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Many people turn to supplements to combat the persistent tiredness and flu like symptoms that characterize this poorly understood and disabling disorder. Although no one knows its cause, a weakened immune system may be a factor.
Continuing or recurring fatigue lasting at least six months and not relieved by sleep or rest.
Memory loss, inability to concentrate, headaches.
Low-grade fever, muscle or joint aches, sore throat, or swollen lymph nodes in neck or armpits.
When to Call Your Doctor
Fatigue that lasts longer than two weeks or is accompanied by sudden weight loss, muscle weakness, or other unusual symptoms may signal other, more serious ailments.
Fatigue can be a side effect of certain medications. Your doctor can rule out other possible and often correctable causes.
Have your doctor monitor your progress even if you are improving or if fatigue worsens despite home treatment.
Reminder: If you have a medical condition, talk to your doctor before taking supplements.
What It Is
Marked by profound and persistent exhaustion, chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) affects more women than men, most younger than age 50. Patients feel weak and listless much of the time and often have difficulty sleeping, concentrating, and performing daily tasks; many also have underlying depression. Doctors disagree about whether CFS is a specific condition or a group of unrelated symptoms not attributable to a single cause.
What Causes It
The specific cause of CFS is unknown, but an impaired immune response may play a role in its onset. People with CFS have other immune disturbances as well: About 65% are allergy sufferers (versus only 20% in the general population), and some have autoimmune disorders such as lupus, in which the immune system attacks the body’s own healthy tissues.
How Supplements Can Help
Supplement therapy aims to restore a healthy immune system, so begin with vitamin C and carotenoids. A powerful immune enhancer, echinacea can be added to the mix; it can be alternated with the herbs astragalus, which has antiviral and immunity-enhancing effects, pau d’arco, which fights many microbes (especially the yeast infections so common in those with low immunity), or goldenseal. For muscle pain, use magnesium too.
What Else You Can Do
Try behavioral counseling and relaxation techniques, such as hypnosis or meditation, to manage stress and treat any underlying depression.
Get a good night’s sleep. If needed, use supplements for insomnia, such as valerian, melatonin, or 5-HTP.
Mild aerobic exercise may be excellent for chronic fatigue syndrome, according to a recent study in the British Medical Journal. After a 12-week program of walking, swimming, or biking from 5 to 30 minutes a day, 55% of CFS patients felt “much” or very much better. Relaxation and stretching exercises may also work. But start and proceed slowly: If you do too much, you may suffer a setback. It may help to keep an energy diary-to record peaks and ebbs of energy-and plan your schedule around the times you routinely feel the best.
Dosage: 2,000 mg 3 times a day.
Comments: Reduce dose if diarrhea develops.
Dosage: 2 pills mixed carotenoids a day with food.
Comments: Each pill should supply 25,000 IU vitamin A activity.
Dosage: 400 mg once a day.
Comments: Take with food; reduce dose if diarrhea develops.
Dosage: 200 mg twice a day.
Comments: Standardized to contain at least 3.5% echinacosides. Limit consecutive use to 3 weeks or rotate with other herbs.
Dosage: 100-300 mg twice a day.
Comments: Standardized to contain at least 0.8% eleutherosides.
Dosage: 200 mg 3 times a day.
Comments: Standardized to contain 22% glycyrrhizin or glycyrrhizinic acid; can raise blood pressure.
Dosage: 500 mg twice a day.
Comments: Take with meals. Provides adrenal gland support.
Dosage: 200 mg standardized extract twice a day.
Comments: Rotate in 3-week cycles with echinacea and pau d’arco.
Dosage: 250 mg twice a day.
Comments: Standardized to contain 3% naphthoquinones.
Disclaimer: This information is not meant to be a substitute for professional medical advise or help. It is always best to consult with a Physician about serious health concerns. This information is in no way intended to diagnose or prescribe remedies.This is purely for educational purpose.
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