Beta-1/3,1/6-glucan nutritional supplement at www.NSC24.com.
Vinpocetine: The World’s Most Powerful Natural Brain Energy Booster
As you likely know, victims of chronic fatigue syndrome frequently complain of “brain fog,” or the inability to think clearly. Thinking not only becomes difficult, but a cumbersome strain. It’s as if the neurons in the brain simply quit firing.
Because of this, I watched carefully for information on natural substances that might help eliminate this perplexing symptom. I tried Ginko Biloba, ginseng and other supplements, but found them to be of no help to me whatsoever.
Nevertheless, I kept watching the literature for other options, and talking about it to everybody I could in the natural health community.
And I was soon rewarded for my diligence when a good friend at Smart Nutrition in San Diego, CA introduced me to another new all-natural supplement called Vinpocetine, which had just been brought over from Europe.
Like D-Ribose, Vinpocetine triggers the body to produce more adenosine triphosphate (ATP), which is pure cellular energy. But unlike D-Ribose, which works chiefly in the muscles and tissues to produce bodily energy, Vinpocetine works primarily in the brain.
Indeed, it is such a potent brain-booster, it is sold as a prescription memory drug throughout Europe. But because it is an extract from the Periwinkle plant, it’s allowed to be sold here in the United States as a nutritional supplement rather than a drug!
In over 100 medical studies, Vinpocetine has been demonstrated to:
- improve circulation of oxygen-rich blood within the brain
- increase crucial levels of adenosine triphosphate (ATP/cellular energy) within the brain’s neurons, increasing their ability to fire rapidly and carry information quickly and effectively
- improve the brain’s utilization of glucose (its most important fuel)
- accelerate the rate of learning by 40% in tests
- dramatically improve memory (in one study a whopping 62% of healthy subjects exhibited significant short-term memory improvement 1 hour after taking only 40 mg)
- dramatically increase the length of time that short-term memory is retained
- improve the brain’s utilization of oxygen and increase the resistance of neurons to the damage that would otherwise be caused by low oxygen levels
- improve the flexibility of red blood cells in the brain and may thereby help to prevent strokes
So I added Vinpocetine to my supplement regimen, and was once again pleasantly surprised to find it to be of tremendous benefit.
Indeed, my thinking cleared up rapidly, and due to that my output as a writer increased dramatically.
Methylcobalamin Form of B-12
Finally, after additional research I added to my daily supplement regimen vitamin B-12 in the easily assimilated methylcobalamin form, rather than the more commonly used cyanocobalamin form which the body has difficulty utilizing.
B-12 in the methylcobalamin form restores lost energy to the body’s nervous system – indeed, clinical research shows It is critical to the health of the nerves.
Interestingly, it is in the nerve cells of the human body that many viruses linked to chronic fatigue syndrome like to hide. So the nervous system is often the very first system in the human body to be damaged by some of the viruses responsible for chronic fatigue.
Many researchers believe this is one reason why people with chronic fatigue syndrome often also develop fibromyalgia and other nerve and muscle pain syndromes.
Thankfully, the methylcobalamin form of Vitamin B-12 can be purchased through a variety of online resources. It’s included, for example, in the powerful energy-boosting supplement AMG from Targeted Nutrients.
AMG, which was specifically designed to help victims of infection-based chronic degenerative diseases such as Chronic Fatigue Immune Deficiency Syndrome (CFIDS), Fibromyalgia and Lyme Disease recover naturally from the damage to bodily systems that can be caused by the pathogens behind these types of diseases.
The results of doing the research to find these unique (and in some cases still little-known) natural cures in the early 1990’s was that I was able to go from a depressed, demoralized and energy-deprived state to a far more youthful and dynamic state in a very short period of time.
Because I love my work, I tend to look at my recovery from chronic fatigue syndrome in terms of my increased ability to handle a daily workload.
As I mentioned earlier, thanks to these natural cures I gradually went from barely being able to handle a two- or three-hour workday, to doing back-to-back 12- and 16-hour workdays as if they were nothing!
To me, that was nothing short of a miracle! I got my life and my career back (and found a loving wife in the process) – all in the course of just a few short years from the time I first started searching out natural cures for this mysterious and debilitating disease on my own.
Indeed, in the ensuing 20+ years since beginning my search for natural ways to conquer chronic fatigue, I’ve…
…started and sold one business…
…formed three more highly successful businesses (each of which I still run)…
…wrote, co-wrote, edited and published five books…
…published numerous newsletters and articles on natural healing…
…starred in a one-hour natural health video…
…and have become one of the top natural health journalists in the country.
It’s now been over 20 years since I first began using natural healing techniques to beat chronic fatigue syndrome, and I’m still going strong.
I no longer need to take each of the above-described supplements daily. But I still use them whenever I feel the need.
