(Health Secrets) In part one of this series we explained what chronic fatigue syndrome really is. In part two we explained the factors that go into accurately diagnosing the disease. Part three is dedicated to treatments that work.
There are many treatments for chronic fatigue syndrome that include supplements and allow you to function at a higher level. Finding what works for you is going to be a matter of trial and error. Just because an expert recommends a particular approach doesn’t mean it is right for you. For example, many recommend exercise, but some chronic fatigue syndrome patients are unable to tolerate any kind of formal exercise, even yoga, stretching. Not all treatment options for chronic will fit every patient.
One recommendation that is having significant impact on chronic fatigue and other chronic illnesses is a gluten free diet. Many find even more relief by going completely grain free. Besides gluten, new research has found multiple proteins in all grains which cause inflammation in the GI tract and in the whole body.
Below are links to various researchers and doctors treating chronic fatigue who are prominent in the field and successfully treating patients.
Many now believe there is a common link between chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia, multiple chemical sensitivity, post-traumatic stress disorder. and Gulf-war syndrome. Sometime these are grouped together using the term multi-system illness.
There are a number of facets involved in chronic fatigue syndrome, including mitochrondrial dysfunction, methylation defects, cardiac dysfunction, oxidative stress, nitric oxide cycle issues, and cytokine problems. Most of the practitioners named below do not cover every aspect of the problem but all give valuable insight and treatment ideas.
Dr. Jacob Teitlebaum, author of the book From Fatigued to Fantastic developed the SHINE Protocol, which stands for sleep, hormones, infections, nutritional supplements, and exercise. Like most of the other doctors, he does prescribe prescription drugs along with supplements, and sometimes for short term use they may be necessary. I would advise doing everything you can to avoid these however.
Dr. Paul Cheney is an internationally recognized expert in chronic fatigue and has been researching the condition for over 25 years. He has a private clinic in Asheville, NC, and runs many tests unavailable elsewhere. Much of his research focuses on the heart. For example, almost all chronic fatigue syndrome patients, regardless of age, have been found to have diastolic dysfunction. Even mild diastolic dysfunction can cause shortness of breath and fatigue. Cardiopulmonary capacity, during and after exercise, is reduced in all chronic fatigue patients. Dr. Cheney publishes a newsletter to which you may subscribe, but there is a cost for it.
Dr. Sarah Myhill believes in giving patients access to everything they need to restore their own health through diet, supplements, sleep and a balanced lifestyle. She says, “I treat CFS [chronic fatigue syndrome] by working out the underlying nutritional, biochemical, immunological, toxic, hormonal, and lifestyle mechanisms that cause the symptoms and sign.” Dr. Myhill has made her entire book on chronic fatigue available for free.
Dr. Martin Pall has theorized that disruption of the NO/ONOO (nitric oxide/peroxynitrate) cycle lies behind chronic fatigue, Fibromyalgia and other chronic disorders. Basically, although the chemistry is extremely complicated, this boils down to dysfunctional oxidative pathways. His treatments focus on down regulating this cycle.
Dr. Terry Wahl has multiple sclerosis, and she has a unique perspective on diet and is reversing her disease. Many people with various chronic illnesses are following her plan with great success. She has written a book called Minding Your Mitochondria.
Supplements to Consider: Before starting any supplement, talk to your health care provider and go over any and all prescription medications you may be taking. This is extremely important. Just because something is natural does not always mean it is safe for everyone, and it can often interact with a prescription medication.
* Vitamin C – Boosting the immune system can alleviate fatigue. Given by IV in high doses, vitamin C has cured some cases of chronic fatigue. Vitamin C also reduces the number of free radicals burdening mitochondria, which in turn allows them to function better and produce more energy. Consider liposomal vitamin C which allows you to reach near IV levels of vitamin C in the blood through oral dosing and has little or no effect on the bowel.
* Vitamin B12 – Although methylcobalamin is supposed to be the most bioactive form of B12, many of those with chronic fatigue have impaired methylation. Therefore many practitioners recommend hydroxycobalamin instead. Although blood tests are available for B12, they are not very accurate and the lower range is much too low. There is no known toxicity, so being over the upper range is meaningless. Some advise just trying B12 and not worrying about testing. Let your chiropractor or other health care provider guide you on dosing.
