CHRONIC FATIGUE SYNDROME

WHAT IS CFS?

Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) is a medical condition characterized by extreme fatigue or tiredness that doesn’t go away with rest and can’t be explained by an underlying medical condition.

The causes of CFS aren’t fully understood yet. Some theories include viral infection, stress, a weakened immune system, hormonal imbalances or a combination of factors. It is also speculated that some people may have a genetic predisposition to develop CFS.

At one point CFS was a controversial diagnosis but is now accepted as a medical condition. However, because no single cause has been identified, and because many other conditions produce similar symptoms, CFS can be difficult to diagnose. There are no tests for CFS. A doctor generally rules out other causes for  fatigue when determining a diagnosis.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has suggested that CFS may be the end stage of multiple different conditions, rather than one specific condition. (Source 1)

INFLAMMATION

Inflammation has been found to be the underlying cause to almost all disease from rheumatoid arthritis to cancer, heart disease to diabetes, asthma, and even Alzheimer’s. (Source 2)

One study suggests that the concentration of cytokines in the bloodstream is relevant to the acuteness of CFS symptoms. Variations in 17 cytokines were found to be connected with the severity of CFS, suggesting that the condition is essentially an inflammatory disease. (Source 3) 

WHAT CAN I DO?

Speaking from personal experience, CFS can be debilitating! I was diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA), Hashimoto’s and CFS at about the same time. I am positive that one has a relationship with all of the others. 

While, of course, the swollen painful joints, the weight gain, the cold body temperature, and the fatigue were all equally concerning, it was the fatigue that created the biggest challenge in my life. 

I typically work 10 hour shifts and I am on my feet for the entire time. I would struggle to get to my lunch break. I knew I needed to nourish my body, so I would eat my pre-planned nutritious meal in 10 minutes and then take the opportunity to close my eyes. I would typically be woken up by the sound of my alarm, unrefreshed, and would then drag myself back into work to finish my shift. 

I was very aware of the fear that had started to seep into my life; fear of not knowing how much longer I could continue working if my symptoms progressed, fear of how I would continue to mow my lawn, clean my home and many other daily things that I used to take for granted.

I was determined to find a way into remission. I had already been working with a naturopath and an integrative medicine physician before my diagnosis’. That, combined with my own research into nutrition, began to truly shed a bright light on my path to healing and my journey to get my life back.

I initially wanted to achieve all of my healing through a holistic approach. I made progress and found ways to mitigate the fatigue, but in the end I allowed conventional treatment for the RA into my life. I was scared! I weighed the fears I shared above with the fears of all the potential side effects of the medications. It was a tearful and difficult decision, and in the end the medications, for me, proved to be  helpful. 

A Plant Based Anti-Inflammatory Diet, Vitamin, Mineral and Amino Acid Supplements and strategically incorporating gentle exercise into my routine helped me to achieve remission quickly, while I was on the medications. And, I believe it was these lifestyle changes that enabled me to remain in remission once I removed the medications from my body.

Every person is different and has their own life journey to navigate. It is advised and necessary to work closely with your trusted health care professional and also to give your body the best healing environment possible.

DIET

With inflammation as a root cause of almost every disease, including CFS, a well planned nutritious Plant Based Diet can only be beneficial. 

I had a very good understanding of the Auto-Immune Paleo Diet (AIP) (for RA & Hashimoto’s), the Mediteranian Diet (for inflammation), and the Specific Carbohydrate Diet (for SIBO – small intestinal bacterial overgrowth). This was difficult and confusing at times because many things allowed on one diet was prohibited on another. But I was determined to heal.

Then I was led to the Health Mastery Institute (HMI). I was introduced to this program by an acquaintance I had met through a mutual friend. We got together once, back in 2015, and just talked about each of our respective Nutrition Certifications. I had recently received mine from IIN – Institute for Integrative Nutrition. I wasn’t ready or willing, at the time, to do a 2nd certification. However, I was very curious and was and still am so grateful for the serendipitous meeting that day. 

