The full podcast of this program will be available on Monday, January 25.

Fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome are both elusive and debilitating conditions. They are difficult to diagnose and even trickier to treat. Many physicians chalk them up to psychosomatic problems and don’t have much to offer patients.

The CDC counts these as real disorders: fibromyalgia affects up to 5 million Americans, and chronic fatigue syndrome affects between 1 and 4 million at any given time. Although these problems seem mysterious, they are treatable.

Guest: Jacob Teitelbaum, M.D., is Medical Director of the Fibromyalgia and Fatigue Centers nationally. His Web site is He is also the co-creator of the iPhone application, Natural Cures.

First broadcast 5/24/2009

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  1. KAC

    Pick up Dr. Teitlebaum’s book, “From Fatigued to Fantastic”. You may very well find some good help for your fibro. The biggest thing that has worked for me is taking D-Ribose (pure powdered form) twice a day. I was experiencing severe pain in my arms, as if a rubberband was tightening on my upper arms. Taking the D-Ribose has ELIMINATED this problem. I have been doing this for over a year and a half with great success. I tried some of the supplements but my stomach simply couldn’t handle it. Try his suggestions to find what might work for you. Good Luck.

  2. melody

    Can you give me some helpful hints on how to treat arthritis?

  3. SLA

    I have been unemployed for over 3 years and currently live off of early distributions from my IRA, which soon will not be an option. My primary care doctor sent me to a psychiatrist when I told her of my chronic fatigue.
    My next step is to have a sleep study. I am currently being successfully treated for hypothyroidism and depression. I find it difficult to have the medical community take me seriously.
    I have been researching on my own and would like to share my findings. In Charlotte, NC there is an organization “The CFIDS Association of America.”
    They are active with providing information to those who suffer with this, fund-raising, grant proposals for research and offer Webinar’s on the research process. I requested a list of providers in my area. Though they were unable to list providers, they did attach a list of support groups in my area. They will also facilitate in working with individuals to begin support groups.

    I must admit that some of the research findings in the webinars were past my ability to comprehend. Though I definitely was able to pick up on the results, showing those with and without the condition. Hope this helps.

  4. LH

    Oh thank goodness I’m not the only person that has experienced this. I put my comment up a while ago about my experience about the center and was beginning to think I was the only one that thought this charge was excessive. What a great doctor you are to even call and find out the facts for your patient. That is wonderful. I don’t think the People’s Pharmacy knew at least I hope not.

  5. Concerned advocate

    I called one of the centers for one of my patients. I am a family physician. I was told they did not need a referral, as they were ‘out of network’ with insurance companies. When I asked for clarification, she said they operated as a concierge service where fees for 6 months ranged from $2400 to $6000, depending on the plan. My patient, unfortunately, cannot afford this. Did the hosts of Peoples Pharmacy know the costs involved before broadcasting ? I doubt most people can afford this type of service.

  6. Chris

    Quoting from above:
    “The CDC counts these as real disorders: fibromyalgia affects up to 5 million Americans, and chronic fatigue syndrome affects between 1 and 4 million at any given time. Although these problems seem mysterious, they are treatable.”
    The fact that you have to say the CDC legitimizes these maladies is very telling. It’s like saying the CDC has relented after years of blowing off the symptoms as ‘stress’ and is finally legitimizing these diagnoses.
    The question is not whether they are real. The real question is, “What are the underlying causes?” As was suggested in the show, there are plenty of ‘band-aid’ remedies like ‘Cymbalta’ that ameliorate some symptoms. But there are no actual cures. We don’t actually know what CFS and FM are, other than pigeon hole diagnoses for maladies that seem to be similar across some strata of our population.
    Pharmaceutical companies make a lot of money off of amelioratives and palliatives. They have no incentive to actually find the root causes of many of our ‘pigeon hole’ diagnoses when they can make considerably more over a longer, stabler period of time just treating symptoms. Finding a cure would take future trillions out of their pockets. Without an incentive, we’re stuck with government agencies like the CDC acquiescing with Big Pharma by allow pigeon hole diagnoses and amelioration to stand as ‘progress’ instead of finding real cures.
    The only real progress is likely to come out of Europe where drug companies don’t legislate.

