Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) is a serious condition that can impact various systems in the body. As a long-term illness, CFS can put a strain on daily activities and can occasionally confine people to their beds. It can also affect relationships with friends and family, especially if it goes undiagnosed or untreated.
According to an Institute of Medicine report, roughly 836,000 Americans suffer from CFS, which health experts deem a debilitating illness. It manifests with a lack of energy and motivation, and women are two to four times more likely than men to develop the condition.
What Is Chronic Fatigue Syndrome?
Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), also referred to as myalgic encephalomyelitis is characterized by extreme fatigue that lasts for more than six months. This type of fatigue is not usually the explanation of an underlying condition; rather, it is the condition, which is the problem. One of the disease’s primary challenges is the fact that it is very difficult to diagnose with lab tests. Some health experts believe that it is closely related to adrenal fatigue or system-wide inflammation.
CFS can worsen after engaging in certain activities that require physical or mental energy. Symptoms can range from mild to severe and can appear or disappear without warning. To properly diagnose the condition, doctors have to rule out potential underlying diseases or conditions. If untreated, CFS can decrease memory, concentration, and overall stamina. Fortunately, there are things you can do to help naturally overcome the condition. In fact, various studies indicate that acupuncture, magnesium, meditation, and other natural treatments show promise as treatment options. We will detail these options below.
Increase Your Vitamin B Intake
One study in the Journal of Royal Society of Medicine noted a direct link between lower vitamin B levels and CFS. The study focused on thiamine, vitamin B6, and riboflavin, and researchers believe that B6 (pyridoxine) is very important. Vitamin B6 is in both plant- and animal-based foods, including bananas, sweet potatoes, hazelnuts, cooked spinach, garlic, grass-fed/grass-finished beef, tuna, and salmon. It works to encourage a healthy immune system and may prevent or even relieve fatigue. B6 also supports T-cell functioning, allowing your immune system to fight infections more efficiently.
Methylation is the term given to the bodily process where methyl compounds are used in critical functions in the body. These functions include immune function, energy production, nerve function, detoxification, inflammation, mood, and DNA. Methylation requires vitamin B6, vitamin B12, and folate, so that the body can function at a cellular level. If you are vitamin B12 deficient, the methylation process is impaired and can cause numerous problems that contribute to CFS. Roughly 40% of Americans have B12 deficiency, and many symptoms mirror those of CFS. For these reasons, increasing your intake of B vitamins may help treat CFS symptoms, improving mood, supporting metabolic function, and more.
Try to Rest And Relax
Your drive to do things when you have CFS can be very low because the condition debilitates mental and physical function. Ironically enough, suffering from persistent exhaustion can take quite a toll on the body and psyche, but it primarily causes stress. In order to rest and relax, you have to do more than just sleep and lounge on the couch. First off, fight stress and anxiety with exercise, even if it is difficult to do so with CFS. Research shows that high-intensity workouts help improve mental clarity, fight depression, and reduce stress in people with CFS. Another study recommended that people with CFS perform aerobic activities for five to 15 minutes daily to help diminish stress. It is also wise to unplug from technology, reducing time in front of computers, tablets, phones, and laptops, especially 90 minutes before bed. A recent study found that people with CFS tend to have poor sleep. Winding down without screens one hour prior to bedtime showed improvements in sleep quality.
Eliminate Food Sensitivities
According to a recent study, there is a link between CFS and fibromyalgia and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Researchers were surprised to learn that 85% of patients, who had been referred for unexplained digestive problems, qualified for CFS. The common thread in this study was poor digestion and food sensitivities. One of today’s most common food sensitivities is gluten intolerance, with lactose intolerance residing near the top of the food sensitivity list. Because common allergies and food sensitivities may contribute to CFS development, health experts recommend taking an IgG (immunoglobulin G) test to determine food sensitivities. Once you rid those foods from your diet for at least three weeks, you’ll be able to notice if symptoms improve. As a note, m, make sure to add a Candida albicans test to your IgG test. One study found that participants with CFS who followed an anti-Candida diet experienced an improvement in symptoms.