Monday, January 20

Treating Narcolepsy With Supplements

When my husband left his job, he also left his health insurance behind. Because our family's health care coverage was provided through my husband's employer, we joined the ranks of millions of American families who have a chronically ill family member and no health insurance. Without the health insurance providing prescription drug coverage, we were suddenly faced with a scary prospect - not being able to afford his medications.

Not too long ago, we asked for help paying for my hubby's Nuvigil, but were told that we didn't qualify for help. Yes, we were "poor" enough to qualify, but no, we couldn't have help while we had any type of insurance. Even if said insurance didn't cover the cost of the medication we needed. We were the typical family that falls between the not-enough-income, too-much-health-insurance cracks of the US health care system.

At least without any insurance, we now qualified to receive free medication from the company who manufactured it. Qualifying for the help and receiving the medication would take time, of course. In the interim, my husband's Nuvigil was quickly running out. He skipped taking it on days that he didn't have job interviews, but even so, we knew there would be at least a few weeks, maybe even months without medication for him to rely on.

What were we to do?

After doing extensive research, we decided to try several supplements. It took some juggling, but we eventually came up with a vitamin regimen that seemed to help. It didn't work as well as Nuvigil, but it helped, which is all we had hoped for. I will go into more detail (brand names, cost comparison, etc.) in
another post, but this is basically what we tried:

  • a daily men's multivitamin
  • Calcium
  • Magnesium
  • Vitamin B-12
  • Vitamin A
  • Vitamin D
  • Inositol & Choline
  • 6 mile daily walk (broken up into two 3-mile walks)

The results? My husband said (and I quote), "This is the best I've ever felt without medication." He emphasized that consistent exercise and the supplements truly made all the difference. We now have a goal of getting him off of the medication altogether and back on the daily supplements/exercise to treat his narcolepsy.


  1. After years of migraines, with no prevention and only expensive treatments that still don't stop me losing several hours, I turned to high doses of magnesium in desperation. There haven't been enough studies to prove it, but stories were consistent. I have now been almost migraine free for roughly 4 months. I have had ONE migraine in that time, when starting a new job and under alot of internal pressure. I feel like I might be changing my life. Good luck with your efforts, it is so worth a try with almost zero risk!

  2. Hi, good to see you writing again.

    I'm a soon-to-be 38 yr old male, was diagnosed 4 years ago. I wrote a post on one of your blogs last year. Still hao blogging about it myself yet, but you never know :)

    Just wanted to say that i'm delighted to see that this is the path your hubby's taken. I don't have N and C too bad, seems to come and go and usually when i'm stressed. Emotions area a trigger, right? I came off the Concerta that i was on after 2 years. It had helped me alot, particularly in the areas of concentration (which isn't surprising as it's an ADHD med). But i noticed that my usually sunny disposition was becoming blunted, at night i couldn't switch off even when i wanted to. Basially i was using it to get through the day at work which often involves stressful meetings with stupid people. I also work in the IT game which means often as not i'm in an office somewhere hunched over a laptop on a customer site with no options for going for a nap, except perhaps at lunchtime (and only if i'm not travelling).

    I'd had enough, decided to try going cold turkey. I was a pain in the arse for my wife for about 2 months then felt better. We've always tried to eat healthily, organic where possible and no crap. Have always exercised and taken a multivitamin.

    Took this a step further when i came off the Concerta and planned out the following:

    1 x good mens' multivitamin
    1 x magnesium
    2 x Ginko Biloba (for memory)
    2 x twice daily Tumeric

    Every morning i also have a big shake with what looks like seaweed in it and kelp, my wife isn't here so i can't remember what it is she puts in it lol

    But the big thing i noticed was when i started taking Tumeric. I'd read about the benefits but for some reason never did anything. I listened to a radio show and then went to the guy's website, it seems he's the world's leading authority (Christian Wilde). I found the radio show on youTube and posted the link below. If you look at the Tumeric benefits it's mainly talking about anti-cancer and anti-toxin. But i noticed a major improvement in my sense of calm, in my sense of alertness and energy level.

    Now, that could all be down to the seaweed my wife gives me in the morning, but i suggest your hubby might want to try the link below and see if it helps him. Note the link is a specially concentrated formula you won't get in your local health shop.

    I also go and get Acupuncture now once a week. Yes, my wife insisted i try it and yes, she was right as usual. The first time i didn't notice anything. But then i did notice the second time that i felt really calm and relaxed, which is often not the case. When you have N, you need to remember that your brain could be pretty tired any time of the day... so your whole emotional state is equivalent to you waking up at 7am... but for us it could be 3pm in the afternoon. No wonder we're always so damned cranky all the time lol. Acupuncture calms me and that night i usually get a good sleep. Try it and tell the therapist you have N - they all seem to know about it.

    And finally, keep the exercise going. Exercise is key to success. For someone who is tired and sleepy, making sure that your body is awake and full of energy is something you CAN take control of without drugs - so get off your ass and make it part of your day. I'm still trying to fight that battle so forgive yourself.

    Here are the links to Tumeric research and the link on Amazon. LIke I say i noticed much more energy since i started taking it. Hope this helps! - Radio Show About Tumeric - Christian WildeW's website


  3. Acetyl-L-Carnitine is also one that seems to provide a big boost.