I purchased a program from the creator of the HMI nutrition school (Liana Shanti). The program was called “66 Day Health Mastery Program.” I was excited about the program back then and I believe I went through 4 of the 9 modules, but I was not fully committed at the time.

This program came back to my awareness 4 years later and I reached out to my acquaintance once again. She kindly agreed to meet me and we had a wonderful conversation about not only the “66 Day Health Mastery Program” but about the “HMI Nutrition Certification Program” and so many other life topics. I now consider this acquaintance a dear friend and a guardian angel of sorts. 

Both programs changed my life profoundly. We find our way to programs like these when we are ready. I had the “66 Day Program” before my RA diagnosis but I never fully embraced it until I felt I “truly needed it.” My life is unfolding exactly the way it is supposed to and the lessons I have learned along the way have been life changing..

Whatever support you can give to your body to support healing and homeostasis is priceless. Cutting out processed food, inflammatory oils, processed sugar, gluten and sometimes cutting out grains completely for a period of time can be amazingly beneficial.

I highly recommend the “66 Day Health Mastery Program.” It provides so much more than just a wonderful guide to healthy eating.

SUPPLEMENTS

There are studies that suggest a number of nutritional deficiencies may have relevance to the development and severity of CFS. These include deficiencies of:

B Vitamins

Vitamin C

Magnesium

Sodium

Zinc

L-Tryptophan

L-Carnitine

Coenzyme Q10

Essential fatty acids 

A deficiency of these nutrients in CFS patients appears to be primarily due to the illness process rather than to an inadequate diet. Improving gut health may be helpful with overall absorption of nutrients.

It is likely that even marginal deficiencies not only contribute to the clinical presentation of CFS, but are also detrimental to the healing processes. 

Identifying these deficiencies and resolving them could be a key initial step in treating CFS.

The rare incidence of serious adverse reactions to the supplements mentioned above, the difficulty in ruling out marginal deficiencies, and because some of the therapeutic benefits of nutritional supplements appear to be due to pharmacologic effects, it is reasonable to consider supplementing with the nutrients along with a Chelated Mineral Supplement, at least for a trial period. (Source 4)

I found supplements to be incredibly helpful in relieving my fatigue symptoms even before deciding to take the prescription medication for RA.

In addition to the above nutrients I also added 5-HTP, Vitamin D and methylated Vitamin B12 (in addition to the Vitamin B Complex), and I chose to take L-Tyrosine over the L-Tryptophan for many reasons, mainly because L-Tyrosine helps with depression and the increase in dopamine levels afforded me the energy to push through my day.

EXERCISE

Exercise is an important component to a healthy lifestyle. When CFS exists, exercise can seem an almost impossible task.

Even moderate exercise and cause post exertional malaise (PEM). PEM is the worsening of symptoms after even minor exertion – physical, mental or emotional. Even light and sound can create a sensory overload and can cause PEM. 

Regulating your activity can prove to be essential. This is referred to as activity management or pacing. The goal is to learn and achieve a balance between rest and activity and to avoid PEM flare ups.

It is important to find your own personal limits for physical, mental and emotional activity. Some doctors refer to staying within these limits as staying within the “energy envelope.” A great way to find your energy envelope is to keep an activity and symptom diary. Understanding your own personal limits and finding your balance between activity and rest can be a helpful coping skill. 

For some people with CFS just everyday activities like work, showering and interacting with other people may be the energy limit for the day. Another person may be able to add in walking or gentle yoga.

It is important not to push yourself too far on a good day. This may lead to a worsening of symptoms and may set you back farther on your healing journey. (Source 5)

BE KIND TO YOURSELF

Whether you have a CFS diagnosis amongst several other health conditions or you have suspicions that you may be coping with CFS on a regular basis, be kind to yourself.

