‘Resilience and fortitude’ are the keywords that come to mind when I think of Garum Armoricum®; one of my favorite supplements for optimizing stress tolerance in patients. I have recommended it to hundreds of patients over the last fifteen years, and find it effective for every form of negative stress: accidents, injury, divorce, emotional trauma, anxiety, fatigue, depression and more. It consistently helps people bounce back from their disturbed state more swiftly than they would on their own. Here are three of my cases that have stood out to me over my career.
• 83 Year Old Man with Restricted Range of Motion, Depression & Anxiety
I remember this striking case as if it happened yesterday. At the end of summer 2001, an 83 year old man called me. He had been referred to me by his daughter when the osteopath had failed him, and his request was simply this: “I want to be able to dress myself.” He was losing range of motion in his arm, and was terrified of needing regular assistance with daily living tasks like dressing and undressing.
“I had no idea that the food I ate and the supplements I could take could have such an effect on me and make such a difference. I also had no idea that other hormones such as cortisol played such a big role in menopausal symptoms. Who tells us this?”
We made an appointment a few weeks ahead, and I sent him a detailed questionnaire in the mail. I also asked him to try the Garum Armoricum® supplement, four softgel capsules at breakfast, simply to give him more stamina and help him emotionally through this difficult time. I had discovered that older patients fare very well on Garum, and whenever I treat someone over 70, this supplement comes to mind.
A week before his visit he called to postpone it, because he had regained all the range of motion in his arm. “I don’t know what’s in those gel capsules, Doc, but they have done the job,” he explained. I was both surprised and pleased: and I speculate that chronic stress/anxiety had contributed to his range of motion issue.
He called me again in January to tell me he was still doing fine. The supplement had also had the effect I had hoped: he was feeling optimistic, with a better and consistent mood, energetic and less anxious. That was our last conversation, and I confirmed it was safe to continue to take daily.
• A 20-Year-Old with Severe Pre-Exam Anxiety and Disturbed Sleep
My 20-year-old patient, Nancy, presented with extreme fearfulness, anxiety, short-tempered irritability, poor sleep and a generally poor mood on the eve of second year university exams. She had not performed as well as she hoped on her first year exams, and had performed even more poorly on some “mock” exams. She was afraid she would flunk her real exams. She now felt, she said, as if she were suffering from the worst premenstrual tension she had ever known—but it wouldn’t go away.
Nancy was 5 foot 4 inches tall, physically fit and strong; a rower who also lifted weights. I had seen her two years earlier, for digestive issues which completely resolved after she avoided all wheat products. For that reason she trusted me and embarked on my recommended nutritional regimen faithfully. Since she was living 200 miles away in school, we followed up by email.
First, I prescribed regular meals to support blood glucose. I emphasized healthy protein, such as lean, grass-fed meats. She found classical music on her iPhone relaxing, so she listened to that before eating. I also recommended four gelcaps of Garum at breakfast, since the supplement has been clinically proven to reduce anxiety and improve sleep and stress in students.1 I also suggested a multi-vitamin and mineral formula that supports adrenal function and healthy glucose balance. I recommended taking that with each meal. Finally, I prescribed a product containing the relaxing amino acid, L-theanine and the natural, mildly sedative molecule, GABA. This was taken once in the mid afternoon and once before bed, on an empty stomach.
Nancy and her mother emailed me in January and February. “I noticed,” she wrote, “from the first week that my mood and energy were better. I was more balanced in my mind, not edgy. Within a week I was sleeping better, and overall I felt more confident. I managed to get through my exams without my tummy doing somersaults.”
Simple dietary advice can sometimes be the best advice, along with a limited number of very effective nutritional supplements that allow for optimal compliance. The supplements Nancy was taking are natural and safe, and can be taken long term if needed to support physiological function and improve stress tolerance. The potential impact of such therapeutic, safe, non-addictive nutritional intervention is enormous.
• Menopausal Cluster of Symptoms & Signs Resolved
In November of 2013, I first saw Sally, a 52-year-old woman who had been struggling with menopause for several years. She had always been healthy, rarely needed a day off work in her life, and was now suffering hot flashes, excessive sweating, interrupted sleep, abdominal bloating, indigestion, gas, dry skin, weight gain, poor mood, lack of libido, vaginal dryness, frequent low-grade headaches and excess urination.
Her family physician had prescribed hormone replacement therapy (HRT), but she had to stop when a small embolism was discovered in her calf after a 10-hour-flight. She stood up during the consultation to show me a rubber ring of fat around her stomach as well as bulging out from her bra straps. She turned sideways to show me her bloated abdomen. She told me she would “do anything, and I mean anything, to feel like my old self again! I feel like someone has turned off the tap on my energy.”
Laboratory testing showed low levels of the adrenal hormone, DHEA, and unfortunately, low levels of the stress countering hormone cortisol. Thyroid hormone levels at first looked normal, but upon closer inspection free thyroxine (FT4) was low normal, as was free triiodothyronine (FT3), the active portion of thyroid hormone. Thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) was normal.
I recommended a healthy diet, three meals a day, with a high intake of colorful plant food, as well as conscious relaxation before eating. I then recommended my favorite trio of supplements, just as I had for Nancy—Garum Armoricum®, a theanine and GABA supplement, and a vitamin and mineral supplement that helps rebuild the adrenal glands. I also prescribed a low dose yet active supplement of B1, B2 & B6, which can help support energy levels, and can serve as a very effective adjunct to any adrenal or thyroid hormone support program. In addition, she was given a vegetarian formula of nutrients designed to assist T4 to T3 conversion that does not alter TSH levels, as well as a supplement to aid in energy production and increase stamina.
Over the next few months, Sally slowly improved, but she still complained of digestive issues and low libido. We added digestive enzymes, and a combination glandular providing adrenal and ovarian extracts to support female hormone balance. By September of 2014, she said all her goals were being reached or were reached, and for this she was very grateful. She wrote: “I had no idea that the food I ate and the supplements I could take could have such an effect on me and make such a difference. I also had no idea that other hormones such as cortisol played such a big role in menopausal symptoms. Who tells us this? The change in my overall health has been nothing less than fantastic and everyone I know now knows what I have done and what has happened.” This case shows that there are other options to helping women with menopausal signs and symptoms than HRT (hormone replacement therapy).