Don't Get Used to Being Tired. Make a Change.
Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) is a disorder that causes extreme fatigue. This fatigue is not the kind of tired feeling that goes away after you rest. Instead, it lasts a long time and limits your ability to do ordinary daily activities.
Typical symptoms of CFS include fatigue for 6 months or more and experiencing other problems such as muscle pain, memory problems, headaches, pain in multiple joints, sleep problems, sore throat and tender lymph nodes. The exact cause of this disorder is unknown. Some researchers suspect it may be caused by a virus, such as Epstein-Barr virus or human herpes virus-6 (HHV-6), however no specific virus has been identified as the cause.
What is known is that CFS is most common in women in their 40s and 50s, but anyone can have it and can last for years after the onset thereof. Traditional medicine believes that there is no cure for it and that the goal of treatment is to improve symptoms: certain medicines may treat pain, sleep disorders and other problems, but in many cases all that occurs is the masking of symptoms with little or no real long-term relief from the disability.
Our approach to improvement is largely based on Dr. Jacob Teitlebaum’s SHINE Protocol and addresses Sleep, Hormones, Infections and Inflammation, Nutrition and Exercise.
We begin by helping our patients get a minimum of seven or eight hours of deep, restful sleep. Initially we do so through the use of nutritional supplements and if these are not able to accomplish our goal, we will also add prescription sleep medications. Educating our patients to have a better understanding about the body’s hormone-producing organs, otherwise known as the endocrine system, and how the brain orchestrates this system helps to see the connection to CFS. We measure levels of thyroid hormones, adrenal hormones and sex hormones and seek to balance and optimize levels of all of these hormones through the use of gentle, compounded, time-release formulations.
It is true that there is no exact cause for chronic fatigue syndrome, but there is a correlation to what appears to be reduced production of hormones of the adrenal glands as well as reduced cortisol production in these patients. There also appears to be an improper response of these hormones and other hormones due to the lack of one or more hormones to each other. In many cases, persons with CFS have significant reduction in both blood and urine levels of important adrenal hormones including cortisol. In many patients, the adrenal glands are half that of normal persons, however the problem may not be with the adrenals themselves but of the interaction between the neuroendocrine system and the immune system as disturbed in CFS.
With respect to infections, we look for viral causes such as Epstein-Barr virus, various strains of herpes virus, cytomegalovirus and others and treat them with a combination of immune stimulating nutrients and occasionally prescription antivirals. Candida infections are extremely common in patients and we treat these aggressively through diet, supplementation and medication as well. Many patients also suffer a variety of bacterial infections which we treat as needed.
Nutrition and exercise are important components of the program and we have our chronic fatigue syndrome patients visit with our staff nutritionist and exercise trainer to receive personalized instruction in how they can optimize their diet and exercise programs. While CFS is difficult to cure, we have many patients who have experienced dramatic recoveries and moved from disability to being able to return to work, school and many of their normal activities.