Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) is described as a disease by neurological symptoms, such as muscle pain with intense physical or mental exhaustion, relapses, and specific cognitive dysfunction. CFS is also referred to as sometimes called ME – myalgic encephalomyelitis or post-viral syndrome.
Other symptoms of CFS can include, headache, sore throat, muscle aches and joint pain.
These symptoms accompany a viral infection as well. For this reason CFS is also called post-viral syndrome.
Brain fog, impaired concentration or memory, irritable bowel issues and feeling unrested after adequate periods of sleep are also symptoms of CFS.
What Causes Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
Multiple triggers can cause CFS. Such as viral infections, stress, nutrient deficiency, toxins, and hormone imbalances.
Clinical research also suggests that bacteria seeping from the intestines (leaky gut) into the blood may contribute to CFS.
Damage from free radicals to DNA and the mitochondria (cells that make energy) can contribute to the development of chronic fatigue and related syndromes.
Low levels of glutathione (GSH), a key antioxidant that the body makes naturally, may play a role in mitochondrial dysfunction and free radical damage.
Chronic infection with viruses, such as Epstein-Barr virus, human herpes virus 6, and cytomegalovirus, may contribute to the development of chronic fatigue syndrome in some people.
This results in excessive amounts of nitric oxide and peroxynitrite which produces chronic fatigue among other illnesses.
Some studies have found that people with chronic fatigue syndrome have lower levels of the hormone cortisol, which is secreted by the adrenal glands.
Lowered level of cortisol may promote inflammation and activate immune cells. Thyroid disorders have also been implicated in chronic fatigue syndrome.
The question is though, are there any remedies that can reduce the symptoms associated with CFS or completely cure it?
So far no medication has yet been developed that can ‘cure’ or mitigate CFS.
Current best practices to conquer chronic fatigue syndrome is to strengthen your immune system. As studies have found abnormalities within the immune system of those affected by CFS. Including states of low grade immune up-regulation, poor functioning of natural killer cells, which are white blood cells involved in fighting viral infections.
80% of those diagnosed with CFS initially go to the doctor thinking they have a viral infection.
The following are some helpful tips and natural remedies that can help you boost your energy and feel more invigorated.
Dietary Sources That Can Worsen CFS
High carbohydrate diets, especially simple, refined carbohydrates, can promote small intestinal bowel overgrowth and dysbiosis, a common problem with CFS.
The symptoms of small intestinal bowel overgrowth or bacterial overgrowth include:
- Flatus (passing gas)
- Abdominal Distension
- Abdominal Pain or Discomfort
- Fatigue and Weakness
Diets low in fermentable oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides, and polyols (FODMAP) carbohydrates have been associated with better gut health and reduced incidence of irritable bowel.
Here is a list of high-FODMAP foods to avoid:
Get Regular Exercise
Can an individual who suffers with CFS exercise? Won’t exercise exasperate the condition? Studies show that light aerobic exercise, such as walking, helps people who have CFS feel more energetic and less tired.
People with CFS avoid exercise thinking it will make them feel worse. But the opposite is true. Total rest leaves your body in worse shape. It can also hurt your self-image by making you feel as if you can’t do anything for yourself.
Kaiser Permanente says that using “Graded Exercise” can help you to get more energy. Besides walking, they say you can also do gentle exercises, such as stretching, riding a bicycle or stationary bike, and swimming.
Kaiser says try to find a balance so that you are moving or exercising enough to benefit from it but not so much that you get overtired.
Brad Walker known as the “Stretch Coach,” says, “Over exercising will often cause pain and soreness in even the healthiest of people and so in those already suffering with chronic pain, the intensity can effectively double making any subsequent movements absolute torture.
It is important for sufferers of fibromyalgia and CFS to increase their levels of exercise very slowly and only push themselves as far as is comfortable.
By overexerting themselves and causing their pain to become more intense, many sufferers of fibromyalgia will enter a period in which they refrain from all activity and effectively become inactive. This then causes de-conditioning and as a consequence, more pain.
Individuals diagnosed with either fibromyalgia or CFS need to break the above cycle by becoming active and keeping their bodies conditioned and strong”.
Using Probiotics To Treat CFS
Research is showing that probiotic benefits may include relief from CFS.
About 92% of individuals with CFS have complained of gastrointestinal disturbances, such as with irritable bowel syndrome among other digestive disturbances.
Research has shown in recent years that individuals with CFS have imbalances in their intestinal microorganisms. A good example of this is a Canadian A study published in the journal Gut Pathogens, reported a Canadian study saying that individuals with CFS have imbalances in their intestinal microorganisms.
Researchers found that those taking 24 billion colony forming units of Lactobacillus casei strain Shirota for two months had a significant decrease in anxiety symptoms than the control group.
A study published in Microbiome reported saying that people with CFS have a reduced diversity and altered composition of the gut microbiome.
Researchers said they find less diversity as well as increases in specific species often reported to be pro-inflammatory species and reduction in species frequently described as anti-inflammatory in patients with CFS.
Many individuals who suffer with CFS are lacking in the following dietary nutrients as well:
- Digestive enzymes
Turmeric Can Help Block CFS Pain
Clinical studies indicate that compounds found in turmeric can be helpful to those who suffer with CFS.
The natural anti-inflammatory ingredient in turmeric, curcumin has proven in more than 2,500 published studies on numerous conditions to reduce inflammation by reducing oxidative damage to the body caused by free radicals.
In 2009, the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine found that curcumin is about as effective as over-the-counter aspirin and ibuprofen in reducing the pain of osteoarthritis of the knee.
It is also as effective as the more powerful prescription drug Celebrex, but without the side effects.
Like many other herbal remedies, turmeric is not a quick fix and can take up to two months to be effective.
In capsule form, take 750 to 1,500 mg daily. Many holistic practitioners also suggest topical creams containing curcumin.
When consuming turmeric, it needs to be accompanied by black pepper. As black pepper enhances bioavailability of turmeric.
Black pepper contains the compound piperine and can trigger TRPV1 (transient receptor potential vanilloid type-1) in the body. This triggering can reduce pain.
It is best that the black pepper be fresh ground as the piperine oil dissipate after a few minutes.
Research suggests that the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects of turmeric's compounds block nuclear-factor kappa beta (NF-κB) and the tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-α), two proteins that have shown to be linked to CFS.
Omega-3 and CFS
Another essential dietary nutrient in constant demand by the body is eicosapentaenoic acid or EPA ( an essential fatty acid) as found in fish or krill oil.
Clinical studies have found that there is an association between chronic fatigue syndrome and essential fatty acids.
A series of patients with CFS were treated with a supplement that contained only EPA without DHA.
All patients had shown improvement in their symptoms that are characteristic to CFS within eight to 12 weeks.
At the end of the trail, it was suggested that a supplement containing only EPA may offer the hope of effective treatment for at least some patients with chronic fatigue syndrome.
The University of Maryland Medical Center says that EPA found in fish oil has a natural anti-inflammatory effect on the body by suppressing the body’s natural immune response.
Dr. Lawrence Gibson of the Mayo Clinic suggests that the EPA found in fish oil can blunt the overactive T-Cells responsible for inflammation. And chronic inflammation is a driving force behind CFS.
EPA is also important in helping the body to combat viral infections, which is one of the triggers of CFS. Intake of EPA has also been associated with aiding the body with increased energy.
Herbal therapies for combating CFS also include Echinacea, Goldenseal and Ginseng root, glucosamine, chondroitin and Devil's Claw.
If you have just found out recently that you have chronic fatigue syndrome or have been suffering for years, now you know what you can do to combat it.