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Nutritional Supplements Found to Aid Recovery from Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFIDS)

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By By: Kathee Ledbetter • • September 1, 1994

People with Chronic Fatigue Immune Dysfunction Syndrome often see the end of life as they knew it. In one case, a pilot suffered such severe effects from the illness that he had to stop flying. It became difficult for him to operate an automobile. Another man came to judge a "good day" by whether he was able to get up and shave in the morning.

These two stories have happy endings, however. Both of these men have recovered and are now leading productive lives. Their doctor, Timothy Tupper, a Santa Barbara, California chiropractor, nutritionist, and acupuncturist, attributes much of their improvement to treatment with nutritional supplements. This method of treatment is being used successfully by more and more doctors, according to Dr.Tupper, who holds post graduate degrees in Clinical Biochemistry and Parasitology, and lectures frequently throughout the country on the importance of nutrition in treating chronic diseases.

"Recovery doesn't happen overnight" he comments. "But over the years I have seen many CFIDS sufferers improve substantially or recover, and I am convinced nutritional supplements played an important role."

Nutritional supplements help fight the debilitating effects of CFIDS largely by boosting the immune system and strengthening the body, according to Dr. Tupper. "They can supply the necessary nutrients that the body lacks, or balance the body that produces too much of a specific chemical" he explains. "Each individual may have different nutritional deficiencies, and thus require different nutritional supplements."

Supplements Dr. Tupper has found to benefit CFIDS patients include antioxidants, which neutralize free radicals and boost the immune system. Among these are quercetin, germanium, vitamins c and E, selenium, zinc, beta carotene, and LEM.

"Beta carotene protects the body front cancers of the respiratory tract, skin, and lungs", he points out. "It heals and strengthens mucous and cell membranes and also improves thymus gland function, which is where T-cells are manufactured."

Vitamin C, Ester-C, Evening Primrose Oil (EPO), and Quercetin also help those suffering from CFIDS by enhancing immune system function and reducing pain and inflammation. "In high doses vitamin C also works as an antiviral agent and T-cell activator."

Dr. Tupper also frequently prescribes LEM, an extract of the Shiitake mushroom, an Oriental medicinal mushroom which has been used for centuries to strengthen the immune system. LEM increases the number of white blood cells, T-cells, and natural killer cells (a type of T-cell). This makes LEM especially useful for CFIDS sufferers, who are often deficient in T-cells, according to Dr. Tupper.

Coenzyme Q is also a nutrient that has been recommended by Dr. Tupper. Its apparent mode of activity is as a biological catalyst utilized by the energy producing system of every cell. There have been several impressive results reported in treating various disorders including cardiovascular disease and immune system dysfunctions.

He prescribes Ginkgo biloba extract for CFIDS patients who are having trouble with memory. "It increases the capillary circulation in the brain, improving brain functions, memory, and mental clarity," he explains. "It also strengthens the cardiovascular system."

Evening primrose oil (which contains GLA) is often prescribed for many kinds of immune disorders because it helps modulate the immune system. Research shows that GLA, one of the essential fatty acids, is an important modulator and balancer for the immune system.

Milk thistle is most helpful to those CFIDS patients suffering liver involvement. According to Dr. Tupper, it helps treat liver damage and helps to work as a preventive measure. Among other things, it has powerful antihistamine, and properties.

Vitamin B-complex, like vitamin C, has a wide range of benefits. According to Dr. Tupper the fact that B-complex helps with nerve function and carbohydrate metabolism is helpful to his CFIDS patients. "It helps with fatigue and gives them energy," he explains.

In the future, Dr. Tupper says he expects nutritional supplements to become more and more widely accepted as treatments for CFIDS. "It is impossible to ignore the importance of nutrition in treating chronic disease," he explains.

Reprinted by permission of the CFIDS Association, Inc., publisher of The CFIDS Chronicle, PO Box 220398, Charlotte, NC, 28222-0398.1-800-44-CFIDS (1-800-442-3437).

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