The treatment approach for Multiple Chemical Sensitivity (MCS) is very similar to the approach for MCS co-morbid conditions Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) and Fibromyalgia (FM). However, a much greater emphasis needs to be put on creating a safe home location, stimuli minimization, chemical minimization and pacing.
The more severe MCS is the more complex and difficult MCS becomes to treat. When a person has very severe adrenal fatigue (hypocortisolism or hypo-adrenia), very impaired liver detoxification and very severe central and peripheral sensitisations, many standard treatments are often perceived as yet another stressor by the persons "protection systems" and can simply trigger the fight/flight response (Limbic and HPA) if not done very slowly and gently. This is why it is important to identify and treat MCS as early as possible, when it is simpler and quicker to do so.
To simplify the MCS maze we have created the RESHAPE PLUS book for people with MCS, based on over 20 years experience and research and input from 100’s of health workers and health professionals. If you have less severe food intolerance or MCS symptoms that come and go or another chronic health condition the book RESHAPE for improved health, less pain and more energy may be more suitable. This book applies the same principles but in a less strict way.
Reduce your stress load so aches and pains, fatigue and emotional distress ease and happiness can shine through
E at Well – a balanced whole food diet that has been adjusted for pharmacological food intolerance is generally considered most beneficial
S elf manage – for better outcomes band healthcare
H armonise– so your life fits together in a way that does not cause unnecessary stress and allows for additional rest and pacing
A dapt–so some of your problems and worries go away completely!
P ace – to minimize symptom flare-ups and set backs
E xercise – to reduce pain and de-conditioning but stay within your limits to avoid post exercise malaise and symptom flare-ups. Even a few stretches & mobilizations performed for a few minutes several times a day can help as can graded exercise therapy (GET)
PLUS REST, REDUCE, PACE – to give your inner DOC a break and a chance to recover from severe exhaustion and even crisis.
Below are a summary of some of the tips in the RESHAPE PLUS book. As MCS can be so taxing and exhausting , RESHAPE presents the information in a simplified fun way with cartoons.
These tips are for educational purposes only and are not meant to replace proper medical diagnosis and treatment by a doctor or specialist trained in Nutrition and Environmental Medicine.
REDUCE YOUR STRESS LOAD
This means take action to reduce your TOTAL STRESS LOAD endogenous (internal) and exogenous (external). Every thing in the RESHAPE PLUS book is aimed at this as it is thought to be the most effective treatment strategy for helping people with MCS. These are just a few suggestions that have proven to be helpful: learn MINDFULNESS, get more rest and a better nights sleep and create a low stimuli and low chemical non-toxic home environment
Dr Grace Ziem in her letter to Patients says
ENVIRONMENTAL CONTROLS ARE THE MOST IMPORTANT If you do not have a relatively nontoxic environment, you will not be able to adequately benefit from the medical treatment, because frequent exposures in or near the home (workplace/school) causing frequent symptoms interfere with the healing process.
Unfortunately, many people with CFS, FM and MCS will not wake feeling refreshed or feeling calm and relaxed and not stressed out until they have increased their cortisol levels and reduced their toxic body burden. This does take time though (3-6 months for people with mild sensitivities, most likely 6 months to 2 years for people with moderate sensitivities and 2 years to 10 years for people with severe sensitivities. It also and requires persistence and a commitment to a multi-dimensional self management treatment protocol such as the one promoted by RESHAPE.
Whilst, many practitioners recommend FIR Sauna Therapy and other active detoxification methods, which help some people, these will tend to simply cause injury and worsen symptoms in people with more severe sensitivities, particularly if not done very slowly, right and under medical supervision.
Detoxification in Individuals with Impaired Enzymatic Detoxification is Contraindicated and Dangerous
MCS is a disabling, multi-organ syndrome caused by an impaired ability to detoxify chemical toxins. (11,12) According to a recent 2004 International Journal of Epidemiology study, impaired metabolism of toxic chemicals underlies MCS. In this case control study, a gene-gene interaction between enzymes suggested an elevated risk for MCS. (13) These findings parallel other observations of a link between enzyme abnormalities in Gulf War syndrome veterans and in a retrospective case-control analysis reporting cognitive and neurological impairments as symptomatology. (14,15) Clearly, labeling MCS patients as "psychosomatic" is not supported by scientific or clinical evidence. (38)
Source: Hypoadrenia: A causative factor in MCS, Allergies and Impaired Enzymatic Detoxification Dr. Paul Yanick, Jr. Ph.D., N.D. – Board Certified in Integrative Medicine Source: Published in the March 2005 Townsend Letter for Doctors – Revised on 11-20-11 © 2011
For safer Detoxification methods read DETOXIFICATION at this site
It is important to eat a healthy balanced diet based on whole foods by following standard dietary recommendations. However, whilst this may be enough to significantly help people with mild to moderate chemical sensitivities, people with moderate to severe sensitivities will most likely experience a worsening of symptoms (not unlike side effects to medicines and symptoms linked to MCS) if they do not adjust their diet for food intolerance. (Dr Loblay Directors RPAH Allergy Unit)
Dr Loblay says…
Although much attention has been paid in recent years to the adverse effects of food additives, naturally occurring food chemicals are a more insidious and more common cause of problems.
Source:The Role of Food Intolerance in Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
Robert H. Loblay, MD, PhD1 and Anne R. Swain, PhD2
1Senior Lecturer in Immunology, University of Sydney and Director, Allergy Service, Department of Clinical Immunology, Royal Prince Alfred Hospital 2Research Dietitian, Allergy Service, Royal Prince Alfred Hospital, Sydney, Australia
The most problematic natural food chemicals are Salicylates, glutamines and amines, these cause neurogenic inflammation in susceptible individuals in the same way that environmental chemicals and “excessive” stress can.
Whilst doing a dietitian supervised RPAH Allergy unit food elimination challenge an help many people, the withdrawal symptoms which generally only last for 3-4 days can be very severe and last several months in people with more severe chemical sensitivity and food intolerance. To avoid this it is necessary to reduce food chemical intake and make changes to your diet slowly. An example of how to do this is contained in both the RESHAPE PLUS book and the RESHAPE food intolerance cookbook.
Dietary Supplement whilst routinely recommended to people with MCS is not to be viewed as a replacement for healthy eating.
The Mayo Clinic says…
Supplements aren't intended to be a food substitute because they can't replicate all of the nutrients and benefits of whole foods, such as fruits and vegetables. So depending on your situation and your eating habits, dietary supplements may not be worth the expense.
Whole foods offer three main benefits over dietary supplements:
Greater nutrition. Whole foods are complex, containing a variety of the micronutrients your body needs — not just one. An orange, for example, provides vitamin C plus some beta carotene, calcium and other nutrients. A vitamin C supplement lacks these other micronutrients.
Essential fiber. Whole foods, such as whole grains, fruits, vegetables and legumes, provide dietary fiber. Most high-fiber foods are also packed with other essential nutrients. Fiber, as part of a healthy diet, can help prevent certain diseases, such as type 2 diabetes and heart disease, and it can also help manage constipation.
Protective substances. Whole foods contain other substances important for good health. Fruits and vegetables, for example, contain naturally occurring substances called phytochemicals, which may help protect you against cancer, heart disease, diabetes and high blood pressure. Many are also good sources of antioxidants — substances that slow down oxidation, a natural process that leads to cell and tissue damage.
Whilst supplement protocols (such as the “neural sensitisation” protocols promoted by Ziem and Pall), seem to help some people for MCS, they may actually be causing harm and simply exacerbating symptoms for others. Most likely those with pharmacological (chemical) food intolerance
Supplements better tolerated and most likely beneficial include B B12 Hydroxycobalim and B12 Methylcobalamin, Tri-salts, and non plant based toxin binders e.g. zeolites or charcoal.
Benefits of self-management
For many people, being involved in managing their chronic condition helps them feel stronger and more in control of their health.
Research has also shown that people with chronic conditions who choose to take control with good self-management skills have less pain, are more active, and are better able to enjoy family, friends and favorite activities.
Research has also demonstrated that self-management of chronic conditions can improve clinical health outcomes as well as reduce unnecessary health service use (source: Chronic Conditions Self Management WA Health) .
Whilst, medication is an important part of managing chronic health conditions for many, people with moderate to severe MCS tend to experience severe medicine sensitivity, and so other methods of symptom management are preferred. (These are outlined in the RESHAPE PLUS book). However, people with mild to moderate MCS may experience some symptom relief from small doses of certain anti-depressants e.g. tricyclic’s, Gabapentin (Neurontin) or Prednisone. However the guidelines provided by the CDC in regards to medicine sensitivity and CFS should be followed.
