Understanding “Fibromyalgia” Part 4: The Chronic Stress Factor

THE HORMONE FAMILY

Before we talk about chronic stress, there’s something we need to understand about the endocrine system and hormones. So, let’s talk about hormones first.

Hormones, I’ve learned, are a family and cannot be isolated and treated separately.  This is likely why “hormone therapy” is the best we can come up with in treating the symptoms of hormone dysfunction.  In medical science, we do not yet know how to restore function to hormonal glands when they malfunction—or, if we do, we’re not taking that route. The sole approach we’re taking with medicine today is the prescribing and ingesting of synthetic hormones, and in some cases the surgical removal of the malfunctioning gland altogether.  Rather barbaric, I’d say, and a testament to our horse-and-buggy approach to sickness and health yet in this the twenty-first century.

Of course, “natural hormone replacement therapy” is now available. But we’re still putting the hormones into the body instead of correcting the malfunction. The old axiom can be applied here: “Give a man a fish and feed him for a day. Teach him  how to fish and feed him for a lifetime.”  You can give the body hormones or restore normal function to its own endocrine system. If you give the body hormones, the demand is taken away and the glands will not be called into action to produce their hormones.

FUNCTIONAL ENDOCRINOLOGY

Here’s were “Functional Medicine” comes into the health care arena to save the day—and our sacred endocrine system.  I’ve taken a few seminars in what is called “Functional Endocrinology” and, believe me, it’s a comprehensive and truly wholistic approach to balancing body chemistry. It also requires specializing, so I would encourage you to seek out an alternative practitioner who specializes in Functional Endocrinology and Clinical Nutrition, or a least uses muscle testing for system strength analysis, such as Contact Reflex Analysis or Quantum Reflex Analysis, in determining functional deficiencies and appropriate nutritional and herbal support.

THE STRESS RESPONSE AND THE “HPA AXIS”

In functional endocrinology we have what is called the “HPA Axis” (Hypothalamus-Pituitary-Adrenal).  These are the head coordinators of your endocrine family and are at the core of all hormonal activity, the most common of which is the “fight or flight” stress response.  Here’s how that works. The hypothalamus apprises the pituitary gland about conditions in the body and around it.  It’s the clearing house for information coming in through the five senses via the central nervous system.  It says if it’s hot or cold, dangerous or safe, turbulent or peaceful in your world—including your physical body, your closest and most personal world. The pituitary gland received the information via chemical messengers from the hypothalamus and proceeds to send out a hormone precursor to the adrenal glands (as it does to all the glands) for further hormone production.  The adrenal glands receive the precursors and squirts adrenalin into the blood stream to empower muscle cell activity.  The blood vessels contract and the muscles get ready to act on your command. This is so with all cellular activity in the body. Every cell in your body needs adrenalin to function properly—or to function at all. 

If the stress response is not shut off for a length of time—weeks and months—the stress becomes chronic. Chronic stress is a known contributor to fibromyalgia, as well as Chronic Fatigue (CFS), which is often caused by hypothyroid function. The adrenal and thyroid glands share a close relationship in the hormone family.  The stress response triggers the production of adrenalin to get the muscles moving for flight or fight in the face of a threat—real or imagined.  If a person doesn’t fight or flee from a threat and the threat is not removed, the adrenalin is not used up. 

Adrenalin, like all hormones, becomes a toxin if not used up or removed from the blood stream and muscle tissue.  It is used up in physical exercise.  It is broken down by enzymes and removed by the lymphatic system—which also depends on exercise to move lymph fluid through the tissues and on to its final destination at the left subclavian vein just above the heart where it enters the blood stream.  From there it is sent with the blood to the liver and kidneys to be filtered out and eliminated.  If this doesn’t happen and the adrenalin remains in the tissues, two things happen. One, the adrenal glands are shut down by the pituitary gland, which gets the message from the hypothalamus that there’s no need for more adrenalin as the muscle tissues are saturated with it.  Two, adrenalin, a steroid hormone called “cortisol,” is the bully of the hormone family if it doesn’t get its way.  It wrecks havoc in estrogen chemistry balance and interferes with thyroid function.  

There’s only one answer: deal with the stress factor.  Fight back or flee the situation.  Preferably, resolve it.  Now, you can’t always do that, especially if the stress factor is your job or your marital relationship.  You may need both—for a while anyway— so, denied a successful resolution, you stand or sit there in a state of quiet desperation while chronic stress sets in.  This sends a message to your hypothalamus that you’re not going to do anything about the stress.  A cascade of failures ensue:

  1. The hypothalamus gets confused and frustrated, or at best incoherent, and may simply shut down.
  2. This leaves the pituitary gland without clear and coherent instructions on what hormone precursors are needed by the family members of the endocrine system to make their hormones.  An incoherent pituitary gland spells confusion and depression for the brain.
  3. The thyroid gland falls off in its production of thyroid and parathyroid hormones, directly impacting your metabolism.  You gain weight and lose bone density.
  4. The thymus gland doesn’t get the feedback it needs about outside invaders and the possible need for an immune response.
  5. The Beta cells of the pancreas  (Islets of Langerhans) don’t know how much insulin to make to keep blood sugar balanced, resulting in hypo and/or hyperglycemia.
  6. The adrenal glands just shut down leaving you with restless nights and no stamina during the day.
  7. Finally, the sex hormone glands (the gonads) go haywire without the pituitary gland’s stimulating hormone precursors—the menstrual cycle loses its regularity and your libido shuts down in the absence of any desire to reproduce your stressed-out self.  Survival, not reproduction, growth and healing, is your body’s primary interest at this point.

