Where to start…

As a result of some comments on another post, I realized that there appears to be a logical sequence for some of the supplements and probiotics. I suspect that this may be a good first sequence for many people because it should improve symptoms within a month.

  1. Magnesium deficiency is common with CFS patients. A 2012 study revealed that one bacteria is significant for the release of magnesium from food: Bifidobacterium :   http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22047159.
    1. This agrees with studies finding that Bifidobacterium are low in CFS patients.
  2. Low Magnesium levels inhibits the absorption of two items where higher levels have been found to have less symptoms:
    1. Vitamin D3
    2. Glutamine
  3. Magnesium is needed by some Lactobacillus species according to http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23082775 [2013]
    1. Thus low magnesium levels contribute to the low Lactobacillus levels seen in CFS patients.
    2. L.Reuteri is dependent on magnesium levels  — so low or no B12 production
      1. Enhancement of alpha- and beta-galactosidase activity in Lactobacillus reuteri by different metal ions. [2010]

This suggests that taking a magnesium supplement (like Magnesium Malate), eating magnesium rich food, and taking a pure  Bifidobacterium probiotics for the first 1-2 weeks, followed by adequate Vitamin D3 (15000 IU?) and Glutamine should reduce symptoms in 4 to 6 weeks.

  • NOTE: Align is a single strain Bifidobacterium that has been shown to put IBS into remission.  I found other pure Bifidobacterium at Walgreen’s — they are often label as digestive probiotics, for example Ultimate Flora RTS – Colon Care Probiotic which has six different ones and no Lactobacillus!🙂   (
    • Bifidobacteria species.
    • Bifidobacterium lactis (A)
    • Bifidobacterium lactis (B)
    • Bifidobacterium bifidum
    • Bifidobacterium breve
    • Bifidobacterium lactis (C)
    • Bifidobacterium longum)
    • These are different then the Bifidobacterium infantis in Align. So there are seven species at least available.
  • Remember: The more species that you take the better your odds are finding one that “clicks with your DNA and takes up residence!” and “takes an attitude to the CFS causing cartel of bacteria”
  • “Bifidobacteria, naturally present in the dominant colonic microbiota, represent up to 25% of the cultivable faecal bacteria” (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16167966 2005)…. reminder: there are myths about Lactobacillus being the dominant one… it’s false. Futhermore, L.Reuteri is the dominant one of all Lactobacillus in healthy mammals (including humans) — not L.acidophilus which just flows thru your bowels (and does NOT take up residence)!

This is all theoretical.  I do know that I was taking a lot of Magnesium Malate during my second onset to moderate symptoms (and it worked) as well as 20,000 IU of vitamin D3.

To put it together as a picture:


References of interest:

27 thoughts on “Where to start…

  1. Excellent post!!

    Will try to do something similar to this myself!

    BifidoMAX unfortunately contains a lot of acidophilus strains too… It’s a bit confusing, but both the bifdio and acidophilus strains are in there, for a total of 80 billion.

    Found another that is 100% bifido only, and that is RTS Colon Care:

    Looks good!

    I found another VERY interesting thing, and that is Securil! It’s a special brand of bacteria that produces propionic acid, which seems to only support bifido-bacteria in the gut. I will try this!🙂


    • My preference is always to go for the “ideal”, BifidoMax is not ideal, but with seven species it should be considered if you cannot find equivalent without the Lactobacillus species. Get the best that you can obtain (and afford) — pragmatic approach is what we need to deal with. The RTS is clearly better and I will revise the post. Thank you!

        • Not a herx –stomach irritation. Yes, I’ve used lots of probiotics. What I’ve found is that I do well with lower counts and fewer strains. 1 to 3 billion organisms sees to be best. Maybe 3 strains. 15 or 30 billion & 5 plus strains seems to either do me in OR have zero effect at all. I’m just happy I’ve been able to find one that’s working right now. Prior to this, I tried so many different & expensive brands which had no effect whatsoever. I’m guessing that if/when I get a healthier gut population established my tolerance and or needs may change.

          • 🙂 Nice to see you commenting here, and sharing your discoveries. The correct “gradation” for selecting probiotics (gut bacteria) is at the strain level. Strain level reports on your own gut bacteria are not available, in fact, most of them are at the family level only.

