Friday, 27 January 2012

Freedom From M.E.

YouTube is proving invaluable to getting more information about M.E. I hope to go back to researching D-Ribose as referred to in a previous post, but meanwhile, I've found another really useful YouTube channel with a wealth of information about M.E. and fibromyalgia that I can certainly recommend you to look at.

The Optimum Health Clinic, based in London, was founded by Alex Howard, a former M.E. sufferer. Most of the staff who work at the clinic are also M.E. recoverees, and in their videos, they appear to genuinely understand the complexities and multi-faceted nature of M.E. and consequently offer a tailor-made approach. They also understand the need to keep up-to-date with new information about M.E., so don't seem stuck in a single-track 'aged' trademark program that I've already noticed with some other specialists. They don't identify a central causitive agent in M.E., but like Dr. Teitelbaum in my earlier post, do also acknowledge the key role of ATP in energy transfer at the cellular level.

The main areas the clinic focuses on are psychology and nutrition. They have specialists working in each of these fields. For psychology, there is repeated mention on a 'healing state'. This means developing relaxation strategies to calm the body down, so that it has better chance to rest more deeply, as well as offering better conditions for nutritional processes to effectively take place. I did try some hypnotherapy sessions a few years ago when I first thought I was suffering from panic attacks rather than M.E. I found a few relaxation tracks commercially available that are really great, that I'll go on to mention in a later post. For nutrition, there are so many areas that can get out of sync when the body is drained, and as nutrition is an area that I would like to look into more, I am particularly drawn to the knowledge that the Optimum Health Clinic seems to have.

In looking at the clinic's prices, it appears that, at least in the area of nutrition, it is GBP235 for the first 1-hour session, and then GBP125 for each 45-minute follow-up session thereafter. A plus side is that the sessions can be offered by phone or by Skype. The cost could certainly seem a challenge for those less well off, but having seen what sort of knowledge and resources the clinic has to offer, I would personally want to try this place out over other places that I've seen so far. Of course, you could also set about things on your own and save professional costs, but it seems that it would take years to thoroughly understand all the relevant aspects of nutrition in relation to M.E. And as we all know as M.E. sufferers, another few years of living severely affected just won't do. We really need a helping hand, provided we can be confident that there is a very genuine chance that the help is going to work.

From what I gather, it sounds like you complete some questionnaires prior to your first session, then you have your first session, and then someone goes through all the data and comes back with some options for nutritional supplements and dietary plans. The people behind it are definitely more involved than the 10-minute sessions that you can get with an average GP (at least in the UK). The 10-minute period for something as complex as M.E. was just totally inadequate from my experience, as it took three years to get the diagnosis of M.E. even though I proposed that it could be what I was suffering from in my very first appointment. There is mention at some of the supplements being costly, and that some of them have to be ordered rather than being found on the high street, so the costs will add up further. It's not entirely clear where the role of blood test data comes in the first session analysis, and it appears that it's up to you to get blood testing done with your GP beforehand. The blood work areas that the clinic recommends covering are:

• Adrenal Stress Index Test
• Comprehensive Stool Analysis/Gastro-intestinal Function
• Vitamin & mineral status (blood test)
• ATP Profile/Mitochondrial Function
• Translocator Protein Study
• Cell FreeDNA
• SODase
• Co-enzyme Q10
• Epithelial growth factor (sEGF) for stomach acid
• Glutathione studies
• Full Thyroid Panels
• Urine Iodine/Halides
• Hair Mineral Analysis
• Leaky Gut (Gut Permeability)
• Food & environmental Intolerances & Allergies
• Candida Antibody
• Kryptopyrroles/Pyroluria
• Heavy Metals
• Metal or chemical Sensitivity
• Fat Biopsy for Pesticides and Volatile Organic Compounds
• Essential Fatty Acid Profile

I'm not sure how many of these tests would typically be available on the NHS (UK) or how much they would cost if not free. However, in my view, getting readings for all these items is essential as your first step to getting help for your condition. Only by the process of elimination are you ever going to get to the real cause of your illness. In my previous post featuring Dr. Teitelbaum's lecture, he was very insistent that all M.E. patients be treated for Candida regardless of whether it showed up in tests or not. However, in the Optimal Health Clinic's videos, they more sensibly suggest that you shouldn't really embark on medication for a condition which is not present in your test readings. Both Dr. Teitelbaum and the Optimal Health Clinic, though, point out that many physicians won't report borderline blood results as abnormal. Only specialists in M.E. will analyze blood readings in more detail and be more likely ot pick up on borderline readings as in fact abnormal and an indicative symptom. In my case, I did have one set of blood tests in 2009 to try and 'conclude' that I had M.E. by elimination of any other related conditions. All the readings were declared 'normal' by my doctor, but having spent the previous three years undergoing hell and constant vomiting and diarrhea, I was baffled at how the readings didn't show anything abnormal at all. I would certainly be keen to get more comprehensive blood testing done and have it analyzed by someone trained to focus on areas associated with M.E.

For me, I would love to try out the Optimum Health Clinic, but if they are going to prescribe supplements that are not readily available, I'm currently not in a country that has access to less mainstream supplements, and which has lots of shipping restrictions from European businesses. I would have to configure a network of people to help me get the supplements, so I am going to wait until I get back to the UK to get in touch with the clinic. You can actually get a free 15-minute consultation with the clinic beforehand, as mentioned on their website.

For their YouTube videos, there are over 100 of them. A starter video that contained some interesting facts involves low stomach acid, this being important since the stomach is a main immune system response area:

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