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Diet & Herbal Supplements for Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

Written by Dr. Varshini Jayaraman,  Ph.D. | Medically Reviewed by The Medindia Medical Review Team  on Mar 05, 2016
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Diet & Herbal Supplements for Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

With an increased inclination towards alternative medicine, it is not uncommon to see numerous dietary supplements and other herbal preparations being marketed everyday that claim to benefit patients with CFS or even cure them. Patients are however warned against such unscrupulous claims, as it can lead to adverse effects or cross reactivity between other medicines used for CFS treatment. It is always advisable to consult with the treating physician before using any such form of therapy. Vitamin A, C and B12, iron, zinc, selenium, germanium, magnesium sulfate, adenosine monophosphate, glutathione and melatonin are some of the most commonly referred vitamins, minerals or coenzymes that claim a therapeutic benefit.


Herbal preparations of Ginkgo biloba, ginseng, garlic, comfrey, bromelain, astralagus and others such as borage seed oil, primrose oil, and mushroom extract also claim to offer relief to CFS patients, the effectiveness of which is yet to be established.


  1. Chronic Fatigue Syndrome - (http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/chronicfatiguesyndrome.html)
  2. Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome - (http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/diseases/cfs/)

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I have all these symptoms of ME/CFS for over a year and had presented to my GP with symptoms but at time they seem unrelated. Recently when I told her I believed I had it, her comments were "You don't have it by what I know although you are definitely stressed, and definitely fatigued". When I responded that I had sore throat/tender glands in my neck and that if I do more than normal activity I am wrecked afterwards and sometimes have flu like illness without being the bug, she did not reply. It left me angry she did not take me seriously although my counsellor whom is also a registered doctor agreed with my diagnosis. It is unfortunate no lab. tests exist to prove this. What I think confuses my doctor is the fact I am 51 and have chronic pain treated with prescribed narcotics but she cannot explain sudden weight gain [12kg] in a year as well as all the other chronic fatigue like signs! Thanks, Jem


As described CFS is a set of symptoms and not a disease by itself. the underlying causes are still unknown to medical science but due to some medical conditions also you can get these kind of symptoms [Syndrome]. I just read in another article about 'andropause'. a situation described similar (although not) to menapause in women. Here the level of Testestorone (male hormone) gets depleted. This can be tested in blood test. Also other conditions include vit B12 deficiency, clinical depression, anxiety disorders, etc. You can rule out some of them as there are tests available. As you have described, you were on pain management medicines that may also have such side effects. Also, acceptance / non-acceptance by your doctor should not mean anything to you. Its the right treatment is required for the same. So, first thrash out the possibilities where tests are available (Vit B12, TSH, testestorone level, etc) and then you'll be sure about this yourself. All the best!

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