Nutritional Considerations in Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
by John W. Cartmell, LMP, MS

Published in "Frontier Perspectives" Spr. 2000
The Center for Frontier Sciences at Temple University;
reprinted in Townsend Letter for Doctors and Patients Nov 2001


Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) is associated with long-term problems of fatigue or exhaustion inconsistent with the amount of physical exertion, persisting for 6 months or longer.  It generally does not respond to rest and often results in extreme debilitation. Symptoms may include problems with concentration, reading or comprehension, blurred vision or pain in the eyes, and increased sensitivity to temperatures, odors, foods, allergies or chemicals.  Symptoms of chest pain, irregular heart beat, digestive problems, muscle twitching or cramps are also common. 

Like many diseases, CFS symptoms may be related to more than one cause, including toxicities from industrial chemicals or prescribed medications, chronic infection, trauma injury, excess stress, and imbalances in thyroid, pituitary or adrenal hormones.

Certainly any disease can be caused or made worse if nutrition is inadequate to support health. Two models of adrenal insufficiency - one caused by an imbalance in water osmolarity, the other by inadequate intake or digestion of nutrients - suggest specific nutritional concerns which may be common in CFS.  In such cases dietary assessment and revision may offer the best approach to treatment and cure.

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