The difference between adrenal fatigue and ME/CFS

This post was written by Megan on November 2, 2011
Posted Under: burnout signs and symptoms,definition of burnout

Fatigue show tunes cartoon

I’ve had two friends recently complain about symptoms that screamed ‘adrenal fatigue’. Wired tired (i.e. feeling hepped up but absolutely exhausted at the same time) over a long period was an obvious one.

Taking magnesium calcium tables prior to sleeping, helped one. Eating smaller portions more often helped the other. Both improved the leafy green quality of their food and slept more.

Before long they were happily riding bicycles for fun on weekends and pitching for promotions at work. That’s not to say they were 100% fabulous. But they were well enough to not only consider these things but also act upon them. If they had severe adrenal fatigue, I suspect this bounce back would be less likely to happen.

Please note: I am not a scientist, doctor or any kind of professional health practitioner. I just know about feeling tired.

 

Cutting to the chase:

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS/ME) and adrenal fatigue are NOT the same thing. But adrenal fatigue could be a welcome mat to CFS/ME.

 

CFS/ME definition

In the eyes of the medical profession, to join the CFS/ME team you need to have profound fatigue for at least six months that does not improve with bed rest. Also, physical or mental activity tend to make the fatigue worse. You may also suffer from symptoms including: joint pain, impaired memory and/or concentration, insomnia, low libido, tender lymph nodes, sore throat and post-exertional fatigue lasting more than 24 hours (ref: MedicineNet.com). If you happen to have four of these symptoms: bingo! Your conventional doctor is likely to diagnose you with CFS/ME. In some cases (like mine) CFS can hang in there for years.

Note: I have had CFS/ME since 2002. This fact leads others wonder why I think I have anything useful to say about recovering from it. Well, you can learn from my mistakes. I have made so many…

 

Adrenal fatigue definition

Symptoms for adrenal fatigue range from dry skin, hair, feeling tired all day, low sex drive, weight loss, insomnia or poor sleep, depression, anxiety, etc. Sounds a bit like chronic fatigue syndrome, doesn’t it? But for CFS/ME crew, joint and muscle pain, tender lymph nodes and sore throat are symptoms we call our own. (ref: HGH Talk)

Apparently, the big problem with adrenal fatigue is that adrenal glands are not producing enough quantities of the hormone cortisol. Saliva testing seems to be more accurate than bloody testing. But there still seem to be some lab testing problems with this. As a result, the condition isn’t formally acknowledged by the medicos. On the other hand, the adrenal problem related to Addison’s disease is getting ‘lab love’ big time.

Serious adrenal fatigue can completely bugger your career and personal relationships. Worse, make you look older than you actually are.

 

Just because you are tired doesn’t mean you have either

There are plenty of conditions with ‘fatigue’ as a symptom, without it being adrenal fatigue or ME/CFS:
Thyroid disease, anemia, diabetes, autoimmune and inflammatory disorders, heart disease, melancholic depression and anxiety, restless leg syndrome, sleep apnea and cancer. And, yes, Addison’s disease.

 

More on the hormone thing

Some say adrenal fatigue is glutathione depletion in the hypothalamus and pituitary gland (both in the brain). If you are having trouble sleeping, reading a report on this claim by Richard A. Van Konynenbury Ph.D. entitled Glutathione Depletion-Methylation Cycle Block: A Hypothesis For the Pathogenesis of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome will have your lids dropping in no time.

More drought-dry information on scientific specifics can be found on Richard’s Phoenix Rising forums.

I’ve been reading about adrenal fatiguers and CFSers taking hormone replacements in conjunction with endocrinologists (the dudes who know a bit about glands and hormones). However, I haven’t yet come across one say ‘Man, this rocked my world, I feel better than EVER. I am now off to climb Mount Everest to raise money for those with ME/CFS who can’t afford this juice!’

Note: Looking forward to them commenting on this site to tell me how little I know, how much better they feel…and are packing their gear to kick-off at Base Camp.

 

The wrap up

Diagnosis for adrenal fatigue and CFS/ME tends to be a process of elimination – i.e. if you don’t have this disease or that disease, then maybe you have adrenal fatigue or ME/CFS. Because nothing consistent is coming up on lab tests, the poor sods with adrenal fatigue or CFS/ME are in no man’s land.

But they say the one thing that stays the same is change – including lab testing approaches.

 

This post was written by Megan Hills. Megan is a writer and cartoonist who will have a nap after publishing this post.  Find out more about Megan

Reader Comments

Sweet post. I liked it. Say, what is ME? 
 
I have struggled with AF on and off for 5 years. I am most definitely one of those poor sods. Healthy on paper, but feel awful, always exhausted, always feeling like I'm about to get sick: no cortisol to take care of inflammation. In the last year I've developed digestion problems. Slowly getting over those via my nutritionist. I don't have CFS, but am warry about that AF welcome mat. Rough existence for us. I feel for you. Thank you for sharing your experience. 

