Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
For a long time only a few people had the foggiest idea what Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) was. Yet ironically foggy ideas are definitely a part of this debilitating Syndrome, as many sufferers will tell you.
The symptoms of CFS can seem endless, but the most common are:
- Muscle fatigue and muscle spasm.
- Recurring nausea, and abdominal pain with diarrhoea.
- Complete exhaustion.
- Persistent headaches with a stiff neck and back.
- Vertigo, dizziness and foggy concentration.
- Sleep disorders and immune manifestations including tender lymph nodes, sore throat, flu-like symptoms, development of allergies and hypersensitivity to chemicals and medication.
There does not appear to be a single cause of CFS, any more than there is a single symptom pattern, but for some it is due to a chronic infection with Epstein-Barr virus (EBV). EBV is a member of the Herpes group of viruses and glandular fever is also associated with this family. A common aspect of these viruses is their ability to establish a lifelong latent infection after the initial infection. When the immune system is compromised in any way, the viruses can become active again.
CFS is a combination of symptoms rather than a set disease, as each person manifests a different set of symptoms. Commonly, though, the body has become very dehydrated, making the lymphatic system (which is part of the body’s waste disposal system) sluggish. As a result the body cannot cleanse itself and toxicity collects to the point where the brain is being assailed by toxins. This accounts for some of the mental fog experienced.
People may have previously been diagnosed with IBS, or even Crohn’s Disease. If your intestines aren’t working properly, unfriendly gut micro-organisms and toxins can build up in excess quantities and get into the bloodstream through the gut wall. Once in the bloodstream they contribute to many of the problems outlined in this article.
CFS sufferers can usefully avoid or reduce
- Wheat as it contains the highest amounts of gluten. Rye can be used as a substitute and other alternatives are brown rice, millet and quinoa and rice/corn/oatcakes instead of bread.
- Dairy – use goat’s or sheep’s milk instead or try the cereal milks such as rice, oat, almond or soya.
How can you help support the body?
1 Water is the most important aspect to any healing process. It needs to be as clean as possible, so a filtration system plumbed into the sink is a worthwhile investment and varies in cost depending on how the water is filtered. (Contact Aqua Safe on 01453 765441.) Water contains oxygen, which helps transport nutrients into cells and tissues and at the same time aids the removal of toxins. A minimum of two to three litres (four to six pints) of still water is required daily, and tea, coffee, alcohol and fizzy drinks should be avoided.
2 Remove any foods that do not agree with the body’s energy. Food sensitivities have been shown to be associated with chronic fatigue, and once they have identified particular foods to avoid many people find a great improvement in their symptoms. There are different ways of approaching this.
Keep a food diary over a month, noting down symptoms and energy levels along with the food eaten that day. Remember that symptoms from sensitivity can manifest up to three days later.
Have a blood test done to identify the immune response. This is available through York Test Labs on 0800 074 6185. Contact a kinesiologist who can muscle test for intolerances and retune the energy pattern so that the body can deal with a particular food more appropriately. Browse www.hk4health.co.uk.
3 Avoid sugar as it impairs adrenal function and suppresses the immune system. Use natural sweeteners such as maple, rice or date syrup. F.O.S (Fructo-oligosaccharides) is an excellent alternative as it is very sweet without adversely affecting the blood sugar levels. It will also work as a prebiotic, encouraging healthy bowel flora.
4 Boost the digestive system. The herb Centaurium is excellent in tincture form for regulating stomach acid and stimulating digestive enzymes. Eat short grain brown rice as it keeps the intestinal wall healthy. Drinking carrot juice will provide plenty of beta-carotene to support the healing process in the gut wall. Reintroduce good bacteria into the gut by taking a good prebiotic such as Molkosan Vitality. This is essential if antibiotics have been taken.
5 Improve detoxification processes by opening up the routes of elimination – bowels, liver and kidneys. Use a combination of Milk Thistle, Artichoke and Dandelion to help the liver deal with toxins more effectively and increase bile production to carry them into the bowels. It is very important to do this at a pace that is suitable for the individual. One drop of this complex can be all that the body needs to get things in motion initially.
6 Support the immune system. One of the reasons why CFS sufferers often come down with a cold is because the immune system is so depressed. Echinacea works by helping the immune cells to recognise and kill bugs more effectively. It has a strengthening action on the immune system and works very well in combination with Berberis. These two herbs will also help if there is an underlying problem with Candida overgrowth.
7 Give yourself more nutrients. The three most common that people with CFS lack are:
- Essential Fatty Acids Use a Fish oil capsule and Evening Primrose or Starflower to obtain Omega 3 and 6 fats.
- Minerals Magnesium citrate will help with the muscle fatigue, sleep problems and general detox. Take 200-500mg daily.
- Amino Acid levels Branched chain amino acids can be taken as a supplement.
- CoQ10 is very good for increasing energy.
Last but not least, if no other medication is being taken, try a tincture Hypericum (St John's Wort) Lemon Balm and Hops. Some of the best success stories are due to taking this fabulous remedy which soothes the nervous system, reducing nerve pain and fighting viruses at the same time.