Saturday, September 18, 2010

Stop Chronic Fatigue; Start Promoting Lifelong Wellness!

Robert W. Horovitz, B.Sc., ND
Naturopathic Doctor
The Lifelong Wellness Company Inc.
Active Health Centre
5871 Hwy 7 E
Markham, ON L3P 1A3
Clinic: (905) 294-0454


In a high stressed, over worked society, it is no surprise that low energy and general fatigue is a common concern, but what if it takes control over your life? What if it interferes with your ability to function at work or participate in family events and even leisure activities? Severe, disabling fatigue is very real and constitutes just one major symptom of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS). Besides having fatigue at least 50% of the time, people with CFS generally present with impairments in concentration, short term memory deficits, and experience musculoskeletal pains as well as sleep disturbances.

With no definitive laboratory test, CFS is extremely difficult to diagnose and the cause is uncertain. Immunologic dysfunction, either idiopathic (unknown origin) or from an infection has long been postulated as a major precipitating factor in the development of CFS. Lyme disease, cytomegalovirus, and human herpes virus 6 are just several of the many possible differentials to consider. Other conditions that mimic symptoms of CFS include but are not limited to hypothyroidism, anemia, and certain forms of cancer. An emerging theory includes hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis dysfunction, whereby our body loses the ability to adequately control the output of our stress hormone cortisol. Ask Robert W. Horovitz Naturopathic Doctor about the 4 point cortisol test along with the implications of cortisol imbalances with respect to fatigue as well as other aspects of your health.

Health food stores across this wonderful nation are promoting various energy boosting products. Whether you are accustomed to a daily vitamin B12 boost, an ultimate morning power shake, or your favourite super food, there are hundreds if not thousands of different ways to naturally enhance your vitality. For someone with suspected CFS however, it may not be as simple as choosing from the long list as just mentioned. That said, there is merit in supporting a healthy stress, immune, and inflammatory response. When choosing the right remedies it is important that your health care practitioner take great care in considering your unique constitution as everyone is different.

Supporting yourself during stressful times definitely requires the proper fuel. Vitamin C and B5 are of noteworthy mention. Camu camu is one of the highest known vitamin C containing fruit in the world and contains anti-inflammatory properties as well. Besides being found in meats, vitamin B5 can be found in relatively high amounts in broccoli and avocados. Perhaps you know of a family member or friend who does not fully take advantage of their corporate health care plan. Imagine going for a relaxing acupuncture treatment after a long hard day at the office. Acupuncture can increase vitality and greatly compliments herbal therapy. Adaptogenic herbs such as Glycyrrhiza glabra (licorice) and Eleutherococcus senticosus have been of particular interest in the area of CFS.

Immune boosting herbs such as Astragalus membranaceus (Astragalus root) and Ganoderma lucidum (Reishi mushroom) are very reasonable choices to consider. Speak to your Naturopathic Doctor about specific therapeutic extracts and keep in mind that individualized dosing is very important. Some herbs should not be taken for a prolong period of time without taking a break. Also depending on the state of immune dysfunction, sometimes immune boosting herbs may be counterproductive as it may be your immune system that is attacking itself.

Besides having a wide array of immune boosting properties garlic is anti-inflammatory. Moreover it is tremendously cardio protective. Turmeric, which is probably one of the more popular anti-inflammatory herbs is also somewhat anti-viral. The whole rhizome is often best for long term use as its various compounds work in synergy to promote Lifelong Wellness. Otherwise, curcumin (the yellow-orange pigment of turmeric) can be used therapeutically as it is more potent with regard to specific actions.

Certain food sensitivities can lead to headaches, muscle aches, GI disturbances and are worth looking into. Common foods to watch out for are gluten containing foods, dairy, sugar and non-fermented soy such as tofu. Lastly, Coenzyme Q10 is worth a conversation with your health care provider as it can help with endurance, and is ultimately required for the body to produce energy.

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