Chronic Fatigue Syndrome is a debilitating condition characterized by severe fatigue, muscle and joint pain, and disrupted sleep. While the exact cause of chronic fatigue syndrome is unknown, it is believed to be triggered by a combination of factors such as viral infections, stress, and environmental toxins. Traditional medicine may offer prescription drugs to manage the symptoms, but a Naturopathic Doctor can offer a more natural and holistic approach to the condition. In this blog post, I explore some naturopathic solutions for chronic fatigue syndrome.

1. Diet

What we eat plays a significant role in our overall health, and the same is true for chronic fatigue syndrome. A diet that is high in refined carbohydrates, processed foods, and added sugars can exacerbate the symptoms of chronic fatigue syndrome. Instead, focus on a diet that is rich in whole foods like fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean protein. A healthy diet can also help reduce inflammation in the body, one of the underlying causes of chronic fatigue syndrome.
Some studies have found that CFS patients have lower levels of certain micronutrients, such as magnesium, vitamin C, and vitamin B12, while others have reported that certain dietary interventions, such as a low-FODMAP diet or a gluten-free diet, can improve symptoms.
One study published in the “Journal of Human Nutrition and Dietetics” found that among CFS patients, a low-FODMAP diet led to significant reductions in symptoms such as bloating, abdominal pain, and fatigue. Another study published in the “Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry” found that supplementation with magnesium and malic acid improved pain and energy levels in CFS patients. Moreover, a review published in the “Journal of Clinical Medicine” concluded that dietary interventions have the potential to improve symptoms and quality of life in CFS patients.

2. Exercise

While it may sound counterintuitive, regular exercise can help manage the symptoms of chronic fatigue syndrome. Exercise can help boost energy levels, improve sleep, and reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety.
Several studies suggest that a graded return to exercise can be highly beneficial in the management of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS). Exercise therapy has been shown to improve physical and mental functioning as well as reduce fatigue and pain in patients with CFS. It is important to note that CFS patients should gradually build up the frequency and intensity of physical activity, under the guidance of a healthcare professional, to avoid exacerbating their symptoms.
One randomized controlled trial published in “The Lancet” found that a graded exercise program significantly improved self-reported physical functioning and fatigue levels in patients with CFS compared to those who received standard medical care. Another study published in the “Journal of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome” reported that a graded exercise program reduced symptoms and improved quality of life in patients with CFS. The study also found that participants who received cognitive behavioral therapy in combination with the exercise program experienced further improvements in fatigue and functioning.
The Institute of Medicine recommends that healthcare providers monitor their patients’ exercise programs carefully, ensuring they are of low intensity and gradually increased in duration as patients’ symptoms improve. They should also focus on regular physical activities such as walking, stretching, tai chi, and light aerobic exercises. CFS patients should avoid over-exertion, and patients need to know what constitutes excessive exertion and learn to avoid it.

3. Herbal Remedies

Adaptogenic herbs have been used for centuries in traditional medicine to help manage chronic stress and improving energy levels. Some research suggests that adaptogenic herbs such as Rhodiola Rosea, Ashwagandha, and Ginseng may also be beneficial in managing Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS).
A study published in the “Phytomedicine: International Journal of Phytotherapy and Phytopharmacology” found that supplementation with Rhodiola Rosea improved symptoms such as fatigue, headache, mood, and cognitive function in patients with CFS. Another study published in the “Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine” reported that high-concentration Ashwagandha extract improved energy levels and sleep quality in adults suffering from chronic stress, a condition closely related to CFS.
Ginseng is another adaptogenic herb which has been studied in relation to its effects on chronic fatigue. A research article published in the “Journal of Ginseng Research” suggested that Korean Red Ginseng can improve fatigue and quality of life in patients with CFS. Moreover, a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study published in the “Journal of Human Nutrition and Dietetics ” reported that Panax Ginseng improved mental health, social functioning, and vitality in CFS patients.

4. Acupuncture

Acupuncture has been suggested as a potential complementary therapy for the management of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS). Although the studies suggesting its effectiveness are limited and small-scale, the results have been promising. Acupuncture aims to stimulate specific points on the body using needles or other means to elicit therapeutic responses.
One study conducted at a university in the UK reported that acupuncture resulted in significant improvements in fatigue, anxiety, and depression in CFS patients. Another study published in the “Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine” reported that acupuncture improved sleep quality and reduced fatigue levels in patients with CFS.
A review published in the “Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine” suggested that acupuncture has the potential to improve CFS symptoms such as fatigue and pain. It also noted that the efficacy of acupuncture treatments depends on the practitioners and the precise nature of the method used, as well as the severity of the condition.

5. Mind-Body Techniques

Mind-body therapies such as meditation, yoga, and cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) have increasingly been recognized as effective complementary therapies for the management of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS). Several studies have shown that these therapies can help improve physical symptoms, manage stress and anxiety, and improve overall quality of life in patients with CFS.
One study published in the “Journal of Psychosomatic Research” reported that patients with CFS who participated in a mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) program experienced significant reductions in fatigue, depression, and anxiety. Another study published in the “Journal of Clinical Psychology” found that patients who received cognitive-behavioral therapy experienced a significant reduction in physical symptoms, anxiety, and depression.
Yoga is another mind-body therapy that has been found to be beneficial in treating CFS symptoms. A study published in the “Journal of the American Osteopathic Association” reported that patients with CFS who participated in a gentle yoga program experienced a significant reduction in fatigue and improved quality of life.


