When fatigue becomes chronic

Chronic fatigue

We all have times when we feel particularly tired. But sometimes, when this symptom lasts and sets in, it can be more than just fatigue. We are talking about chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) , also called myalgic encephalomyelitis, which significantly affects quality of life.

How does it manifest?

This syndrome, which affects up to 0.9% of the population, is therefore characterized by severe and disabling fatigue, but not only because the people affected will also have other symptoms, such as musculoskeletal pain or movement disorders. sleep. Fatigue persists and remains unexplained despite all the efforts made by the person to make it disappear.

Chronic fatigue appears suddenly and leads to rapid and significant deterioration of health! Anyone, at any age, can be affected, although it is mainly found in people aged between 20 and 40. It should be noted that women are affected approximately twice as often as men.

How is it diagnosed?

To date there is still no biological marker for the disease, its diagnosis is therefore based on clinical practice. But before making the diagnosis, we must first rule out all other possibilities: several tests are first recommended, such as a urine analysis, a blood count, etc. These tests are used to check that it is not from another cause that can cause fatigue, such as mononucleosis.

Chronic fatigue should also not be confused with depression. In fact, a depressed person no longer has a “taste for anything”, while a person suffering from chronic fatigue appreciates the joys of life but quickly becomes exhausted, which can create frustration. The syndrome can also be confused with fibromyalgia, as some symptoms are common. These avenues must therefore be ruled out.

The diagnosis of chronic fatigue is therefore validated when the exhaustion is unexplained and has persisted for at least 6 months, but also when the person concerned presents at least 4 of these 8 symptoms: short-term memory or concentration problems, aches and pains. sore throat, tenderness of the lymph nodes, muscle pain, joint pain, headaches, non-refreshing sleep, discomfort lasting more than 24 hours after exercise.

What is it due to?

Unfortunately, to date, the etiology of chronic fatigue syndrome is unclear. However, several factors are involved and could be the cause of the disease.

The main cause would be the immune system : in fact, some researchers believe that CFS could be a post-infectious syndrome. This hypothesis arises because many symptoms of viral infections and CFS overlap. The Epstein-Barr Virus (EBV) or Herpes viruses are particularly involved. In addition, deregulation of certain genes leading to dysfunction of NK cells (Natural Killer cells, which have anti-tumor properties) and a marked reduction in their cytotoxic activity has been observed in people with CFS.

Nutrition could also have an impact, and more specifically selenium ! Indeed, poor selenium intake leads to increased expression of COX-2, an enzyme involved in the production of prostaglandins (arachidonic acid metabolites), which would have a significant suppressive effect on leukocytes involved in the fight against viral infections.

Furthermore, recent studies have demonstrated that the generation of free radicals may be involved in the etiology of CFS. These free radicals cause oxidative stress causing a loss of efficiency of the electron transport chain and a reduction in mitochondrial function, which can then alter the ability of mitochondria to produce high-energy molecules, such as NADH or ATP, and responsible for fatigue symptoms.

This leads to chronic immune and inflammatory responses, which, associated with this oxidative stress, induce brain disorders such as cerebral hypoperfusion, neuroinflammation, DNA damage... but also hypofunction of the axis. hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal. All of this leads to dysfunction of the muscle membrane, explaining the post-exercise discomfort and muscle pain reported by people with CFS.

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How do we treat it?

There is currently no drug with demonstrated effectiveness in CFS, and, due to the disparity of possible etiologies, there is no defined treatment. However, 2 solutions can be used:

Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT): This therapy is based on thinking and its impact on the way people feel and act. Therapists get people to recognize how their fears about doing activities lead to behaviors that cause them to feel more tired. A large study of adults with CFS showed that this method has positive effects on fatigue, work, social adjustment, anxiety and post-exercise malaise. In adolescents, it would lead to fewer school absences, as well as an improvement in fatigue and general physical functioning.

Gradual exercise therapy : This therapy results in a gradual increase in physical activity. A trial revealed that this method would have the same benefits as those cited for CBT.

But despite the positive results of these 2 methods, the effects remain moderate and rarely lead to the resolution of chronic fatigue syndrome.

Relieve symptoms with natural solutions

Reishi , the mushroom of immortality, is an adaptogen, meaning it allows the body to adapt to different stresses. This mushroom has the power to stimulate the body as a whole and combat fatigue. It has even been proven, in a study, that a Reishi extract is more effective than a placebo in the treatment of chronic fatigue.

Cordyceps helps restore the general health of the body by stimulating the immune system. It is known among athletes to increase endurance and sports performance, which has earned it the nickname “athletes’ mushroom”. But above all, this mushroom is an outstanding revitalizer, which is effective during extreme fatigue or severe chronic fatigue.

Ginseng , considered a magical plant with countless virtues, has the ability to tone the body of tired or weakened people. It is ginsenosides, molecules found in the plant, which give it this effect. Its use is recognized by the WHO, and would even restore the capacity for physical work and intellectual concentration.

Eleutherococcus , a small shrub, is said to have the ability to increase longevity. But not only because it also helps to tone the body. It contains substances similar to those in Ginseng, called eleutherosides. The WHO recognizes its use as a tonic to stimulate the body in cases of fatigue or convalescence.

Guarana is the plant richest in caffeine that exists, far ahead of coffee and tea. Its seeds have immediate and short-term psychostimulant properties.

Ashwagandha is one of the most powerful medicinal plants used in Ayurvedic medicine. Its ability to give a lot of energy and vitality earned it the nickname Indian Ginseng. In fact, this plant is a gentle general tonic, which considerably strengthens the body, gives vitality and reduces the feeling of fatigue.

B-Vitality contains all of these ingredients (and even more!) and helps restore normal energy metabolism and reduce physical and mental fatigue. This treatment is ideal for feeling more energetic and regaining vitality, with a guaranteed boost effect!

In short, chronic fatigue syndrome is therefore a disease not to be taken lightly, leading to a significant impact not only on the quality of life of those affected, but also on an economic level. This disease is still the subject of numerous studies because its etiology remains unknown to this day, despite numerous hypotheses. Other studies are currently underway on the use of vitamins and minerals in the treatment of CFS. To be continued…

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