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Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS)
by Dave Foreman
NOT JUST AN ENERGY CRISES
Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), also known as chronic fatigue and immune dysfunction syndrome, affects approximately a half million Americans. To date, there is no known cause, nor even a specific test your healthcare provider can perform to diagnose this debilitating disease with certainty. Instead of testing, a diagnosis will be made by assessing your symptoms. Symptoms may include overwhelming fatigue that lasts the whole day. This fatigue will often become worse with increased activity not just exercise. Other common symptoms are muscle spasms, headaches, sleep disturbances, mood swings, and loss of appetite.
The diagnosis of CFS can be made only when the patient has suffered from persistent, unexplained fatigue for at least six months. In addition to the fatigue, four of the following symptoms must be present:
WHO GETS IT?
CFS primarily impacts women between the ages of 25 and 45, but can be found in all walks of life. For some reason, it seems to have a genetic or familial link. Even though the cause of CFS is unknown, there are many theories on what really causes or starts the cascade to this disease. The following are some of the more commonly accepted links:
WHAT CAN A PERSON DO NATURALLY?
Since CFS is such a complex condition with no known cause, it presents a challenge to both modern and natural medicine
One of my occasional radio program guests, Dr. Jacob Teitelbaum (a past sufferer of CFS) has devoted his time and energy to helping people rid themselves of this dreadful disease. He is the author of the best-selling book From Fatigued to Fantastic! (Penguin Putnam Publishers).
Not only does he speak internationally, write and guest-appear on TV and Radio, he has designed his own protocol for addressing the nutritional deficiencies found in CFS. His website, www.drjacobteitelbaum.com is a great resource for information and helpful links. He will be touring North America this spring, so please check out his website for the times, dates, and locations near you. You don't want to miss it.
The best approach to CFS is to address the different body systems that appear to be affected. Supporting the immune, endocrine (hormones) and nervous systems would be a great start. You also need to look at your diet and other environmental influences that may be triggering allergies and sensitivities. Your body is like a camel it's back can only handle so many straws before it breaks. If you can eliminate/reduce the potential allergy or sensitivity (your straws), your body will be better suited to handle the more serious health challenges it faces. Next, if you do have dental amalgams, look into having them removed by an experienced dentist (there are certain precautions that need to be taken when removing dental amalgams). Last and perhaps the most important area would be taking care of any nutritional depletions. These depletions will be part of your Special Needs on the Dietary Supplement Pyramid. This will be in combination with the supplements used to support your immune, endocrine and nervous system.Yes, this may sound like a lot of supplements, but if you have been suffering from CFS, it will be worth it to act aggressively and thoroughly.
Let's take a quick look at supplements used to support the 3 main systems involved in CFS. When supporting the immune system long term, you need to look for supplements that are safe, effective and designed to support immune health NOT stimulate it. My preferred supplements are WGP3-6® (Beta Glucan 1,3 1,6), M.D. Select Advanced Immune Support and New Chapter's Host Defense or Life Shield.Any one of these supplements will provide long-term support for you immune system.The idea behind long-term support is to provide your immune system with the nutrients it needs so it can perform optimally.
With regards to your endocrine system (hormonal), supplements like DHEA, magnesium, B-6, adrenal complex and licorice root all help support the short and long-term needs for people with CFS. One of my favorite products is Dr.Teitelbaum's Adrenal Stress-End Formula. This formulation combines many of the key nutrients mentioned above in a synergistic blend to provide your body the tools needed to maximize health and energy levels. I have been using this formula lately and have noticed a huge increase in my energy levels and improvement in sleep patterns.
Next, nutritional depletions are one of my big concerns for those using pharmaceuticals. There are links to many nutritional deficiencies and the regular use of certain drugs. (Consult with Free Health Info at www.vitaminshoppe.com for a complete list). Beyond the drug cause, poor diets, depleted foods, and lifestyle can contribute to a deficiency of important nutrients, such as:
These nutrients can and usually are the major players for those with CFS. Remember one important thing though, the most important nutrient is THE ONE YOU ARE MISSING.This means you can't just rely on taking these nutrients. A broad spectrum multivitamin/ mineral is essential for maintaining good health. For people with CFS, I recommend Dr.Teitelbaum's regimen, which includes Energy Enfusion & Daily Energy B Complex.
Not only will they give you the nutrients mentioned above, they will also provide a list of other nutrients too long to mention in the space remaining here.
Another area that needs emphasis is sleep. Getting a good night's sleep is essential for individuals with CFS.You repair and maintain great health when you sleep. If you are missing the 10 hours your need, (Yes, I said 10 hours!) how do you expect your body to recover from your illness and repair the damage that has been done.You can try using separate supplements like, Valerian root, Lemon Balm, Passion Flower or Melatonin, or go with synergistic formulas, such as Revitalizing Sleep Formula (Fatigued to Fantastic®) or Nature's Plus Sleep-Assure. I use Revitalizing Sleep Formula and enjoy the fact that I get great rest and don't feel groggy in the morning. For those of you who travel, Sleep-Assure would be great since it contains melatonin.
Lastly, we should address the pain CFS can cause. Dr. Teitelbaum didn't overlook this important need either. His End Pain formulation was designed to be taken regularly to help with muscle pain and stiffness. Another one of my favorites for pain, discomfort and inflammation is Zyflamend®. Both of these formulas are different in nature, yet will help you get the pain relief you are looking for.
In closing, I want to note that CFS isn't a condition that develops overnight. It can take months to develop and last for years. For this reason, a long-term approach is recommended.You must be committed to your health program. Using the proper supplements with diet and rest will get you to the energy levels you want. Expect that it will require at least 1 month of supplementation for each year you have had the condition before you will start to see results. For many of you, this means it could take a year or more before results are noticed. I also recommend consulting with your healthcare provider prior to beginning this or any natural health program.