SpectraCell Blog

Nutritional Considerations of Pain Management

Posted by SpectraCell Laboratories, Inc. on Fri, Nov 12, 2010 @ 04:01 PM

Chronic PainVitamin D & Musculoskeletal Pain

Vitamin D deficiency often presents clinically as musculoskeletal pain. Correcting this deficiency can improve bone and muscle pain dramatically in patients with fibromyalgia and the painful bone disease osteomalacia.

Coenzyme Q10 & Migraines, Myopathy

Supplementation with CoQ10 helps prevent migraine headaches, according to recent clinical trials. In addition, CoQ10 has been shown to relieve statin-induced myopathy by improving energy metabolism in muscle.

Carnitine & Myalgia, Neuropathy

This important amino acid facilitates the transport of fatty acids into cell mitochondria so they can be effectively used for energy. Studies suggest that a deficiency of carnitine manifests clinically as myalgia, muscle weakness or neuropathy. In fact, supplementation with carnitine has been shown to improve pain associated with chemotherapy-induced neuropathy, diabetic neuropathy, HIV-induced neuropathy, chronic fatigue syndrome and fibromyalgia.

Oleic Acid & Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

A recent study showed significant correlations between the severity of chronic fatigue syndrome and levels of oleic acid, a monounsaturated fatty acid used by the body in energy storage.

Magnesium & Post Operative Pain

Magnesium alters pain processing by blocking NMDA receptors in the spinal cord. In several recent studies, administration of magnesium reduced consumption of pain killers post-operatively. The analgesic effect has been seen in cardiac, orthopedic, thoracic and gynecological surgery. Low magnesium levels also contribute to headaches and correlate strongly with the frequency of chest pain. Its antinociceptive effect is promising.

Choline & Acute Pain

The activation of specific receptors by choline reduces acute inflammatory pain in mice, suggesting that administration of choline may help reduce the use of medication for inflammatory pain.

Alpha Lipoic Acid & Diabetic Neuropathy

Several clinical trials have documented the beneficial use of alpha-lipoic acid in the treatment of pain from diabetic polyneuropathy.

B Vitamins & Neuropathic Pain

A recent study suggests clinical usefulness of vitamins B1, B6 and B12 in the treatment of neuropathic painful conditions following injury or inflammation. Vitamin B1 deficiency has been implicated in myopathy as well. Thiamin (vitamin B1) supplementation can also ease pain from shingles, migraine headaches and arthritis. Similarly, clinical indicators of pain associated with rheumatoid arthritis are inversely correlated with B6 levels. Riboflavin (vitamin B2) has also shown promise in reducing pain associated with inflammatory conditions and acts as a powerful agent in preventing migraine headaches. Since the B-complex vitamins work together, it is crucial to assess the functional status of each one.

Folic Acid & Migraines

A recent study showed that migraine headaches in children were significantly reduced when supplemented with folic acid. Magnesium supplementation has similar beneficial effects on the pain of pediatric migraine attacks.

Copper & Arthritis

Copper is necessary for the production of super oxide dismutase, which is a powerful anti-inflammatory enzyme. When administered to patients with rheumatoid arthritis, copper is effective in reducing inflammatory pain. Copper supplementation has also relieved patients of leg pain associated with sciatic neuritis.

Antioxidants & Inflammatory Pain

The link between oxidative stress and inflammation has been well established. A patient in an inflammatory state will likely experience more pain. Studies have shown that reactive oxygen species are produced during persistent pain, indicating an increased need for antioxidants. Specifically, cysteine may have an inhibitory role in inflammatory pain due to its potent antioxidant effects on tissues. Similar results have been demonstrated with other antioxidants such as selenium, vitamin e, vitamin c, glutathione and coenzyme Q10. Recent studies show that intracellular inflammatory response in white blood cells play an important role in the pathophysiology of chronic fatigue syndrome. Combined antioxidant therapy also reduces pain in patients with chronic pancreatitis and fibromyalgia. Since many antioxidants work synergistically, measure a single antioxidant may not provide an accurate picture of total antioxidant function in patients experiencing either chronic or acute pain.

Topics: micronutrient testing, Coenzyme Q10, Oleic Acid, Arthritis, Vitamin D, Carnitine, Magnesium, Choline, B Vitamins, Folic Acid, Copper, Antioxidants, Pain, Migraines, Fatigue, Myopathy, Fibromyalgia

50 year old female with CHRONIC FATIGUE and nutritional deficiencies

Posted by SpectraCell Laboratories, Inc. on Fri, Jul 02, 2010 @ 11:28 AM

Background:Chronic Fatigue

In 2005, this patient initially compained of fatigue, stating she would often feel tired upon rising and would have to push herself throughout the day and often take naps in the afternoon. She also complained of tinnitus, abdominal bloating and gas, mild constipation, yeast infections, weight gain, aching in her hips and fibrocystic breast disease. Her primary care physician had done minimal testing and attributed her symptoms to depression, recommending antidepressant medications which gave her no benefit. After undergoing standard labs and an ION panel, the patient noted that most of her symptoms still persisted.

The patient underwent SpectraCell's micronutrient testing to determine i fany improvements could be observed relative to the initial laboratory tests two years earlier. The results revealed considerable deficiencies in vitamin B12, pantothenate, vitamin D, CoQ10 and Spectrox. Borderline deficiencies were found in vitamins B1, B2, B3 and B6, folate, biotin, serine, choline, inositol, carnitine, chromium, zinc, copper, magnesium, glutathione, selenium and vitamin E. These findings were surprising given the consistency of oral supplementation over the previous two years. Many of the new deficiencies were not considered to be low on the ION panel in 2005. Based upon these deficiencies, and a concern that digestive tissues were part of the problem, she was administered the following IV infusions (once a week for 6-8 weeks):

  1. Vitamin C (25 grams)
  2. B-complex
  3. B12
  4. Pantothenate
  5. CoQ10
  6. Folic Acid
  7. Chromium
  8. Zinc
  9. Copper
  10. Selenium
  11. Magnesium
  12. Calcium
  13. Glutathione

During this time, oral supplementation was scaled back and directed only towards elimination of GI infection and gut repair.

What was his clinical outcome?

After 8 weeks of treatment, the patient reported dramatic improvement in energy, noting that she had not experienced anything like this prior to doing the IV replacement infusions. All digestive symptoms were resolved, her mood was better, she had less tinnitus, she had lost weight, body aches were diminished and her breasts were even better than before. Oral supplementation was modified to focus on those nutritional deficiencies identified in the test results.


At her last office visit in 2008, she reported to be in good health, feeling that many of her chronic problems from the past were no longer an issue. She reported good energy with minimal fatigue, except for mid afternoon, and no more problems with her breasts. The patient was on a simple maintenance regimen of nutritional supplements that included some of the deficient nutrients identified in 2007.

Topics: serine, folate, Carnitine, Choline, B Vitamins, deficiencies, chronic fatigue and nutrition, biotin, inositol