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Old 10-08-2010, 12:47 AM   #1
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Bad reaction to anything that helps the immune system?

HI,
I'm really hoping that anyone can throw some light on this?
I had a bad viral infection, and just didn't really recover. It's been diagnosed as chronic fatigue/post viral fatigue. As I understand it this is likely to be caused by the immune system getting overwhelmed and functioning at a very low level. Which makes sense, I was operating at a high level before the virus and wasn't resting, I was probably overloading my body.

So I thought that taking something that helps the immune system would be of benefit. So I've tried echinacea, and more recently a multivitamin specifically designed with key vitamins for the immune system.

But I've reacted badly to both - both have brought on fever, bad aches and pains, headache, just like I am getting a bad cold. I've had to stop taking it after 2-3 days because the side effects get so bad, and the side effects just go once I stop taking the supplement. Thing is in some way I feel it's helping, my energy was good although I was also suffering.

Why is this? Is it boosting the immune system so the immune system is starting to battle all the crap in my system, or is it doing some harm?
Any thoughts please let me now!
Thanks

 
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Old 10-08-2010, 05:54 AM   #2
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Re: Bad reaction to anything that helps the immune system?

You could be experiencing a Herx, which is what happens when toxins are being released from a treatment you've started. If it is a Herx, this is a good sign that whatever you are doing may be working. I don't think, however, that echinacea is right for everyone. There are other more powerful immune boosters than this and a multivitamin. You could do research on this. If you are herxing on these products then backing off a bit may help to ease the symptoms, and/or you could find other products specifically designed to help with mopping up the toxins that are being released. I think a good mineral supplement is essential.

Best,

Jen

 
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Old 10-08-2010, 11:18 AM   #3
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Re: Bad reaction to anything that helps the immune system?

Hi Tesss,

My response is based on 20+ years of chronic fatigue syndrome (which one of the physicians who diagnosed me referred to as post viral fatigue). I, too, had an exceptionally busy life, and as a result didn't rest as I should have during/after a particularly bad respiratory infection.

With respect to immune function and CFS, my understanding is that people fall into two categories: those with reduced immune function, and those with heightened immune function. With the latter, the immune system becomes activated to fight the initial virus, for example, and instead of settling down once the threat is removed, stays at a heightened response. That's what happened to me. As a result, I haven't had the flu once in more than 20 years, and I have a minor cold once every 5 - 7 years. Many of the symptoms of CFS can be the result of an overactive immune system. So, CFS-ers in this category shouldn't be taking supplements that increase the effectiveness of an already overly-active immune system. This might explain why you responded to echinacea the way you did.

Over the years, I've made numerous attempts to "detox" my body -- each time with the advice that I might experience a worsening of symptoms as the toxins are released. On every occasion, I was disappointed to feel no better, but no worse either. For whatever reason, I didn't experience the "Herx" jenj770 described.

I doubt the echinacea would do permanent harm. However, I would limit the length of time you take it if it doesn't seem to be doing any good. My advice: give your body the time it needs to recover, and don't push yourself to do more than you can handle without worsening your symptoms. From what I've read, CFS-ers who rest in the early stages tend to fare better long-term than those who deny they are unwell and push themselves to recover (my mistake).

 
Old 10-11-2010, 08:42 AM   #4
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Re: Bad reaction to anything that helps the immune system?

Hey,

Thank you both for your responses.
Jenj770, having a herx sounds like what is happening to me - i really feel that the immune tablets are hurting but helping in some way, and as the week has gone on I have definitely had more energy, been able to do more that I haven't to date. I only took a couple of tablets and the reaction has died down now. I go into hospital today for an unrelated reason. Once I am out I'll take it slowly and continue to take them maybe once every couple of days to start with. I have also been very constipated and I think I need to sort that out as I'll not be helping the toxins from getting out of my body.

Sensitivo, I'm sorry to hear you've been suffering from chronic fatigue for so long, and I bet after that long you've tried everything. I did wonder if I was having an over-immune reaction but my GP gave me steroids to suppress the immune system, I just got really tired and saw no change. That possibly doesn't mean anything. I had a stye in my eye recently that has gone on for ages and I never normally get them. It also affected my sinus and throat with the discharge of pus, I took that as a sign that my immunity was lower although who knows. Is there a way to tell if your immunity is high or low?

Whatever, I feel I'm getting good results with resting a lot (I think this is the first time in my life I've rested), eating very healthily, and taking time. It's a bit different pace of life to get used to but essential I think!