Think of yourself as your own sweet child or as your best friend in the world. Love yourself, nurture yourself, support yourself, empower yourself and give yourself the encouragement to initiate helpful, healthful changes on your healing journey.

GET Happy – GET Healthy – GET Whole

Have a Beautiful Day!

Gina Lynn

DISCLAIMER 

Any statements expressed in these recommendations are for informational purposes and self-help only and are not intended to be a substitute for professional medical prevention, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult with your health care provider before embarking on any cleansing, detoxing, or juicing program, or before beginning any new diet or nutritional program. Always consult with your personal health care physician regarding taking any supplements, as only your health care provider can provide you with advice on what is safe and effective for your unique needs or diagnose your particular medical history. Pregnant and breastfeeding women should never undertake a cleanse, a fast, a detox or a parasite cleanse of any kind. Also, those on medication should always have their medical doctor’s approval before making any dietary changes.

***As an Amazon Associate I earn a small percentage from qualifying purchases from the links above.

You are under no obligation to purchase from these links. I have provided them for your convenience***


WHY MAGNESIUM?

MAGNESIUM IS CONSIDERED THE MASTER MINERAL

Magnesium is known as the “Miracle Mineral”. It is responsible for over 300 metabolic processes in the body.

Entire books have been written on this mineral. The Magnesium Miracle by Carolyn Dean, MD, ND, is a fantastic book on all aspects of magnesium.

Without enough of this important mineral, your body can’t function optimally.

WHAT DOES MAGNESIUM DO?

Magnesium helps with essential activities in your body, it…

  • Produces and transports energy
  • Assists in synthesis of protein
  • Helps to transmit nerve signals
  • Helps to relax muscles
  • Acts as an enzyme cofactor serving as a catalyst to many chemical reactions in your body

WHAT ARE SOME OF THE SPECIFIC WAYS MAGNESIUM HELPS?

Magnesium…

  • Plays in important role in the regulating the neuromuscular activity of the heart
  • Maintains normal heart rhythm
  • Is necessary for proper calcium & Vitamin C metabolism
  • Converts blood sugar into energy
  • Is vital for many metabolic functions such as the activation of enzymes for proper metabolism of protein and carbohydrates for energy production
  • Is a integral part of bones and teeth and is important for the metabolism of phosphorus, calcium, potassium, sodium, B-Complex vitamins, and vitamins C & E
  • Is absorbed in the small intestine and Vitamin D is necessary for proper utilization of magnesium
  • Is necessary in the production of Testosterone and Progesterone
  • Is essential for normal heart beat, nerve transmission, bone growth, body temperature and atrial health
  • In proper balance with calcium, is important for neuromuscular contractions
  • Is vital for DNA & RNA production. 

HOW DO I KNOW IF I AM DEFICIENT IN MAGNESIUM?

SIGNS & SYMPTOMS OF MAGNESIUM DEFICIENCY:

  • Changes in nerve and muscle function such as muscle weakness or spasm
  • Heart conditions such as arrhythmia, irregular contractions, and increased heart rate
  • Weakening of the bones
  • Imbalanced blood sugar
  • Elevated blood pressure
  • High excitability
  • Inadequate hormone production
  • Headaches
  • Seizures
  • Depression/Anxiety
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Lack of appetite 

WHY ARE SO MANY PEOPLE DEFICIENT IN MAGNESIUM?

  • Our soil is depleted of minerals and we have lost precious topsoil
  • The standard NPK (nitrogen-phosphorus-potassium) fertilizer that farmers commonly use is able to restore the soil enough to grow fruits and vegetables, which are healthy “looking”, but may be entirely lacking in trace minerals.
  • To replace one inch of topsoil may take anywhere from 200-1000 years, depending on climate. This is why regenerative farming is SO important!!
  • Organic food tends to have a higher mineral content but is still lacking because of our soil conditions.
  • Refined/Processed foods inhibit mineral absorption, which then are not efficiently digested because of diminished enzyme activity
  • Blocked Colon – a Standard American Diet (S.A.D.) packs layer upon layer of plaque into your colon – this prohibits you from reabsorbing water and minerals properly from your colon
  • Secondary Deficiency – an excess of one mineral can cause a direct deficiency of another mineral (they compete for the absorption – compete for the same binding site) – kind of like musical chairs. Secondary deficiency is almost always due to overdosing or improperly dosing mineral supplements.