  7. LH

    I did not hear the show Saturday, but heard from a friend. I went to the Chronic Fatigue and Fibromyalgia clinic and had very mixed emotions about this treatment program. It seems like a very thorough program and I’m sure that it helps some people, but I will never be able to experience the program because I can’t afford it.
    My friend (who is a registered nurse) and I went to the consultation in January. We met with the doctor and she seemed somewhat knowledgeable about the program and fibromyalgia. My husband and I were very excited at the prospect of living without pain and having a better quality of life for me. Until we got to the financial part of the consultation. The program, depending on your illness (the doctor told my friend that she thought she might have Lyme disease, but her treatment price was the same) is $6,000 upfront and that is not including if they need to do superviral or other types of testing.
    They do have a financing company (credit card type company) that you can apply with. It will most likely not be covered by your insurance and the Fibro and Fatigue center does not file with your insurance. I just couldn’t wrap my mind around paying that amount upfront with no guarantee that I would see improvement. My husband is out of work and we just couldn’t do it, which really made me sad.
    I am not by any means bashing this program. I know that nothing is free and if you do a consultation and feel strongly that this is for you, that is your choice. Just please be careful. A friend heard the program on Saturday and encouraged me to at least let people know my experience.
    I know that I am constantly looking for some way to improve the quality of my life. FM can be very debilitating not only physically but mentally. I feel like I am running out of options and becoming discouraged. I know how desperate some of you must feel because I am there myself. Just please research everything before pursuing it.
    Mr. Teitelbaum I think is an extremely knowledgeable man. I have great respect for him, but I am not so sure about his link to the program. I think out of all the research I’ve done he definitely is the most knowledgeable. I like that the fact that he endorses herbs and other natural ways to manage Fibro.I have purchased both of his books and plan to read them both and use what I can.
    Some of the suggestions in his book had already been suggested to me by one of my doctors so I feel strongly that he is on the right track. Good luck and God Bless each and everyone of you, please know that I am praying for you all.

  8. A L D

    What radio stations do you come on? What is the title of your program?
    We are heard on over 120 public radio stations. If you go to our home page and look at the top ribbon you can find the stations and times we are broadcast. You can also sign up for a free podcast of the show straight to your computer! You’ll never miss another show again.

  9. R.A.C.

    Wow. I’ve been diagnosed and struggling with all of these symptoms for the past 15 years. I’ve tried everything, and been lead up some blind alleys. This is the most important and comprehensive program on FYBro/Chronic Fatig./Sinusitus /IBS/ Hormonal imbalance, etc. that I’ve heard! My husband got me Dr. T.’s book while we were listening to the program.
    I also have vertigo, with all of the above symptoms? I am wondering if that is symptomatic of someone with this diagnosis. Have you heard of this along with the other issues of this out of balance symptoms?
    I’ve been working both with allopathic and alternative traditions. However, I’ve never had success in trying to pull it all together. This problem has offered a synthesis that I believe will impact the quality of my life. I’m so grateful to hear this important collection of research.
    I will need to listen again, take notes, and reflect. I will go to the Dr.s Website. Thank you, Thank you, Thank you.

  10. vjgower

    I cannot use the website I can access it, but can’t work within it no matter what I try. Any suggestions for how to get Dr. T’s nutrition recommendations for nutritional solutions for CFS/FM?

  11. lauren b.

    I take 200 mg. provigil each morning along with 30 mg. cymbalta for tx. of my cfids. It was not prescribed for the clinical (and familial) depressive symptoms which also causes immense suffering.
    Since I began using it in 2000, not only has it improved (not eliminated) the fatigue, but the depression markedly improved. I am sure part of the antidepressant effect is a result of less fatigue. If I discontinue provigil, my fatigue returns, as well as the depression-to a paralytic state.
    I have been unable to locate anything regarding usage of this med for treatment for cfids or depression. Do you know anything?

  12. sue

    Does anyone know how to spell the sugar that he was talking about? was it roobios?

  13. Kathi

    Your program on CFS/Fibromyalgia was a most comprehensive look at this illness. My daughter was diognosed over 15 years ago and it seems that the natural route offers a possibile “cure”. So much information was given in the program that I would like to be able to take it a part and look at it more carefully. I just want to say thank you for having this illness as a focal point of a one hour show. Hopefully it will be able to help inform not only the public at large but the suffers of this dibilitating illness.

