Multi-Supplement Formulas for Fibromyalgia & Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

Reasons to Avoid Them

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A lot of multi-supplement formulas are marketed to those of us with fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome. Many more make claims about improving your overall health in ways that sound appealing. But are they a good idea?

My personal opinion is: no, they're not, for several reasons.

I don't want you to get the idea that I'm anti-supplement -- I'm not at all! I take a couple handfuls of them every morning.

I've done my homework to see which ones have the strongest evidence, both scientifically and (to a lesser extent) anecdotally. But these mega-blends raise some concerns.

Reason #1: No Testing

In spite of the testimonials you can often find on the sites that sell or promote these formulas, they're not scientifically tested. They might be safe and effective, but they might not. They may rely purely on the placebo effect. We have no idea.

On top of the specific formulas not being tested, often many of the ingredients aren't, as well. We don't have a lot of high-quality studies on supplements in general, and fewer still have been studied specifically for fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome.

Reason #2: Extraneous Ingredients

I recently had someone try to sell me a weight-loss mega-blend and decided to look into it. I found out that researchers had found some of the ingredients completely ineffective for weight loss.

However, they're ingredients that the weight-loss industry has hyped for years. I found a review written by a medical professional suggesting ingredients like these are only included because people expect them to be in that type of formula.

Why is this a problem? It's a natural thing, right? Well, so is rattlesnake venom, but I don't plan on injecting myself with it.

(Also, remember that you're paying for ALL of those ingredients!)

Perhaps those unnecessary ingredients will have an unwanted effect on you. You could be sensitive or allergic to one or more, experience side effects, or take something that interacts negatively with them.

And the kicker? You'd have no idea which ingredient(s) you have a problem with. Which brings me to my next point.

Reason #3: Allergy & Sensitivity Issues

A lot of us with these conditions are prone to side effects, sensitivities, and allergic reactions. Because of this, I believe it's much smarter to test supplements one at a time.

For example, several years ago, I discovered that CoQ10 – a popular supplement in the general population as well as for those with fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome – gives me some really unpleasant side effects, so I stopped taking it. Easy.

If I had tried a combination product with, say, CoQ10 plus 5-HTP and carnitine, I wouldn't have known what was bothering me. I'd have to stop taking that product, then test each supplement individually, meaning at some point I would have had to deal with those side effects again.

Not fun, plus I would've spent money twice on something I can't take.

Reason #4: Dosage Control

When you take individual supplements, if you think you could use more or less of one, you can just adjust the dosage. You don't have the same control with the mega-blends.

Many experts on our illnesses recommend starting anything new with the lowest possible dose and then working up gradually to give your body time to adjust. Throwing multiple new substances at your body, even if they're all beneficial, may just be too much for your system to handle.

Something else to be aware of: some supplement formulas contain ingredients that research suggests could be beneficial, but the amounts are lower than the therapeutic doses. That means you could end up paying for it, risking bad reactions, and getting little to no benefit because you're just not getting enough.

Reason #5: Price & Convenience

On top of possibly paying for things you don't need or that may not have an effect, you can generally only get a particular blend from one place, at one price. And I haven't come across any that I'd consider inexpensive.

With single-ingredient supplements, you can shop around for the best price. You're more likely to find sales and coupons as well.

I typically order mine online, but if I run out of something and need it right away, I can also buy it locally to get me through.

Finding & Taking Supplements

Yes, supplement formulas make it easy, but given all of the reasons above, I believe it's better to stick with single-ingredient products.

For help finding supplements that may work for you and the safe way to get started with them, see:

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