HOW CAN I ADD MAGNESIUM TO MY DIET?

Food is always the best way to obtain nutrients that are easily assimilated by your body:

  • FOOD SOURCES:
    • Avocado, barley, black beans, blackstrap molasses, cacao, dark chocolate, figs, garlic, green leafy vegetables, kelp, licorice, lima beans, millet, molasses, nuts, oats, peaches, peas, pumpkin seeds, quinoa, sesame seeds, soybeans, spinach, sunflower seeds, swiss chard

SHOULD I SUPPLEMENT?

Check with your doctor before taking a magnesium supplement, especially If you have a medical condition or are taking prescription medications. 

Magnesium supplements are generally safe, beneficial and well-tolerated but they may not be safe for people with particular medical conditions or those who take certain diuretics, heart medications or antibiotics.

  • The RDA (recommended daily allowance) of Magnesium is low and may only offset daily losses. 
    • Women: 320mg/day
    • Men: 420mg/day

Depending on how much you are assimilating from your diet and how much your body is utilizing for its metabolic processes, supplementation is most often necessary for optimal health.

WHAT SUPPLEMENTS ARE AVAILABLE & WHICH ONES ARE BEST FOR ME?

AMINO ACID CHELATES

Magnesium supplements that are attached (chelated) to amino acids offer better bioavailability and increased stability, which allows for more of the nutrients to be properly utilized by the body and the amino acids themselves offer their own benefits.

  • The chelates can bypass the intestinal process of having to bind the mineral with its own carrier protein – the chelate with the amino acid is at a molecular weight that makes it readily absorbable
  • The chelate is bound tight enough that it does not separate in the stomach acid – it is not available to bind with the intestinal carrier proteins and the chelate is absorbed intact, thus making it more bioavailable.
  • Available magnesium chelates: 
    • Glycinate, Orotate, Malate, Threonate, Taurate
    • These amino acids all have their own individual benefits in addition to making the magnesium more bioavailable.

MAGNESIUM OXIDE & MAGNESIUM CITRATE

Magnesium bound to oxygen or citrate has a higher amount of elemental magnesium but elemental magnesium is poorly absorbed. This is why these two forms of magnesium cause the biggest laxative effect. If constipation is an issue you are battling, this type of magnesium may be helpful but cleaning out your intestinal tract through cleansing and cleaning up your diet is your best solution to overall health. Liana Shanti’s 66 Day Health Mastery Program is a fantastic way to do both.

MAGNESIUM SULFATE & MAGNESIUM CHLORIDE

Magnesium sulfate is best known as Epsom Salts.

Magnesium chloride is available from Ancient Minerals as bath salts, oil and lotion. 

These forms are both generally used topically. Both are a great way to absorb magnesium transdermally. When these salts are used in a bath it is extremely relaxing to the muscles and can ease aches and pains in addition to helping systemically through transdermal absorption. 

Magnesium salt baths can also help to lower high blood pressure and reduce stress levels. 

Magnesium chloride lotion and oil preparations (Ancient Minerals) can be used topically for muscle cramps and relaxation. They work quickly at the site to relax the muscles.

So many people living in the Western World are deficient in magnesium and minerals in general. Supplementing has become a necessity for our bodies.

WHAT ACTION STEPS CAN I TAKE TO GET MY MAGNESIUM INTO BALANCE? 

Ways to increase your magnesium levels.