  14. ABK

    Thank you, thank you, thank you! I was diagnosed with Fibro/CFS almost 6 years ago after being completely debilitated for two years after my 3rd pregnancy. I was blessed to have had a wonderful internist who listened for over 1 hour as I described my symptoms; not something that happens much today!
    The internist ran all the battery of tests including thyroid, etc. to eliminate all other possibilities before referring me to a rheumatologist. Yet it wasn’t until a year or so later, after I had started making a recovery, that I realized I was having symptoms of narcolepsy. A sleep study confirmed a clear diagnosis of narcolepsy. You discussed restless leg syndrome and apnea, but perhaps other sleep disorders, such as narcolepsy, also needs to be added to the list.
    I have made a remarkable recovery and have returned back to work full-time. When people find out about my diagnosis and see me up and around today they want to know how I “did it;” my immediate response is always: “sleep.” Hopefully not only will the rest of the medical community take us seriously, but with the rather simple and inexpensive ways that the conditions can treated the insurance world will no longer consider us “uninsurable.” Keep up the good work!

  15. Jill

    It is incredibly ironic that you replay this show the day after a major presentation by the researcher who published news in the prestigious journal, Science, about the link between CFS and the XMRV retrovirus.
    You speak much too glibly about this devastating illness, and keep alluding to a “controversy” that does not, in fact, exist. This is entirely like the “controversy” surrounding global warming. When there is unanimity in the interpretation of data by the experts qualified to asses it, responsible journalism does not report a “controversy” because uninformed or biased people assert false, self-serving doubts.
    In fact, CFS is a more devastating illness than it is possible to conceive even for me, after 21 years of “living” with it.
    I had Polio when I was 3, in 1955. As a small child, I dragged around on crutches with braces that weighed more than I did. When that got tedious, I learned to break my braces so I could use my manual wheelchair. When my shoulders, wrists, and arm muscles gave out from overuse, I switched to a power chair. A disability of this magnitude is not the biggest disaster that every happened, but it is inconvenient.
    I got CFS (sudden onset: went to bed fine, woke up sick) in 1987. CFS, unlike Polio, stopped me dead in my tracks. It took my legal career, my most loved scuba diving hobby, even my ability to read. Without employment, I couldn’t afford to stay where I was. I lost my home, my friends, and my community.
    The misery of these losses did not begin to compare to the misery of the physical and cognitive pain and suffering this illness caused.
    If I were told I have to be reborn for 1,000 more life times either Polio or with CFS, it would not take me 1/2 of 1 nanosecond to know that I would choose Polio.
    You will look back on your glib and flippant remarks about CFS with shame. You are responsible journalists, who usually do a superb job of bringing to light important information, even information which Big Corp would like buried. You have fallen down on the job again today.
    SHAME ON YOU!!!!

    • Soj

      The Science article and the research it was based on has since been retracted because the results could not be reliably repeated and even the original researchers have admitted that their results were most likely the result of contamination in the lab.

      In short, there is no link between Fibromyalgia and the XMRV, or any other, retrovirus.

      Just because that study has since been retracted doesn’t mean FM isn’t real. It just means we still don’t have any idea where it is coming from.

      There is a LOT of controversy around FM, its diagnosis, treatment, prognosis, progression, and etiology. Denying that such controversy exists doesn’t help anybody. FM IS a controversial diagnosis, and will continue to be so unless and until we can identify the causes and come up with some effective treatments. That’s just reality. Sometimes reality bites.

      Currently I have a doctor who literally refuses to even discuss FM with me. She hasn’t come out and said it plainly, but it is clear that she doesn’t really “believe” in it. FM is the limiting factor in my life and she refuses to even discuss it.

      Yet she “believes” in unscientific and unsupported theories about how drinking milk “acidifies” your system, something that is patently impossible because the body has multiple mechanisms in place to monitor blood pH levels, which are maintained in a very narrow range. You could eat a whole box of Arm & Hammer and it wouldn’t change your blood pH. It’ll likely cause OTHER problems, but changing blood pH isn’t among them.

      So basically she can’t accept the idea of FM as a “real” illness, but she clings to crackpot dietary notions that have no empirical support whatsoever.

  16. ebm

    After the treatment for Lymes, I assume with lots of antibiotics, did the Dr. suggest
    you take probiotics to get your intestinal flora back so you can start absorbing and digesting food again? If not, I suggest you get the brochure on Digestive
    Health from the People’s Pharmacy, it may help your stomach problems and sore muscles.
    My joints and muscles ache when I eat too many sweets and starches. Some don’t
    digest those things as easily as proteins and veggies. Good luck, and keep searching,
    you’ll one day have a light bulb moment and know the answer.

  17. NICK


  18. CJ

    The program very valuable but the doctor spoke way too fast to grasp what he was saying or to take notes on his medical recommendations.

