Chronic Fatigue Syndrome describes varying combinations of symptoms including recurrent sore throats, low grade fever, lymph node swelling, headache, muscle and joint pain, intestinal discomfort, emotional distress and/or depression and loss of concentration. The cause is not known, but experts now believe that it is a chronic viral infection. The syndrome may persist for months to years, and its occurrence appears to be increasing.
The viruses involved thrive on their ability to establish a lifelong latent infection after the initial infection. The latent infection is kept in check in the normal immune system, but when the immune system is compromised in any way, these viruses can become active as viral replication and spread is increased.
Support and enhancement of immune system function is perhaps the most important and vital step in achieving host resistance, reducing susceptibility and hence, achieving any degree of cure. The Chronic Fatigue Syndrome appears to be indicative of a chronically disturbed or compromised immune system (whether or not it is due to a viral infection or other factors) and the symptoms are manifested on all levels, from psycho-emotional to physiological/biochemical.
An important consideration in determining susceptibility is the role played by Candida albicans. Candida species are common inhabitants of the intestinal tract, where their growth is kept in check by other bowel bacteria and normal immune function. When this balance is disturbed (by the administration of antibiotic drugs or by immuno-suppression by steroids) the Candida can proliferate. These organisms produce antigenic products and by-products, which can cause a constant challenge to the immune system.
Symptoms of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome include:
- ongoing fatigue
- recurrent sore throat
- low grade fever
- lymph node swelling
- muscle and joint pain
- intestinal discomfort
- emotional distress, and/or depression
- loss of concentration
The current hypothesis is that the Chronic Fatigue Syndrome is indicative of a chronically disturbed or depressed immune system, resulting in decreased host resistance and low vital energy.
Optimal immune function requires good health, i.e., good diet (a diet of whole, natural, unprocessed, living foods which are high in fibre and complex carbohydrates, low in fats and moderate in protein), eight to ten glasses of water (preferably filtered) per day, a good basic multivitamin-mineral supplement (in the most bioavailable and easily absorbable form and including adequate amounts of trace elements), a gentle exercise program, daily deep breathing and relaxation exercises, general family style relaxation and six to eight hours of sleep each day.
Nutritional treatment of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome includes:
- A general liver cleansing regime which eliminates the chemical burden or allergy component of the illness. Best liver supporting herb in milk thistle, and the best brand by far is LEGALON.
- Avoidance of all life habits which increase stress on the immune system e.g., smoking, alcohol abuse, excessive intakes of fat and sugar, poor diets and physical and emotional stress.
- Increasing the intake of lecithin and raw egg yolk. These substances reduce the availability of cholesterol to certain retroviruses as well as improving immunity.
- Certain nutrients are particularly effective against viruses e.g., zinc, selenium, lysine, vitamin B1, B6, B5 and C. BLOOMS INTELLEVIT (stockists at www.bloomshealth.com.au) contains adequate amounts of these, and the supplementation should continue for an extended period.
- Improving colon flora with a probiotic. Many viruses enter through the digestive tract and maintenance of optimum digestion and gut environment is essential in reducing viral loads. Increasing the intake of banana and cabbage reduces gut permeability. I suggest Blooms band of saccharomyces.
- Digestive enzyme supplements are essential. These enzymes have the ability to destroy viruses entering the gut.
- Reducing bowel permeability to viruses by increasing intakes of vitamin B12, A, B5 and folate. Mucopolysaccharide precursors such as glucosamine and chondroiton sulphate also play a role in maintaining this gut barrier.
- Including nutrients which support the immune system are essential, and work in combination with those effective against viruses mentioned above.
- Adding essential fatty acids which have anti-viral properties. They remove cholesterol from the viral envelope thereby preventing viral replication.
- Supporting energy production by supplementing with CoEnzyme Q10, vitamin B group, vitamin E and magnesium helps.
- Enlisting the botanical support of Astragalus or Echinacea to lift the immunostimulatory activity in the body. Astragalus has a well respected history of use in Chinese medicine as a valuable tonic specific for strengthening the body’s resistance, especially in wasting and exhausting diseases. Golden seal increases white blood cell activity to boost viral resistance.
- Reducing the stress effects on the system by practicing stress reduction techniques.