#1 
Written By Jibby on November 10th, 2012 @ 5:28 pm

Low adrenal output does seem to be a major factor in CFS, although not all studies agree on exactly what is happening. Unfortunately there is a lot of misunderstanding about what 'adrenal fatigue' actually is. Basically it is your brain that controls adrenal output through the HPA axis. Your adrenal glands can never 'run out' of cortisol, and supplements won't do any good. What is happening is that your hypothalamus is telling your adrenal glands to produce less cortisol, so the only real solution is to fix the source of the problem, i.e. lifestyle changes.
Way back in the 50s Hans Selye demonstrated that prolonged stress resulted in shrunken adrenal glands, reduced adrenal output  and eventual death. It seems that these days we mostly seem to have forgotten how our bodies actually work, and doctors only seem to have a vague idea about how stress and burnout affect the body's systems.

#2 
Written By David on November 19th, 2012 @ 11:18 am

Thanks so much for this valuable info on adrenal fatigue. Lifestyle changes seems to be the default answer no matter which way we look at the fatigue thing – and the ultimate challenge (apologies for my delayed response to this – it was hidden in the spam folder….which I don’t go through as regularly as I used to due to my changed lifestyle :) )

#3 
Written By Megan on December 28th, 2012 @ 1:20 pm

Thanks for sharing your experience. ME is: Myalgic Encephalomyelitis or Myalgic Encephalopathy. Here is the link to the ME society in the UK: http://www.meassociation.org.uk, who also address Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) and Post Viral Fatigue Syndrome (PVFS). Changing lifestyle to reduce stress seems to be the mantra for recovery (buoyed by the usual suspects: rest, nutrition, etc.). Perhaps our fatigue is designed to teach the world something about lifestyle change too?

#4 
Written By Megan on December 28th, 2012 @ 1:30 pm

The answer to both are definitely lifestyle changes. I think no one can naturally be exhausted all the time; there must be changes that can be made that help recovery if you stick with it. The problem is definitely trying to find what actually works because there are a million different possible things to be altered especially in diet alone.

I wasn’t sure if I had chronic fatigue or adrenal fatigue but always felt it must be adrenal since it made more sense/I had ALL the symptoms and I didn’t have and still don’t have any joint pain. If I work out for one day, my legs will hurt and I’ll feel 10x worse the next day but my legs don’t naturally hurt if I just walk around a lot. When I exercise, I feel light-headed within 20 minutes and always end up having to lie down. I was so tired of it so I sought out help from an alternative Dr. I did a saliva test and turns out my adrenals are nearly 0 throughout the day. I wake up exhausted, I work exhausted, I go to sleep exhausted, I wake up 5 times throughout the night exhausted and so on. On top of that I have 10x the normal amount of estrogen and testosterone, horrible DHEA levels and I also have PCOS and my OCD is 10000x worse than ever! It’s making me absolutely crazy having this for three years straight while I watch my twenties just pass me by. I haven’t had a good day in three years. It’s like there’s no point in living at all when you’re tortured 24/7 but I have to keep trying, I have to keep fighting. I just want to live, that’s all I want to do.

#5 
Written By Kelly on July 17th, 2014 @ 6:43 am

Hi Kelly. Your message took a journey through the spam filter thingy and came out the other end. Sincere apologies for my delayed response (and from my overly security-conscious website).

Can I first say: great job in getting the right tests done. You’ve got more information that’s going on about your body than most people stumbling around out there have managed to muster. You know that your adrenals are presently in a no-fly zone. The domino effect in the wonderful world of hormones is extraordinary. Your body is perpetually asking for a siesta. We do live in an unhealthy hype-up culture. Even the health ‘gurus’ have a tendency to hype-up. I know this. I’m a reluctant marketing consultant (though prefer the term ‘marketing swashbuckler’). Running for exercise (or too much ‘pumping iron’ as it were), excitement, stress or anxiety? It’s all the same to your body at the mo’, and will be for some time.

Can I also say: You want to live. That’s something. Really something. Many who feel this tired for this long start wondering…is this worth it? I can say ‘It is’ but other people saying ‘It is’ isn’t enough. We have to feel it ourselves, don’t we?

What’s the answer? You’re right there too. There are a million possible things to try. And everyone’s got an opinion. John Lennon said ‘Love is the answer’. Sounds a big vague…and easy to say, right? But maybe there’s something to this.

