Chronic fatigue syndrome, or more recently Systemic Exertion Intolerance Disease, is a chronic disorder characterized by severe fatigue that lasts for at least six months. This condition is notoriously difficult to diagnose via conventional laboratory tests, yet many doctors now acknowledge its existence as a real disorder since it has become so prevalent in modern-day life.
CFS, as many of its sufferers know, is a very real condition indeed. Its symptoms are debilitating and affect the sufferer’s ability to participate in regular everyday activities, even things as simple as getting out of bed, getting dressed, or showering.
These simple everyday tasks that non-sufferers do with ease are tasks that are often impossible for those with chronic fatigue syndrome.
Today, I want to go over how you can treat chronic fatigue syndrome naturally so that you can begin to get your life back with at least the semblance of energy you used to have.
It’s a long process that requires consistency, but it CAN be done!
How to Treat Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Naturally
It is believed that over 1 million Americans suffer from chronic fatigue syndrome and the numbers are steadily rising.
This is most likely due to the stressful environment we now live in including exposure to chemicals and pollutants, hormone imbalance, and poor diet – all of which affect the body on a cellular level.
When one thing gets out of balance, other factors soon follow which is why diagnosing CFS has become increasingly difficult.
The Most Common Symptoms of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
Constant and debilitating fatigue is the primary symptoms of CFS, but it usually is accompanied by several of the following:
• Altered levels of irritability
• Difficulty concentrating
• Digestive and intestinal problems
• Exhaustion after mild exercise
• Fatigue that lasts for more than 24 hours
• Loss of appetite
• Low-grade fever
• Mood swings
• Muscle and joint pain that moves from one spot to another without redness or swelling
• Night sweats
• Panic attacks
• Poor sleep
• Sore throat
• Swollen or sore lymph glands/nodes
• Temporary loss of memory
• Upper respiratory infections
It is thought that CFS is caused by a combination of factors that result in a depressed immune system. The key, of course, is to rule out as many symptoms as possible and to pinpoint the root cause of your CFS.
Chronic infections often play a role in the development of chronic fatigue syndrome like Epstein-Barr, cytomegalovirus (CMV), human herpes virus (HHV-6), mycoplasma, Lyme disease, chlamydia, and even candida albicans can all be considered a suspect cause.
Take a look at the list below to see if you exhibit any of the conditions below.
The Root Causes of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Include:
• Chronic fungal infections
• Chronic infections (general)
• Chronic stress
• Dysbiosis in the gut
• Environmental toxins and pollutants
• Food allergies and intolerances
• Hormonal imbalance
• Immune-system damage
• Leaky gut – like celiac and gluten sensitivity
• Low blood pressure
• Neurological malfunction
• Neurotransmitter deficiency
• Nutritional deficiencies
• Poor adrenal function or adrenal burnout
• Side effects caused by medications
• Sleep disorders like insomnia and sleep apnea
• Sluggish elimination pathways/impaired detoxification
Go over these possibilities with your physician and see if they point to the unique root cause of your CFS.
Once you pinpoint that, you can begin treatment much more easily.
However, you may need a few tests that your doctor can perform in order to confirm a CFS diagnosis.
How Chronic Fatigue is Tested
If your doctor suspects chronic fatigue syndrome, they may conduct the following tests:
• Blood tests to determine an immune system imbalance or disease, possible anemia, low blood pressure, blood sugar imbalances, nutritional deficiencies, food allergies, and hormone levels
• EKG for heart function
• Hair analysis for toxic metals
• Saliva tests to determine certain hormone levels – especially cortisol
• Sleep study for possible sleep disorders
• Stool analysis for microbiome, parasite, and candida testing and overall digestive function
• Urine tests to determine intestinal health and permeability, detoxification ability, toxic metals, and hormone levels
Once you have your results you can then start formulating your treatment plan. This can take up to a year or longer to reverse the symptoms of chronic fatigue, so I suggest you buckle down for the long haul and be willing to practice “constant vigilance”.
If you can do that, you will start to feel improvements within a few weeks. Just keep in mind that lasting recovery takes time and cannot be rushed, especially when the adrenals are involved.
Natural Remedies for Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
Treatment for CFS is pretty straightforward – eat clean, stay hydrated, get plenty of good sleep, don’t over-exert yourself, and use supplements and essential oils to your advantage.
The worst thing you can do is deprive your body of the sleep and nutrients it needs to rebuild itself and produce cellular energy more effectively on its own.
