Chronic fatigue syndrome, also known also known as myalgic encephalomyelitis or ME, is more common than previously thought with many people believed to be living with the condition undiagnosed.
To give you a quick overview of the illness: it tends to affect more women than men, though exactly why this happens is unclear, and can only be diagnosed after six months of persistent fatigue. The persistent fatigue that is felt by sufferers does not go away with either rest or sleep.
Other symptoms include: sleep problems, muscle or joint pain, headaches, a sore throat or sore glands that aren't swollen, problems thinking, remembering or concentrating, flu-like symptoms, dizziness and sickness and fast or irregular heartbeats.
Currently, there is no treatment for chronic fatigue syndrome, so we’ve suggested six natural ways to deal with the disease and ease the symptoms whilst research develops.
1. Boost your Vitamin B
Research has shown that those who suffer from Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) have a reduced level of B vitamins. The deficiency of vitamin B6 and B12, in particular, could be linked with symptoms of chronic fatigue. Found in fish and organic meats or starchy vegetables, garlic, cooked spinach and hazelnuts, vitamin B6 helps relieve fatigue and can keep your immune system healthy.
Sometimes B vitamins can be a struggle for vegetarians and vegans to get into their diets, Vitamin B12 can be found in some nut milk as well as meat. It is critical for those who suffer from chronic fatigue as it is required for the methylation process: this is the process where compounds are utilised in key functions of the body, immune function, energy production, mood, inflammation and nerve function. When these key functions are not working adequately, chronic conditions such as fatigue are more likely to occur.
Aside from helping the methylation process, vitamin B12 itself can increase energy, helping to stimulate moods to reduce depression. These B vitamins are essential to aiding the treatment of chronic fatigue and stimulating other functions in the body that ease the illness.
A selection of our products
2. Up your Magnesium and Potassium Levels
Studies suggest a link between magnesium deficiency and chronic fatigue syndrome. A lack of red blood cells and magnesium limits how cells in the body function, in fact increasing your magnesium levels can encourage a more restful sleep.
In order to up your intake of magnesium, add some pumpkin seeds or almonds to your meals or include more spinach, avocados, bananas and black beans in your diet.
Some of these foods, as well as sweet potatoes and coconut water, will also help you get your daily dose of potassium too. CFS symptoms are similar to the that of potassium deficiency, so combating this can help reduce fatigue, mood changes and muscle cramps.
3. Rebalance your Candida for a Healthy Gut
Candida comes from diets high in sugar, fruit, alcohol and grains. Those who suffer from high candida can have inflamed immune systems and perforations in the intestinal lining, resulting in leaky gut.
This damaged intestinal lining that is symptomatic of leaky gut syndrome, causes undigested food proteins and bacterial endotoxins to pass into the bloodstream resulting in inflammation throughout the body. Studies show that the increase of endotoxins in the body that come from leaky gut result in higher symptoms of depression and fatigue. So much of your serotonin is made and stored in your gut, so keeping your gut healthy is vital to combating numerous chronic illnesses.
4. Ease Symptoms with CBD
Research into both CBD use and chronic fatigue syndrome is limited, so one thing that CBD oil can help with is easing the symptoms that come with the illness. Chronic fatigue characteristics include inflammation of the brain and spinal cord so CBD’s anti-inflammatory effects could easy inflammation in sufferers. By supporting the immune system and helping to improve energy levels, CBD can help to manage life with chronic fatigue.
Using CBD for chronic fatigue can be helpful for dealing with symptoms such as disturbed or unrefreshing sleep, joint and muscle pain, headaches, depression, inflammation and emotional imbalance.
5. Work in a Workout
Given the energy required for exercise, it’s understandable why those who suffer from chronic fatigue syndrome avoid it: most people with CFS find that over exercising makes their symptoms worse. You might experience further pain after exercise too, as a lack of energy causes muscles to become locked in place resulting in tight muscles and pain post workout.
However, finding the middle ground can help you cope with your chronic fatigue. Exercise is so important to a healthy body and mind, so it must be worked into a routine - or rather a routine for the day you choose to work out should be worked around exercise. For those with little energy to spare, planning your workouts into your schedule should also mean limiting some of the other things you spend your energy on that day in order to conserve energy for your work out.
A study into how exactly to prescribe exercise to those with CFS showed that aerobic activities might be most practical, with just 5- 25 minutes of exercise, five days a week. Particular benefits of a work-out are that it helps with fatigue, increases your mental clarity and reduces feelings of depression.
6. Limit Stress, Increase Rest and Sleep
The obvious answer for those with fatigue; but an inability to get a restful or rejuvenating sleep is one of the issues for chronic fatigue sufferers.
Your rest is more than just sleep, and for chronic fatigue sufferers it should be built into your every day and increased when you schedule exercise, attend occasions or have an increased workload on your plate. Look for times of low energy during your day, if at particular times it decreases then you should reduce your activity and replace it with rest. This helps you with stress, anxiety and exhaustion.
To help get the best out of your sleep, establish a regular bedtime - even on weekends- where you can wind down to ease yourself into sleep and make your room free of electronics and distractions. CBD can also be used to help with sleep, read our article on CBD for a sound sleep.
Whilst the understanding of chronic fatigue syndrome is as limited as the treatments offered, understanding how to manage your own symptoms is a great starting point that will help you get over the hurdles CFS throws at you.