Conditions & Ailments

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, a debilitating disorder

What is Chronic Fatigue Syndrome or CFS?

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome is an often debilitating disorder that may mimic other illnesses. CFS is also known as myalgic encephalomyelitis.

CFS is marked by persistent exhaustion and affects more women than men, most under the age of 50. People suffering from Chronic Fatigue Syndrome have difficulty sleeping, concentrating and performing daily tasks become almost impossible.

Doctors disagree on whether CFS is a specific condition or a group of unrelated symptoms. In fact, this disorder is often misdiagnosed as depression or even hypochondria as there are no routine medical tests to detect this disorder.

Symptoms of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

The most common symptom reported by patients suffering from Chronic Fatigue Syndrome is continuing and recurring fatigue that is not relieved by sleep or bed rest. CFS is often linked to a weakened immune system and therefore people are susceptible to all kinds of infections and illnesses.

Other symptoms include:

  • Fever
  • Headaches
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Low blood pressure
  • Aching muscles and joints
  • Difficulty concentrating and poor memory
  • Loss of appetite
  • Mood swings
  • Recurring upper respiratory tract infections
  • Swollen glands
  • Muscle spasms
  • Sleep disturbances

People who suffer from Chronic Fatigue Syndrome are often unable to maintain a healthy, active lifestyle and should therefore not be confused with the result of everyday overwork and stress.

What causes Chronic Fatigue Syndrome?

The exact cause of CFS is not known, but a weakened immune system plays an important role in the onset of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.

Some researchers believe that there is a link between CFS and the Epstein-Barr virus and/or the cytomegalovirus, both member of the herpes family that causes various viral infections.

Often patients report flu like illness before the onset of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome but many cases of CFS occur without any preceding illness or infection.

Other causes that have been suggested by researchers include anemia, arthritis, hypoglycemia, hypothyroidism and chronic mercury poisoning.

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome has often been linked to Fibromyalgia, which is a muscle disorder that causes weakness and fatigue.

How can supplements help me?

The first step is to strengthen your immune system to make you less susceptible to bacterial and viral infections. Begin by taking Vitamin C and carotenoid supplements.

Echinacea is also a great immune boosting herbal supplement that is known to shorten the duration of illnesses.

Taking high doses of calcium and magnesium will help with muscle pain and muscle spasms.

Include herbs such as Siberian Ginseng and liquorice as well as the B vitamin pantothenic acid which all assist the adrenal glands to secrete hormones such as cortisol, which counteracts stress and can boost your energy levels.

Use Gingko Biloba to improve circulation and brain function. Gingko Biloba assists with poor memory and concentration.

Herbal supplements such as Kava Kava and Valerian is recommended to assist with sleep disturbances.

St. John's Wort can also be added as it is an anti-viral and a good anti-depressant.

Supplement Recommendations
Supplement Dosage
Vitamin C 2 000 mg 3 times daily
Carotenoids 2 pills mixed carotenoids a day with food
Calcium / Magnesium 500 mg calcium 4 times a day, 500 mg magnesium twice a day
Echinacea 200 mg twice a day
Siberian Ginseng 100-300 mg twice a day
Liquorice 200 mg 3 times a day
Pantothenic Acid 500 mg twice a day

Other recommendations

Eat a well balanced diet that consists of mainly fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, raw nuts and seeds and fish. These foods supply nutrients that renew your energy levels and boost your immune system.

Drink plenty of water - at least 8 glasses a day and include fresh fruit and vegetable juices. Liquids help to flush out toxins and assist in reducing muscle spasms and pain.

Try to cut out processed foods, soft drinks, bread and pasta. People who suffer from Chronic Fatigue Syndrome often crave sugar and carbohydrates, but eating these kinds of foods will only worsen your symptoms.

Get plenty of rest and make sure that you do not over-exert yourself. Patients have reported that moderate exercise is beneficial, however, start slowly as too much can cause you to have a setback.

Reminder

Please consult your medical practitioner prior to using any herbal medications should you be under their care. Suggestions offered are not intended to replace appropriate medical investigation and treatment.


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