Could You Have Chronic Fatigue Syndrome?
Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) is characterized by severe, unexplained, disabling fatigue that is not relieved by rest. CFS has an identifiable onset, usually after an acute viral infection such as mononucleosis. It can be persistent or relapsing and lasts for at least 6 consecutive months.
Chronic Fatigue Syndrome patients usually exhibit four or more of the following symptoms:
- Impaired memory or concentration problems
- Tender cervical or axillary lymph nodes
- Sore throat (but may not show signs of infection)
- Muscle/multi-joint pain (but not arthritis)
- New onset headaches (tension-type or migraine)
- Not refreshed after adequate sleep
- Fatigue, pain and flu-like symptoms after exertion
These symptoms can be further aggravated by physical or mental stress, poor sleep or trauma.
Naturopathically there are many avenues I explore and treat with CFS:
- Toxin and heavy metal accumulation
- Imbalanced brain chemistry/low serotonin
- Sleep disturbances
- Infection with Epstein-Barr virus (EBV), or with the fungus Candida albicans
- Food allergy (dairy products, eggs, wheat/gluten, nuts and beans are most common)
- Emotional stress
- Adrenal exhaustion
- Nutritional deficiencies
- Chronic mercury poisoning from dental fillings
By Dr. Pamela Frank, BSc (Hons), ND
Need help with chronic fatigue? That’s what our naturopathic doctors are here for. Call us at 416-481-0222 or book online now.
L-Theanine for Anxiety?
L-theanine is an amino acid from plants such as green tea that has been promoted for the natural relief of anxiety. It sparked my interest when a new product came out containing l-theanine that was promoted for the treatment of attention deficit disorder (ADD). Accompanying the product came many enthusiastic testimonials. As is often the case, I became my own guinea pig and here’s what I found: it may help with attention, but I’ve never really had a problem with that so I can’t say. What it did do, was keep me awake at night. L-theanine is supposed to increase alpha waves in the brain which leads to a state of calm alertness, which you would expect to be helpful in ADD. Unfortunately, what I found was that this increase in alpha waves interfered with the normal brain wave activity that is supposed to occur at night while you sleep.
There is research supporting the use of l-theanine for anxiety (1), however, lack of sleep is not going to help with anxiety.
My recommendation would be to take l-theanine early in the day and if it still seems to disrupt sleep go with one of the many other natural anti-anxiety measures that our naturopathic doctors have to offer and maybe couple that with some psychotherapy and massage therapy.
To book an appointment to discuss anxiety, call us at 416-481-0222 or book online now.
1. Unno K, Tanida N, Ishii N, Yamamoto H, Iguchi K, Hoshino M, Takeda A, Ozawa H, Ohkubo T, Juneja LR, Yamada H. Anti-stress effect of theanine on students during pharmacy practice: positive correlation among salivary α-amylase activity, trait anxiety and subjective stress. Pharmacol Biochem Behav. 2013 Oct;111:128-35. doi: 10.1016/j.pbb.2013.09.004. Epub 2013 Sep 16.
Lack of Sleep and Obesity
Children who get relatively little sleep each night may be at increased risk of becoming overweight by early adolescence, a published study suggests.
Researchers found that among 785 U.S. children followed since birth, the risk of becoming overweight by sixth grade was related to how much sleep the children got in third grade.
The findings support the theory that sleep, through effects on specific hormones and metabolism, may directly affect weight, according to the researchers.
For example, research suggests that a lack of sleep may lower levels of leptin, a hormone that suppresses appetite.
Similar research has shown a correlation with insufficient sleep and obesity in adults.
Research on gratitude suggests that a conscious focus on blessings has emotional and interpersonal benefits.
We can foster a healthy sense of well-being through a habitual focusing on and appreciation of the positive aspects of life and those around us.
People who practice gratitude consistently report a host of benefits:
• Stronger immune systems
• Less bothered by aches and pains
• Lower blood pressure
• Exercise more and take better care of their health
• Sleep longer and feel more refreshed upon waking
• Higher levels of positive emotions
• More alert, alive, and awake
• More joy and pleasure
• More optimism and happiness
• More helpful, generous, and compassionate
• More forgiving
• More outgoing
• Feel less lonely and isolated.
Source: Robert A. Emmons, Ph.D. http://greatergood.berkeley.edu/article/item/why_gratitude_is_good/
Children who consistently get 9 to 10 hours of sleep on both weekdays and weekends have the healthiest metabolic profile (less risk of obesity, less inflammation, better cholesterol levels).
Source: Spruyt K et al. Pediatrics 2011; 127:e345-52
New findings suggest turning down indoor lighting at night, and keeping the room dark during sleep to increase melatonin production could reduce insomnia, keep blood pressure in check and lower the chances of developing diabetes. Melatonin has been studied for its role in treating cancer, poor sleep and hypertension.
Source: J. Clin. Endocrinol. Metab.doi:doi:10.1210/jc.2010-2098