Chronic fatigue syndrome

Chronic fatigue syndrome is crippling disorder, which often starts suddenly, with flu-like symptoms. But unlike the flu, it can last a lifetime.

Chronic fatigue syndrome symptoms

There are many symptoms that are associated with this disorder, including:

  • chronic fatigue
  • extreme tiredness and exhaustion
  • joint pain that moves from one spot to another
  • general lack of energy and motivation
  • poor concentration
  • loss of memory
  • headaches
  • muscle pain
  • enlarged lymph nodes
  • chills
  • night sweats
  • digestive disorders like irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)

This condition ranks as one of the top ten disabling chronic disorders. People suffering from chronic fatigue syndrome find it difficult to carry out everyday tasks such as working or even socializing due to their chronic fatigue symptoms. Although chronic fatigue affects people differently, the chronic fatigue sufferers' standard of living is severely impaired.

The chronic fatigue syndrome was first described by Dr. Acheson in 1956 who called it chronic Epstein-Barr virus. In 1987, the chronic fatigue syndrome got its current name and was recognized as a diagnosis by the medical community.

Is there a diagnostic test for chronic fatigue syndrome?

However, the chronic condition remains a controversial diagnosis.

There is no diagnostic test or single cause for chronic fatigue syndrome. There are many theories behind chronic fatigue symptoms , but there has not been any definitive evidence to prove them. In some cases chronic fatigue symptoms may be caused by another disease such as mononucleosis, hepatitis C virus infection, chronic hepatitis, chronic Lyme disease infection, chronic viral encephalitis, chronic chlamydia pneumoniae infections or even cancer.

Role of mitochondria in chronic fatigue syndrome

Symptoms can be worsened by stress or physical exertion.

The chronic fatigue syndrome is probably caused by a combination of factors that might include psychological and physiological conditions.

It commonly boils down to lack of energy production in the body. Our mitochondria are responsible for that energy productions and are very sensitive to a lot of factors that can disrupt it's function, such as nutritional deficiencies, environmental and emotional stressors, infections, allergies and toxins.

Chronic Fatigue

Figure: Brief representation on how we produce energy in our cells. 

Western medicine does not have an established cause or treatment for this disorder. Integrative (functional) medicine approach is to find a root causes of this disorder (which may be different for individual patients) and correct them.

There is no universal approach to management. It should depend on individual history and laboratory findings.

Management of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

Currently chronic fatigue syndrome is managed using a multi-factorial approach. The chronic fatigue syndrome treatment should include:

  1. Self care measures - sleep hygiene, stress management, physical rest and being active as tolerated 
  2. Dietary changes that focus on eating whole foods, reducing sugar intake and eating high protein content to increase energy levels. Excluding food and additives that cause sensitivities and allergies are paramount. Everybody is different and appropriate testing is highly recommended
  3. Nutritional supplementation is also important. A lot of bloggers recommend outright B supplementation, but we have found that this type of  undifferentiated supplemental may be very harmful. Cellular metabolic testing will determine, which vitamins are missing as targeted replacement if always more helpful. 
  4. General supplements that are helpful include magnesium supplementation can prevent muscle pain and cramps. There are multiple different forms of magnesium and practitioner can help you to choose the most appropriate for your case. 
  5. Food reach in magnesium and potassium may be also very helpful. 
  6. Other supplements, such as vitamin D  may help with chronic fatigue symptoms; coenzyme Q10 is a powerful antioxidant that helps with energy production,  glutathione helps fight chronic infections and boosts energy level, should not be used without appropriate testing, as toxicity may also cause energy production disruptions. 
  7. Working on your gut bacteria, by consuming a lot of prebiotics (vegetable fiber) and probiotics. Again, appropriate testing will help to establish deficiencies. 
Chronic Fatigue NutrEval