Potential Treatment Options for GWI, CFS, Fibromyalgia


Chronic fatigue syndrome and fibromyalgia patients might appreciate this new research article that highlight supplements that might be beneficial.  Magnesium, l-carnitine, and S-adenosylmethionine are nonpharmacological supplements with the most potential for further research.  This is a constantly changing situation and might encourage the VA to also consult with alternative medicine and environmental medicine experts in the civilian world and open a dialogue with this group of physicians to explore together the treatments for gulf war illness.  Possibly the physicians at the VA could be encourage to use CME from the Environmental Medicine Association for the next couple of years.

The New VA administration also needs to be aware that Dr William Rea, who had previous VA employment service in his past, had reached out numerous times to the VA offerring his expertise in the area of treating gulf war veterans in the area of environmental medicine.  There has been many efforts in the past of doctors that had prior VA and military time attempting to interact with VA headquarters in DC in order to help the gulf war veterans.  This research article below, might guide physicians to do vitamin and mineral analysis on gulf war veterans as a minimal starting point for proposed changes in medical guidelines and suggestions.

The gulf war veterans have already used their own abilities to try and find relief.  In the background a lot of sharing has been going on between veterans of what they have tried and what helped.  We suggest a bulletin board be set up by the VA  on the VA website to hear from these veterans for input on what they have found that has helped in the past 20 years.  The writer strongly encourages that exploration outside the conventional medical approach be considered.  Ask these physicians that have been  helping gulf war veterans to participate with the VA now.  Set up  a bulletin board for these physicians to offer their suggestions to both the VA and the Veterans.  There are many civilian doctors out there that would like to share their insights and suggestions.


J Altern Complement Med. 2010 Mar;16(3):235-49.
Alternative medical interventions used in the treatment and management of myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome and fibromyalgia.
Porter NS, Jason LA, Boulton A, Bothne N, Coleman B.

Center for Community Research, DePaul University , Chicago, IL.

Abstract Background: There have been several systematic reviews attempting to evaluate the efficacy of possible treatments for myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS) and fibromyalgia (FM). However, information regarding the efficacy of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) has not been comprehensively or systematically covered in these reviews, despite its frequent use in the patient community.

Purpose: The purpose of this study was to systematically review and evaluate the current literature related to alternative and complementary treatments for ME/CFS and FM. It should be stressed that the treatments evaluated in this review do not reflect the clinical approach used by most practitioners to treat these illnesses, which include a mix of natural and unconventionally used medications and natural hormones tailored to each individual case. However, nearly all clinical research has focused on the utility of single CAM interventions, and thus is the primary focus of this review.

Methods: Several databases (e.g., PubMed, MEDLINE,((R)) PsychInfo) were systematically searched for randomized and nonrandomized controlled trials of alternative treatments and nonpharmacological supplements. Included studies were checked for references and several experts were contacted for referred articles. Two leading subspecialty journals were also searched by hand. Data were then extracted from included studies and quality assessments were conducted using the Jadad scale. Results: Upon completion of the literature search and the exclusion of studies not meeting criterion, a total of 70 controlled clinical trials were included in the review. Sixty (60) of the 70 studies found at least one positive effect of the intervention (86%), and 52 studies also found improvement in an illness-specific symptom (74%). The methodological quality of reporting was generally poor.

Conclusions: Several types of alternative medicine have some potential for future clinical research. However, due to methodological inconsistencies across studies and the small body of evidence, no firm conclusions can be made at this time. Regarding alternative treatments, acupuncture and several types of meditative practice show the most promise for future scientific investigation. Likewise, magnesium, l-carnitine, and S-adenosylmethionine are nonpharmacological supplements with the most potential for further research. Individualized treatment plans that involve several pharmacological agents and natural remedies appear promising as well.

PMID: 20192908 [PubMed – in process]

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