It is vitally important that individuals who have been diagnosed with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome adopt a high quality diet so as to support immune function and optimal physiology.
Although many patients with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome crave sugar and caffeine due to their temporary energy producing effect, it is essential that these substances are eliminated as their long term effect results in a significant depletion of energy levels. Caffeine, sugar (and other refined carbohydrates) disrupt blood sugar regulation and contribute to hypoglycemia and adrenal exhaustion.
Another important aspect of dietary treatment for Chronic Fatigue Syndrome is to identify and eliminate allergenic foods as it is known that food allergies can produce chronic fatigue and up to 85% of patients with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome have some degree of allergies.
Diet is also an important tool by which detoxification can be enhanced. A liver and bowel detoxification program is advisable and may include the use of fiber and specifically designed food supplement powders.
In most cases fasting is not recommended as individuals with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome do not have a sufficient reserve of vital energy and they may become further depleted. A much gentler and gradual approach to detoxification is recommended and can be achieved by consistently adhering to a high quality diet.
Beneficial foods to enhance detoxification processes include high sulfur foods (onion, garlic, eggs, legumes), cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, brussel sprouts), artichoke, red peppers, lemon, asparagus, avocado, walnuts, whole grains, carrot/beet/celery juice and sources of water soluble fiber (oat bran, apples, legumes and psyllium husk).
Patients with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome almost always have some degree of digestive impairment and it is advisable that meals be kept simple (food combining may be helpful) and easily digested foods be emphasized such as soups, steamed vegetables, fruit and yogurt. A great deal of the body’s energy goes into digesting complicated meals and hard to digest foods and this can deplete energy levels further. In most cases hydrochloric acid and/or pancreatic enzymes can greatly assist with improving digestion.
Nutritional Supplements for Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
A deficiency of almost any nutrient can contribute to fatigue thus supplementation is essential for the Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) patient. A high potency multivitamin and mineral provides a good foundation and a variety of other supplements may be utilized for their specific beneficial actions.
Magnesium is probably the most important nutrient for CFS patients. Most patients with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome have a deficiency of magnesium in their red blood cells and clinical trials have produced impressive results with approximately 80% of patients receiving nutritional supplementation with magnesium demonstrating significant improvements in energy levels, emotional states and pain reduction.
Dosage: 500-1000 mg daily of magnesium aspartate, magnesium citrate or magnesium malate.
75% of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome patients are deficient in coenzyme Q10 and supplements increase energy levels in these patients. CoEnzyme Q10 is an antioxidant that improves energy production in the mitochondria and also benefits immune function.
Dosage: 300 mg daily
N-Acetyl Carnitine can cross the blood brain barrier to increase energy production in brain tissue and also increase dopamine levels (which are deficient in CFS).
Dosage: 1000-2000 mg daily on an empty stomach.
NADH improves mitochondrial energy production. 72% of CFS patients demonstrated a reduction in fatigue and improved life quality after one year of NADH therapy.
Dosage: 5 mg twice daily on an empty stomach.
Lipoic acid increases energy levels in some Chronic Fatigue Syndrome patients. This is thought to be due to its antioxidant action that mitigates the effects of excessive free radicals believed to be linked to impaired energy production.
Dosage: 500-800 mg daily
L-Phenylalanine and L-Tyrosine
Both of these amino acids increase energy levels by boosting the concentration of the neurotransmitters norepinephrine and dopamine.
Dosage: 1500 mg daily on an empty stomach.
Vitamin B5 – Pantothenic Acid
Vitamin B5 is involved in production of adrenal hormones including cortisone which helps to counteract stress and improve metabolism. Pantothenic acid also promotes synthesis of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine.
A deficiency of vitamin B5 results in destruction of the adrenal glands. As Chronic Fatigue Syndrome patients on average have a 50% reduction in the size of the adrenal glands this nutrient is potentially very beneficial.
Dosage: 250 mg daily
Vitamin C is essential for the formation of serotonin, dopamine and norepinephrine and stimulates adrenal function. It is also an antioxidant and promotes optimal immunity.
Dosage: 1000 mg three times daily
Vitamin B12 levels are generally abnormally low in Chronic Fatigue Syndrome patients. Vitamin B12 is essential for metabolism of neural tissue, it increases energy levels, is involved in DNA and RNA synthesis and red blood cell production.
Dosage: 5-10 mg daily
Essential Fatty Acids
A combination of GLA, linoleic acid, EPA and DHA improved the condition of 74% of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome patients after one month and 85% after three months.
Dosage: 4000 mg daily
Alternatively include cold water fish and flaxseed oil or flaxseed meal in the diet and take evening primrose oil or spirulina (sources of GLA).
Dietary Recommendations for Chronic Fatigue Syndrome by Mizpah Matus