I always used to push myself so much even when I was ill, and just kept going, not resting, thinking it was a sign of weakness to rest! I should have realised long ago that the regularity I would get a cold should have indicated a poor immune system. I feel like a light has been turned on that good health isn't something to take for granted, in fact it's something to be worked at and thankful for.

Thanks again, and hope you are both doing well

 
Old 12-08-2010, 10:00 PM   #5
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Re: Bad reaction to anything that helps the immune system?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sensitivo View Post
Hi Tesss,

My response is based on 20+ years of chronic fatigue syndrome (which one of the physicians who diagnosed me referred to as post viral fatigue). I, too, had an exceptionally busy life, and as a result didn't rest as I should have during/after a particularly bad respiratory infection.

With respect to immune function and CFS, my understanding is that people fall into two categories: those with reduced immune function, and those with heightened immune function. With the latter, the immune system becomes activated to fight the initial virus, for example, and instead of settling down once the threat is removed, stays at a heightened response. That's what happened to me. As a result, I haven't had the flu once in more than 20 years, and I have a minor cold once every 5 - 7 years. Many of the symptoms of CFS can be the result of an overactive immune system. So, CFS-ers in this category shouldn't be taking supplements that increase the effectiveness of an already overly-active immune system. This might explain why you responded to echinacea the way you did.

Over the years, I've made numerous attempts to "detox" my body -- each time with the advice that I might experience a worsening of symptoms as the toxins are released. On every occasion, I was disappointed to feel no better, but no worse either. For whatever reason, I didn't experience the "Herx" jenj770 described.

I doubt the echinacea would do permanent harm. However, I would limit the length of time you take it if it doesn't seem to be doing any good. My advice: give your body the time it needs to recover, and don't push yourself to do more than you can handle without worsening your symptoms. From what I've read, CFS-ers who rest in the early stages tend to fare better long-term than those who deny they are unwell and push themselves to recover (my mistake).
Very intuitive, but I must point out that although I agree with you that many with CFIDS (including me) don't get sick that often, even with a low white count, it doesn't necessarily mean that it i heightened in the same way as a TH1 mediated condition (like MS). I have heard CFS refered to as an autoimmune disease, but if that is true at all, I think it is only in some cases and only part of the problem.

I' venture to say that most CFS people are TH2 dominant and therefore, it would not be the same thing as a TH1 dominant person (such as RA or MS) taking echinacia, etc. In those cases, it can really hurt them, but in our case, I think the effect would be less, or even would be an improvement. But ultimately, boosting the immune system is not the goal...it is to balance it so that it can have enough inflammation response to fight the invaders but not so much that it hurts you.

I still really liked your post though and am not 1000% sure that CFS could not be TH1 mediate in some cases, but I have yet to read about one if there are. But the TH2 side being "over active" could certainly protect you from many things as well as cause allergies, etc.

my guess is in this case it was a herx and she was "detoxing" at a rapid rate and it was causing it...likely if she stayed on it for longer then it would have helped but that is just a guess.

 
Old 12-09-2010, 07:20 PM   #6
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Re: Bad reaction to anything that helps the immune system?

Hi CFIDS,

Yours is the second post I've read on these boards that mentions people being either TH1 or TH2 dominant. It's something I definitely need to research to see if there is anything I can be doing to help two different chronic conditions (CFS and RA) which, according to your post, are associated with two different types of immune imbalance. Thanks for reminding me about this.

 
Old 12-30-2010, 07:12 AM   #7
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Re: Bad reaction to anything that helps the immune system?

Hi,
Don't know if any of you are still following this thread, but if you are then just wanted to let you know that it did help - I still take the vitamins but I no longer get the terrible reaction - in fact it died off pretty quickly.

Following the posts I had to do a 72 hour fast in hospital to test for an insulin producing pancreatic tumour. I felt really terrible while fasting. Once I'd recovered from the fast I had more energy and I started to feel better.

I was either very toxic and needed to detox a lot, or my digestive system was not coping...I've since cut out a lot of stuff - gluten, sugar - and it's made a huge difference - I think I was always gluten intolerant (and it made me very constipated, possibly meaning that I couldn't get rid of toxins? and was causing more toxins?).

I have really tense hamstrings, and the last couple of days I have been starting to stretch these out for the first time. My achiness has increased dramatically, and I'm feeling very hot and very achy/pain again - I believe that the stretching either caused or released lots of toxins, but i'm also very constipated right now and so my body isn't able to get rid of them - have started taking stuff to deal with the constipation now!

Any thoughts on the above I would be pleased to hear....am I right or is this something else?

 
Old 12-31-2010, 10:29 AM   #8
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Re: Bad reaction to anything that helps the immune system?

If you have colon trouble, two things that could seriously help you but you have to do them for 30 days religiously. 2 heaping spoonfuls of bovine colostrum (1 in 1st thing in the morning on empty stomach & one right before bed), and also get on the therapeutic dose of Primal Defense ULTRA for a month...These two things together can heal the intestines; especially leaky gut syndrome which comes with CFIDS/CFS in most cases. I still take my colostrum every day, but the Primal Defense ULTRA is not something that should be used more than 30-45 days at a time...I switched to the PB8 Probiotic after I completed a cycle of the PDF-U.

if none of this makes sense, just use google; especially the symptoms of leaky gut syndrome. The two brands of clostrum I have liked are Immune Power colostrum by TBR Labs, and the most well known one Symbiotics which is found in any healthfood store.

Good luck

 
Old 01-02-2011, 12:41 PM   #9
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Re: Bad reaction to anything that helps the immune system?

Many thanks CFIDS, I'm going to give both a shot, and thanks for the recommendations on specific brands - really useful. I have been concerned that my food intolerances seem to be increasing and leaky gut is highly probable from what I've read.

Hope you are well.

 
Old 01-02-2011, 09:25 PM   #10
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Re: Bad reaction to anything that helps the immune system?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tesss View Post
Many thanks CFIDS, I'm going to give both a shot, and thanks for the recommendations on specific brands - really useful. I have been concerned that my food intolerances seem to be increasing and leaky gut is highly probable from what I've read.

Hope you are well.
Oh, I am light years ahead of where I was a year ago, but still far from 100%...CFIDS or Chronic Lime Disease or whatever I "really" have sux! Just try hard to cut out sugar, pop, grains, gluten...that will help too more than you know. If you want something sweet, then go to the health food store or online and get you some "yes to cookies", I like the chocolate ones when I need a sweet treat and they are much better for you than conventional sweets, plus they have high fiber so they will help carry out the toxins from your colon.

Once more thing, while I was on the Primal Defense ULTRA, I did not love the way it made my stomach feel...it was not until right after I went off it that I realized it had really helped me. It might be a HERX reaction to the detoxification, who knows.

And the colostrum is best to just put the spoonful right on the tongue and wash down with water...it is hard to mix up so I just take it directly in the mouth and wash it down. Google "colostrum intestines" or "colostrum healing gut" or terms like that to read more about how it works. It does much more than only help leaky gut, but that is what you seem to need the most right now.

Last edited by CFIDS; 01-02-2011 at 09:29 PM.

 
Old 01-03-2011, 12:13 AM   #11
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Re: Bad reaction to anything that helps the immune system?

With CFS, your immunne system is in a heightened state. Therefore you should avoid immune system boosters like echinacea. Avoid also aerobic exercise. Check how much water you are drinking. Try 8 glasses a day for a month or two and see if you don't feel remarkably better. It was the only thing that worked for me.

Last edited by fjack1415; 01-03-2011 at 12:14 AM.

 
Old 01-17-2011, 05:43 PM   #12
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Re: Bad reaction to anything that helps the immune system?

I do believe that sometimes headaches and some pain may be because of the detox state, and our bodies are so bombarded so many attacks 24/7 it's crazy.

 
Old 01-31-2011, 06:32 AM   #13
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Re: Bad reaction to anything that helps the immune system?

Quote:
Originally Posted by fjack1415 View Post
With CFS, your immunne system is in a heightened state. Therefore you should avoid immune system boosters like echinacea. Avoid also aerobic exercise. Check how much water you are drinking. Try 8 glasses a day for a month or two and see if you don't feel remarkably better. It was the only thing that worked for me.
Meaning you have an overactive immune system and you don't want to boost it, you want to weaken it. Getting a cold for me would be like a healthy person getting pneumonia. It will knock you down hard. I had a diagnosis of autoimmune dysfunction, CFS, and fibromyalgia, been sick 14 yrs, I did not find out until last year that I had an autoimmune disease. I was also told I could count on being sick for the rest of my life. Have your ANA titers checked if you have severe fatigue, if it's high, don't let your doctor dismiss it like it's nothing. Go see a rhematologist.

 
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