Blossoming Health with Nanny Bee
By Linda Pecone
Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) has been described like getting the worst flu you have ever had, times 10, that never gets better. CFS currently affects more than one million Americans, striking more people than multiple sclerosis and many forms of cancer. The main characterization of CFS is a persistent fatigue. A fatigue which can last for several months and does not improve rest. It doesn’t begin from any underlying condition, and its onset is usually very sudden. For
some, symptoms can last a lifetime. Other symptoms can be a persistent sore throat, frequent headaches, sleep disturbances, low-grade fever and chills, poor concentration, impaired memory, tender lymph nodes, digestive disturbances, and general muscle weakness.
Mainstream practitioners generally treat CFS with antidepressants and painkillers as, though it is experienced in the body, mainstream practitioners believe it to be a mental condition which creates it. These medications can provide short-term relief, but rarely do they result in long term remission of symptoms. In order to shift chronic fatigue, you must understand and treat the root cause of it. For most, this will be adrenal fatigue or an underlying inflammatory or autoimmune condition.
Those that suffer with CFS typically require long periods of time off work. This can place a great strain on relationships and brings general feelings of unhappiness or helplessness, and it can be financially draining. However, there are some natural therapies which can provide a successful way to reverse chronic fatigue by healing the body one step at a time. Studies show that some of the best results have been seen by focusing on boosting the immune, adrenal and liver function. Enhancing the immune defenses helps to reduce systemic inflammation and restore the adrenal glands.
Stress can also be a major cause of inflammation, and it upsets our adrenal glands. When we perceive a situation as stressful, the body triggers its stress response and goes into ‘fight or flight’ mode. When this is triggered, the adrenals glands release adrenaline and various other stress hormones such as cortisol. This then triggers the release of stored glucose back into the bloodstream to give us a quick burst of energy. While, at the same time, our non-essential functions like digestion, immunity and reproduction are suppressed. This response is helpful when we are actually in real danger, but in a prolonged state it can be detrimental to our body’s health and wellbeing. If not addressed, this acts as a stepping stone to CFS.
A great place to start is a good food cleanse. Clear out all of the processed foods and sugars and add lots of fresh organic foods. Start as close to nature as you can. Try adding nourishing juices, soups, and smoothies.
You will want to avoid stimulants. Cut out the coffee, black tea and soda. Caffeine triggers adrenaline to be released into the body, eliciting a ‘fight or flight’ response. Excessive caffeine intake places a huge burden on the adrenals and also reduces the absorption of key nutrients including calcium, magnesium and iron. Dandelion lattes are an excellent alternative, with a similar taste and the added benefit of supporting healthy liver function.
Here’s my favorite recipe from Elana’s Pantry-FoodMatter.com:
4 dandelion tea bags
1 Teeccino tea bag, you can find these at Vitamin Cottage or order them online from Thrive
1 cup hot water
½ cup full fat coconut milk
Sweetener of your choice, I use 6 drops vanilla monkfruit sweetener
Bring water to a boil, place tea bags in a large mug. Pour water over tea bags, and steep 12 minutes (then discard bags) Heat coconut milk to a simmer in a saucepan. Pour dandelion tea, coconut milk, and sweetener into a blender, blend for 30 seconds. Enjoy!
Up your essential fatty acids. Add omega-3 rich foods daily such as wild-caught oily fish (salmon, trout and tuna), hemp seeds, chia seeds, flax seeds or walnuts. These foods help to regulating moods and minimize stress. They also have an adaptogenic and anti-inflammatory effect, both of which help the body to heal from CFS.
Boost your B’s - Consume one of the following foods daily: eggs, organic poultry, brown rice and leafy greens. These foods are all high in B vitamins, which are crucial in CFS sufferers as long term stress depletes the body’s store of these vitamins, particularly B5, B6 and B12. These vitamins are essential for immune function, energy metabolism & blood cell production).
Take your Vitamin C - Consume foods rich in vitamin C daily or use a wholefood supplement (4 g daily). Try adding oranges, capsicum, kale, berries, broccoli and
Brussels sprouts. These foods contain powerful antioxidants that have the ability to improve immunity and aid detoxification in the body).
Get enough Magnesium, take 500 mg of magnesium chelate before bed each night. Magnesium is involved in over 300 processes in the body, many of which relate to the brain. As such, deficiencies are associated with mental disorders such as fatigue, loss of concentration, headaches, depression, insomnia and irritability. As it is often deficient from our food supply, it is good to utilize a good quality supplement
Some adaptogenic herbs to try, with the guidance of a herbalist, are Withania, Rhodiola, Korean Ginseng and Siberian Ginseng. These herbs are unique healing plants which provide support and nourishment to the adrenals when the body is under stress.
CoQ10 is a powerful antioxidant which can facilitate cellular respiration within the body. Supplementation has been found to reduce symptoms of fatigue in CFS patients as it helps to restore cellular function and reduce oxidation, which is often heightened during times of stress. Start with 400mg
Don’t skip the probiotics. Take 50 billion units daily. Probiotics recolonize the gut with healthy bacteria which is crucial in CFS as one of the main contributing factors to the onset of this condition is altered gut microbiota. Additionally, it can improve mucosal barrier function which is important as many people suffer Leaky Gut Syndrome at the same time. Lastly, it may positively influence mood in patients where both emotional symptoms and inflammatory immune signals are elevated.
Last but not least, relax, mediate, take a bath, listen to relaxing music, and keep a gratitude journal. Find gentle ways to keep fit such as tai chi or yoga.
Our bodies are simply not designed to keep up with the constant bombardment of stress triggers that we are exposed to on a daily basis, whether that be a work email, an overdue bill or an argument. This poses an issue as the body struggles to differentiate between the various forms of stress. Consequently, it produces the same response each time, regardless of whether you are in a life-threatening situation or just struggling to meet a looming work deadline. While the body’s stress response is incredibly valuable in survival situations where it provides quick energy & focus, it is not designed to be consistently triggered. You can now see why the chronic stress we experience today is having such a large burden on our health, and can often result in CFS.
Linda Pecone, along with her husband, is a long time resident of Lyons Colorado. She has a degree in nutrition, and is a certified herbalist. She enjoys creating healthful recipes for families and pets. She is also the owner of The Lyons Little Yellow Wellness House on Second Avenue.