So, my two cents, for what it’s worth: While feeling perpetually knackered, look out for love/beauty in the small things. In you and everyone around you. Small bites-sized, easily digestible morsels of love. And be prepared to live with less – recognise what you REALLY need and leave the rest behind. So you can focus on love. Trust that your health will transform. Not just yourself but all who you touch. [Warning: You might find a sense of peace before finding more energy]. While nibbling at this love platter, listen to what your innards say (innards? some call it ‘inner voice’ or ‘deep gut feelings’). It may not say much. But be guided by it. Then look out for evidence of it. From this point you will discover, create and be given what you really need.

#6 
Written By Megan on August 29th, 2014 @ 9:44 am

Hi, nice website and especially this blog post. I must say that the hardest thing of adrenal fatique is that you do not get recognition. People see nothing and do not know it, so they think you must be a weakling or something like that.

I was diagnosed many times with depression and a few other things, but being diagnosed is nice in the beginning, but without finding the cause, it is quite pointless. So after a few years of testing things out i found out that i not only have weak adrenals but also a mercury problem.

Can you tell me if a product as this one is safe and good for me to support my adrenals: http://www.voedingssupplementennederland.nl/en/metarelax-metagenics-90-tablets-en.html I posted a link so you can see exactly which product i mean, because there is so much on the market these days. I must say that it feels quite good, when i use it, but maybe you know something that i do not. In the past i used iodine to support my thyroid, this felt good, but was murder on my adrenals, which i found out after a few months.

I hope you can help me.

#7 
Written By Jenny on September 3rd, 2014 @ 6:35 pm

You are so right, Jenny. It’s tough not getting recognition. It can be quite humiliating having an invisible disability that many fail to respect as authentic. We know their assumptions are based on ignorance (note: we’ve all made dodgy assumptions in our time, haven’t we?). So the best we can do is gather supportive, respectful people around us. They help to offset the others.

I’ve never taken Metarelax so unfortunately I can’t comment. All I can say is that I take another Metagenics product called ‘Myoplex’ (available in Australia, at least) and it has to be one of the big things that assists in alleviating symptoms for my adrenal fatigue. Seems to be the mix of quality magnesium and calcium that is the alchemy for me. Myoplex is a practitioner-only product, so you need to get it from a naturopath or someone of that ilk. I am not a practitioner so I can’t advise others. All I can do is share my experience.

As everyone is different, finding the right solution is a trial and error process. Which can be tiring and expensive. On the upside, Jenny, you now have a good slab of information about what’s going on (including that sneaky mercury gremlin) – which means you are doing better than many of us who are staggering around out there. Give yourself a pat on the back. You are doing really well, even if it doesn’t feel like it. Believe me. You are.

#8 
Written By Megan on September 5th, 2014 @ 11:51 am

Your Blog is so lovely and also funny. Thank you for sharing the bits that you know and the bits you’ve figured out. It all helps us weary people to keep going.

#9 
Written By Pauline on October 26th, 2014 @ 8:39 pm

Thanks so much, Pauline!

#10 
Written By Megan on October 29th, 2014 @ 8:15 am

Love your style of writing Megan! All the Best,
Sally

#11 
Written By sally on July 11th, 2016 @ 2:07 am

Many thanks, Sally! All the best to you too :)

#12 
Written By Megan on July 11th, 2016 @ 5:50 pm

Hi, it is nice to read that people are in the same situation as me.
Mine started approx. 3 years ago with an abnormally bad itch on my thigh that ended up all over my body. It spread over my body and it got so bad that I would wake up with the sheets covered in blood from scratching. I couldn’t shower. I couldn’t work. My boss was so amazing that he would beg me to come in just to sit and talk to him as he was worried about my mental state, I was miserable, exhausted (but couldn’t sleep due to the major scratching)and over it all. I was literally waking up, taking another over the counter sleeping table just so I could get a break from scratching as sleep was the only relief I had.
I tried every possible medication and nothing worked.
I have seen so many specialists and the first thing they want to prescribe is anti-depressants. I have not taken them for 3 years purely as I knew it wasn’t in my head and wanted to be taken seriously.
They put my itchiness down to peri-menopause.
I have continued on my journey to get an answer and have found a gyny that takes me seriously. She prescribed my HRT which worked for a while however a few months ago I had a massive fatigue crash where I couldn’t work for a week and didn’t care if I lost my job. I literally couldn’t keep my eyes open.
My partner got me a vitamin B injection, that did nothing at all.
He then got me an emergency appt with my gyny as he was really worried. I must of looked terrible as even the receptionist was shocked at the sight of me. She asked me the question that any person suffering with CFS or AF would appreciate – ‘you look exhausted, do you want to lie down and wait for the Dr’:) She put me under some light thing to ‘clear my brain’ (basically I had about 10 mins in a quiet room with a beautiful warm light over my face…pure heaven) then took me into her consulting room. She said with my symptoms she would of thought I was older, I am 41 and told her I feel like an 90 year old. She prescribed Effexor which is an anti-depressant as I am now at that stage that I don’t care, I can’t keep going the way I am going. She prescribed 37.5mg and said with that dose it will just even out the seratonins. If she was prescribing 150mgs then it would be for depression.
So now to get through my day I have antihistamines (for the itchiness which has subsided but I’m not taking any risks by not having it), HRT, Effexor (37.5mg one day, 75mg every other day) and my green shake.
I’d like to say I’m back to my ol self but I literally take it step by step, not even day by day.
I am very health conscious, don’t drink, don’t smoke, eat healthy and was previously walking my dog 5kms a day along the beach.
Now the thought of committing to a 5 km walk scares me. I still take him but he’s doing the running while I ‘stroll’.
I was also enjoying riding my bike to work (20 minute ride), I couldn’t even contemplate that at this stage of my life.
I wish each and every one of you a good day and remember you are not alone.
Listen to your body and if you need to lie down, do it. Obviously it’s hard at work but that just means we aim to have an early night.
All the best with this journey
Lisa x

