Chronic fatigue syndrome, commonly referred to as myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS), has no single standard treatment. There are, however, many ways to manage your symptoms and improve your quality of life. One way to do this is to try supplements for CFS.
In today’s blog post, we’ll discuss whether or not supplements are effective, along with the best supplements for CFS. Finally, we’ll go over some other really good ways to improve your CFS symptoms. Let’s get started!
Are Supplements for CFS Effective?
- 1 Are Supplements for CFS Effective?
- 2 What Supplements for CFS Should You Try?
- 3 Other Ways to Improve Your CFS Symptoms
If you have certain specific deficiencies, your doctor might recommend taking a nutritional supplement. Of course, if your doctor recommends supplements for CFS, it’s worth trying them.
But the reality is that little solid evidence exists to say that it will work for everyone. Certain supplements have gone through the process of a double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial. Others have only received self-reported results. In either case, results are mixed and not at all guaranteed.
Make sure to consult your doctor before starting any supplement regime. You can also reach out to your pharmacist for information on possible interactions between supplements and medications. Natural does not always mean safe.
When you’re thinking about supplements for CFS, focus on the symptoms that are affecting you most. Try to choose supplements that are designed to improve those specific symptoms.
Although there isn’t a ton of study-backed evidence, supplements can improve some CFS symptoms!
What Supplements for CFS Should You Try?
Depending on what symptoms you are experiencing, you may want to experiment with different supplements for CFS.
Although everyone is different, there are some supplements for CFS that are widely used.
Some studies indicate that ME/CFS patients tend to have a deficiency in intracellular levels of acylcarnitine. Your body needs carnitine to facilitate the transport of long-chain fatty acids into the cells’ mitochondria. This gives your skeletal system and heart energy!
Symptoms of carnitine deficiency include fatigue, muscle weakness, exercise intolerance, and an irregular heartbeat.
Do not take this supplement if you have hypothyroidism or Hashimoto’s disease.
Antioxidants protect your cells from free radical damage.
They also reduce oxidative stress and improve mitochondrial function, helping your cells produce more energy.
This is a fat-soluble coenzyme that is found in the mitochondria of most mammal cells. It’s also one of the most common supplements for CFS!
CoQ10 has been shown to reduce fatigue, muscle weakness, and pain. It may also reduce cognitive dysfunction!
Essential Fatty Acids
Fatty acids play a key role in maintaining your cell membrane’s structure and function, especially in the nervous system.
Additionally, they can help regulate your immune system. Studies have shown that essential fatty acids are effective supplements for CFS symptoms.
Folic acid is a synthetic form of vitamin B9.
A folate deficiency can cause a form of anemia with symptoms like extreme fatigue, shortness of breath, and even heart palpitations. These supplements help you fight those symptoms.
Taking folic acid supplements can also help improve cognitive function.
Magnesium serves as an anti-inflammatory, which is helpful for chronic fatigue. But it can also combat depression and improve your ability to exercise.
Unfortunately, on its own, magnesium doesn’t absorb well in the body. It’s better to combine it with salt.
Magnesium malate is a salt-bound form of magnesium. It’s been found to help with conditions like CFS that are a result of an overexcited neuromuscular system.
Other Ways to Improve Your CFS Symptoms
Using supplements for CFS isn’t the only way to manage your symptoms. You will see a lot of improvement by making lifestyle changes. Small changes in how you eat or how you move throughout the day can have a big impact. These changes can help improve your symptoms.
If you suffer from symptoms of CFS, you’re probably familiar with the “push-crash cycle.” This is when you overexert yourself on a good day, leading to a crash.
The best way to avoid this is to pace yourself. Learn to listen to your body so that you can recognize the warning signs that you’re reaching your limits.
Stop when you need to stop and take lots of breaks!
Try Exercising When You Can
As a person with ME/CFS, you’ve also probably experienced post-exertional malaise. This can be triggered by even small amounts of exercise.
But if you’re able to, safely incorporating small amounts of exercise into your life can help reduce symptoms.
This can be something low-impact and simple, like walking, tai chi, and yoga. Just remember to start small and increase the length and intensity of your workouts slowly over time.
Focus On Improving Your Sleep Quality
One of the most common symptoms of ME/CFS is experiencing disturbed and unrefreshing sleep.
Take some of the following steps to improve your sleep environment:
- Set a regular bedtime and wake-up time
- Enjoy quiet activities before bed, instead of engaging in exercise or mentally stimulating activities
- From the afternoon onward, avoid caffeine
- Limit alcohol and enjoy a small meal in the evenings
- Keep your bedroom as a sleep sanctuary; don’t bring your computer or phone inside
- Limit your naps to only 30 minutes total throughout the day
- Keep your bedroom quiet, dark, and calming
Try Heating and Cooling to See What Helps
Temperature sensitivity is another common symptom of ME/CFS. It’s sometimes easy to overheat and difficult to cool back down. You can mitigate this symptom by using heating or cooling products. Try taking a warm or cool bath with Epsom salts before bed to optimize your temperature.
If your muscles are uncomfortably tight, you can use heat to soothe them. You can try using a heating pad, hot water bottle, or heated slippers. This will warm you up and relax your muscles at the same time.
Dealing with chronic fatigue syndrome can be frustrating, but there are many approaches you can take. Using supplements for CFS is another approach that has been shown to potentially improve your quality of life.
In addition to medication, you can also mitigate your symptoms by making healthy lifestyle changes.
Finding the right balance to ensure that your symptoms are under control is tricky. But it’s also essential to living a fulfilling life! You can do this.