Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

Chronic fatigue syndrome is a vague condition sometimes referred to as Yuppie Flu, M.E. (myalgic encephalitis), burnout, or adrenal fatigue and the cause is not fully understood. It is defined as a set of symptoms that include prolonged, overwhelming fatigue that starts upon awakening and lasts throughout the day. The fatigue may worsen with exercise or physical activity. Other symptoms associated with CFS include mood swings, muscle spasms, pain, headache, sleep disturbances, and loss of appetite.

Frequently Asked Questions

Fatigue is the inability to sustain an effort which may be emotional, mental or physical. And if you try to cure your fatigue with sleep you'll see that it doesn't necessarily work every time. However, sleep normally relieves sleepiness. Sleepiness is not fatigue. It's a common symptom that can appear in certain circumstances such as relaxing after a meal in the early afternoon, and a short nap can relieve it. If you feel fatigue and try to sleep, you'll realise that it's difficult to fall asleep. And this happens because you're not sleepy. If you have at least six months of persistent fatigue that substantially reduces your level of activity, then is very probably to have chronic fatigue syndrome.

  • Infectious disease- There is no specific link between any infectious agent and CFS. Anecdotally, many CFS sufferers believe that their condition began with a flu-like illness, although for others the disease arises spontaneously.
  • Immune disorders- Many patients with CFS have impaired immune function.
  • Dental amalgam toxicity- There is a possible link between dental amalgam, metal toxicity, and CFS symptoms. It has been reported that long-term health improvement follows the removal of dental metal.
  • Oxidative stress- Studies suggest that oxidative stress may play a role in the development of CFS.
  • Endocrine system disorders- Stress, both physical and emotional, can lead to increase levels of cortisol and other hormones. CFS may be associated with low cortisol levels and increased serotonin function. Aluminium is increased in CFS, while DHEA and iron are reduced in female patients.
  • Low blood pressure- Low blood pressure is a common finding in CFS.
  • Orthostatic hypotension- This is Low blood pressure that occurs when going from a lying to a standing position, and is also a common symptom in chronic fatigue patients.
  • Sleep apnea- Too little sleep or not effective sleeping habits can cause Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. 
  • depression
  • limitation of functioning
  • frustration
  • loss of control
  • irritability
  • pain
  • discouragement
  • sadness
  • physical weakness
  • permanent fatigue

These reflect the diminished quality of life of people with chronic fatigue syndrome. A person with a normal form of fatigue may describe their complaints, such as:

  • sleepy
  • insomnia
  • a motivational
  • comfortable
  • temporary fatigue
  • headache
  • aching or stiff muscles
  • impaired memory or concentration
  • nausea
  • multi-joint pain
  • sore throat
  • non-restorative sleep
  • tender glands
  • dizziness
  • night sweats
  • intolerance to alcohol
  • intense and long-lasting fatigue
  • sleep disturbance

Conventional medicine often relies upon psychoactive drugs (such as antidepressants, anti-psychotics, and anti-anxiety drugs) to mask a stressed patients’ symptoms. Emerging research is suggesting that there are certain psychoactive drugs (like those used to treat anxiety and depression), that may stabilise mood. This happens by acting upon neurotransmitter levels, but also by modulating the action of glucocorticoids receptors within the brain. Due to these finding it is interesting to note that in supporting mood elevation it is important to control stress factors when treating a patient. Book a consultation with our Health Renewal doctors for Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.

Chronic Fatigue syndrome is a condition that causes many secondary health problems. However if one can identify this early enough, these conditions might be prevented. At Sleep Renewal/Health Renewal we are able to do very specific saliva tests, or blood tests, though which we can see exactly what the Cortisol/DHEA levels, and associated hormone levels in the body are. This can then be rectified with the correct Bio-identical hormone replacement, DHEA RESTORATION & high-quality nutraceuticals, as well as the necessary lifestyle changes.

About sixty percent of the patients with chronic fatigue syndrome have or had a primary sleep disorder such as sleep apnea (Upper airway resistance syndrome) or hypopnea syndrome. Almost every person with chronic fatigue complains about restless sleep, insomnia, and difficulty to maintain the sleep. If you have Upper Airway resistance syndrome and chronic fatigue syndrome, you may be interested to know if treating Upper Airway Resistant syndrome can also treat chronic fatigue symptoms.