#13 
Written By Lisa on January 9th, 2017 @ 10:23 am

Lisa – thanks so much for sharing your story. Blimey, what an extraordinarily challenging time – your persistence throughout is admirable.

‘Specialists’ in this area sure can be disappointing and frustrating. You mentioned finding the gyne that ‘took your seriously’. Yep, it’s not uncommon to feel – as your world is falling apart – like the medicos aren’t quite taking this seriously. Gobsmacking, sometimes. Loved the sound of the quiet room with a beautiful warm light over your face, though. Gotta get me one of those.

I can imagine you’ve tried all the allergy tests and diet changes in existence. Have you travelled at all? When you’re knackered, travelling isn’t the first thing on one’s mind. But some people experience different symptoms when they have a trip in a completely different environment (some worse, some better). It’s an interesting experiment, particularly when it comes to allergies. But tough if spending money/time is tight.

Have you seen the Julianne Moore movie ‘Safe’? Made back in 1995, Julianne plays a women allergic to certain chemicals…saw it a long time ago, but it just popped in my head. Not sure if it’s worth a gander? Unfortunately not on iTunes. This might be okay: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UGHG1u758Oo). More info: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Safe_(1995_film).

Again, thanks for posting. It’s helpful to know we’re not alone in this. I’m better than I was but don’t feel ‘out of the woods’ as they say. It would be nice if there was a golden bullet answer. But it seems different things help different people – and while one thing works one year, another year you might need something else. Reading your body (and keeping you mind on a tight leash) is something we all seem to benefit from. And knowing we’re here, we get it.

All the best back atcha xx

#14 
Written By Megan on January 10th, 2017 @ 11:16 am

Thank you Megan for your great article.

I believe I’ve suffered from CFS most of my life, or at least, for as long as I can remember. I’m nearly 39.

When I was nearly 3, I developed a rare blood disorder called Pure Red Cell Aplasia. It’s essentially an autoimmune disease whereby my red cells stopped being produced. Similar to AIDS or Leukaemia, my immune system shut down and I was, at the time, critically ill. After a bone-marrow biopsy, blood transfusion and course of Corticosteroids and immunosuppressive medication, I began to feel well enough to function, however my parents will vouch that my personality changed + I was always tired + extremely run down. My immune system has since been weak – I took a lot of time off school + can recall always feeling fatigued, suffered poor concentration, impaired recall + memory, lethargy + IBS, joint pain + even developed arthritis in both my knees by the time I was 15.

I’ve experienced several traumas in my life, so unfortunately, I never had the opportunity to really heal my CFS + have battled my entire life. It has affected my capacity to earn a living, to be in relationship (until my understanding and supportive partner now of five years) + it is an extremely debilitating + frustrating condition.

So I decided to change what I was doing + completely amend my life.
I saw an amazing biomedical naturopath + started to feel better by undergoing her program. This was, initially, I noticed signs of improvement. I completely altered my lifestyle, diet, along with attitude. I was seeing an integrated psychotherapist also, to work on my emotional and psychological wounds concurrently. (Some 18 mths down the track, I were to start on SSNRI medication, which I’ll go into later).

After carrying out various saliva, blood + urine tests, along with a comprehensive look at my medical history, food/drink intake, plus medications + other alternative medications, my naturopath concluded I had extreme adrenal exhaustion, my system was so under-functioning that the damage I’d done to my liver, spleen + kidneys was so extensive, she said I was rotting from the inside out + I was guaranteed to become a candidate to an even more serious disease. And given how chronic I felt fatigued, I undoubtably had CFS. I was tested for fibromyalgia, but I didn’t have it. I have always however (since I can remember) picked up cold + flus or other virus’, had aches + pains, headaches, joint inflammation (diagnosis of arthritis at 15) + sometimes the pain is so severe, that even after a 1.5hr deep tissue massage + a visit to the chiro, I feel like all the work has been undone. My pain threshold is extremely low. By the way, I appear healthy (with makeup), I’m slim, look fit + present well (with makeup). How easily fooled we can be by appearance.

