~Chronic Fatigue Syndrome - Summary
CFS is debilitating fatigue and associated symptoms lasting for at least 6 months. The cause of CFS is as yet undetermined, but it may be triggered by infectious agents, stress, vitamin deficiencies, immunologic dysfunction, or thyroid deficiency. There may also be a genetic predisposition to CFS. Although there is no known cure, energy-boosting treatments and proper management of stress levels and physical activity can significantly reduce the effects of CFS.
The following supplements may be considered:
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- Coenzyme Q10 (100 mg 3 times daily) may be helpful for increased energy.
- Magnesium may be deficient in 80% of all Americans and may be of particular importance in chronic fatigue. Everyone should consider supplementing with 500 mg of magnesium daily. Up to 3 grams of magnesium may be taken. Dosage should be reduced if an unwanted laxative effect occurs.
- DHEA may help to restore energy levels. After initiating DHEA therapy, a blood test is highly recommended to ensure that the proper dose is being taken. Women typically supplement with 15-50 mg of DHEA each day, whereas men take 25-50 mg daily. Take DHEA early in the day (refer to the DHEA Replacement Therapy protocol for details about who should not take DHEA).
- Adapton has been shown to help reduce the effects of chronic stress. Four capsules daily are suggested for the first 15 days. A daily dose of 2-3 capsules is recommended as a maintenance dose. Adapton is most effectively utilized if taken on an empty stomach with water.
- NADH (5 mg twice a day) is recommended for increased energy.
- Acetyl-L-carnitine (2000 mg daily) is recommended for increased energy.
- Ginseng has been found to enhance NK function in CFS patients. Ginseng is commonly used to help increase energy levels. Sports Ginseng from Natural Herbs contains a standardized extract of Korean (panax) and Siberian (eluthrococcus) ginseng. One capsule twice a day before meals is recommended.
- Echinacea (500 mg twice a day) supports the immune system and has been found to enhance NK function in CFS patients.
- Essential fatty acids may be of benefit in chronic fatigue. A product called Super GLA/DHA contains borage oil and a high concentration of DHA fish oil extract. DHA is the component of fish oil that possesses the most potent anti-inflammatory properties. Six 1000-mg capsules daily of Super GLA/DHA are suggested.
- Licorice extract (250 mg 3 times daily) may help with fatigue, particularly when fatigue is related to adrenal insufficiency. Care should be taken because high doses of licorice may increase blood pressure.
- Glutamine is an essential amino acid that supplies energy to the brain, heart, and gastrointestinal tract. One gram or more daily may be used as needed. L-glutamine is most effective when taken on an empty stomach. (Glutamine is not unpleasant tasting.) However, insomnia may occur if L-glutamine is taken too close to bedtime.
- The amino acids phenylalanine or tyrosine, taken in daily doses of 1500 mg, will help to boost levels of brain hormones and neurotransmitters (refer to the Phenylalanine and Tyrosine--Dosing and Precautions protocol).
- Antioxidants, including glutathione (250-500 mg daily), N-acetyl-cysteine (600-1200 mg daily), and alpha-lipoic acid (500-750 mg daily), may be considered to fight free radicals and improve energy levels.
- SAMe (200-1600 mg daily) may be beneficial for symptoms of depression. SAMe is also a methyl donor that is helpful in homocysteine and glutathione metabolism.
- Life Extension Mix and Life Extension Booster, as directed, provide the nutrients needed to maintain a healthy immune system.
- Supplemental digestive enzymes will aid in nutritional absorption and help the body preserve its own stores for vital metabolic functioning. Two capsules of Super Digestive enzymes at the beginning of each meal are recommended.
- Whey protein should be considered as a source of amino acids and to enhance immunity and boost glutathione levels. The Life Extension Foundation offers Enhanced Whey Protein, a third-generation whey protein containing four times as much lactoferrin as most other whey protein supplements on the market. Two scoops a day are recommended for those with nutritional deficiency.
- Maté (brewed as a tea) may be taken as a substitute for coffee to improve mental and physical fatigue at a dosage of 1 tsp (1 gram) per cup, up to 4 grams daily; or 1 tablet, 5 drops, or 10 globules up to 3 times daily may be taken.
- Folic acid (800 mcg daily) may be helpful because some CFS patients are deficient in folic acid.
- Substituting sea salt for sodium chloride (common table salt) may be beneficial for those not on a sodium-restricted diet.
Contact the American Association for Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, c/o Harborview Medical Center, 325 Ninth Avenue, Box 359780, Seattle, WA 98104.
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