Nutritional Program for Fatigue

When patients come to me for advice about specific medical problems, they usually have been told that they need medication or surgery, and they are seeking ways to avoid those treatments. Sometimes they have already tried medications, which have produced significant side effects.

Usually, they have many treatment alternatives but they have no information about their choices. One example of effective alternatives is the reduction in blood pressure that meditation produces. Others are the dietary changes and exercise programs that lead to lowered cholesterol. Since the medical treatments for these two conditions are often more dangerous than the problems, it is worth seeking safer alternatives.

Dr. Dean Ornish has shown that patients with heart disease can often avoid surgery and reverse their heart disease with a combination of a low-fat diet, meditation, and exercise. Norman Cousins healed his ankylosing spondylitis (a form of arthritis of the spine) with laughter and high doses of vitamin C. He wrote about his experience in the New England Journal of Medicine, and followed this article with a book, The Anatomy of an Illness. Many patients have cured their digestive disturbances simply by avoiding certain foods.

Over and over, we are seeing the results of lifestyle changes in health care. A recent scientific medical conference put on by the American College for Advancement in Medicine was entitled: Lifestyle Medicine—Medicine for the Nineties. Researchers and physicians both attended and taught at this scientific meeting. Much of it related to the role of dietary supplements in medical therapy.

Dietary supplements are among the safest and most effective choices in health care. They are almost free of side effects, they are easy to take, they are relatively inexpensive, and they usually enhance many life functions besides the specific condition for which they are being given. Following is an example of how nutritionally oriented physicians might use supplements as part of the treatment for a specific health problem. This is a suggestion that is supported in the medical literature and in the experience of many physicians.

Remember this is an example, not a prescription for you, and the supplement list is in addition to many other health practices. Other supplements may be helpful, and you may not need all of these to get results. For more information on any one supplement, look for its description in Dietary Supplements. No one program is appropriate for everybody, but these suggestions are good starting points from which individual programs can be modified.

Fatigue Treatment Programs

One of the most common complaints in any medical practice is fatigue (usually for both the patient and the doctor). There are many causes of persistent fatigue, as opposed to simply being tired from exercise or a heavy work load. There may be a serious medical disorder such as anemia, diabetes, heart disease, chronic fatigue/immune-dysfunction syndrome (also called CFIDS), and infection.

Some chronic everyday problems may also cause significant ongoing fatigue, such as stress, dietary imbalance, food allergy, nutritional deficiency, environmental toxicity, low blood sugar (hypoglycemia), and low-grade depression. Sometimes the problem is as simple as a lack of adequate exercise or boredom. There are some general principles for reducing fatigue after eliminating any of the serious medical conditions as the underlying cause.

Again, eating properly, exercising, and reducing emotional stressors can help increase your energy. Avoiding food allergens and environmental toxins helps reduce exposure to the chemical stressors. A general dietary supplement is often adequate to help fatigue due to nutritional imbalances or borderline deficiencies.

Do not ignore the need to find out if persistent fatigue is the result of a serious medical problem. Treatment may require medical management in addition to lifestyle change and dietary supplements. The following supplement program often helps with fatigue from many causes:

Basic Multiple Formula 3 3
Vitamin C 1000 mg 2 2
Niacin, timed release, 250 mg 1 1
Magnesium aspartate 200 mg 1 1
GLA 240 mg (from borage oil) 1 — 
Vitamin E 400 IU natural, mixed 1 1
Coenzyme Q10 100 mg 1 — 
Chromium 200 mcg 1 1
l-Glutamine 500 mg 1 1
l-Carnitine 250 mg 2 2

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Written by Michael Janson MD

Explore Wellness in 2021