After following a Leaky-Gut cleanse, that is to: REMOVE foods + factors that damage the gut, REPLACE with healing foods, REPAIR with specific supplements, REBALANCE with probiotics, I started to notice a huge improvement. This was in conjunction with eliminating foods I was intolerant to (Gluten, Casein (lactose), SUGAR, all preservatives + additives) ensuring I stuck to a whole food diet. I ate only organic + felt as though my body was finally starting to receive the nutrients + minerals it needed, converting them and proteins into energy! However, the improvement was only slight – certainly no magic cure for CFS. Given my condition was chronically chronic, that is reasonable.

Once I got my leaky gut in check yet still lacked the vitality + well-being I so craved, I finally decided to talk with the psychiatrist about anti depressants which I was strongly apposed to. I guess for me, I didn’t want to put anything else artificial in my system, given that was one of the contributing factors to my severe leaky gut syndrome that I worked so hard to heal. Now, after more than two years of living this lifestyle + six months on meds, I can honestly say, that for the first time EVER IN MY LIFE I FEEL LIKE I HAVE A NEW LEASE ON LIFE! I’ve never felt so good, ever! I have energy, clarity, the ability to concentrate, I bounce out of bed at 6-6.30am + can push on throughout the day until well into the night. I can get by on only six hours sleep (as you’d all know, this is impossible for anyone suffering AF or CFS) + cannot believe I’ve been given a second chance! It’s unbelievable.

I’m not qualified to give any medical advice or otherwise, so please note: I’m merely an advocate for what worked for me as a CFS sufferer. I’m taking 150mg of Pristiq which is a Selective Serotonin + Norepinephrine Reuptake Inhibitor (SSNRI) meaning it’s an anti depressant that works on improving levels of serotonin (feel good, well-being hormone) along with increasing adrenalin (which allows our adrenal system to restore + return to a more regulated state). My chronic pain is no longer so severe that it inhibits me from participating in physical or mental activity. My pain threshold is much better. I feel level + balanced. And I no longer feel anxious or irritable. It took about 2 mths really to kick in (started seeing improvement after 5 wks), but I got worse the first few weeks + almost came off them… but I was told to hang in there + I’m so glad I did.

I hope my experience may help someone out there. I acknowledge every body is different, and sometimes different methods work best for others. I believe my recovery was a combination of psychological and spiritual work, improvement in nutrition and lifestyle, supplementing with herbs and vitamins, cleansing to eliminate parasites and repair LEAKY-GUT SYNDROME. This was key! Without good gut health, it’s impossible to improve. Please take the time to do your own research on this. I highly advocate it. And interestingly, the latest scientific studies have linked poor gut health (extreme cases lead to Irritable Bowl Syndrome, which can lead to candida, then eventually Leaky Gut Syndrome; Heliobactor-Pylori, which is a precursor to bowel or colon cancer!) Healthy gut permeability is vital to the restoration of all AF and CFS sufferers. And you CAN’T CUT CORNERS! It takes an all or nothing approach to wellness.

I recommend reading these articles, which I think, is a clear, layman’s explanation of Leaky Gut Syndrome (LGS)

https://draxe.com/4-steps-to-heal-leaky-gut-and-autoimmune-disease/
https://draxe.com/7-signs-symptoms-you-have-leaky-gut/

As you will see, Leaky Gut Syndrome has been known to lead to CHRONIC FATIGUE + CHRONIC PAIN SYNDROMES!

AF can be attributed to a particular cause or event, such as severe stress or trauma. CFS is when this fatigue continues chronically for more than six months. It’s the body’s autoimmune response to the systemic inflammation. And without a doubt, if all CFS sufferers were to do the following tests, I bet you’d discover you too had LGS. (Please note, the majority of GP’s + the conventional medical industry will deny this condition exists. This is because they are only trained to deal in pharmaceuticals + a square peg in square hole approach. With a broader understanding (+ personal success with a combination of alternative methods along with pharmaceuticals), I can vouch an integrative medical approach is the way to go. If you cannot afford to do this, I recommend you do the following if you have ADHD symptoms, Autism, diabetes, mood disorder, AF/CFS, chronic pain syndromes, Addison’s Disease etc;

1. Saliva Test: ‘Adrenocortex Stress Profile’ (Cortisol + DHEAs)(can be done online. I used nutripath)

2. Urine Test: ‘Extensive Neurotransmitter Profile’ (Neurotransmitters/Hormones) – if you feel anxious, depressed, experience mood swings/agitation/restlessness. The six main hormones will be tested that are produced in the gut. No test can successfully test the neuro-produced hormone serotonin (in the brain). However, when gathering all the following information, you can reach a conclusive diagnosis, based on the information you DO have). The 6 hormones that need investigating are; GABA, SEROTONIN, DOPAMINE, GLUTAMATE, EPINEPHRINE, NOREPINEPHRINE (adrenalin). I did this online at nutripath. Or, you can ask a biomedical naturopath.

