Chronic fatigue syndrome is characterized by a feeling of overwhelming fatigue that is not relieved by rest or other common treatments. Those with chronic fatigue syndrome will experience at least for of the symptoms listed below for at least six months:
- Impaired short term memory or impaired ability to concentrate, which significantly impacts day to day activities
- Sore throat
- Tender lymph nodes under the arms or in the neck
- Muscle pain
- Pain in multiple joints, but with no joint swelling or redness
- Waking without feeling refreshed
- A general feeling of malaise following physical activity. This feeling of malaise lasts for longer than 24 hours
Chronic fatigue syndrome is seen more often in women than in men, and most patients are in their thirties. The cause of chronic fatigue syndrome is not known, and there are no available lab tests to make a definitive diagnosis. The many factors thought to promote chronic fatigue syndrome include:
- Nutritional deficiencies
- Toxic elements in the environment, diet or medications
- Thyroid or adrenal gland imbalances
- Impaired immune system function
- Bacterial, viral or fungal infections
Since the symptoms of chronic fatigue syndrome are general in nature, it can often be confused with conditions like anemia, allergies, hypothyroidism, sleep apnea, narcolepsy, and hypotension.
There is no known conventional treatment for chronic fatigue syndrome, but a number of holistic and natural treatments have been somewhat effective.
Lifestyle Issues and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
Chronic fatigue syndrome can often be helped through a number of lifestyle changes, most importantly the development of proper sleep habits. It is important for chronic fatigue syndrome sufferers to establish a regular sleep pattern.
In addition, gentle exercises like tai chi, yoga, swimming and walking are effective, even if you do not feel like exercising. Regular physical activity is very important to getting the symptoms of chronic fatigue syndrome under control. It is important, however, to take it easy and not overdo exercise, or work out until you are exhausted.
The Role of Diet in Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
Those suffering from chronic fatigue syndrome may benefit from following a detoxification and cleansing diet for a period of one to three weeks. All foods and chemicals that can worsen the condition should be avoided. This includes such common foods as wheat, dairy products, corn, products containing gluten (such as rye and oats), and sugar.
After the cleansing diet, each food that had been excluded can be introduced back into the diet to try to pinpoint the specific food sensitivity.
Vitamins and Other Supplements
Probiotics can often be effective against chronic fatigue syndrome, since beneficial bacteria can often improve digestion and reestablish a good balance of intestinal microbes. Probiotics should be taken in one to two capsules two or three times a day on an empty stomach.
Digestive enzymes can be helpful as well, and they can help the body more really digest fats, proteins and carbohydrates. A typical dosage of digestive enzyme is one to two capsules a day, taken with meals.
Vitamin C is often used as well, since it has been shown to boost the immune system and help with the health of the adrenal gland.
Magnesium can also be an important supplement for those suffering from chronic fatigue syndrome. That is because magnesium is essential for the production of energy, for muscle function and for bone health. Many people diagnosed with chronic fatigue syndrome have a deficiency of magnesium in their diet.
Coenzyme Q10 is also helpful in treating chronic fatigue syndrome, since it has been shown to help in the repair and maintenance of tissues. A typical dose of coenzyme Q10 is 60 to 100 milligrams per day.
Carnitine is used to convert fatty acids into energy. Some studies have shown that people with chronic fatigue syndrome suffer from low carnitine levels.