Follow the tips below to get started!
Diet and Detox
Poor digestion coupled with sluggish elimination pathways is another factor to consider when treating chronic fatigue syndrome naturally. Impaired absorption of nutrients from our food can lead to nutritional deficiencies that the body needs to carry out everyday functions including producing the enzymes needed to produce energy.
Eating a diet high in processed foods, excess sugar, and high in caffeine or alcohol can set the stage for not only CFS but other chronic conditions as well.
Be sure to avoid refined carbohydrates and high sugar food and drink that contribute to blood sugar fluctuations, yeast overgrowth, and chronic inflammation and instead opt for fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, legumes, fermented and cultured foods high in probiotics. Also, focus on consuming sea vegetables and lean proteins that contain high amounts of essential fatty acids like cold-water fish or the vegan equivalent.
Avoid food allergies, intolerances, and triggers in order to keep inflammation in the gut to a minimum as well as stimulants like caffeine, alcohol, and tobacco during treatment.
Eating enough fiber will also help with the intestinal discomfort often associated with CFS. Drink plenty of water throughout the day to help keep your digestive tract moving efficiently and assist detoxification.
The most common finding among those with CFS is an imbalance in the adrenal cortex hormones being produced – namely an insufficient amount of cortisol and DHEA which leads to adrenal burnout. These hormones are often depleted in those with chronic fatigue syndrome.
Additionally, low thyroid hormones, testosterone and growth hormone deficiencies, and imbalances in estrogen and progesterone can also contribute to chronic fatigue.
If you suspect that you have chronic fatigue syndrome, it’s important to get your hormone levels tested so that you can rule them out. If you do have an imbalance, fixing it can greatly improve symptoms of CFS.
I have used Everlywell for easy at-home hormone level testing and I highly recommend them.
Below are some of the top supplements to consider when treating chronic fatigue syndrome naturally. Be sure to consult with your physician before taking new supplements to make sure they are right for you. Some of them react to certain medications and conditions, so I implore you to do your own research.
The most effective supplements for treating CFS naturally include:
• Ashwagandha – Known as “Indian Ginseng”, ashwagandha is an effective adrenal gland tonic and anxiety support herb. Take 250mg 1x daily. Studies have shown that taking ashwagandha daily increased energy levels in those with CFS by 79 percent!
• CoQ10 – Supports energy production in cells. Take 200-300mg daily with meals.
• D-ribose – A naturally occurring sugar that helps support energy production within cells. Take 5g 2-3x daily or as directed.
• L-carnitine – Used by cells to produce energy and is known to help alleviate symptoms of chronic fatigue. Take 500mg 1-3x daily.
• NADH (nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide) – For neurotransmitter support. Take 20mg 1x daily.
• Rhodiola – Improves energy production. Take 300mg of 3 percent rosavin extract 1x daily. Do not take if you have a dry constitution.
Other Supplements to Consider for Chronic Fatigue Support
These are just additional supplements to look into as they are helpful for certain symptoms associated with CFS.
• 5-HTP – take 100mg 2-3x daily for insomnia and depression-related symptoms.
• Cordyceps – take 800mg 2x daily for adrenal gland support.
• DHEA – take 5-25mg daily under the guidance of a doctor for treating adrenal burnout and low energy. This is a hormone so take care if you decide to take it!
• Enzymes – take as directed at every meal to help your body digest and assimilate the nutrients from food.
• Essential Fatty Acids – take a high-quality fish oil or vegan equivalent daily to support healthy cell and brain function.
• Ginkgo Biloba – take 60-120mg daily to support healthy cerebral circulation and improve memory and low blood pressure.
• Ginseng – take 100mg 2x daily to support adrenal function. Do not use if you “run hot”.
• Licorice Root – take 1,000mg daily to increase cortisol levels. This herb also increases blood pressure to take a care if you decide to use it! Do not use more than 3-4 weeks in a row.
• Magnesium – take 250mg 1-3 times daily to support stress tolerance, restful sleep, good digestion, and energy production. Reduce the dose if diarrhea occurs.
• Malic Acid – take 500mg 1-3 times daily to increase cellular energy production.
• Olive Leaf Extract – take 500mg 3x daily if you have a viral infection.
• Oregano Oil – take 500mg 3-4x daily or as directed on the packaging to treat chronic infections.
• Phosphatidylserine – take 300mg daily to help improve memory and increase cortisol levels.