3. Blood Test: B12, Zinc, Digestive Enzymes, Iron, Magnesium. (Ensure you haven’t been taking ANY supplements for 2 or more weeks prior to testing for a true reading). And once you receive your results, ABSOLUTELY start supplementing with these as a minimum!

4. Cleanse + Repair LGS: Check out online tools for a cleanse and repair program online, including meal plans, recommended supplements and herbs etc.

5. Additional Blood Tests: Methylation levels and Thyroid function (may or may not have issue). If your cortisol and catecholamines (hormones associated with adrenaline) are depleted, this would indicate adrenal fatigue. If they’re on the low side, take a look at everything else to draw a conclusion from comprehensive sources.

6. Allergy + Histamine Test: For allergic response to pollen, dust-mites, grass, trees etc) If you DO suffer allergies, your body’s histamine levels may not be in tact. This is common with those who have autoimmune disorders. You should check your HISTAMINE levels via blood samples. This can be done at a GP or allergy clinic. Your body may have elevated histamine levels meaning your body is overcompensating and going into an autoimmune response to defend against what it perceives to be an invader, causing an overactivity of histamine. Consider reducing histamine levels naturally in your diet, rather than medicating.

7. Process of Elimination: to determine intolerances in the food + drink you’re consuming. Start by cutting down on caffeine and sugar, to eliminating it entirely after a week (drink plenty of natural spring water/filtered water!) Then cut out gluten, then dairy (eggs are okay), and eventually ALL sugar! (NOTE, gluten-free options at supermarkets are full of additives, preservatives and SUGAR!) Best option is to bake your own GF bread or buy from trusted sources or wholefoods and healthfood stores. Check online.

8. Eat ORGANIC: (where possible). If you cannot do this, ensure everything you consume has been thoroughly dry scrubbed and rinsed, then bathed in a water infused with a teaspoon of apple cider vinegar. This will kill any bacteria and pesticides used to artificially enhance, ripen or preserve the item. Unfortunately, those foods injected with antibiotics, grown in neuc-soil, genetically modified, or preserved by adding sulphites or other additives will still contain these toxins, even after washing. So best to buy organic for this very reason.

9. Absolutely avoid ANY additives, preservatives, sulphites, artificial colours, anything processed (unless it’s absolutely made from goodness and whole ingredients only), heavy metals ie aluminium (found in most cosmetics and personal care products), fluoride. Use recipes found online made from natural elements like bicarbonate soda, vinegar, coconut oil etc for cleaning. They work! And substitute ingredients for more healthy options.

10. Oral Medication: If your system has begun to show mild signs of improvement, in other words, you’re gut health has improved indicated by a slight drop in symptoms and minimal increase in well-being, (best to get progress checks), get yourself to the GP and enquire about an SSNRI medication if you feel you need the extra leg up. If not, continue methodically exercising your new healthy lifestyle and you should eventually see remarkable results.

The aim is to find out the source of your AF/CFS + begin to heal from the inside out. It may be that you can attribute your symptoms to a particular cause, like inadequate sleep or a trauma. Otherwise, it may be due to
A) low or high blood pressure
B) Hypothyroidism
C) Adrenal Insufficiency (this is usually indicated via a cortisol test whereby cortisol levels are their lowest levels a.m. Although not always).
D) Or you may have ALL the above! (Like me).
Low stores of excitatory neurotransmitters ie norepinephrine, epinephrine and glutamate, can also influence fatigue. Otherwise, inadequate dietary intake of B vitamins (the western diet is lacking in MOST vitamins + minerals these days), dysregulation of mitochondrial function, anaemia, depression, acute or chronic illness, heavy metal toxicity including acute + chronic environmental toxins, as well as medications + indeed party stimulants or depressants. Assessment of:
1. THYROID
2. IRON status,
3. BLOOD SUGAR
4. DIET
5. ADRENAL FUNCTION
are also highly recommended.

SEROTONIN + NOREPINEPHRINE are pain inhibitory hormones. If you’re suffering chronic pain + CFS, look for depletion of these two hormones in particular in your ‘Extensive Neurotransmitter Profile’. And possibly get yourself on an SSNRI. Life without pain is remarkable!

