09.29.2016

Vital Plan Restore review

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Disclosures: I was given the Vital Plan Restore Program as part of a product review through the Chronic Illness Bloggers network. Although the product was a gift, all opinions in this Vital Plan Restore review are my own, and I was in no way influenced by the company. This post may contain affiliate links.

The Vital Plan Restore Program was developed by Dr. Bill Rawls for those with fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue and Lyme.

I know a lot of us with fibromyalgia have become supplement junkies. We’ve spent small fortunes on bottles of vitamins and herbs in search of a magic pill that’s going to take away our pain and give us back our vitality. But very few of these products have made a difference in my symptoms long term. They either didn’t work in the first place, or whatever relief they gave was short lived, leaving me with an much lighter bank account and a drawer full of unused pills.

When I was asked to try Vital Plan’s Restore Program, I didn’t expect much. Restore was created by Dr. Bill Rawls to support his immune system during his own struggle with Lyme disease and fibromyalgia. The program was developed for those with fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue and/or Lyme disease. Restore:

  • Supports the immune system with adaptogenic herbal extracts
  • Balances the microbiome and support normal gut flora
  • Features plant-based antimicrobials for natural support
  • Maintains energy levels by supporting energy production

There are four herbal formulas that make up the program:

  • A-Biotic to support the gut, immune function and microbiome bacteria
  • Adaptogen Recovery to support immune function and the body’s stress response
  • Mitochondrial Support for cellular energy production and tissue detoxification
  • Prevention Plus for detoxification and antioxidant support

Along with the herbal supplements, the starter kit included a six-month email/video course, a diet guide and recipes, a copy of Dr. Rawls’ book, “Suffered Long Enough,” monthly progress trackers and support from the Vital Plan Restore team.

My Vital Plan Restore review …

I started the Restore protocol in early June a few weeks after being diagnosed with chronic Lyme disease. During the first six weeks of the program, I had some of the best days that I’ve experienced since my fibromyalgia diagnosis in early 2014. I started seeing a noticeable reduction in pain about two weeks into taking the supplements. I track my pain levels using this pain scale. On most days, my levels were in the 1-3 range during those first few weeks. It was a welcome relief since I hadn’t had levels that low since last December.

I’ve also noticed an improvement in my overall stamina. I have a little more gas in my tank. For example, earlier this month, we had a yard sale to get rid of the junk I’ve accumulated as I’ve been decluttering my house. I was worried I wouldn’t get through the day, but I was able to manage the sale, get everything packed up for the donation truck and still have a little bit of energy left after the whole ordeal. I thought I’d be camped out on the sofa for a couple of days to recover, but I wasn’t. I was tired, but not to the point where I couldn’t function. I considered this a small victory!

For my Lyme treatment, I decided to combine herbal therapy (Vital Plan Restore) with prescription drugs (antibiotics, antifungals and antiprotozoal drugs). From my layperson’s perspective, I want to hit the Lyme bacteria and other co-infections with everything possible, and combining natural and prescription therapies just makes sense to me.

About a month into using the Restore supplements, I started my first round of antibiotics for Lyme. Within a few days, my pain levels returned to my normal range of 3-6 and have pretty much stayed there ever since.

However, I don’t think my increased pain is because Restore isn’t working. My doctor says it’s normal for the antibiotics to cause an increase in symptoms as the Lyme bacteria dies off, and of course, I have also been dealing with the side effects from the medications, too. Between the die-off and the side effects, I’ve had some pretty rotten days over the past couple of months.

To be honest, I’ve paused a few times and wondered if I should toss the prescription drugs and use Restore exclusively, but I’m giving my doctor the benefit of the doubt for a few more months to see if her treatment protocol will work. She was happy to incorporate Restore into my treatment plan because many of the herbs used in the four formulas are actually herbs that she would have had me take separately. Having them combined into a whole program has made it easy for me to incorporate herbals into my treatment. Unlike the prescription meds, I haven’t had any side effects that I could attribute to the herbs.