You get the picture, I believe.  A family feud breaks out among your hormone glands—all because your hypothalamus is confused and your adrenal glands are exhausted. The result is pain and more pain and a complete lack of energy.  (I won’t repeat the diagnostic terms medicine has for these conditions so as not to re-enforce mental fixations that get in the way of healing.)

OXYTOCIN TO THE RESCUE!

There is one out.  Relax, throw your shoulders back, smile and be thankful for your circumstance . . . that you have a circumstance!   A thankful attitude releases oxytocin into the blood stream which disengages the stress response. So does a hug and a hand shake. So, find someone to hug—or just hug yourself— and shake hands with someone, anyone! Get that oxytocin flowing 🙂

CLINICAL NUTRITIONAL TO THE RECOVERY

While medicating for pain and and pep, consider this protocol as a general program until you can find a clinical nutritionist who can evaluate your need more specifically. This protocol will begin giving you back your life and your bubbling personality. The products are all by Standard Process and Medi-Herb. Divide dosages between morning and evening meals,  or between three meals if you’d rather.  

  1. 4 Hypothalmex tablets – ($24/60 tabs)
  2. 4 Symplex F tablets (women),  Symplex M (men) – ($17/90 t)
  3. 4 Black Current Seed Oil pearls – ($15/60 pearls)
  4. 8 Drenamin tablets – ($11/90 t)
  5. 3 Adrenal Complex for adrenal exhaustion – ($21/40 t) 
  6. 3 Thyroid Complex for hypothyroid – ($26/40 t)

To that add these for general wholefood nutritional support: 

  1. 6 Catalyn – ($11/90 tabs) 
  2. 6 Min-Tran – ($6/90  t)
  3. 3 Trace Minerals B12 – ($15/90 t)
  4. 3 Tuna Omega 3 Oil pearls – ($20/120 pearls)

Drop me an email and I’ll have the products drop-shipped directly from Standard Process within a few days.*  The cost for a 30-day supply of the above products with a 10% blog-readers discount is $280.  You will feel so good after taking these therapeutic foods for a month that you will re-order every month for two more months.  After this 90-day intensive therapy period, dosages on most supplements can be reduced to maintenance levels for the next 9 months.  Stay with this program for a year if you want to reap its full benefits.  We’re talking balancing your body chemistry and not just treating the symptoms of hormone imbalances for the rest of your life.  

*Drop-shipping applies to orders within the USA.  Postage and handling for out-of-county shipping will apply.

TOTAL PROTOCOL SUMMARY

1. First, detoxify. Do a 21-day total body purification using the Purification Kit by Standard Process. The cost: $240.  Repeat this purification program every 4 months for a year, then twice a year thereafter.

2. For gouty arthritis and fluid retention, abstain from highly seasoned and high purine foods (turkey, pork, heavy beef, lentils, dried beans, avocados, and beer) and take the following: 

  1. AC Carbamide  – 3 capsules with a tall glass of purified or spring water three times a day to support the kidneys in removing uric acid from the blood and excess fluid from the tissues. ($18/90 caps)  
  2. Iodomere  – 2 tablets with meals (6 a day) for thyroid support and to help the kidneys take up fluid. ($19/90 tabs) 
  3. DermaCo herbal – one or two tablet per day to help maintain a normal level of uric acid in the bloodstream. ($28/40 tabs) 

3.  During and after the 21-day purification, support your lymphatic system with daily brisk walks or rebounding exercise and take the following:

  1.  Take 10 drops of Lymphapar sublingual 3 times daily for 7 days then once daily for 90 days. ($14/1 oz bottle. You’ll need 3 or 4 bottles.  Email me and I’ll send you some as this is not an SP product.) 
  2. Add to that 1 Cal Amo tablet with each meal for 30 days. ($12/90 tabs)
  3. Take 4 Allerplex capsules twice a day to help get rid of metabolic waste and histamines, particularly from the lungs and bronchial tubes. ($24/150 caps)

 4.  Next, support your immune system with the following supplements over the first 90 days:

  1. Echinacea Premium (2/day)
  2. Immuplex (6/day),
  3. Thymex (6/day),
  4. St. John’s Wort (2/day) – Contraindicated with life-dependent medicines as it detoxifies drugs in the liver.
  5. Astragalus (2/day)  

5. Support the stress-response and hormone system as detailed above.   

Take this in steps and stages, and don’t rush the process.  You didn’t get fibromyalgia or CFS overnight.  Allow one month of correction for every year of chronic illness after going through a 90-day intensive.  It takes that long to turn a deteriorating health pattern around and build an integrating health pattern. And, above all, be patient—and aim to maintain an attitude of gratitude! 🙂

This completes my consideration of  fibromyalgia.  I will resume my series “Seven Glands for Seven Spirits” with the next post.  Until then,

Here’s to your health and healing . . . and a happy and healthy holiday season.

Dr. Anthony Palombo

tpal70@gmail.com

Visit my second blog, HealingTones.org, for intriguing thought around the current cosmic event, “4th Density Apocalypse 2012, Part 3: The Ascension Process.” 

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