Many CFS patients are sensitive to medications, particularly sedating medications. Therapeutic benefits can often be achieved at lower-than-standard dosages, so doctors should try prescribing a fraction of the usual recommended dose to start and gradually increase as necessary and as tolerated. All medications can cause side effects, which may lead to new symptoms or worsen existing symptoms, so it is important to routinely monitor all prescription drugs, over-the-counter medicines, and supplements.
Managing medication for anyone with more severe memory and concentration problems can be difficult, and help is generally required.
Managing doctor’s appointments can also be difficult for people with MCS as being in high chemical environments can worsen brain fog and memory problems. To overcome this take a trusted friend, family member or health advocate, you can also write down questions you want answered or ask the doctor if you can tape the consult. Most won’t mind.
To ensure there is enough time to discuss your concerns schedule a long appointment. For best health outcomes work in “partnership” with a doctor trained in Nutrition and Environmental Medicine. For more tips on getting better health care and self management refer to the RESHAPE PLUS book www.reshapeforhealth.com.
Harmonise refers to balancing the different components of your life (e.g. Rest, work, play, family, friends, self care) so they fit together in a way that does not heighten your stress load and “sensitivities” unnecessarily.
When you are very stressed out or experiencing a chronic illness, or a range of non-specific symptoms (psychological and physical)) it is important to pace yourself and give more attention to self-care than usual.
This can be done by: reducing your commitments, simplifying, compartmentalizing, and knowing your top 10 priorities and getting organized. To read more get the RESHAPE PLUS book.
ADAPT to reduce your worries anxieties and symptoms. To do this you will generally need to make some lifestyle changes and address some of your ideologies and perceptions. This can be particularly difficult for people with A type competitive personalities and people who are perfectionists. RESHAPE PLUS provides you with some tips to making addressing these types of traits simpler, as not doing so can lead to depression or a worsening of depression. Some people who are depressed with mild chemical sensitivities can benefit from Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), as can some people who find themselves stuck in negative and self-defeating thought loops. However, people with hypocortisolism (very severe adrenal fatigue) may simply find CBT yet another symptom aggravator.
Chalder et al says…
Low cortisol is of clinical relevance in CFS, as it is associated with a poorer response to CBT. Hypocortisolism could be one of several maintaining factors that interact in the persistence of CFS.
Source: Roberts AD, Charler ML, Papadopoulos A, Wessely S, Chalder T, Cleare AJ. Does hypocortisolism predict a poor response to cognitive behavioural therapy in chronic fatigue syndrome? "Psychol Med"[jour], 2010 Mar.
If you have very low cortisol level (your doctor can measure), you will also most likely find other forms of therapies and treatments too aggressive. To overcome this and replenish your cortisol levels you will need some help with your day to life for a while, whilst you get lots of REST and practice Mindfulness.
Activity pacing is routinely recommended for people with Chronic health conditions.
Pacing refers to taking activities such as doing laundry or shopping, and breaking them into small manageable tasks and having rest breaks in between. Activities should be spread evenly throughout the day and should not make symptoms worse. If activities or exercises are not spread out, a “push - crash” cycle can occur. “Push - crash” cycle is when a person does too much all at once, crashes, rests, starts to feel better and does too much once again.
The more symptomatic and chemically sensitive you are the more you need to PACE activity, treatments and change. As your health improves the level at which you can PACE will also improve.
If you find yourself experience severe symptom flare-ups or continuous set-backs you are not resting and pacing enough. To address this slow down activity, life style and dietary changes and treatments – but keep going.
Exercise provides many health benefits (including pain relief and improved moods) and is a great stress reliever for most people. However, it will simply be another STRESSOR that makes you feel worse and increases your sensitivities if you are suffering from hypocortisolism (severe adrenal fatigue) and severe mitochondria (energy production) dysfunction. If this applies to you, (get tested by your doctor) it is usually best to skip exercise for awhile and REST instead.
For people with less severe symptoms and chemical sensitivities practicing yoga or tai chi can provide many benefits as can gentle strength training exercises.
According to Dr Myhill if you are extremely fatigued due to mitochondria malfunctions and exercise you can experience set-backs and may need to rest completely for up to 4 days in order to allow your body to produce enough D-Ribose to help replenish ATP and restore energy reserves.
For more information go to www.reshapeforhealth.com and get the RESHAPE plus guide and other helpful resources
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