- WATCH YOUR DIET: Eat a well-balanced diet that includes plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains and beans. Avoid processed foods and look instead for foods that are high in fiber and in complex carbohydrates.
- ADD ACIDOPHILUS TO YOUR DIET: Add some form of acidophilus to your diet, and regularly consume soured products such as yogurt and kefir. Acidophilus helps to control candida which is common in those with CFS.
- CUT BACK ON SUGAR: Too much sugar may weaken the immune system and inhibit the ability of the white blood cells to stay active which may contribute to CFS symptoms.
- DRINK PLENTY OF WATER: Drink at least 48 ounces of water a day. Drink a full glass of water every two or three waking hours. Water flushes out toxins and aids in reducing muscle pain.
- DON'T BECOME DEPENDENT ON CAFFEINE: Avoid the temptation to use caffeine as a quick source of energy. Caffeine causes a loss of minerals which may only make CFS symptoms worse.
- WATCH THE FAT: A low-fat diet promotes overall health. Eating too many fatty foods can cause a person to feel sluggish since fatty foods are more difficult to digest than other foods and feeling sluggish is the last thing a person with CFS needs.
- GET PLENTY OF REST AND AVOID UNUSUAL EMOTIONAL OR PHYSICAL STRESS: Make sure that you don't overexert yourself. Melatonin is helpful for promoting sound, restful sleep. Take it two hours or less before bedtime, not during the day, as it can cause drowsiness.
- TRY REGULAR AND MODERATE EXERCISE: A structured program of moderate and regular exercise, particularly when supervised by a physician or by a physical therapist, may help to greatly reduce the symptoms of CFS as well as improve mood. Exercise may also help stimulate the immune system and improve the ability to handle stressful situations.
- IDENTIFY AND CONTROL FOOD ALLERGIES: People with CFS are particularly prone to food allergies and their symptoms will often improve significantly once these allergies are detected and treated.
Medical Options and Precautions
- MEDICATION: Patients with CFS appear particularly sensitive to drugs, especially those that affect the central nervous system. Thus, the usual treatment strategy is to begin with very low doses and to escalate the dosage gradually as necessary. Typical drug treatments consist of Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory (NSAIDs) prescriptions similar to those prescribed for arthritis. Another common prescription area is antidepressants. Become knowledgeable about the drugs prescribed and be aware that they often accelerate nutrient depletion, making it important to eat well and also look at good supplementation.
- PHYSICAL ACTIVITY: Patients with CFS are counseled to pace themselves, maintain a regular, manageable daily routine, and to avoid unusual physical or emotional stress. Moderate, regular exercise under the supervision of a physician or a physical therapist is important to improve general health, improve CFS symptoms, and to improve mood.
- COUNSELING: Psychological or psychiatric counseling may be helpful in relieving depression and in improving coping skills. Sometimes family therapy may be helpful in helping family members cope with CFS within the family.
- OTHER METHODS: Some CFS patients try acupuncture, aquatic therapy, chiropractic, cranial-sacral, light exercise, massage, self-hypnosis, streching, Tai Chi, therapeutic touch, yoga and other methods for relief from their symptoms. While none of these methods has been proven to help with CFS, they may help to relieve and control stress.