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Vitamin B5 an effective treatment for ME/CFS emotional or stress sensitivity


Senior Member
This post details some supplements that can help counter the effects of stress for ME/CFS patients who have high stress sensitivity or emotional sensitivity.

Many ME/CFS patients have high sensitivity to stressors, and have an emotional sensitivity or emotional frailty. The Canadian consensus criteria (full version here) actually lists a number of emotional symptoms of ME/CFS, including:
  • Hypersensitivity to emotional overload
  • Emotional flattening (blunted affect)
  • Emotional lability (unstable or exaggerated emotions)
  • Emotional unpredictability, emotional disability, emotional disturbances
One of the emotional symptoms I used to get periodically is increased emotional sensitivity or emotional frailty, where any stressors, or even just mild social disharmony, have a strong stressful effect. I think this sort of emotional sensitivity is often experienced by autistic people. Fortunately, such days of increased emotional sensitivity would only hit for one day every few weeks.

However, ever since catching COVID nearly 2 years ago, I've found this emotional sensitivity symptom occurs much more frequently, and hits more strongly. At present, when it occurs, it is often so strong that I feel on the verge of tears for much of the day (but of course tears never appear, because of my blunted emotions prevent them!). This emotional sensitivity occurs for no external reasons; it's all down to dysfunctional brain chemistry.

So in recent months, by trial and error, I've been looking for effective treatments to address the emotional sensitivity condition, as it is rather unpleasant.

One of the best treatments I have found recently is vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid) at a dose of 500 mg daily. I find this both greatly reduces the frequency of emotional sensitivity days, and also reduces the severity of emotional sensitivity. So I now take 500 mg every morning, and 500 mg in the evening, as both a preventative and a treatment.

Vitamin B5 is known as an anti-stress vitamin, so it makes sense that it might bolster against emotional stress. Vitamin B5 plays an important role in facilitating the release of the stress-response hormone cortisol in the adrenal glands.

Prior to this recent discovery of vitamin B5, I'd previously found that a large glass of hydrogen-rich water (also called molecular hydrogen) would reduce emotional sensitivity. HRW is water which has hydrogen gas dissolved into it, much like carbonated water has CO2 dissolved in it. You can buy fizzy tablets that you drop into a glass of water to make hydrogen-rich water, see this Google search.

Hydrogen-rich water stimulates ghrelin release in the stomach, and this hormone in turn stimulates the hypothalamus, which is an important brain centre for handling emotions and stress (the hypothalamus is dysfunctional in ME/CFS, which might possibly explain the ME/CFS emotional symptoms). So ghrelin may be the mechanism by which hydrogen-rich water alleviates emotional sensitivity. The anti-sensitivity effects of HRW take about 1 or 2 hours to kick in.

Another supplement which I have found eases the emotional sensitivity symptoms is benfotiamine 150 to 300 mg. This is a derivative of vitamin B1. The anti-sensitivity effects of benfotiamine I find take about 2 hours or so to kick in.

I've also been experimenting with nasal irrigation with saline solution (called jala neti in yoga) as a treatment for emotional sensitivity. I suspect inflammation in the nasal cavity and sinuses may be affecting the brain, and worsening the emotional sensitivity.

Surprisingly, nasal irrigation seems to be pretty effective in substantially reducing my emotional sensitivity very quickly (the anti-emotional sensitivity effects kick in within 15 minutes). I use the advanced form of nasal irrigation detailed in this post, which is particularly effective at getting the saline into the sinuses.

An alternative to nasal irrigation that also seems effective is breathing warm steam through your nose from a face steamer. A face steamer is a machine you can buy for about $30 which generates steam in order to open the pores on the facial skin, to improve complexion. I find if I place my head in a face steamer for 5 or 10 minutes, and breathe in the warm steam through my nose, this also has a good and fast-acting anti-emotional sensitivity effect. Incidentally this face steamer technique also works well for my generalised anxiety disorder symptoms.

Vitamin B5, hydrogen-rich water, benfotiamine, nasal irrigation and the face steamer (often all administered together) are now the main treatments I am using to counter emotional and stress sensitivity symptoms.

To a much lesser extent, I have found vitamin B2 at 100 mg helps reduce emotional sensitivity.

I've also tried low 10 mg doses of the antidepressant amitriptyline, but I am not sure if this helps or not. Amitriptyline is prescribed for emotional lability symptoms found in multiple sclerosis.

Other supplements that I found have emotional effects include:

• Calendula officinalis (marigold) 1000 mg — this is quite interesting, as it seems to reliably boost emotional feelings of compassion for others. However, I don't think it actually helps reduce emotional sensitivity and emotional frailty.

• Myrrh essential oil a few drops taken internally — this makes the emotions feel more robust (it contains sesquiterpenes that affect the hypothalamus), but I have not experimented enough to figure out whether it reduces emotional sensitivity. If taken internally essential oils are always diluted into a carrier oil, like sunflower oil. Taking more than a drop or two can lead to stomach upset and diarrhoea; it's a little harsh on the digestive tract.

• Oxytocin nasal spray 30 IU dose — oxytocin is considered the love hormone, but oddly I find this seems to provoke anger and indignance feelings more than anything else, which is not good! I have not experimented enough to know whether it reduces emotional sensitivity.

If anyone has any other tips or ideas about treating emotional sensitivity, please post.
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Thank you for sharing @Hip! Happy to hear that that you found something that helped you with this, that sounded really unpleasant indeed!


Senior Member
I have been doing nebuliser stuff using a formulation that is somewhat inspiritol inspired and I have to say it clears my nasal system for days. I can't say it does much else yet but a bit of nebulised oil is quite something for clearing the nasal passages.


Senior Member
Thanks for ignoring me Hip

Why would you want to take this thread off topic right from the get-go? A discussion on GcMAF would be best done in a GcMAF thread. Happy to discuss GcMAF elsewhere.
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