            RiteAid and Walgreens both of viable probiotics candidates to try (and at reasonable prices!), you just need to know your species and strains.

    • I am definitely going to order that Securil Propio product. I found it at Iherb.com for $16.20 before applying a $5 coupon code (retailmenot.com) bringing it down to $11.20. You can even get free shipping if you purchase $20 in product.

  2. I often find that folks who are really sick are so overwhelmed, they don’t know “where to start”, so they don’t start at all. I know folks who will look at bottles of vitamins, minerals and herbs on their counter for MONTHS, and FEAR taking them because it could do damage (?). I find that very odd, because often they will think nothing of taking sleeping pills that cause mitochondrial damage, thus perpetuating the cycle of illness even more. (I was once that way- thinking the pharmaceutical industry was going to give me the cure any day!!)

    So, many people with ME/CFS (including myself once upon a time) become paralyzed by the idea of trying something new, and with the brain fog, memory loss and anxiety, months go by while they get increasingly sicker, weaker, more depressed, and more disabled.

    When I was at my very sickest, I wrote down directions and instructions and taped to the frig, and to my bathroom mirror, then put red arrows to remind myself what I was supposed to be doing. (and dated the arrows!) That was the ONLY way I could remember what to do to help myself. It worked! Then, I realized I would forget WHY I was taking something, and would run out and not refill it, so I made a chart that said WHY I was taking each supplement and kept that handy. ( I didn’t care what others thought when the came to my house and saw my giant notes on my frig and bathroom mirror, because if I took the notes down I would forget to put them back up!)

    Many of us have been conditioned by the pharmaceutical industry to expect “instant’ repair, and I think that’s one thing that prevents sufferers from realizing they are going to get well S-l-o-w-l-y. When you get well using nutrition and supplements, you make permanent repairs to your body.

    Today, 2 years after being sure that I was going to need 24/7 nursing care because I was so sick, I am feeling MUCH better, can concentrate, can do light “work”, and can enjoy life much more since taking steps to help myself. I no longer wake up in pain, and I can stay awake long bough to watch a movie with my family.

    I want to mention- I take Thorne’s magnesium Citramate (3-4 per day). I have noticed it works better than other brands of magnesium/malate combinations. Since I began using that particular brand/formulation, 3 different doctors have told me they recommend it, just FYI. Same with Thorne’s Meriva- other brands just did not seem to have the same affect.

  3. Ken, the probiotic which seems to help me the most so far is a proprietary strain of 1.5 billion organisms comprised of 3 bifido strains & lactobacillus gasseri. I was curious about the L. gasseri since I don’t do well with L. acidophilus, so looked into it.

    Research may show why it works for me, considering I (and many pwc) are dealing with co-infections (which, btw, are frequently mistaken for allergic rhinitis – see below):

    Inhibition of Staphylococcus aureus by H202-producing Lactobacillus gasseri isolated from vaginal tract of cattle (9)
    Preliminary human study for possible alteration of serum immunoglobin E production in perennial allergic rhinitis with fermented milk prepared with Lactobacillus gasseri TMC0356 (15)


    Apparently, it may also be effective against H. phylori.


    If there actually is a link between h. pylori and thryoid disease as is suggested possible on your site, then that’s another reason it may be working for me.

    Also, it normally originates in breast milk, so could explain why many of my generation are lacking this organism, since we were formula fed babies.

    More interesting benefits of L. Gasseri:

    L. gasseri BNR17 lowered body weight and adiposity by increasing the expression of fatty-acid oxidation genes and reducing the levels of leptin and insulin in high-sucrose diet-induced obese mice. This suggests that L. gasseri BNR17 may facilitate alleviating metabolic syndrome:


    anti-inflammatory effects of L. gasseri on ulcerative colitis & crohn’s disease (IBD).


