Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

myalgic encephalomyelitis, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, CFS

Did you know that Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) was originally called Chronic Epstein Barr Syndrome?  It is also commonly referred to as myalgic encephalomyelitis. If you have CFS, it’s likely that at some point, you have has glandular fever (mononucleosis) and the Epstein Barr virus, or fragments of it, are still in your system, leading to increased cytokine activity, inflammation, sympathetic nervous system dominance (fight or flight), decreased mitochondrial function, dysbiosis of the gastrointestinal tract and possibly IBS.

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome is more common in women than in men and in the not so distant past, sufferers were regarded as hypochondriacs. Fortunately, today the condition is taken more seriously. Symptoms include debilitating fatigue (worse for exertion), decreased immune function, cognitive issues such as brain fog and forgetfulness, dysfunction of the endocrine system (hormones), pain, unrefreshed sleep, sleep dysfunction and even autoimmune diseases. Digestive and gastrointestinal problems are also common.

Treatment should include antiviral herbs, immune modulation, improving gut function, balancing the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems, supporting the endocrine system and improving mitochondrial function. A good place to start is by adopting an anti-inflammatory diet (no wheat products, processed foods, sugar, milk products, alcohol, or caffeine) or a ketogenic diet. Addressing pathogens such as candida, opportunistic bacteria, parasites and viral pathogens is important. Repairing leaky gut and improving gut function is the next step.

Magnesium, zinc, and B group vitamins have been shown to benefit the treatment of chronic fatigue syndrome. Gentle exercise such as Tai Chi or yoga may help, but be careful not to overdo things. Meditation and deep breathing exercises have also been shown to be effective in the treatment of CFS.

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