Brachial plexus injury #11 – treatments and supplements for nerve injury

After my left arm was paralysed from nerve damage caused by the mastectomy, I went into over-drive on the research front on treatments and supplements that could help.  Here are some I tried.

My nerve surgeon didn’t quite sneer, but he raised eloquent eyebrows and told me in his beautiful Italian accent that in his experience, the only thing that would restore nerve function in my case was surgery.  I thought it was a pity that he wasn’t more open to supplements that could improve the rate of healing in his patients, but there you go.

SUPPLEMENTS

LionsMane

Lion’s Mane Mushroom. Image credit: “Igelstachelbart Nov 06” by Lebrac – eigene arbeit von Lebrac. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Commons – from Wikipaedia

1.  Hericium Erinaceus or Lion’s Mane Mushroom

I’ve already covered this in my post MEDICINAL MUSHROOMS #3 – LION’S MANE (HERICIUM ERINACEUS) FOR NERVE REPAIR but I thought I’d briefly mention this again.  This mushroom has been scientifically-tested and in laboratory tests, shown to help stimulate nerve regeneration, including nerves in brains.

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Where to get your supplements

Updated 13 June 2016

Update March 2016 – For more information on GcMAF, please join the GcMAF and GcMAF Cancer forums on Facebook – they are closed groups, so you have to wait for your membership to be confirmed.  They contain up-to-date information on sources of GcMAF, and also feedback and contributions  by people who are using GcMAF.

See also update on Probiotics for Bio-Live Fermented Probiotic Liquid

Here’s a list of where to get supplements from if you live in the UK.  It is a work-in-progress, so if the supplement you’re looking for isn’t on this list, keep checking back.

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image credit: Optimumh.co.uk

The suppliers I have selected are the distillation of my personal research. They are the best value source of specific brands of supplements to date, but this is just my personal opinion.

Please do not take this list as set-in-stone, or the best of breed.   New studies and new supplements and suppliers are always emerging, so please do your own research and shop around.  If you would like to share your findings, please leave a comment below.  You will be helping many cancer patients who are trying to make their money go further!

Most of my sources are UK- or EU-based.  That’s because shipping is usually faster, and you will not incur customs or VAT for EU shipping.

If you live in the US, then lucky you – you’ve got iHerb and e-Vitamins who sell discounted supplements.  The problem with supplements in the UK is that most of them have to be imported, and so prices are higher.  If you have friends visiting from the US, order your supplements from iHerb and e-Vitamins, have them shipped to your friends and get them to bring them over.

Ordering from the US and shipping to the UK:  If you do order from the US, please be aware that shipping sometimes takes weeks, and anything over £17 (I think) will incur customs duty and VAT – I’ve been stung by this before.  This usually takes the cost of the supplement well over what you would pay from a UK company.  Also, please be aware that a number of retailers on Amazon.co.uk are based in the US and you will be hit by the same customs duty and VAT charges (on top of shipping!).

If you want your supplements delivered quickly, order from a UK retailer.

Discounts for bulk orders:  If you are ordering in bulk, it is worth asking for a discount.  Play the cancer card if necessary – supplements are expensive!  Send the retailers a nice e-mail setting out your health issue and ask for a discount. Most will give you a discount.  I have only been refused by a few who claim that they already offer discounts on their products (Healthmonthly.co.uk is one of them).  Detoxpeople.eu have loyalty schemes and discounts – I have found dealing with them a pleasure.  They are professional and knowledgeable, even if their prices aren’t always the lowest (!).  BTW, Detoxpeople.eu is the same company as Yourhealthbasket.co.uk.

Another company I have found who exceed expectations is Oriveda.nl – they are one of the best for mushroom extracts.  Their response time to e-mails is fantastic and they are experts in mushroom extracts.

Please do not feel you have to take every supplement on this list.  If you did, you would be jiggling around like a piggy-bank.  It is just not healthy to overload your liver with too many supplements.

You will also want to vary your supplements on a regular basis (e.g. on a 3-week to 6-week cycle).  Use your tumour markers as a guide to whether the supplements are working.  You may also want to increase the dosage week by week, and then switch to another supplement.  This way the cancer cells don’t get a chance to build up resistance to the supplement.

1.  AHCC (Active Hexose Correlated Compound) – Shiitake mushroom extract:  Healthmonthly.co.uk – Quality of Life Labs AHCC Rx (500mg).  This is a very expensive extract, so shop around.  Another Shiitake variant is Lentinex which is a liquid extract.  Currently under trial and not available commercially.  Lentinex is manufactured by Glyconova.  Contact:  info@glycanova.com

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Medicinal Mushrooms #3 – Lion’s Mane (Hericium erinaceus) for nerve repair

HericumErinaceus

Hericium erinaceus (also called Lion’s Mane Mushroom, Bearded Tooth Mushroom, Hedgehog Mushroom, Satyr’s Beard, Bearded Hedgehog Mushroom, pom pom mushroom, monkey-head mushroom, Yamabushitake or Bearded Tooth Fungus)

I stumbled across Lion’s Mane mushroom when I was researching supplements that would repair the nerve injury I sustained after my mastectomy.

[For those readers who have not been following my blog:  I woke up from my mastectomy only to discover that my left arm was paralysed and numb.  I had a brachial plexus C5/C6/C7 nerve injury.  Yep, bummer.]

Amongst the nerve repair and peripheral neuropathy supplements I researched were:  earthworm extract (lumbricus), Acetyl-L-Carnitine, St. John’s Wort, Benfotiamine, Vitamin B12, and Lion’s Mane mushroom.

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Medicinal Mushrooms #2 – Coriolus Versicolor (PSP/PSK) – the number one anti-cancer mushroom

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Coriolus Versicolor or Turkey-tail mushroom (Yun zhi in Chinese)

Updated 21 December 2013

Coriolus Versicolor is also known as Turkey-tail mushroom, Tametes Versicolor, Yun Zhi (in Chinese), Karawaratake (in Japanese).  Extracts of the mushroom are known as PSP (polysaccharide peptide) and PSK (polysaccharide K, or Krestin).

In the 1980s, the Japanese government approved the use of PSK for treating several types of cancer and PSK is a best-selling anti-cancer drug in Japan as a complement to surgery, chemotherapy and radiotherapy. PSP was discovered more recently in China.

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Medicinal Mushrooms #1 – Reishi – amazing hayfever cure

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Reishi mushroom (Ganoderma Lucidum, lingzhi)

 

Updated 27 May 2014:  Now Chaga, not Reishi:  For some reason, Reishi didn’t work for my hayfever this year.  Maybe I should have increased the dose, I don’t know.  I decided to stop taking Reishi after I read that it had estrogenic properties and people with estrogen-positive breast cancer should not take Reishi.  I was disappointed because it had worked so well last year.  Quite by chance, I was taking another mushroom, Chaga, from Oriveda.  I had to up the dose because I caught a cold.  I was taking 9 capsules, 3 times a day.  Result:  still had cold.  But no hayfever.  I’ll keep you posted whether it’s a real “cure” or not.  You can buy the same very high-potency Chaga extract from Oriveda.nl.

Updated 20 March 2014 – unfortunately, the Reishi hasn’t worked so far this year. I started taking it at the first signs of the Spring hayfever season, and I’m still getting hayfever.  I’m going to ramp up the dose and see what happens.  It could be that last year I was having acupuncture weekly, then every fortnightly.  And also taking TCM herbs.  It was also after the mastectomy so perhaps less tumour burden meant the body wasn’t in such an inflammatory state and the Th1/Th2 balance was … in balance.  Stay tuned.

This week, for the first time in 20 years, I slept with the windows wide open, in the middle of a blazing hot summer.

(So what’s so unusual about that?)

Well, in previous years, sleeping with the windows open would have meant breathing in lungfuls of pollen-laden air, triggered by traffic fumes, and suffering from hayfever.

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