Because I’ve used each one of these powerful supplements many times, I know their benefits intimately. And when I’m feeling a bit fatigued, I simply let my body tell me which of the supplements I need.
It’s now been many years since I’ve experienced a full-blown chronic fatigue “crash.”
And frankly, I owe it all to God, who over time led me to the right people and the right places, and gave me the insight to see these natural substances as the potentially powerful remedies for chronic fatigue they truly turned out to be.
I also credit the entire natural health community, which has fought tooth-and-nail over the years to keep these supplements available to consumers in the face of constant FDA attempts to regulate them into oblivion.
My “Quick Energy” Cocktail
If you’re feeling fatigued and want to test my findings, try taking the following natural “cocktail” of immune-boosting and energy-restoring substances:
- D-Ribose (1500 mg.)
- Beta-1,3-1,6-glucan (3mg.)
- B-12 Methylcobalamin (1,000 micrograms)
- Alternately, I sometimes try a 10 mg. capsule of Pregnenolone, along with a 10 mg. capsule of Vinpocetine.
I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised at the new found energy, mental clarity and bona-fide feeling of well-being you’ll experience!
And please understand, I’m not prescribing. I’m just mentioning what has helped me so tremendously over the years since I first came to discover the fact that natural healing all too often beats the traditional medical paradigm hands-down.
The bottom line is that if you’ll take the time to look into it, you’ll discover there are some remarkable drug-free approaches to chronic fatigue syndrome that really work for most people – approaches that can restore your life to normal in a very short period of time!
It’s all about getting your body back on track by nourishing it enough to gain the strength and immunity it needs to prevent opportunistic pathogens from spreading.
Why a Superior Multi-Vitamin/Mineral Complex, Plus Essential Fatty Acids, Are Essential to Beating Chronic Fatigue!
There are several other things that have really helped me over the years, but those mentioned above are the main ones.
However, I would be doing a disservice to Dr. Stephen E. Langer, M.D., author of the excellent best-selling book “Solved: The Riddle of Illness”, if I didn’t mention the multi-vitamin and omega-3 fatty acid supplement program he put me on after I contacted him for a telephone consultation many years ago and told him of my efforts to beat chronic fatigue.
Dr. Langer is a very unconventional medical doctor in that he has no qualms about integrating alternative medical approaches with orthodox medical approaches when the condition warranted it.
He emphasized to me that over the long run it would do little good to boost my body’s broken-down cellular energy production mechanisms and my immune system if I didn’t give my body’s 100 trillion-plus cells the nutrients they needed to run at higher levels.
That made a lot of sense to me.
To accomplish this, he prescribed a specialized high-dose multi-vitamin/mineral complex supplement.
And not one of those cheap formulas from Wal-Mart that cost $5 or $6 a bottle, and contain the cheapest and least bio-available forms of vitamins and minerals, but a really good, high-quality multi-vitamin mineral formula, instead.
There are many out there. But expect to pay between $30-50 a bottle for one that uses the superior, bioavailable forms of the various vitamins and minerals. This is required to nourish the cells and start bringing them back to life after being damaged for so long by the viruses or other pathogens.
The formula Dr. Langer prescribed for me, and that has worked best for me (and believe me, I’ve tried many others) is called Ultra Protection III from Douglas Laboratories.
Additionally, Dr. Langer prescribed extra vitamin C (in the form of Ester C, a very bio-available form of the vitamin) and extra calcium/magnesium, apparently because restoring the proper ratio of calcium to magnesium in the cells is essential for a full recovery from chronic fatigue.
He also prescribed 1,000 mg. per day of Borage Seed Oil and Omega-3 Fish Oil, which nourish brain cells, tame hidden inflammation, inhibit blood clotting, and even help the cells become more fluid and pliable so they absorb nutrients more efficiently.
Dr. Langer’s recommended supplements also provided immediate and very beneficial relief from the effects of chronic fatigue. They seem to make the other substances work even better. So I am very grateful to Dr. Langer. He’s no ordinary M.D.
One Final Thought
Once again, please keep in mind that I’m not a doctor, and I’m not “prescribing” anything.
I’m merely relating to you in a journalistic fashion the details of my long-term victory over chronic fatigue syndrome, after suffering its insidious and debilitating effects for over 20 years.
I’ve written the above synopsis of this victory because conventional medicine NEVER made me better, and it’s probably not doing much for you, either, if you’re a fellow chronic fatigue sufferer.
I’m extremely grateful to God for the unconventional people and unconventional health wisdom I’ve been introduced to over the past 20+ years since I began this journey back to natural health and well-being.
And I’m particularly grateful to be able to help steer others in the same direction. This indeed is one of my greatest pleasures in life…
My best regards,
Steve Barwick, President