    I stumbled onto this probiotic when trying to find something fast locally that primarily had bifido in it. I’ve since tried a bunch of different brands that I’ve ordered online, but this is the only one that has consistently worked really well. Strangely enough it’s from Rite Aid (a store I usually avoid for all kinds of reasons). They claim you can compare it to a Philips Colon Care product, however, when I tried that product because of unavailability of the Rite Aid product, I did not have the same results at all. So…if anyone’s interested, or having problems finding a probiotic that works, this particular Rite Aid Labeled product is called “Probiotic Colon Care”. 1.5 billion cells, Proprietary blend includes Lactobacillus gasseri, Bifodobacterium, bifidum, & bifidobacterium longum.

  4. I’ve just ordered the Securi Propido for myself and also some L. rhamnosus for my daughter, which may be helpful with eczema. I recently gave her a bottle of one of my products that had a lot of L. Reuteri in it (for vaginal infections) and shortly thereafter she started experiencing eczema, much worse than anything she’s ever experienced. Today it occurred to me that perhaps the l. reuteri I gave her acted as an antagonist to the L. rhamnosus, particularly if she were already low in that organism to begin with (as evidenced by mild eczema in the past). I’m hoping she sees relief from the L. rhamnosus. Some studies show excellent results in young children, so crossing my fingers that age doesn’t matter.

    I will report back on both if we notice anything.

  5. By the way, I wanted to say that your illustration is excellent and ties the mechanism together really well. I’m in total agreement about the effectiveness of magnesium and am determined to be more consistent in using it. It always helps me.

  6. Pingback: For New Readers | CFS Remission

  7. My question is regarding the magnesium. We often read that CFS patients suffer from infections that form biofilms. Magnesium is thought to be a major component of biofilms. Many physicians who treat CFS patients for biofilm infections instruct them not to take magnesium as it is giving the pathogenic bacteria what they need to build their biofilms.

    I was curious to hear your thoughts on this.

  8. In medicine there are several types of answers given to patients:
    * answers based on actual studies on patients
    * answers based on studies in petri dishes or mice
    * answers based on inference based on simplified understanding of processes (academic modelling)

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16517137 states ” For attached cells, the influence of Mg(2+) concentration changed over time, suggesting that the role of Mg(2+) in bacterial attachment is complex and dynamic. ”

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3156716/ (2011) found that Mg is the trigger for some infections to form biofilms and turn off a different mode of bacterial growth.. however it concludes “This study identifies Mg2+ limitation as an important environmental trigger of P. aeruginosa biofilm development” which seems to suggest the opposite — having more Mg may prevent biofilm formation.

  9. Is there a way to determine when/whether you have adequate magnesium stores to proceed with taking the probiotics? I have read Carolyn Dean’s work where she advises that you have an RBC magnesium test result of 6.0-6.5. What are your thoughts?

  10. What is your though on the use of internal hydrogen peroxide?

    I’ve been given a product I’ve used before by a health practitioner,that contains 600 mcg of hydrogen peroxide per dose (meant to take one a day).

    Now, I know from the use before that it gives me a herx reaction (increased headache, brain fog etc.), so it probably kills off some of the bacteria that I’ve seen from blood microscopy that I have.

    But, I’ve read that some say it will kill of beneficial bacteria in the colon too… What is your take on this?

  11. Ken, a lot of people seem to have symptomatic improvements doing various methylation protocols.

    What do you think about folate production by bifidobacteria? It looks like there is research showing they produce methylfolate (the actively absorbable kind) in vivo and that it affects folate status of the host: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18029493

    Ideally, I’d love to be able to get the specific species that are known folate producers and colonizers.

    Also, have you heard of anyone being able to order anything from ATCC (http://www.atcc.org/) directly? They have a large corpus of bacterial strains, but only seem to ship to research institutions.

    • The ATCC.org position is very understandable. Without having done human safety studies on each species, they do not risk the liability to ship to individuals. On the devious side, if you form a LLC with an appropriate name (and a bank account under that name), if you send a request on the LLC letterhead, you will likely be successful. It would allow them to disclaim all knowledge of the eventual use (i.e. off-label).

      The article you cited, does name the species (and strain),Bifidobacteria adolescentis – Align is this species (Bifidobacterium infantis 35624). There is an article on folate production in yogurt, unfortunataly these are not easily available. It appear that Lactobacillus amylovorus is particularly good and may be available in yougurts in the coming years.

      At the moment, the best recommendation is probiotics containing Bifidobacteria adolescentis

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