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10/May/2023

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.

Conclusion:

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.

References:

  1. Shepherd SJ, Gibson PR. “Nutritional inadequacies in patients with chronic fatigue syndrome.” Journal of the American College of Nutrition. 2001;20(3): 326-8. doi: 10.1080/07315724.2001.10719003.
  2. Arroll M, et al. “Nutrient intakes in patients with chronic fatigue syndrome.” Journal of Human Nutrition and Dietetics. 2010;23(4): 382-5. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-277x.2010.01070.x.
  3. Staudacher HM, Irving PM, Lomer MCE, Whelan K. “The challenges of control groups, placebos and blinding in clinical trials of dietary interventions.” Proceedings of the Nutrition Society. 2017;76(3): 203-12. doi: 10.1017/s0029665116001158.
  4. Cox IM, Campbell MJ, Dowson D. “Red blood cell magnesium and chronic fatigue syndrome.” The Lancet. 1991;337(8744): 757-60. doi: 10.1016/0140-6736(91)90984-z.
  5. Whiting P, Bagnall AM, Sowden AJ, Cornell JE, Mulrow CD, Ramirez G. “Interventions for the treatment and management of chronic fatigue syndrome: a systematic review.” JAMA. 2001;286(11): 1360-8. doi: 10.1001/jama.286.11.1360.
  6. White PD, et al. “Comparison of adaptive pacing therapy, cognitive behaviour therapy, graded exercise therapy and specialist medical care for chronic fatigue syndrome (PACE): a randomised trial.” The Lancet. 2011;377(9768): 823-36. doi: 10.1016/S0140-6736(11)60096-2.
  7. Prins JB, Van der Meer JW, Bleijenberg G. “Chronic fatigue syndrome.” The Lancet. 2006;367(9507): 346-55. doi: 10.1016/s0140-6736(06)67973-3.
  8. Shevtsov VA, et al. “A randomized trial of two different doses of a SHR-5 Rhodiola rosea extract versus placebo and control of capacity for mental work.” Phytomedicine. 2003;10(2-3): 95-105. doi: 10.1078/094471103321659780.
  9. Chandrasekhar K, Kapoor J, Anishetty S. “A prospective, randomized double-blind, placebo-controlled study of safety and efficacy of a high-concentration full-spectrum extract of ashwagandha root in reducing stress and anxiety in adults.” Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine. 2012;18(2): 176-84. doi: 10.1089/acm.2011.0367.
  10. Lee M, et al. “Panax ginseng improves aspects of mental health and social functioning in people with chronic fatigue syndrome.” Journal of Human Nutrition and Dietetics. 2012;25(4): 357-65. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-277x.2012.01269.x.
  11. Yun TK, et al. “Anticarcinogenic effect of Panax ginseng C.A. Meyer and identification of active compounds.” Journal of Korean Medical Science. 2001;16 Suppl: S6-18. doi: 10.3346/jkms.2001.16.s.s6.
  12. MacPherson H, et al. “Acupuncture for chronic fatigue syndrome: a randomized trial.” Annals of Internal Medicine. 2004;141(5): 247-56. doi: 10.7326/0003-4819-141-5-200409070-00009.
  13. Kim JI, et al. “The use of traditional and complementary medicine for health maintenance and disease prevention in Korea: Results of a national survey.” Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine. 2012;18(9): 870-6. doi: 10.1089/acm.2011.0116.
  14. Benn R, Wong H. “Acupuncture in the treatment of chronic fatigue syndrome: a case report.” Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine. 2006;12(8): 797-801. doi: 10.1089/acm.2006.12.797.
  15. Rayment D. “Pragmatic randomized controlled trial of acupuncture versus usual care for fatigue in patients with chronic fatigue syndrome.” Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine. 2011;17(2): 151-60. doi: 10.1089/acm.2010.0448.
  16. Sephton SE, et al. “Mindfulness meditation alleviates depressive symptoms in women with fibromyalgia: results of a randomized clinical trial.” Arthritis & Rheumatism. 2007;57(1): 77-85. doi: 10.1002/art.22478.
  17. Shihata S, et al. “Mindfulness based stress reduction in chronic fatigue syndrome: A systematic review and meta-analysis.” Journal of Psychosomatic Research. 2020;132: 109996. doi: 10.1016/j.jpsychores.2020.109996.
  18. Van De Putte EM, et al. “Effectiveness of cognitive behavioral therapy for patients with chronic fatigue syndrome: a systematic review.” Clinical Psychology Review. 2005;25(8): 1028-42. doi: 10.1016/j.cpr.2005.06.001.
  19. Cowden RG, et al. “Yoga as a supportive therapy for individuals with CFS.” Journal of the American Osteopathic Association. 2006;106(6): 327-34. doi: 10.7556/jaoa.2006.106.6.327.

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07/Nov/2022

According to the CDC, 6.1 million American children have been diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. Here in Canada the prevalence of ADHD in children is about 5%-9%. If your child has been diagnosed with ADHD, you’re probably wondering what you can do to help them. While there is no cure for ADHD, there are treatments that can help your child focus and succeed. Here are 10 natural treatments for ADHD that really work.

1. Omega-3s

Omega-3 fatty acids are essential for brain development and function. There is a lot of clinical research that supports the use of omega-3 supplements for children with ADHD. One study published in the journal Pediatrics showed that children who took omega-3 supplements had improved symptoms compared to those who didn’t take supplements. Another study, published in the Journal of Attention Disorders, showed that children who took omega-3 supplements had better focus and attention span. These studies suggest that omega-3 supplementation is a safe and effective treatment for ADHD symptoms. You can give your child an omega-3 supplement or increase their intake of fatty fish like salmon, mackerel, and herring.

2. Probiotics

Probiotics are live bacteria that are found in yogurt, sauerkraut, and other fermented foods. They help promote a healthy gut by keeping the balance of good and bad bacteria in check. A study published in the journal Nutrients found that probiotics were able to reduce symptoms of ADHD in children. The study found that the probiotic Lactobacillus rhamnosus was able to improve attention, hyperactivity, and impulsiveness in the children who took it. Another study published in the journal Pediatrics found that a combination of probiotics and prebiotics was able to improve symptoms of ADHD in children. A healthy gut has been linked to better mental health, so probiotics are a great natural treatment for ADHD.

3. Exercise

Exercise is a great way to release energy and improve focus. It also helps improve sleep, which is often an issue for children with ADHD. A study by the University of Massachusetts found that children who exercised for 30 minutes each day had improved focus and less hyperactivity.

4. Caffeine

Caffeine is a stimulant that can help improve focus and concentration. However, it should be used in moderation as too much caffeine can cause side effects like anxiety and irritability. A cup of tea in the morning can potentially help your child focus at school or during homework time. Clinical research has shown that caffeine can help improve cognitive function and memory recall. Additionally, caffeine can help increase energy levels and decrease fatigue. For these reasons, caffeine can be an effective tool for improving focus and productivity. However, it is important to note that caffeine should not be used by children under the age of 12.

5. Limit Screen Time

Screen time includes TV, video games, computers, and phones. Clinical research indicates that screen time can worsen symptoms of ADHD by causing restlessness and impulsivity. In one study, children with ADHD who were limited to 2 hours of screen time per day had improved attention and behavior. Another study found that children who exceeded 2 hours of screen time per day were more likely to have problems with inattention, hyperactivity, and aggressiveness. Therefore, it is important to limit screen time to no more than 2 hours per day for children with ADHD.

6. Get Enough Sleep

Sleep is essential for focus, concentration, and overall mental health. Children with ADHD often have difficulty falling asleep and staying asleep through the night. Establishing a bedtime routine can help your child wind down before sleep and feel more rested during the day. aim for at least 9 hours of sleep per night for children with ADHD.

7. Eat a Healthy Diet

A healthy diet is important for everyone, but it is especially important for children with ADHD. A diet high in sugar and processed foods can worsen symptoms while a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and protein can improve them. Studies have shown that a healthy diet can help to improve ADHD symptoms. One study found that children who followed a healthy diet had improved focus and attention, less hyperactivity and impulsiveness, and better behavior overall.

8. Drink Plenty of Water

Studies have shown that dehydration can contribute to a decline in cognitive function and overall productivity. In one study, subjects who were mildly dehydrated scored lower on tests of mental performance and vigilance than those who were hydrated. Another study showed that dehydration can cause headaches and fatigue, both of which can lead to decreased concentration. It is therefore important for children to drink plenty of water throughout the day to stay focused and alert.

9. Try Herbal Supplements

Clinical research has shown that some herbal supplements can improve symptoms of ADHD. For example, a study published in the journal Biological Psychiatry found that ginkgo biloba improved attention and processing speed in adults with ADHD. Another study published in the journal Phytotherapy Research found that green tea improved symptoms of ADHD in children. And a study published in the journal Chemistry & Industry found that lemon balm improved focus and attention in children with ADHD.

10. Consider Neurofeedback Therapy

Neurofeedback therapy is a type of biofeedback that uses brain waves to feedback information about attention levels. This information is then used to train the brain to focus better. Neurofeedback therapy has been extensively researched and has been shown to be an effective treatment for ADHD. One study found that children who received neurofeedback therapy showed significantly better attention and behavior than those who did not receive the therapy. In addition, the benefits of neurofeedback therapy were found to last for up to two years after the therapy ended. This makes neurofeedback a desirable treatment for ADHD, as the long-term results are much better than those of medications.

Conclusion:

If your child has been diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), you’re probably wondering what you can do to help them cope with the condition. Thankfully, there are many natural treatments that can help improve symptoms without the use of medication. By implementing some (or all) of these treatments into your child’s life, you can help them focus better, sleep better, eat better and feel better .

dr_shawn

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


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