  • REMOVE Processed/Refined foods and ADD more organic foods with higher mineral content!!! This is a great place to start. 
  • CLEARING toxins in addition to CLEANING UP your diet will BALANCE your body inside and out. 
  • Health Mastery Institute’s 66 Day Health Mastery Program is a fantastic way to help you on this journey to optimal health.
  • Try a magnesium bath before bed.
  • Use magnesium oil on your forearms or feet twice daily.
  • Consider taking a magnesium supplement daily, after checking with your physician.

Disclaimer: As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases


WHY L-GLUTAMINE?

THE ULTIMATE MULTI-TASKER

L-Glutamine is an amino acid that has been referred to as The Ultimate Multi-Tasker. 

It can…

  • Restore the lining of the digestive tract
  • Relieve the symptoms of leaky gut: diarrhea, constipation, abdominal pain, gas and bloating
  • Prevent and reverse autoimmune disorders
  • Soothe inflammation
  • Decrease oxidative stress in the body
  • Improve mental wellbeing
  • Reduce cravings for alcohol & sugar
  • Enhance immune function
  • Increase nutrient absorption
  • Improve muscle tone & strength
  • Relieve stress by lowering cortisol levels
  • Boost testosterone
  • Improve recovery time from illness and injuries

ESSENTIAL AT TIMES OF STRESS, INJURY & ILLNESS

Although glutamine is classified as a non-essential amino acid, it is considered to be “conditionally essential.” This simply means that the body produces glutamine naturally, but at times of stress, injury and illness, the body can’t produce enough to meet its needs. 

If the body’s need for L-Glutamine is greater than its ability to produce it, the body may break down protein stores, such as muscle, to release more of this amino acid. 

When injury or illness prevents getting enough exercise, L-Glutamine levels drop, further compromising health. Supplementing with L-Glutamine breaks this cycle, preserves muscle, heals the body and provides the energy to get back to an active lifestyle.

HELPS PREVENT &  HEAL LEAKY GUT

L-Glutamine is an important energy source for intestinal and immune cells. It is also important for the normal growth and maintenance of the cells in the intestines. It helps to maintain the barrier between the inside of the intestines and the rest of the body. This protects against a leaky gut, preventing harmful bacteria or toxins from moving from the intestines into the rest of the body. 

Leaky gut is a common and often undiagnosed condition that causes gas, bloating, pain and inflammation throughout the body. Inflammation leaves you vulnerable to developing acne, allergies, asthma, autoimmune conditions, cardiovascular disease, chronic fatigue, diabetes, fibromyalgia and mental illness.

ENHANCES GLUTATHIONE LEVELS

L-Glutamine enhances the body’s levels of glutathione. Glutathione is the master antioxidant. Increased glutathione levels can reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, liver disease, cancer, heart attack and stroke.

FOUND IN MANY FOODS

Glutamine is naturally found in a variety of foods. Any food containing protein will contain some amount of glutamine. The largest amounts are found in animal products due to their high protein content. If you are consuming animal products, consider the source and choose grass fed/finished, pastured, organic sources.

Some of the best plant sources of L-Glutamine include: Beans, Peas, Lentils, Red cabbage, Broccoli, Asparagus, Dark leafy greens such as spinach, collard greens, kale, lettuce, and cilantro, parsley, and Beetroot. Juicing is a fantastic way to increase L-Glutamine in your diet.

Focusing on getting adequate protein in your overall diet is a great way to increase the amount of glutamine you are consuming.

SUPPLEMENT DOSAGE

Since L-Glutamine is an amino acid that is naturally produced in the body and found in many foods, there is no concern that it’s harmful in normal quantities.

A typical diet may contain 3 to 6 grams per day; this amount could vary based on the types and quantities of foods consumed.

If you feel a glutamine supplement may be helpful, start with a conservative dose of 5 grams once to twice daily.

Take after exercise and/or before bed.

Disclaimer: As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases