Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Diet
Hello Everyone! Chronic fatigue syndrome, or ME (Myalgic Encephalomyelitis), has been a somewhat mysterious disease since the 1930s. Still, recent scientific studies connect the dots and reveal what may help restore chronic fatigue.
For this post, I refer to the studies by Montoya et al. (2017), Williams et al. (2021), and Missailidis et al. (2019), as well as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
If you have (or know anyone with) ME/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, I am sure you will feel some relief knowing there’s been some headway in identifying underlying causes. Spread the word!
Is Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Real?
Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, or Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (ME), is real.
It’s been around since 1930, and its prevalence is rising. The disease incidence at the beginning of the 20th Century was around 2 cases per 100,000 population. The 21st Century brings an estimated 30-50 cases per 100,000 population.
Chronic Fatigue Syndrome/ME can be found in all ages and races, and according to many international studies, it seems more prevalent in women.
For some, it may be chronic and disabling, with numerous symptoms like sleep problems, depression, and malaise.
How Does ME Develop?
Countless studies have been conducted to ascertain how Chronic Fatigue Syndrome develops. They are continuing, as it is not yet fully understood. Still, the links with inflammation, gut bacteria, stress which increases inflammation, and autoimmune disease, a chronic inflammatory condition, are increasing.
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention lists possible causes:
Immune System Changes – ‘It is possible that ME/CFS is caused by a change in the person’s immune system and how it responds to stress. ME/CFS shares some features of autoimmune diseases, as they are more common in women and characterized by increased inflammation.’
Stress – ‘Cortisol levels lead to an increase in inflammation and chronic activation of the immune system.’
Infections, changes to energy production, and genes have all been linked by scientists.
This study by Montoya et al. (2017) links inflammation:
Cytokine measures from people with and without the condition were undertaken to determine whether inflammation could be associated with ME/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and correlated with disease severity and fatigue duration.
‘Of the 17 cytokines that correlated with severity, 13 were found to be proinflammatory, likely contributing to many of the symptoms experienced by patients and establishing a strong immune system component of the disease.’
More research links to evidence of common denominators of disturbances to immunological and inflammatory pathways, heavy stress on the body, autonomic and neurological dysfunction, shifts in metabolism, and gut physiology or gut microbiota disturbances, as well as a wide range of mitochondrial dysfunction. Missailidis et al. (2019).
Symptoms of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
Profound fatigue is a significant symptom, of course.
Still, there are always more symptoms like sleeplessness, IBS, migraines, fungal infections, swelling, water retention, lymph pain, muscle and joint pains, low blood pressure, depression, attention deficit, lightheadedness, brain fog, memory problems, anxiety, and lack of well-being.
Many people have developed chronic fatigue syndrome after Covid-19.
Have you heard my chat with Dr. Tamsin Lewis about Long Covid, immunity, and energy in Podcasts?
How Do You Treat Chronic Fatigue Syndrome?
If a doctor has ruled out possible other causes, they tend to treat symptoms with anti-inflammatory medication, sleeping pills, antibiotics, muscle relaxants, autoimmune suppressants, and painkillers.
Medical treatments for chronic fatigue seem to target the symptoms since the entire understanding of the disease is still evolving, as mentioned above.
The trouble with medication, from my knowledge and experience, is that it is often life-saving but doesn’t treat the cause at systemic levels. It can overload the liver, irritate the gut lining, and create dysbiosis.
Gut dysbiosis (changes in tummy bacteria) is a change in gut physiology and microbiota disturbances.
What Do Changes in Tummy Bacteria Do?
Gut dysbiosis (changed tummy bacteria) dysregulates the immune system, and chronic inflammation kicks in. These will cause susceptibility to developing other conditions.
In an already inflamed and immunocompromised body, more health challenges may arise (joint pains, IBS, migraines, depression, memory loss, fungal infections, and lack of well-being, as mentioned above).
Gut health is connected with mental health. Chronic inflammation extends to neuroinflammation. This is why depression, anxiety, and cognitive dysfunction (brain fog) can run alongside many health conditions.
Many people have high cholesterol with chronic fatigue, so if you are looking to lower your cholesterol, please check this article.
Does Gut Health Affect ME?
Recent studies have linked gut bacteria to chronic fatigue syndrome/ME. Drs Williams, Lipkin, and Snow, along with their collaborators, analyzed the genetic makeup of gut bacteria. The results showed critical differences in microbiome diversity, quantity, metabolic pathways, and interactions between species of gut bacteria. Williams et al. (2021).
Many studies show that people can recover from Chronic Fatigue Syndrome/ME. The length of time is dependent on treatment.
What Is a Good Chronic Fatigue Syndrome/ME Diet?
An anti-inflammatory, gut-healthy diet and lifestyle may help you reduce the recovery time tenfold.
If you do one thing today towards improving your condition, make it a focus on gut health.
When you don’t have the energy to make a cup of tea on some days, the thought of doing anything right now may sound too much, but what you eat on Eat Burn Sleep may make a huge difference.
It will improve your gut health, reduce inflammation naturally, and boost your immune system. Eating nutrient-rich, gut-healthy food regularly is undoubtedly good for promoting restorative and regular sleep.
Support For Chronic Fatigue Syndrome/ME
There is a personalized advice section for extra support when you join a Premium Membership. You may experience conditions alongside ME/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, like depression, migraines, candida, IBS, bloating and bowel issues, Long Covid, weight loss, weight gain, water retention, and hair loss, for instance, are all listed here. Plus more.
There are guides on what to eat, what not to eat, supplements (our own supplement will be ready soon – so exciting!), therapies, inspirations, neuroplasticity exercises, and much more!
It could be life-changing.
I hope so.
Wishing you good health!