Here’s my simple, two-step plan to reclaim your energy, once and for all
I’ve been saying for years that chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) is a serious and complex condition that we’re just beginning to scratch the surface of. It’s been abundantly clear to me, though, that it’s not a psychological disorder. Even if that’s how mainstream medicine has been treating it for decades.
The truth is, CFS is a truly debilitating condition. It causes exhaustion so intense it can land sufferers in bed for days. And when they are able to get up, they go through their days in a state of fogginess, sensitivity, and crushing fatigue.
The effects of CFS can reach far beyond those of most other conditions—largely because those who don’t have it don’t seem to see it as a real disease. In the decades that I’ve been helping CFS sufferers reclaim their lives, I’ve seen people lose jobs, marriages, friendships, and more because of their disease.
My hope is that as we deepen our understanding of the physiological workings of CFS, its sufferers will shed the stigma attached to it. And finally, research is helping us do just that.
As I told you a year ago, a mainstream medical organization—the Institute of Medicine (IOM)—came out with a 235-page report affirming, among other things, the argument I’ve been making for decades: CFS is not a figment of the imagination. It’s a real disease with serious physical effects.
But even more significant was the fact that the report made a direct connection between CFS and dysfunction in the immune system—specifically diminished natural killer (NK) cell function and infection (in particular, Epstein-Barr Virus). The reason that’s so important is that it provides scientific evidence that CFS is about pathology, not psychology.
Well now a new study has come out that proves yet another direct physical connection to CFS—this time in the gut.
How a leaky gut might be sapping your energy
Researchers at Cornell University have found evidence in the gut microbiome and the blood showing that people with CFS have very different gut bacteria than those who don’t. Which would make sense, considering one of the many effects of CFS is gastrointestinal distress.
The research found differences not just in the diversity of bacteria (those with CFS had greatly reduced diversity of bacteria)—it also revealed differences in the types of bacteria. In people with CFS, the species of bacteria known to fight inflammation were noticeably lacking.
Now here’s where it gets really interesting…
The researchers also looked at blood samples and discovered increased inflammation markers in CFS sufferers. So how is that connected to the gut? Well, those inflammation markers likely got into the blood from the intestines. And it all comes down to an intestinal problem I’ve warned you about before: leaky gut.
The technical name for leaky gut is “intestinal permeability,” and it occurs when the junctions that control what can pass through the small intestine’s lining don’t work properly. The result? Substances that are meant to be excreted (waste and toxins, for example) instead pass into the bloodstream.
It’s not hard to see how that would cause problems. And it does. Leaky gut can lead to a constellation of symptoms, including some of those seen in CFS—aches, pains, abdominal cramps, and more.
But it also triggers an immune response, as the body reacts to bacteria in the bloodstream. And as the IOM report pointed out, CFS has been shown to have an immune connection. We also know the microbiome is intricately involved in immune function.
So the link between CFS and the gut microbiome makes perfect sense. And it offers a super simple way to fight the disease—at the source.
Two simple steps to target CFS at the source
The key, according to the researchers, is to focus on restoring intestinal health. And that boils down to two simple steps: 1.) improving the diversity of the gut microbiome, and 2.) repairing leaky gut.
Luckily, we know how to do that.
As with most health concerns, taking control of leaky gut starts with a diet that will reduce inflammation. And the overarching dietary principles I continue to advocate apply here too: cut out sugar and grains, and focus instead on whole, organic vegetables, healthy fats, and grass-fed meat.
In addition, carefully chosen supplements can help you heal the damaged junctions in your intestines that are allowing waste to leak into your bloodstream. Here are the ones I recommend:
- Probiotics. It almost goes without saying that probiotics are necessary for restoring healthy balance to your gut bacteria. But it’s important to choose a good, multi-strain product for best results. I recommend Dr. Ohhira’s, which also contains prebiotics. Prebiotics serve as food for the probiotics, boosting their efficacy. I recommend one softgel twice a day with water on an empty stomach.
- Vitamin A reinforces the junctions of your intestinal walls and ensures proper function of the cells lining your gut. I recommend 40,000 IU of vitamin A per day.
- Botanicals that can help reinforce the mucosal lining of your intestines:
Deglycyrrhized licorice (DGL)—500 mg per day
Aloe vera leaf extract—250 mg per day
N-acetyl glucosamine—250 mg per day
Slippery elm bark—200 mg per day
Marshmallow root—100 mg per day
- Enzymes. Taken on an empty stomach, digestive enzymes can make their way into your bloodstream and go after any undigested food particles that may have slipped through due to leaky gut.
In the meantime, energize
I often talk about the importance of getting to the root cause of our health issues rather than just slapping a Band-Aid on them with symptom control. And that’s exactly what I’ve outlined here: A plan for healing the underlying problem (leaky gut) causing the inflammation at the root of CFS.
Addressing the underlying cause of any disease is critical. But it also takes time. And in the case of CFS, you probably want to be able get out of bed and get on with your life as quickly as possible.
Well there’s good news there, too. A little over a year ago, I told you about a supplement I had come across that promised real breakthroughs for a number of conditions—and CFS topped the list.
The supplement is called Robuvit®, and it’s a patented, all-natural extract from the Quercus robur tree, grown sustainably in France’s Massif Central forests.
I’ve been impressed with all of the research I’ve seen on Robuvit. But I’ve been blown away by what studies are showing in terms its effectiveness for CFS.
In one study, older adults with CFS had a 25 percent improvement in fatigue after just four weeks. In addition, they saw drops in their levels of tiredness and tension and significant improvements in energy levels and positive mental state. All without side effects. In that study, participants were taking 300 mg of Robuvit a day.
Another study had similar results using the same dosage for the same amount of time. The active constituent in Robuvit—roburins—were shown to reduce free radicals and oxidative stress. Oxidative stress is a key factor in CFS, which might explain why Robuvit does such a good job combatting the symptoms of the disease.
And yet another study found that after six months of supplementation with Robuvit (200 mg a day), CFS sufferers had significant improvements in the following symptoms:
- Weakness and exhaustion
- Short-term memory impairment
- Joint pain
- Weight fluctuation
Beating chronic fatigue, once and for all
People suffering from CFS have been facing stigma and dismissal for far too long. So I’m glad to see the mainstream medical community finally devoting time and resources to get to the bottom of this debilitating condition.
With this new information linking gut health and CFS, I feel more encouraged than ever that we can beat this awful disease, once and for all.
“Robuvit® (Quercus robur extract) supplementation in subjects with chronic fatigue syndrome and increased oxidative stress. A pilot registry study.” J Neurosurg Sci. 2015;59(2):105-17.
“Improved management of primary chronic fatigue syndrome with the supplement French oak wood extract (Robuvit®): a pilot, registry evaluation.” Panminerva Med. 2014;56(1):63-72.