* Magnesium – Most people are extremely deficient in magnesium. Recommended supplementation is 300mg to 1000mg of elemental magnesium per day. Avoid magnesium oxide and magnesium carbonate as they tend to irritate the colon and can cause diarrhea. Magnesium, combined with malic acid (magnesium malate) appears beneficial in increasing energy for those with chronic fatigue. Magnesium is essential for proper muscle and nerve function, including the heart, and is involved in energy production and protein synthesis. Magnesium is necessary for bone health, needed by the immune system, and involved in blood sugar control. It is utilized in over 300 biochemical reactions in the body.
* NADH – This is an enzyme located within the mitochondria that is responsible for transferring electrons to Co-enzyme Q10. It is needed to convert ubiquinone to ubiquinol which is the active form in the body.
* L-carnitine – Carnitine is an amino acid that supports energy production in the cells. There is a possibility that it may decrease the effectiveness of thyroid hormone, especially at higher doses. If you supplement thyroid, take L-carnitine several hours apart from thyroid medication. There is wide variability in recommended dosages and tolerance. Start low at 250 to 500 mg once or twice a day. There is also a possibility that L-carnitine may decrease the need for blood thinners such as Coumadin (wafarin).
* Co-enzyme Q10 – This is needed to facilitate fats and sugars into energy. It is present in high quantities in the muscles of the body, including the heart. Statin use depletes CoQ10. Food and most supplements provide ubiquinone which must be transformed into ubiquinol before the body can use it. Ubiquinol supplements are available and although more expensive, they are more useful for many people. When you take ubiquinol, you don’t have to worry about how efficient the body is at converting ubiquinone to ubiquinol. In fact, if you are over 40 or have a chronic health problem, you should take ubiquinol, not ubiquuinone. Recommended dosage ranges from 100 to 400mg per day of ubiquinone and 50 to 100mg per day of ubiquinol.
* N-Acetyl cysteine (NAC) – The most effective way to raise glutathione is with oral supplements of N-Acetyl cysteine. Glutathione is the master anti-oxidant found in the body. While the body does produce its own, levels tend to be decreased in chronic conditions. Oral glutathione (except as liposomal) is minimally absorbed so you must supply precursors which are absorbed. Once in the blood stream, the body is then able to use these precursors to produce glutathione.
* Liposomal glutathione – By encasing the glutathione in a phospholipid membrane, liposomal glutathione is protected from the GI tract and is absorbed directly into the blood stream. Oral glutathione, when taken in liposomal form, raises blood glutathione levels.
* Omega 3s and Evening Primrose Oil – These have been shown possibly effective in increasing energy. Take fish oil or kill oil rather than flax or other vegetable oils. Marine oils provide DHA and EPA directly while the others provide AHA which the body must convert. Less than 10% of AHA is converted to DHA/EPA which are the omega 3s the body needs. Recommended dose is 1000 mg of fish oil 3 times per day with meals. This can interact with blood thinners and aspirin.
* Ginseng – Has been shown to increase energy. Ginseng can interact with many prescription drugs, especially blood thinners and aspirin.
Diet considerations: A healthy diet is essential when trying to heal from anything. There is no diet plan out there that will work for every single person on the planet. Nevertheless, certain diet considerations are basic to regaining your health. These are:
* Eat a toxin-free diet as much as possible. This means organic fruits and vegetables and organic, pastured meats, eggs and dairy. If finances are a major issues, follow the EWG guide to fruits and vegetables which lists the most and least contaminated conventional fruits and vegetables. It is extremely important to avoid conventional meats as most toxins are stored in fat. Also, conventional foods are full of other toxins such as antibiotics, hormones and other chemicals to increase growth. None of these have to be listed on a label. Genetically modified foods
are also toxic. Virtually all processed foods that are not organic contain GMOs. Especially avoid foods containing non-organic corn and soy, and avoid all canola oil.
Besides a toxin-free diet, it is essential to clean up your environment. Get rid of everything from personal care products to laundry products that contain harmful chemicals. The lower the toxin burden in your body, the more able the body is to heal.
* Eat a whole food diet and avoid processed foods.
* Avoid sugar and white flours (even gluten free white flours)
* Avoid dairy products
* Make your diet high protein and low carbohydrate
* Eat lots of fruit and vegetables
* Consider going totally grain-free
Other interesting research updates can be found here: