More than 1 million Americans live with chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). Chronic fatigue is a medical condition characterized by extreme fatigue after physical or mental exertion that is unrelated to an underlying condition. There are several theories on what leads to this syndrome, but the exact cause still remains unknown.
If you have chronic fatigue syndrome you know that on some days, even brushing your teeth can feel like a marathon. You may have tried every approved pharmacologic treatment out there. If you’re searching for an alternative, here are four ways to boost your energy without popping pills.
1. Graded Exercise Therapy
Studies have repeatedly shown that graded exercise therapy helps those with CFS. This type of therapy allows you to start exercising very gradually with stretching and guided movements. Over time you will be able to increase the intensity and duration of your exercise. In one randomized, controlled study, those participants undergoing graded exercise therapy reported significantly less fatigue than people in the control group, who got standard medical care
People with CFS often have broken or disordered sleep and may even suffer from insomnia. Increasing sleep time and quality has been shown to help “replenish the bodies energy and heal its’ muscles,” according to a study published in the Journal of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. Adequate sleep reduces tiredness and improves energy and muscle strength in people with CFS. Aim to get at least eight hours each night. If you are having trouble getting to sleep or staying asleep, try some of these sleep tps.
Ribose is an extremely important sugar your body uses to help with energy production. Don’t confuse this with common sugar (and don’t reach for a bag of cookies or chocolate cake!). Ribose is a key component in the energy-creation process within cells. It can be taken as a supplement (you may see it listed as D-ribose). One study showed that taking D-ribose significantly reduced symptoms — specifically sleep problems, mental fogginess, and pain — in people who had both chronic fatigue syndrome and fibromyalgia Typically, you start with 5 grams of ribose twice daily.
4. Vitamin D
Vitamin D deficiency has been found in up to 50 percent of the general population. While researchers continue to debate the role of this vitamin in CFS, what we do know is that if you are deficient in vitamin D and have chronic fatigue, you may notice mild pain relief after adequate supplementation. Aim to get 1,000 to 4,000 international units per day; this can vary depending on the severity of your deficiency. Check with your healthcare provider before starting ribose, vitamin D, or any supplements.
Living with chronic fatigue syndrome can be challenging and frustrating. Don’t give up on your chance to feel better! Speak with your physician about whether these treatments may help.