• Probiotics – take at least 4 billion live cultures 1-2x daily to help diversify the bacteria in your gut and support healthy digestion and nutrient assimilation.
• Reishi Mushroom – take 800mg 1-2x daily for energy and mental support.
• Siberian Ginseng (Eleuthero) – take 900mg 1x daily to support energy production. Do not use if you “run hot”
• St. John’s Wort – take 300mg 1-3x daily to help negate the symptoms of depression. Do not use if you’re on oral contraceptives.
• Vitamin C – take 500-1,000mg 1x daily to support immune function and adrenal gland hormone production.
• Vitamin D – take 2,000 IUs 1x daily to reverse known vitamin D deficiency. Get tested before taking vitamin D as high levels can lower calcium in the body.
Homeopathy for Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
Take 30c as directed on the packaging.
Arsenicum Album is for alleviating symptoms of exhaustion that is coupled with anxiety and depression. The person is often chilly and has an aversion to cold food and environments. They may also have trouble sleeping between 12am-2am.
Calcarea Carbonica is for those who take on too much. They suffer from anxiety, fatigue, swollen glands, joint pain, food allergies, headaches, constipation, and other intestinal distress. They tend to feel chilly but sweat easily.
Gelsemium sempervirens is for those who suffer from fatigue with accompanying drowsiness and weakness. Their muscles may feel like they have a “bruised” type pain.
Kali Phosphoricum is for mental fatigue and weariness.
Silica is for those who get sick easily and are thin and feel chilly. They are often constipated and have poor stamina and frequent bouts of physical fatigue.
Acupressure for Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
Bladder 23 and 47 (B23 and B47) – Alleviates fatigue, physical weakness, and mental confusion. Those with back pain should not use these points.
Gallbladder 21 (GB21) – Stimulates healthy circulation while also alleviating anxiety, irritability, and headaches.
Lung 3 (Lu3) – Alleviates headaches, confusion, lightheadedness, and general mental fatigue.
Pericardium 6 (P6) – For digestive upset, unrestful sleep, and nervous tension.
Stomach 36 (St36) – This point helps your body absorb more nutrients from food.
Triple Warmer 5 (TW5) – Alleviates the joint pain associated with CFS.
Essential Oils for Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
Essential oils can offer some pretty astounding support when it comes to chronic fatigue so be sure to look into them!
Here are some of the most supportive EOs for CFS:
• Basil linalool – for muscle and joint pain and relieving mental fatigue and brain fog
• Bergamot (FCF) – for emotional balance and positive mood and calms the nervous system
• Clary sage – helps support hormone balance and production. Alleviates anxiety
• Cypress – for circulation and joint and muscle discomfort associated with CFS. Emotionally grounding and calms the nervous system
• Eucalyptus radiata – mentally clarifying. Fights infection and boosts immunity
• Jasmine – emotionally uplifting
• Juniper – helps treat muscular pain and supports gentle detox
• Lavender – helps induce relaxation and stress relief
• Lemon – uplifting and mentally clarifying
• Lemongrass – helps support the immune system and fight fungal infections
• Marjoram – a muscular relaxant that alleviates general physical and nervous debility. Also induces restful sleep
• Nutmeg – exhibits adrenal cortex-like activity (use very very little! This stuff is super potent)
• Peppermint – great for headaches induced by CFS
• Petitgrain – revitalizes the body yet relaxes the mind
• Roman chamomile – helps alleviate sleep disturbances
• Rosemary – reduces stress significantly in just a few breaths
• Thyme linalool – strengthens the body’s immune system by stimulating the production of corpuscles. Reduces fatigue and depression
• Valerian – helps induce restful sleep
• Ylang ylang – sedative, calming, and anti-depressant
To use the oils, you can either dilute them in carrier oil and apply them to the affected area 2-3x daily, diffuse them 2-3x daily, or add them to a personal nasal inhaler and use as needed.
What have been your favorite natural remedies for chronic fatigue syndrome? Please share them in the comments below!
You may also enjoy reading:
3 Adrenal Gland Support Tonics That Actually Work!
10 Signs You Have Adrenal Burnout and How to Treat it Naturally
How to Make and Adrenal Support Roll-On Blend
10 Essential Oils That Fight Adrenal Burnout
Prescription for Natural Cures – Balch, James F., Mark Stengler, and Robin Young Balch. Prescription for natural cures: a self-care guide for treating health problems with natural remedies including diet, nutrition, supplements and other holistic methods. John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 2011.
Essential Oil Pocket Reference 5th Edition
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