  19. J. Gonzalez

    My wife and I hear your show almost every Saturday morning in Dallas, Texas. Today’s show was amazing; as Dr. Jacob Teitelbaum talked about the symptoms it was as if he were going down my constant ailments. I have previously visited my general practitioner to find a solution but always getting the same response (you need to exercise and we need more tests) so it was amazing to hear someone that seems to have been listening to what my body has been feeling for a very long time. I look forward to reading his books and following the easy suggestions proposed during his radio interview. Thank you so much for giving me hope that my life can be better.

  20. Bill Carmalt

    Great show. Difficult disease. Yet Terry touched on a bigger problem during the show. She said that if a patient exhibits some of the symtoms that the patient should insist on a thorough thyroid workup. Proper medical advice.
    My comment is as a society and as individual, how do we pay for this?

  21. TAT

    Finally, some hope. I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia 5 years ago. First I had a textbook case of Lymes, caught within the first two weeks and treated right away. I went back to the doctor 3 months later when I still felt sore and fatigued. But when the blood tests came back they showed the Lymes was not the problem.
    They suggested I wait awhile and I would probably feel better. Nine months later I went back, this time to a Reumetologist. He also tested for Lymes and said that my blood test showed no remaining markers for Lymes. He did say that it appeared that I had Fibromyalgia. However, like mono and CFS there is no treatment.
    So for the last 5 year I have been in fog of fatigue, muscle soreness, insomnia, adrenalin rushes, weight gain and stomach problems. Not until your guest last week did I feel any hope of ever feeling otherwise. Thank you for such a wonderful service, especially in this era of unaffordable health care.

  22. international professors project

    We are studying CFS and sleep apnea worldwide, as a sidebar to studying infectious diseases.
    Some reports show that a mandibular device improves sleep apnea symptoms and that there is much overlap between the two conditions.

  23. BJS

    I have been taking Tai Chi for several years and have reached the point where my posture is better than it has been all my life. I have always slept well, but think it is much deeper and restorative than ever. Could posture problems translate into muscle tension that hampers restorative sleep? If so, exercise programs enhancing muscle tone in the torso could assist treating this disease.

  24. Jan S.

    My internist did not dismiss my tiredness and with some type of calcium test, found I had an adenoma in a parathyroid gland that was removed. I also seem to need a shot of B12 twice a month- what a difference! Don’t decide you’ll be that way forever – get help!

  25. EMB

    I am 85 years old. I complained to my physio-therapist-cardiologist about my constant fatigue. Since I had Atrial Fibrillation, he mentioned the possibility of a pace-maker. But, first he wanted to try a less invasive method and prescribed Amiodorone. I had 7 of the many side effects and discontinued the medication. He asked about my sleep habits and was the cause of waking during the night due to a need to use the bathroom.
    I explained that I did not know why I woke up — the urge to use the bathroom came after I was awake 1/2 to 1 hour.
    Then he suggested a Sleep Apnea test. I had it done without much confidence that that was my problem. Was I WRONG!
    I now sleep 7 to 8 hours almost every night using a CPAC and have increased energy.
    I am SO grateful for my cardiologist’s diagnosis!

  26. L. Winters

    As a 66 year old male, I have over four decades of experience with chronic fatigue. I had to quit work at age 52 with no disability coverage because “there was no clear diagnosis, hence no proof.” After consulting with scores of specialists, taking 9 different anti-depressants, and spending 10 years in psychotherapy the picture has cleared.
    I have been diagnosed with sleep apnea so severe that it has damaged my pituitary gland (hormone production), deprived me of adequate oxygen for years, and kept me from getting deep, restorative sleep. My life had shrunk to a very tiny list of possible activities. It took three sleep studies to find it. The first 2 studies revealed nothing. But my masseuse kept noticing that I dozed off on the table and stopped breathing regularly for 45-60 seconds each time.
    She pressed me to get a third study. Having gained nothing from the first two tests I delayed. She pursued until I got a third. Come to find out, the technology changed markedly about 5 years ago. Now sleep studies are catching cases missed earlier.
    My Endocrinologist, who has been treating me for hypopituitarism for 12 years says she finally understands why that treatment was necessary. Based on my blood work she believes I have had apnea all my adult life. It just took medical science a few decades to catch up to the problem.
    I am thankful to know. But I wish all the doctors who did not view severe fatigue as a primary symptom could know this outcome.
    P.S. I learned a great deal from the phsychotherapy so that was hardly a loss. But the therapist kept assuring me there was nothing wrong with me that addressing my demons couldn’t cure. You have to know what is true in your gut.

  27. IggyD.

    I was diagnosed with CFS back in the late 80s and what seemed to help me was taking Beta 1,3/1,6-D glucan derived from baker’s yeast.

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