As for LEAKY GUT SYNDROME, if left untreated, it can lead to severe health issues like inflammatory bowel disease, IBS, arthritis, eczema, psoriasis, depression, anxiety, migraine headaches, muscle pain + chronic fatigue. (I had all bar eczema + psoriasis). According to the Journal of Diabetes, there is a strong body of evidence pointing to leaky gut syndrome as a major cause of autoimmune diseases, including Type 1 Diabetes.

EDUCATE EDUCATE EDUCATE! Don’t believe what one supposed expert tells you. Do your own research. Your GP will likely say you’re going the long way around by following this method and suggest not to waste your time + money… They will try and talk you out if it. However, the proof is in the pudding! What GP’s don’t understand is that it takes a far more comprehensive approach than conventional medicine sometimes to properly diagnose something and get an understanding of our health and how to approach wellness. If you need a particular blood test, INSIST on having it done anyway.

Good luck + many blessings for a successful recovery to well being.

#15 
Written By Kylie on February 1st, 2017 @ 1:11 pm

Oooh, forgot to add this…

Additional blood testing to determine leaky gut syndrome or precursors should include;

1. IMMUNE SYSTEM
a) Leukocytes (looking for hyperactive immune system triggered through central nervous system (by adrenalin over time – may be an expression of an autoimmune disease, or is characterised by chronic inflammation). This should be tested alongside
b) Yellow crystals +
c) Resting pulse. Also check
d) Neutrophils
e) Monocytes
f) Basophils
g) Eosinophils
h) Lymphocytes (WBC Cohesion, Disrupted Neutrophils, Motility rate)

2. DIGESTIVE SYSTEM
a) Rouleaux formation (liver function re protein synthesis + bile production)
b) Spicule formation (to check level of digestive enzymes re liver function + protein production)
c) Thrombocyte aggregation (re excess fats, lowered bile production or chemical irritants + other lifestyle consumption ie alcohol, drugs, smoking, soft drinks, coffee etc)
d) Chylomicron absorption
e) Red crystals
f) Yellow crystals
g) Micro-organism overgrowth (candida)
h) Blood Viscosity (if low, possibly due to low level blood protein, alcohol or blood thinning agents like aspirin)
i) Zinc
j) Blood pressure
k) Blood sugars + Cholesterols HbA1c, Triglycerides, glucose, HDL, LDL, non-HDL, TC/HDL, ALT (enzyme linked to liver damage), AST (enzyme linked to cardiovascular damage), hs-CRP (inflammation marker of the immune system)
l) UTI/Kidney
m) Hgb (Blood haemoglobin values)
n) Blood in stool (haemorrhoids, risks for colonic diseases)
o) STD
p) Heliobacter Pylori (DO NOT consume the radioactive capsule! Insist on the non-toxic method of testing)
q) Ghosted RBC (endocrine system + EFA within mebranes of red blood cells)
r) Dehydration (Kidney/endocrine related to store water)
s) Peripheral blood colour
t) Blood coagulation
u) Body temperature
v) Muscle tension

:)

#16 
Written By Kylie on February 1st, 2017 @ 1:47 pm

Thanks so much for your story, Kylie, and all this info – much appreciated! Educating ourselves about our options is key (as you say: “educate, educate, educate!”). Our immune system begins in the gut. Your story is so valuable in highlighting this. Pushing for tests is important – information is power. Keeping in mind, there are times when money and energy are so taxed by tests, treatments and reading about health we also need to take time out from it too. But the understanding one’s own gut and what it needs to be healthy (no matter who you are) is vital. Nice one, Kylie!

#17 
Written By Megan on February 1st, 2017 @ 4:50 pm

Just a follow up on my January post……I finally got results back that I had Glandular Fever….twice! No wonder I couldn’t stay awake for 2 months straight. I used all of my Long Service Leave on this however saying that, I am lucky that I had that otherwise I don’t know what I would of done.
All I can say is persistence is the key, if you can please continue on your journey for answers. It’s frustrating, it’s tiring, it’s costly but please know you have our support.
Even though I feel as though the old happy Lisa is back, it has also given me such a scare that my new motto in life is ‘go slow and say no’ and trust me, it works.
I have been upfront with people if I can’t catch up due to catching up on sleep. Example, I am meant to be catching up with a friend tomorrow who I haven’t seen in a long time and she can’t come to me because she has to take her child to netball. I was honest and said that I can’t commit to the drive to her place (an hour), spend the day with her and drive home as it could set me back again and bugger me for the next few days
I am at a stage that I seriously listen to my body and like I mentioned before I do feel so much better however I also listen so much more to my body. If I’m tired and need to lie down or sit down then I do.
I wish each and every one of you lots of love and strength xx

#18 
Written By LIsa on June 2nd, 2017 @ 2:19 pm

Thanks so much for sharing your experience, Lisa. Yes, I’ve had glandular fever. It has boxing gloves that one. GF can effectively tackle one’s health to the ground and keep you pinned there for ages. Very tough having it twice – feeling for you. But also very pleased you had long service leave. Not having paid leave can leave many of us totally stranded and stressed to the hilt.

