Monday, September 17, 2012

So simple but a long road to get there

If you have been diagnosed with fibromyalgia, or know anyone who has, read on! 

I was diagnosed with whatever this is almost 11 years ago. Mostly it's about hurting all over all the time, or at least most of it. Other symptoms include physical and mental fatigue at increasingly high levels. There are a host of other symptoms that may or may not be present, and they may or may not be present today but are back tomorrow.  If I weren't suffering from it I might not believe someone describing my set of symptoms either.

I try to minimize the prescription meds because there are side effects and unintended consequences to all of it. There are also several theories about what caused the suite of symptoms. Most MD's  just treat symptoms and don't try to go after root causes. I have been prescribed and tried a lot of meds -- some that worked for a while, others one dose was enough to know it was not for me.  I kept a list with the name, dose and why I found it unsatisfactory.  The list is a couple pages long but allows me to analyze and prevent revisiting failed meds. Of the many meds I've tried and stopped using due to the side effects, I noticed that low doses of brain-affecting meds that monkey with norepinepherine levels gave me the most relief without narcotics (HATE those). Unfortunately most had other undesirable side effects.

A recent article on natural anti-depressive compounds gave me an idea.  The article provided several vitamins and amino acids that are precursors to serotonin. None were mentioned for norepinepherine, so I went to my pal, Google.  Turns out L-tyrosine is the precursor amino acid and that the most bioavailbale form is N-acetyl L-tyrosine (NALT).  I found it at the health food store for under $8, so bought a bottle of 30 X 300 mg tablets and started to play around with it. That was a few weeks ago.

Half a tablet was too much. I was UP! All night! like the old MTV show.  I skipped a couple of days, during which I felt pretty good and was increasingly more able to sleep. Whew.  Next I tried a quarter of a tablet, about 75 mg. Well, it really helps.

Taking a quarter of a tablet each morning has done some amazing things for me. I am no longer taking celebrex ($125/month). I am no longer taking nuvigil ($90/month). Decided not to try to titrate Strattera for the same purpose (would have been $100 per month). Haven't needed a percocet in two weeks -- happy to be without that too. Occasionally I notice a build-up with trouble sleeping so I skip a day.  MANY fewer side effects than the drugs replaced. No meaningful risk of bleeding ulcer, no racing heart beat and wired-feelings from the nuvigil, etc.

I'm not a doctor and this is not medical advice, but my self-experiment seems to be working well.  Looks like the cost of the NALT will be less than $3 a month to replace $215 for less effective meds and prevent another $100 a month experiment. Not a bad deal.

It's been amost 3 weeks. I'l let you know if it's still working a month from now.


  1. Congrats! DW has fibro, and she has gotten good results with AdvoCare nutritional products(such good results we became distributors, for full disclosure)

    She works out in the gym for an hour and a half 5 days a week. And is more energetic than I have seen her in YEARS.

    I'm glad that you have found something that is working for you, and I will check our product line for that ingredient to see if that is what might be helping her.

    1. Bingo! One of her favorite energy drinks, Spark, has L-tyrosine in it. Thank you for your information, I want to share this with my friends who have fibro, and with DW's MD.

  2. Replies
    1. Nice of you to ask. I only take the 75 mg of NALT about once a week now for pain -- seems to build up. If I want to be more alert, I'll take a morning dose just for that occasionally. The 'normal' pain is really much less -- probably less than anytime since pre-diagnosis. Daily meds are down to one (once per day) of the 5 meds I was previously taking. I take another of those for joint pain about 3 times a week rather than twice daily. Am able to exercise more as well. Huge difference.