Upper Airway resistance syndrome patient’s upper airways are so narrow that their nervous system becomes overly sensitive to any degree of airway obstruction. UARS patients wake up to a light stage of sleep, even with very subtle degrees of breathing obstruction. These pauses are not long enough to be called apneas. This causes a chronic low-grade physiologic state of stress, which by itself is known to be detrimental to brain health, therefore it is not surprising that most people with CFS have very small mouths and narrow jaws. Many have had excessive dental extractions for various reasons, or have various degree of jaw underdevelopment. The vast majority of CFS patients definitely can’t sleep on their backs either. All the above explains why a simple cold or viral infection, sudden weight gain, or physical injury that forces you to sleep on your back, can trigger the vicious cycle that leads into the classic symptoms of CFS. All these events suddenly narrow the already narrowed upper airway.

It is important to never self-medicate, your Health Renewal Doctor will prescribe which supplements, in what amounts, you should be taking for your body`s needs.

Fighting Fatigue:

Free radicals and other potent oxidants may contribute to the development of CFS. One study showed that protein oxidation was significantly elevated in the blood of CFS patients.

Hormonal therapies:

DHEA has also been singled out for its ability to help CFS 15-25 mg daily for women (depending on blood test results). 25-75 mg daily for men (depending on blood test results).

Melatonin: before bed (sometimes up to 10 mg)

Bio-identical Hormone Replacement (if indicated, usually based on symptoms & blood results)

Coenzyme Q10(CoQ10), is a potent antioxidant that aids in metabolic reactions, including the process of forming adenosine triphosphate (ATP), the molecule used by the body for energy.

Nutritional Therapies/deficiencies

B-Complex vitamin: A prescribed combination of Thiamine(B1), Riboflavin(B2), Niacin(B3), Folate (preferably as L-methylfolate), Vitamin B6 (pyridoxine) & Vitamin B12.

Other nutrients include: Biotin, Pantothenic acid, Vitamin C, Omega 3 Fatty acids (with olive polyphenols, Phosphatidylserine, L-Theanine, Calcium, Magnesium, Zinc, Chromium, Selenium, Manganese.

Vitamin B6. Some data provide evidence of reduced functional B vitamin status, particularly of pyridoxine (vitamin B6) in CFS patients.

Folate. Researchers found that 50 percent of patients had values below 3.0 mcg/L.

Glutathione has been shown to help prevent damage to DNA and RNA, detoxify heavy metals, boost immune function and assist the liver in detoxification. Levels of intracellular glutathione decrease with age and may be depleted in CFS patients. Glutathione/Cysteine depletion may also causes the muscular fatigue and myalgia associated with CFS. Supplements used to raise cellular glutathione levels include N-acetylcysteine(NAC) (with vitamin C), lipoic acid, whey protein, L-cysteine and glutathione.

Essential fatty acids. Essential fatty acids are the fatty acids that cannot be made by the body. Essential fatty acids are crucial for rebuilding and producing new cells, and required for normal brain development. Studies concluded that essential fatty acids provide a rational, safe, and effective treatment for patients with post-viral CFS.

Energy Boosters

A number of nutrients have been studied for their ability to boost cellular energy- a possibly important concern among CFS patients. These include the following:

NADH. Reduced B-nicotinamide dinucleotide(NADH), along with CoQ10, is essential for the production of cellular energy.

L-carnitine. Although the research is somewhat inconsistent, several studies have found deficiencies of the amino acid L-carnitine among CFS patients. L-carnitine is known to boost energy levels. Acetyl-L-carnitine relieved mental fatigue and propionyl-L-carnitine alleviated general fatigue in a study comparing the two in CFS patients.

Magnesium. Magnesium participates in energy metabolism and protein synthesis.

Glutamine is a conditionally essential amino acid needed during periods of excessive stress. Glutamine is the preferred energy. Adaptogens-Rhodiola rosea(in a standardized extract), Ashwagandha(in a standardized extract), Red Korean/ Asian Ginseng (Panax)

Herbal Therapies- Lemon Balm extract, Valerian root, or Liquorice Root. 

There is no standard, approved treatment for CFS. Your Doctor at Sleep Renewal/Health Renewal will perform a physical examination and request a comprehensive blood analysis at your local pathology laboratory or do in house saliva tests. These results will be analysed by your Doctor who will determine whether a definite deficiency exists and advise you on your treatment options, such as correcting any deficiencies.

Tap into your support system – reach out to a friend or relative and let them know you are having a tough time. Make one health-related commitment. Enhance your sleep quality. Strive for a positive outlook. Seek additional help such as therapies like yoga, acupuncture, stress management, and massage therapy to help you to relax. Other therapies like owning a pet. Avoid alcohol and caffeinated beverages such as tea and coffee before bedtime. And start exercising.

Sharon Izak Elaine Chat staff