Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

Reprinted from Nature's Field Vol. 14
by Judith G. Cobb, MH, CI, RNC

Don't forget to read about Parasites (below) which could very well cause EBV or Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS), which is caused by the Epstein-Barr virus (EBV), is reaching epidemic proportions. Its symptoms range from mild (like a cold that won't go away) to severe and critical (as in energy so low that thinking about lifting one's head off the pillow is exhausting).

It has been determined that most people are exposed to EBV when they are young children. At that time, they probably manifested mild symptoms of a bad cold.

Adolescents and young adults who are exposed for the first time generally come down with Mononucleosis. For those who are over thirty years old and are being exposed for the first time, the symptoms are Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.

The more well documented symptoms include prolonged and debilitating fatigue, intermittent low-grade fever, sudden onset of multiple allergies, chronic sore throat, swollen glands, difficulty in concentrating, arthritic symptoms, migraines, and psychological disturbances (particularly depression).
The disease also drains mental, physical, emotional, and immunological strength, not to mention the fact that it generally causes severe flair-ups of preexisting conditions like Ankylosing Spondylitis and Arthritis.

Generally the immune system will respond to a viral invasion by increasing the number of white blood cells. In people with CFS, the immune system is weakened and the EBV will generally have its way. People with EBV usually produce antibodies against their own tissue which leads to a direct assault on nerves, muscles, proteins, endocrine glands, and the liver. This can manifest as peripheral nerve pain, numbness, seizures, and paralysis.
Most CFS sufferers also go through Hepatitis.

Hepatitis is a word from Latin roots which means inflammation of the liver.
The different types of hepatitis are named according to the source of the inflammation, which may be viral or chemical.

Hepatitis A is an infectious hepatitis that can be transmitted through poor sanitary conditions such as food handlers or child care workers not washing their hands.

Hepatitis B, or serum hepatitis, is also infectious and is passed through a blood transfusion or other contact with blood. It is often transmitted through dirty needles or sex. The causes of other types of hepatitis are less clear, but the result is always the same inflammation of liver tissue.

Complications of EBV
EBV can lead to complications. One of the biggest is strep throat. The use of antibiotics for strep throat in EBV patients must be done very carefully as the antibiotics can have a serious immune suppressing action the very thing someone with EBV does not need. Some of the symptoms of strep throat include fever and sore throat. A fever (up to 103 degrees F) stimulates the immune system further. For this reason, low-grade fevers usually should not be broken with fever-reducing medications. Sometimes it is even desirable to stimulate a warmer body temperature by taking a warm bath for about a half hour or putting hot compresses over the liver. This can stimulate the immune response.

Another fairly common complication is Candida albicans overgrowth, also known as yeast infection. Symptoms of yeast include the typical mouth, genitourinary and feet complaints. Less well known symptoms include digestive disturbances from gas and bloating to abdominal pain, emotional problems, sleep and energy problems, weight problems, allergy symptoms, etc.

Of course, the only way to deal with yeast infection is with anti-yeast protocol including diet and supplements. Typically, beyond the anti-yeast diet (which is described later), someone with yeast problems would be looking at using supplements such as High Potency Garlic, Lymphomax, IN-X and Echinacea. These supplements stimulate the immune response and enable it to fight the yeast on its own. He who has EBV will probably have yeast, which also means he will probably have allergies and hypoglycemia. Its no wonder these people feel so crummy.
So what can one do to overcome EBV?

Four Winds Nutrition suggests:

Overcoming EBV
Life-style is the starting point. Sleep is critical. Because of the energy cycle of the liver, it is very important for EBV sufferers to be in bed by 9:00 PM as the liver goes through its regeneration cycle from 9:00 PM to 3:00 AM. If insomnia is a problem, taking about 1000 mg. of calcium (as an amino acid chelate) about one hour before going to bed can be helpful.

Calcium has been shown to inhibit the reproduction of EBV as well as promote the balancing of the neurotransmitters which promote sleep. What about the magnesium component of the calcium-magnesium duo? In the case of EBV this mineral duo works best when split.

(in the form of an amino acid chelate) should be taken in the morning in this case as this mineral activates the liver and promotes the release of bile.

Vitamin A
is another essential nutrient for someone with EBV. Of course, since vitamin A is an antioxidant and is also used in immune responses by mucous membranes, among other organs, it is feasible to expect that vitamin A will be used rapidly by people with compromised immune systems. It is preferable when working with EBV to use beta-carotene as this is stored in the liver in a nontoxic form and can be converted to vitamin A on an as needed basis.

Focus on vegetables such as broccoli, spinach, and sweet potato. I like to use our Milk Thistle Combination for the beta-carotene content because this formula also contains milk thistle extract which has been shown in controlled studies done in Europe to help regenerate a liver after damage.

Vitamin C is very important. Macrophages (specialized white blood cells) are more active in the presence of vitamin C. Natural vitamin C does not cause the problems with creating kidney stones that pure ascorbic acid does. The Nature's Sunshine C Citrus Bioflavonoids has natural source vitamin C with the bioflavonoids which are needed to ensure the most complete assimilation possible. Vitamin C is water soluble which means any excess is eliminated quite quickly through the urine. It is, therefore, essential to take small amounts periodically throughout the day to minimize overloading and spilling off.

is another important mineral when working against EBV. Macrophages are more active in the presence of zinc. Zinc should be used in an amino acid chelate form.

The B vitamins are especially important if there is liver impairment. These vitamins are critical in more than sixty enzyme reactions in the body.

Magnesium helps the B vitamins do their job more efficiently as far as the liver is concerned. According to Stoff and Pellegrino in The Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, the Hidden Epidemic, it is more effective to take the nutritional supplements as individual supplements rather than using a multivitamin/mineral tablet.

is a herb that has been found very useful in stimulating the immune response. It seems to be excellent in challenging EBV, Candida, and chronic inflammatory conditions. I have also found High Potency Garlic to be very helpful. Because this product is odor-controlled (not odorless) it has a very strong impact on the immune system. Lymphomax is another tremendous formula for stimulating the immune system and getting it back on track (also check the Immune Stimulator).

Mild exercise every day is very important. Always stop before reaching exhaustion. This is especially important when the EBV seems to be coming under control and energy is more abundant. Know when to stop. Aerobic exercise is best. Ultimately, one should work up to fast walking, swimming, bicycling, hiking, or cross country skiing, but always starting where one can and doing what one can on a regular basis.
Diet is an extremely important part of controlling EBV. The diet is tough, but adherence to it will speed the recovery process up tremendously.
Foods to severely limit or eliminate include red meat, dairy products (except for butter), deep-fried foods, coffee, tea, alcohol, soft drinks, chocolate, and sugar.

Smokers should quit
If yeast is a problem, one will also need to eliminate all baked goods made with yeast, all fermented and aged foods including alcoholic beverages, cheese, and vinegar, all juices and fruits, all dried fruits, mushrooms, and vitamins which contain yeast in their tablets.
Chronic Fatigue Syndrome is an overwhelming condition to have but it can be overcome with diligent application of good natural health practices and the appropriate supplements. People with CFS can lead a normal life.