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Chronic Fatique Syndrome (CFS)

CFS is defined as “debilitating fatigue and associated symptoms lasting at least 6 months” ; and primarily affects women.

Symptoms

The concurrence of four or more of the following symptoms that have persisted or recurred for 6 or more consecutive months and that do not predate the fatigue:

  • Substantial impairment in short-term memory or concentration
  • Sore throat
  • Tender lymph nodes
  • Muscle pain
  • Multi-joint pain without swelling or redness
  • Headaches of a new type, pattern, or severity
  • Unrefreshing and/or interrupted sleep
  • Post-exertional malaise lasting more that 24 hours
  • Sensitivity to odors, noise, bright lights, medications and various foods

Energy Boosting Therapies and Antioxidant Supplementation

A recent report in the Annual Review of Medicine stated that CFS “is an illness characterized by activation of the immune system, various abnormalities of several hypothalamic-pituitary axes, and reactivation of certain infectious agents.”

This suggests that the sufferer of CFS should follow a regimen that involves protecting and enhancing the immune system with proper nutritional supplements, proteins, and hormones.
Free radicals play a role in causing damage to the immune system. Alpha-lipoic acid, a potent antioxidant, has improved energy levels in some people on doses of 500 to 800 mg a day. Boosting energy levels is necessary for people suffering from CFS. Coenzyme Q10, 100 mg taken 3 times a day, often helps victims of severe chronic fatigue syndrome.

Summary

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome is debilitating fatigue and associated symptoms lasting at least 6 months. The cause of CFS is as yet undetermined, but it may be triggered by infectious agents, stress, vitamin deficiencies, immunologic dysfunction, or thyroid deficiency. There may be a genetic predisposition to Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. Although there is no known cure, energy-boosting treatments and proper management of stress levels and physical activity can significantly reduce the effects of CFS.

Many opinions exist for the management of this disease, but it is logical to treat the patient as a whole incorporating lifestyle changes, counseling, diet, exercise, determining the integrity of the gut ( check for Clamydia, Rickettsia, and Mycoplasmic infestations), ascertain the basic metabolic functions ( absorption, metabolism & excretion), and adrenal function( thyroid & hormone status). Each of these areas requires detailed discussion & investigation to give the patient & practitioner a clear picture of health status. As these parameters are been addressed, supplementation of amino-acids are recommended (building blocks of nerve, muscle & metabolic function). Refer to Amino-acid leaflet.

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