Thursday, September 11, 2008


I was asked by a friend to explain the nutritional changes/challenges of CFS. She acknowledged when asking that my being vegan is not in question. However, for anyone else wondering: Being vegan does not cause CFS.

OK, now on to the real topic. The basic advice from Dr. Teitelbaum (and my personal doctor, Dr. R) is pretty standard. Don't eat crap. Eat real food. This is, I think, more important to emphasize with CFS because when you're exhausted, nauseated, and can't think straight, it's much easier to either skip meals or fall back on whatever is easiest. In my case, PB&J sandwiches. Luckily, Nick has taken over cooking in the evening, and he's very good at making sure I eat my veggies. Or, as he puts it, "food that isn't beige."

So once you've gotten sick, it's very easy to develop nutritional deficencies. Also, once you're sick and problems compound, your body may have difficulty processing or creating various important nutrients/chemicals/whatever. That's why it's important to repair any problem areas (I had very low vitamin D, for example), and then to keep your nutrient levels "fully stocked."

Also, if it's suspected that you have yeast overgrowth, you should cut back on sugar intake, because sugar makes the little yeasties happy. You should also take probiotics to make it harder for the yeast to compete in your gut.

In addition, D-ribose is supposed to improve cellular energy production.

Acetyl-L-Carnitine and N-acetyl-L-Cysteine tend to be lower in people with CFS, so supplementing those can be helpful. Coenzyme Q10 may also assist with energy recovery.

Finally, there are nutritional and herbal remedies for many of the bothersome symptoms of CFS. Taking calcium before bed can assist with sleep. Reducing caffeine can help with anxiety. Suntheanine can both relax you during the day and make it easier to sleep at night. Of course, now we're sliding away from nutrients/diet and into supplements. It's a blurry line, but I think I've mostly covered the nutritional stuff.


  1. Thank you for the clarification. If anyone is capable of feeding herself a nutrionally-sound diet, it's you. But I can imagine getting up the energy to make something healthy can be a real drag; heck, *I* have trouble with that, and nothing like your excuse. Are there are least some yummy vegan delivery options?

  2. There are good delivery options, but unfortunately they also cost money. A lot of our $$$ is tied up in medical costs. Boo.

  3. I agree to all, except about vitamin D which is different from others in some ways (incl. vit D is not a vitamin). Search for Marhsall Protocol (if you havn't). They have an argument about immunosuppressive properties of Vitamin D which is more beneficial to bacteria rather than body in presence of chronic infection (i.e., a cause of CFS).

  4. Sonhail--

    I know about the MP. I'm not following the MP. If it comes to that, I'll be more concerned about D. That said, my D levels were very low, even for someone living in Seattle (where about 80% of the population has low D levels). So they needed some improvement.