Turmeric Relief for Chronic Fatigue
Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) is a complex, disabling condition that can last for days or years. There is no known cure and no specific treatment regimen, and the number of people diagnosed with CFS or its cousin, fibromyalgia syndrome, has grown dramatically since 2000. Conventional treatment is to manage the symptoms of CFS. (viii.1)
What do Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Fibromyalgia Have in Common?
The two conditions also share many of the same possible triggers. These include problems with cell energy metabolism, allergic sensitivities, immune dysfunction, infections, and nutritional deficiencies. (viii.2)
According to one expert, fibromyalgia and CFS are part of a chronic fatigue spectrum that represents an "energy crisis" similar to a tripped circuit breaker in a house. It's caused by a dysfunctional hypothalamus, the part of the brain that controls automatic functions in the body such as sleep, energy, temperature, and hormones. (viii.3)
What Are the Causes or Risk Factors for Chronic Fatigue?
According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), there isn't a diagnostic test for the condition. Rather, it's diagnosed by a group of mostly fatigue-related symptoms that occur at the same time without any other cause (such as another disease or from physical exertion). (viii.1)
- Adrenal and thyroid gland dysfunction (that leads to hormonal deficiencies). (viii.2, 7)
- Anemia. (viii.2)
- Bacterial, viral, parasite, or fungal infections. (viii.1, 7)
- Chronic inflammation. (viii.2)
- Chronic low blood pressure. (viii.2)
- Chronic stress (psychological). (viii.1, 7)
- Immune system dysfunction. (viii.1-2, 7-8)
- Low blood sugar. (viii.2)
- Toxins. (viii.7-8)
Clinical research also suggests that too much bacteria seeping from the intestines (leaky gut) may also contribute to CFS. Damage from free radicals to DNA and mitochondria (the organs in cells that make energy) contribute to the development of chronic fatigue and related syndromes. Low levels of glutathione (GSH), a key antioxidant that the body makes naturally, may play a role in mitochondrial dysfunction and free radical damage. (viii.5, 9)
Symptoms of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
A Syndrome With Many NamesCFS has been called many things, including: (viii.8)
- Chronic EBV (Epstein-Barr virus) syndrome
- Post viral fatigue syndrome
- Iceland disease
- Royal Free Hospital disease
- Yuppie flu
Other common symptoms include:
- Aches and pains (unexplained). (viii.1-2, 7)
- Anxiety. (viii.1-2, 7)
- Bloating. (viii.2)
- Breathing difficulties/chronic cough. (viii.2)
- Chest pain/irregular heartbeat. (viii.2)
- Depression. (viii.1, 7)
- Diarrhea. (viii.2)
- Difficulty concentrating. (viii.1, 7)
- Dizziness. (viii.1)
- Dry eyes; sensitivity to bright light. (viii.2, 8)
- Earache. (viii.2)
- Food and alcohol sensitivities. (viii.2, 7)
- Headache (more severe or different pattern of). (viii.1-2, 7)
- Intestinal problems. (viii.1, 7)
- Low-grade fever. (viii.8)
- Memory impairment (short-term). (viii.1)
- Mood swings. (viii.1)
- Nausea. (viii.2)
- Night sweats. (viii.2)
- Panic attacks. (viii.1-2)
- Sleep problems. (viii.1, 7)
- Sore throat. (viii.1)
- Stomach pain. (viii.2)
- Swollen lymph nodes. (viii.8)
- Upper respiratory infections. (viii.7)
- Weight loss. (viii.2)
How Can Turmeric Help?
Animal and clinical studies indicate that compounds found in turmeric may be able to help with CFS:
- In an animal model for CFS, curcumin was able to significantly reduce the onset of the condition. (viii.6)
- Supplementation with curcumin and quercetin, along with other nutrients, significantly relieved CFS symptoms in 24 of 41 patients within 10-14 months. Some experienced complete remission. Participants in the clinical study had CFS for an average of almost 8 years prior to treatment. (viii.5)
Researchers suggest that the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects of turmeric's compounds are how they work. For example, they potently block NF-κB and TNF-α — two proteins shown to be linked to severity of CFS symptoms. Turmeric compounds also help boost immune function. (viii.5, 10-12)
Turmeric and its compounds help regulate hormone levels, which are often abnormally low in people with CFS. In addition, turmeric contains compounds that may help resist some of the causes of CFS, such as fungal infections. Turmeric compounds may also help combat metabolic syndrome and depression, two conditions that are frequently found in those with CFS. (viii.3, 13-16)
Other potentially helpful turmeric compounds include:
|Turmeric Compound||How it Can Help|
Whole turmeric oil
Whole turmeric rhizome
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