A better approach to beating chronic fatigue

While researchers and standard doctors try to understand how to treat chronic fatigue with drugs, the integrative medical community has made a ton of progress in helping patients regain their energy and quality of life naturally, with a holistic (whole body) approach.

The unifying symptom of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome is persistent and debilitating physical and often mental/emotional fatigue that results in at least a 50% reduction in activity. Other symptoms and signs can include but are not limited to muscle pain, muscle weakness, mild fever, recurrent sore throat, painful lymph nodes, headaches, joint pain, sleep disturbance, depression, digestive disorders such as IBS and neurological dysfunction. Typically these symptoms are ongoing and progress over months and even years, however, some individuals experience sudden onset of multiple symptoms as well.

At this point, there are many different theories on the causes of CFS, and its associated syndrome: Chronic Fatigue Immune Dysfunction Syndrome (CFIDS). My theory is that there are different factors that can contribute to CFS. In extreme cases, these varying layers of causative agents can multiply in an individual, inducing a cascade effect to produce a more complex form of CFS.

Some research on CFS has indicated lowered immune activity in CFS patients, sometimes up to 50%. Other studies are linking CFS to an underlying retroviral infection known as XMRV. Still other research has indicated increased oxidative stress and reduced antioxidant activity, increased local and systemic inflammation, decreased blood flow and circulation with increased tendency toward blood clotting, hyper viscosity, heavy metal toxicity, nutritional deficiency, underlying allergies, excessive stress and others.

This wide range of possible CFS-related disorders has made the treatment of CFS somewhat of a controversy among conventional practitioners, and can contribute to confusion among patients attempting a direct path to wellness. However, with the right guidance, diagnostic testing, and holistic approaches, many patients are able to balance their systems and regain health.

Supplements and foods for CFS

In my experience as a practitioner, supplements and herbs that increase immune activity and boost circulation, as well as help to regulate adaptogenic responses in the body, can be of benefit for CFS patients. Adaptogenic responses are the way the whole body system “adapts” to, or deals with stress and illness, particularly the adrenal glands. When a person is chronically stressed, physically, mentally and emotionally, the adrenals become exhausted, and stress and fatigue becomes much more severe. Providing adrenal and whole body immune support with adaptogenic herbs is important in treating CFS.

A unique mushroom formula has been proven to boost immune activity, and also removes toxins. It has also been shown to elevate suppressed vital energy in the body, a key issue for CFS patients. The mushrooms in this formula are chosen for their natural immune and energy enhancing properties, but they are also grown on a proprietary blend of herbs, some of which have adaptogenic properties. This unique process gives the formula much greater potency in terms of increasing immune activity, increasing the body’s vital energy, and helping to regulate stress responses.

Another supplement I recommend is a targeted circulation formula with ingredients that have been shown to increase circulation, reduce hyper viscosity and blood clotting, reduce inflammation, and provide antioxidant support. It’s a unique combination of two medicinal mushrooms, several Chinese herbs, as well as Nattokinase and L-Carnitine. The synergistic effects of these ingredients can provide significant support for CFS patients in helping to treat some of the associated issues such as reduced circulation, hyperviscosity, chronic inflammation, and lowered antioxidant activity.

An anti-inflammation diet, high in antioxidant rich foods and green leafy and cruciferous vegetables and low in sugars and processed foods, can also be of benefit to CFS patients. If a person’s diet is a typical SAD (Standard American Diet) high in sugars, trans-fats, and processed foods, switching to a healthier more nutrient rich diet may cause initial discomfort and cleansing reactions, similar to some CFS symptoms. It is important to have the guidance of a practitioner experienced in whole-food nutrition to help you through if you are not familiar with this terrain.

Also, since food allergies can sometimes trigger CFS symptoms, it is a good idea to pay close attention to your bodies reactions to certain foods, and if necessary, ask your doctor to check for antibodies to specific allergens along with other diagnostics for food sensitivities.

Heavy metal toxicity and toxic body burden from other environmental toxins, is also a possible underlying culprit in contributing to CFS. I highly recommend doing heavy metal toxicity testing. If tests come back with high levels of toxic metals, the best course of treatment is a combination of modified citrus pectin and alginates, clinically shown to remove toxic metals from the body safely. If heavy metal detoxification is a course of treatment, the removal of mercury amalgams if present in dental fillings is also recommended. A holistic dentist who specializes in this type of dentistry is necessary.

Ancient approaches meet modern science

While looking forward at modern science breakthroughs, taking a look “backward” at the ancient wisdom of health and healing is just as important. One of the issues of CFS is not really that the person does not have enough energy, but that they are unable to properly access it. A key element in addressing this is creating movement and clearing “blockages” in the person on all levels: physical, emotional, psychological and spiritual. A “scientific correlation” to this is hyperviscosity, resulting in inflammation and lack of oxygen to the tissue. So, hyperbaric oxygen therapies may be of help CFS patients. Using herbs and nutrients that boost the circulation, and medicinal mushrooms which remove toxins while supporting the immune system, are again helpful. The ancient wisdom of acupuncture, yoga, Qi-Gong, and other therapies to help energetic flow can also be of great benefit.

Maintaining a healthy immune system and stress response with proper diet, supplementation and stress reduction techniques that help to move vital energy, such as meditation, yoga, and Qi Gong, can significantly contribute to a wellness plan for CFS. Testing for hormonal imbalances, enzyme and nutrient deficiencies, heavy metals and toxins, allergies, and viral infections are also steps in helping to establish a correct diagnosis.

Treating CFS is a multilayered approach that may include dietary, supplemental and lifestyle modifications which may seem daunting, especially if it takes some time to notice results. However, it is important to keep in mind that every effort is worth the reward. With time and consistency, and the help of dedicated practitioners, improvement will come and balance can be regained.

For more health and wellness information, visit www.dreliaz.org

Dr. Isaac Eliaz

By Dr. Isaac Eliaz

Dr. Isaac Eliaz is a renowned integrative medical doctor, licensed acupuncturist, researcher, product formulator and frequent guest lecturer. He has been a pioneer in holistic medicine since the early 1980s, and has published numerous peer-reviewed research papers on several of his key integrative health formulas. He is the founder and medical director of Amitabha Clinic in California, an integrative health center specializing in cancer and chronic conditions. Dr. Eliaz is an expert in using highly strategic, synergistic protocols to address numerous areas of health including metastatic cancer, immunity, digestion, detoxification, diabetes, cardiovascular health and more. His approach integrates modern science with traditional healing wisdom for optimal health and wellness. To download any of Dr. Eliaz's comprehensive wellness guides, click here.