There’s some evidence that immune dysfunction is at the heart of fibromyalgia and ME/CFS, and of course, it’s well known that the immune system is compromised in chronic Lyme. I think there’s some validity to Dr. Rawls’ approach, which essentially focuses on boosting the immune system so that the body can heal itself. My previous fibromyalgia doctor would often say, “No one has a Cymbalta deficiency or a Lyrica deficiency,” and he’s right. Prescription drugs, or at least the ones for fibromyalgia, do not treat the underlying causes of our condition; they only treat symptoms. So using a product that restores the body’s own healing mechanisms just makes sense to me, and that’s the purpose of the Vital Plan Restore Program.

During the first three months of the program, I received daily emails from the Vital Plan Restore team with tips and helpful information on how to improve my chances of recovery. I really enjoyed these emails and have kept a few of them to refer back to at a later date. At the end of the three months, I signed up for an additional three months of emails for free.

Dr. Rawls suggests doing an elimination diet as part of the Restore program. I won’t lie … his diet is really strict. I adhered to it for a few days, but not long enough to know if it was going to make a difference. I had already completed a nine-month elimination diet earlier in the year, so I have a good idea of my trigger foods and didn’t feel it was necessary to repeat that process again.

The materials provided for the diet plan were easy to understand and straightforward. There was an approved foods list and recipes to help if I got stumped over what to eat. I definitely think everyone with fibromyalgia should do an elimination diet at least once to see if cutting out certain foods makes a difference in their pain and energy levels. I know gluten and sugar are trigger foods for me.

Periodically, the Restore team would send me an online questionnaire to track my symptoms. After completing the questions, I’d receive a score, which helped me to see my progress over time. This is extremely helpful because sometimes improvement is so gradual that we may not even notice it.

I also received a free consult with Dr. Rawls. It was nice to run my treatment plan by him and pick his brain for anything else that I could be doing to improve my chances of recovery. He’s lived with fibromyalgia and Lyme, so he knows how challenging these conditions can be.

Now onto the cons …

I always tell my readers the good and bad in all of my reviews because I believe in full disclosure.

The one thing I struggle with while using the Restore program is the sheer number of pills that I have to take on a daily basis. At full dosage, I take three pills from each of the four bottles twice a day. That comes out to 24 pills a day! I cringe when it’s time to take my meds because between the Restore herbs, my prescriptions and my other supplements, I’m probably taking 40-50 pills a day. It makes me nauseous just thinking about it! The herbs don’t taste bad; it’s just the large number of pills that I have to get down my throat! It may not bother most people, but for me, it’s … blech!!!!!

The other drawback is Restore’s cost. The one-month starter kit is $325. Monthly refills are $270. Auto delivery customers receive a 10 percent discount. Vital Plan does periodically offer sales and discounts, but it’s still a steep monthly investment – and it’s one that I’m having to seriously contemplate because I’m only working part time these days. I wish the program cost less, but overall, I think the Vital Plan Restore Program is worth a try for those who can afford it.

More reviews …

Because Vital Plan Restore is a financial commitment, I thought it might be helpful to share some other reviews.

One of my fellow fibro bloggers, Donna over at February Stars, has been using Restore for more than a year now, and is making progress in her recovery. Here’s a link to her most recent update.

I was one of several bloggers from the Chronic Illness Bloggers network who were selected to review the Restore program. Here are links to a few of those other reviews:

Chronic Mom

FibroDaze

The Girl with Five Lads and Fibro

Grace is Sufficient

Men with Fibromyalgia

Rebuilding Wellness

The Unbroken Smile

Have you found a supplement that’s really helped your fibromyalgia or ME/CFS symptoms? Please share in the comments below!

You might also like …

Tired all the time? D-ribose has been shown to increase energy levels in those with fibromyalgia and ME/CFS. | FedUpwithFatigue.com

How using SAM-e for fibromyalgia could help reduce pain, fatigue and other symptoms.

A few of my favorite things for relieving the pain and fatigue of fibromyalgia.

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Comments

  1. Barbara says:

    Merry Christmas! What I have found that has made the biggest difference, supplement-wise, for my Fibromyalgia, Depression and IBS-D, is Thrive by Le-Vel. My journey has been many years long. I have been Thriving now for almost a year and have markedly reduced and/or eliminated prescription medications, which is a phenomenal
    blessing. Thank you.

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