Chronic fatigue is commonly associated with overuse of the adrenal gland, known as adrenal exhaustion. Stress, the excess use of artificial stimulants (including caffeine), and viruses (including herpes virus 6 and Epstein Barr virus) can all cause chronic fatigue. But chronic fatigue syndrome is not so simple. It may also be caused by other viruses, immune system disorders, or low blood pressure. In most instances, chronic fatigue is diagnosed when all of the above conditions are ruled out and no other explanation for the symptoms can be found. Typical symptoms include:
- constant fatigue, no matter how much sleep you get and lasting more than six months
- difficulty mustering energy for normal functions
- tenderness of the lymph nodes and muscles
- light headedness
- mental cloudiness and memory loss
- decreased libido
You may also experience disturbed sleep patterns, mood swings, headache, and loss of appetite.
What Causes Chronic Fatigue?
The exact cause of CFS remains unknown, making the condition difficult to treat. Following is a summary of the possible causes of CFS:
- Adrenal Depletion: Drink a lot of coffee? Have a stressful life? Then you may be at risk for adrenal exhaustion, also called adrenal depletion, which often manifests as chronic fatigue.
- Viruses and Immune System Dysfunction: Epstein Barr virus and human herpes virus 6 have been linked to CFS, although some say these are not directly responsible for CFS. Excess Candida albicans (a yeast like fungus found normally in the body) is also often present in those who suffer from CFS.
- Low Blood Pressure: Studies show that low blood pressure is a common condition in CFS patients and that increasing blood pressure can improve energy in most cases.
Treatments for Chronic Fatigue
The most important thing you can do for chronic fatigue caused by adrenal exhaustion is to support your adrenal glands (see Adrenal Imbalance). If your condition is caused by a virus, then use antiviral herbs and food therapies:
- Maca root
- St. John’s wort
- Garlic extract
- Green tea and green tea extract
- Una de Gato, or Cat’s Claw, from the Amazon (scientific name, Uncaria tomentosa).
- Refer to Infection (Viral) for more information.
To augment and balance low blood pressure:
- Take an iron supplement.
- Eat Spirulina to aid in the body’s absorption of minerals and help balance blood sugar levels.
- Eat foods rich in bioflavonoids, such as red grapes, green tea, bilberry, hawthorn root, and gotu kola.
- Eat antioxidant rich foods.
- Refer to Blood Pressure (Low) for more details about treating low blood pressure.
Some experts believe that Chronic Fatigue is as much a neuro emotional based problem as it is a physical or biochemical based problem. When all the other possible explanations have been ruled out, and symptoms remain, then you are diagnosed with Chronic Fatigue, In other words, Chronic Fatigue is the medical establishment saying, “We don’t know what’s wrong with you.” At this point, it would be wise to look into possible causes not associated with typical solutions, including (or maybe especially) emotional and psychological causes. Losing the will to continue, chronic hopelessness, depression, and shock or trauma can all cause the symptoms associated with CFS.
Chronic fatigue is often mistaken for Lyme disease; be sure you are tested for this if you are experiencing CFS symptoms.