Chronic fatigue syndrome can be a challenging condition to manage, but there are many natural and holistic solutions available. Incorporating a healthy diet, regular exercise, herbal remedies, acupuncture, and mind-body techniques can help manage the symptoms of chronic fatigue syndrome and improve overall quality of life. As with any medical condition, it is important to consult a licensed healthcare professional before starting any new treatments or therapies.


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What is PCOS?

Finding an effective treatment for Polycycstic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) is important to me for two distinct reasons. 5-10% of woman are impacted by PCOS in their lifetime making PCOS a common and treatable condition in my Naturopathic practice. The second reason is that it is a condition that my wife has struggled with for many years therefore making it a syndrome that hits close to home.

PCOS is a bit of a misnomer as it is a continuum of symptoms and doesn’t necessarily have to include ovarian cysts. It is however characterized by several common objective findings including irregular periods, infertility, shifts in hormone balance (DHEA, Testosterone, LH, FSH), hirsutism (hair growth on the lip, chin and abdomen), Hair loss (Male pattern head hair loss), acne (typically on the lower jaw), high levels of insulin due to insulin resistance, and unexplained weight gain (especially around the abdomen).

Although we still do not know all the mechanisms involved as to why some women develop PCOS, there does seem to be a genetic component. Environmental toxins such as BPA seem to play a role, and gastrointestinal dysbiosis (unfriendly bacteria in the gut) plays a role as well.

Conventional Treatment for PCOS

Some of the more common conventional treatments of PCOS include birth control pill (to regulate irregular periods and hormone levels), metformin (a insulin sensitizing drug that helps to control blood sugar levels commonly used in diabetes), and spironolactone (a diuretic that also has the ability to block a type of testosterone formation called DHT). While these treatments can be helpful in the short-term they do not always address the root cause of PCOS and therefore ultimately fail in the long term. Some of these causes include hormone disrupters in the environment and diet, and gastrointestinal dysbiosis (leading to the production of inflammatory compounds that compromise insulin function).

Holistic Treatment for PCOS

Luckily there are relatively easy and low cost solutions to many of the fundamental causes of PCOS. As a Naturopathic Doctor I have the privilege and ability to take a detailed medical history. Doing so can point me in the direction(s) as to where these foundational imbalances are occurring. For instance if the patient has a history of gastrointestinal concerns, (constipation, diarrhea, gastritis, colitis) that informs me to focus investigation on the gastrointestinal tract. If a patients main concern is infertility and irregular periods I will shift focus into hormone balance. It may also be the case that a patient has several concern at the same time, which is not uncommon in PCOS. Once I know where to focus we can run specialized tests such as comprehensive stool analysis, female hormone panels, nutrient level panels, food sensitivity testing and environmental toxins. This aids in narrowing down where to implement the bulk of the treatment protocol. There are some general recommendations that are sure to aid all women with PCOS such as exercise, reduced carbohydrate diets and lowering exposure to petrochemicals. However, the medical history and specialized testing can be a guide for more specific recommendations.

Functional Testing for PCOS

A nutrients panel test can help determine if there are specific nutritional deficiencies such as low levels of vitamin D, vitamin A and omega-3 fatty acids, which tend to be common in PCOS. A female hormone panel can determine if there are specific imbalances with sex hormones. These imbalances can potentially be corrected with dietary recommendations, bio-identical  hormone replacement, and nutraceutical supplements. Evidence of dysbiosis in gut from a stool analysis can be reversed with dietary recommendations that promote colonization of helpful butyrate producing bacteria. Nutraceuticals containing antibiotic herbs can preferentially kill harmful bacteria while protecting good bacteria. Probiotic supplements containing specific strains of bacteria and prebiotic fibre can be very effective. Food sensitivity testing can help confirm if there are specific foods in the diet that are activating an immune response, causing further inflammation in the gut. Environmental toxin analysis would shed light on high levels of exposure to particular toxins, most of which are known hormone disruptors. Even the simple testing of insulin levels and blood sugar can lead to recommendations for easily accessible compounds like inositol, L-carnitine and chromium which can effectively increase insulin sensitivity.


The take home message is that PCOS is an extremely common and often disruptive condition for a significant amount of women worldwide. The conventional treatment of PCOS often does not provide long term solutions and can have significant side effects. Simple and inexpensive solutions through dietary, supplement and lifestyle recommendations can address the root causes of PCOS and bring about significant symptom relief with long-term sustainability. I therefore encourage anyone suffering from PCOS who hasn’t found an effective solution to contact a local Naturopathic Doctor or Functional Medicine Doctor for an assessment. If you would like to contact me, you can do so through the appointment page by clicking the link in the menu bar. The sooner you start to address the root causes the easier and quicker long lasting symptom relief can be achieved. That being said, implementation of a functional medicine approach to PCOS will undoubtably be helpful at any stage and at any age.


Patient focused integrative health care. Utilizing effective natural approaches designed to be used alone or to compliment conventional medical care.


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