Your story of saying ‘no’ to your friend because the drive would total you was a brilliant example of what we all face, in our own way, everyday. People who have perfectly good energy levels say ‘no’ all the time due to work or family expectations. Maybe our own health could be seen like our kid who needs to be driven to netball…and then a nap (!).

‘Go slow and say no’ is a pearler. Nice one.

Many thanks again. Love and strength back actcha xxx

#19 
Written By Megan on June 5th, 2017 @ 10:55 am

What a find! Your blog I mean! … lying here post 3 day trip away. Exhausted! Symptoms started after prolonged period of stress until a phone call left me unable to deal with the news. Full body rash and steroids were the first medical intervention.
Many many gp visits with different ailments finally a cortisol test was Carried out and that was the trigge. I’m awaiting further tests but trying to lead a better lifestyle.
Have missed so much time from work the response is ‘you look fine’ by managers.
Life to be lived tho work, daughter and house .. 6 trips this year has been too many. Am getting more irritable tho usually a placid person. I hope for the best. But a cup of tea and bit of chocolate still being used to start me up at breakfast‼️

#20 
Written By Elizabeth Redmond on June 21st, 2017 @ 7:32 pm

Hi Elizabeth. Really feeling for you. What a time you’ve had – and the ‘you look fine’ is an all-too-common final straw. Feeling ‘irritable’ is pretty mild considering what you are going through. I totally understand the frustration on all its levels. You may not need any advice and I’m no health practitioner but an anti-inflammatory diet can be more powerful than what we (and doctors) assume. Might be worth considering talking with an expert naturopath who understands diet. I’m saying that this is ‘the answer’ but it may help. I hope, once the tests are back, you have a case (presented by a doctor) to present to your manager to reduce the travelling. My illness couldn’t be identified by standard biomedical tests. Hence, the natural therapies journey I’ve been on. And working for myself so I can control my ‘work style’. But everyone has to tread their own path, find their own answers. I’m hear to support you, cheer you on your way – whatever you choose to do.

#21 
Written By Megan on June 22nd, 2017 @ 10:53 am

I have felt tired and fatigue since childhood but never knew that it is a kind disease. Most of my life I ignored it but now as I am turning to 40s, I feel a very low energy, always tired, impacting both my professional and personal life and kind of leading to depression and anxiety. From my recent googling I learned that it could be CFS or Adrenal and luckily came across this forum and feel good to see stories from other people.
However, I am still lost as how I should proceed for diagnosis and treatment as per most blog the GPs dont entertain this very-well.
I will highly appreciate you can advise on some step by step guide for me to follow (DIY) to help me understand the root cause with my body or advise about any doc/clinic in USA that I can visit and take treatment than that would be very helpful as going through various blogs/website I got enough knowledge but not have a good action plan for the treatment.
I want to enjoy a healthy and energetic life…..without it living a colorless life.

#22 
Written By sammy on July 20th, 2017 @ 12:54 am

Hi there, Sammy. Really feeling for you. What a long road of fatigue you have walked. And you are right: A holistic plan customised especially for you is what you need. It’s important to convey to any practitioner you treat that you need a plan – a manageable one (mentally, physically and financially). It would be ideal to find a GP that does recognise and understand CFS/ME and adrenal fatigue. It might be worth asking the people at American Academy of Environmental Medicine: https://www.aaemonline.org/. I haven’t had any direct contact with this group – just found their site this morning Googling for you. They have a ‘find a physician’ section on their site: https://www.aaemonline.org/find.php. It’s worth having some further tests to find out if there is anything obvious that’s been missed first up. Lyme Disease, endochrine dysfunction, etc.

Many people I’ve spoken to have given up inflammatory foods to assist their health (caffeine, wheat, sugar and even dairy). Inflammation in the gut can contribute to fatigue. It may not solve the whole problem, but it can help. As can regular exercise, built up gradually over time. Again, I am not a health practitioner, so I’m just speaking from personal experience and that of others struggling with fatigue.

It would also be ideal if you could find a mental health practitioner to assist you in this process as chronic fatigue may (understandably) lead to depression and/or anxiety.

Sourcing good professional help is vital. But it can also get expensive, which may be stressful…which impacts your health. So seek advice on government programs/insurance options to help you through this. We have a mental health scheme in Australia for 6-12 cheap/free sessions with a psychologist. But you need to have approval from a GP first. Not sure what the US has to offer.

I hope this helps. Sending ‘good energy vibes’ from Australia :)

#23 
Written By Megan on July 20th, 2017 @ 9:38 am

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