Many people feel tired all the time, usually due to blood sugar problems or lack of nutrients, but chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) is something different. People with CFS often talk about becoming exhausted after eating and after exercise or any mildly strenuous activity. I have found, in almost all cases, chronic fatigue can be solved by answering five questions:
Is there an underlying thyroid problem? Is there an underlying blood sugar problem?
(In which case my low GL diet works wonders.)
Is there a methylation problem?
(this requires homocysteine testing.)
Is there an unidentified food intolerance?
(I recommend Yorktest’s IgG food indicator test to explore this option)
Is there an underlying detoxification problem?
Solving any of these common causes of chronic fatigue can transform how you feel very quickly.
Amanda-Jane, aged 33, is a case in point. She was suffering from chronic fatigue syndrome. In truth, her health had never been the same since a big car accident ten years ago. After the car accident, she had frequent chest infections and very low energy. In fact, sometimes she could barely walk. Because chronic fatigue is sometimes a symptom of poor methylation, I recommended that Amanda-Jane have her homocysteine level checked. She was shocked when she found her H score was 25.9 units, significantly higher than the ideal 6 units score. Consequently, she went on my homocysteine-lowering diet, which means more folate-rich vegetables (such as greens and beans), less meat and more fish, beans and lentils for protein, garlic every day, and no salt, caffeinated drinks, or alcohol. She also took homocysteine-lowering supplements, which provided 1,200 mcg of folic acid, 1,500 mcg of methylcobalamin (a methylated type of B12), 150 mg of B6, 45 mg of B2, 30 mg of zinc and 2,250 mg of TMG (trimethylglycine). Almost immediately her sleep improved, and within four weeks she had much more energy. Two months later she retested her homocysteine level and found it had dropped to 9.4 units—that’s a 64 percent decrease! But the real proof is Amanda-Jane’s own experience. “I feel much better. I’m very busy right now, and in the past I’d feel overwhelmed and not able to cope, both mentally and physically, but now I feel great. My mood is very positive—no panic or depression. I feel buoyant, energetic and enthusiastic. I’m sleeping much better and my PMS has disappeared—I am really delighted and will continue this approach, not quite so strictly, but at a level that I can easily maintain for life.” In Amanda’s case methylation was the key issue, but for you it may be something else.
Here’s what you need to check for:
Balance your blood sugar
Certainly the most common cause for fatigue is blood sugar problems or a lack of nutrients, especially B and C vitamins, which are vital for turning food into energy. If you have pronounced energy dips if you haven’t eaten, and crave sweet foods, then it is really important to start following a low glycemic load (GL) diet, as explained in my book The Low GL Diet Bible. Also associated with blood sugar problems is adrenal fatigue, often linked to overuse of stimulants. Also, it is important to reduce your stress level – see my Special Report on HeartMath. But true chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) is something different. People with CFS often talk about becoming exhausted after eating, rather than energised, and after exercise or any mildly strenuous activity. This is often due to liver detoxification issues (see below).
Check your thyroid
Another common cause is an underactive thyroid gland, which produces the hormone thyroxine, which is vital for keeping your energy level good. The classic symptoms are fatigue, low sex drive, low body temperature, weight gain, poor memory, dry skin and constipation. Your thyroid function can be tested by your doctor. See my Special Report on ‘Unexplained fatigue: could your thyroid have the answer?’
Are you suffering from digestion problems or hidden food allergies?
Many CFS sufferers complain of digestion related problems such as bloating, indigestion and abdominal pain. Often CFS relates to poor liver detoxification (see below) but such problems usually start in the gut, which is the barrier between your food and your bloodstream.
The epithelial cells that make up your digestive tract form a barrier less than half a piece of paper thick – and this is easily damaged by alcohol, food allergens, antibiotics, but most of all by painkillers, of which the average person takes 373 a year! As a consequence incompletely digested food particles can cross the barrier, against which the immune system reacts resulting in the development of a food intolerance or allergy.
If your chronic fatigue comes and goes, or gets better when you are eating a very different diet, perhaps on holiday abroad, it may be that you have developed hidden food allergies or intolerances. This is something worth checking for. Yorktest offer a FoodScan home-test-kit to discover your intolerances. In the meantime it is worth supplementing a combination of digestive enzymes, which help to break down your food completely, beneficial bacteria to reinoculate the ......
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