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Chronic Fatigue Syndrome | What Causes CFS?

What Causes CFS?

The following article was adapted and reprinted by permission of Delicious Magazine.

Guiltinan: The cause of CFS is still unclear. It was initially thought that the Epstein-Barr virus caused CFS, since levels of antibodies to the Epstein-Barr virus are elevated in many CFS patients. There's little research to support this hypothesis, however. Many people believe that another infectious agent, such as a virus, is the causative agent.  Others believe it is not an infection at all, and may be due to disruption of the immune or endocrine systems.

Regardless of the cause, the result is a derangement of the immune response, causing many of the symptoms listed in What You Should Know — Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.

What type of doctor or doctors should I see if I suspect I have CFS?

Guiltinan: You can see any type of doctor if you suspect you have chronic fatigue syndrome.  Naturopathic doctors are more likely to evaluate the underlying contributions and treat you with a comprehensive program to encourage your body to restore balance and wellness.

What type of treatment for chronic fatigue might help me?

Guiltinan: Several types of treatment for chronic fatigue syndromes have, in my experience, been helpful. First of all, patience is a requirement. Healing from CFS takes a long time in some cases, with frustrating episodes of relapse in between times of feeling good. Dietary changes, exercise, botanical medicines, certain nutrients, psychological support-each focused on restoring on restoring balance to the immune system -are all used by naturopaths. Improving gastrointestinal function and liver function are also important. Homeopathy can help boost energy in some CFS patients.

Dietary recommendations

  • Few animal products
  • Organic, unprocessed vegetables, fruits, whole grains, legumes, soy products
  • Avoidance of sugar, refined carbohydrates, alcohol and caffeine

Nutritional supplements (To support immune system)

  • Vitamins A, C, E, B5
  • Zinc, magnesium, calcium

Botanical medicines

  • Licorice (Glycyrrhiza glabra): anti-inflammatory, antiviral, protects liver, supports adrenal glands.
  • Siberian ginseng (Eleutherococcus senticosus): adrenal support.
  • Astragalus (Radix astragalus): tonifying, builds resistance.
  • Ganoderma (Ganoderma lucidum): tonifying, supports immune system.
  • Burdock (Arctium lappa): tonifying, supports immune system.
  • Goldenseal (Hydrastis canadensis): improves liver function, immunosupportive.
  • Echinacea (Echinacea angustifolia): antiviral, supports immune system.
  • St. John's wort (Hypericum perforatum): antidepressant, helps improve appetite.

Writer: Bastyr staff writer
Date: 2000

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The health information contained in this site is not intended as medical advice and should not be considered a substitute for appropriate medical care. Any products mentioned in studies cited in Healthnotes articles are not necessarily endorsed by Bastyr. As with any product, consult with a natural health practitioner to discuss what may be best for you.

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