What to ask your health care practitinorer

The following diagnostic and treatment possibilities are frequently worth investigating, especially for those who have been suffering from chronic fatigue which has failed to respond to medical intervention or the simple self-help measures discussed earlier:

– Low grade depression, often accompanied by anxiety, is a real diagnostic possibility and one of the major reasons for unexplained chronic fatigue. It should not be forgotten that insomnia, fatigue, eating disorders, memory loss and multiple intractable somatic complaints are common symptoms of a clinical depression. This diagnosis is usually the most resisted by chronically fatigued victims but long term psychotherapy may well be worth a try. Other treatment options include aerobic exercise, visualization, yoga, breathing exercises, massage therapy, acupressure or Shiatsu and other relaxation techniques.

Alcohol, tobacco or other drug/substance abuse is often seen in depressed individuals and requires long term addiction therapy either in a hospital or detox clinic setting. As an initial act, look into various 12-step support groups for guidance.

Whether or not you believe that stress or relationship conflicts can affect you physically, look into some ways to make positive changes to your lifestyle by reading some of the reference listed at the end of this article.

– Subclinical hypothyroidism or Wilson’s disease which can be discovered in cases where body temperatures are consistently below 98.6 degrees F or 37 degrees C. Fatigue usually responds to natural thyroid hormone precursors like iodine, tyrosine, zinc, copper and selenium or to thyroid hormone itself (i.e. desiccated thyroid or liothyronine).

– Toxic heavy metal excess or hypersensitivity, especially to mercury in dental amalgams but also to lead, cadmium, aluminum, copper, arsenic and nickel. Ridding the body of these toxins through a variety of natural supplements like garlic, N-acetyl-cysteine, vitamin C, vitamin E and selenium often eliminates fatigue. In more severe cases, intravenous chelation therapy is effective.

– Vitamin deficiencies, especially to B complex vitamins, notably folic acid and vitamin B12 which may be poorly absorbed by the intestines of chronically ill individuals are common fatigue generators. Injections of vitamin B12 and folic acid may be necessary until gut healing can take place.

– Mineral deficiencies or imbalances involving iron, zinc, copper, selenium, calcium, magnesium, chromium, manganese, silicon, boron, iodine and lithium. Iron deficiency is not the only mineral capable of causing fatigue. Testing for other mineral deficiencies may be vary important.

– Essential fatty acid and amino deficiencies can come about due to malabsorption caused by digestive enzyme deficiencies. Amino acids are precursors to all the neurotransmitters responsible for optimal brain and nervous system function. Essential fatty acids are important components of all body cells and particularly vital for the health of the nervous system.

– Masked or delayed food allergies or chemical hypersensitivities which can only be determined by elimination – provocation testing or blood tests like RAST or ELISA.

– Hypoglycemia or hyperglycemia due to endocrine gland dysfunction other than the thyroid (pancreas, adrenal, gonadal disease) is often overlooked as a cause of chronic fatigue. Blood levels of hormones like DHEA, cortisol and progesterone might all be at suboptimal levels.

– Chronic candida/fungal infection or hypersensitivity syndrome which is best diagnosed and treated by a trial therapy with a sugar-free, yeast-free diet and natural antifungal supplements like garlic, taheebo, tea tree oil, colloidal silver, olive oil, acidophilus and others.

– Chronic parasitic infestations usually due to poor or inappropriate medical testing procedures are not only associated with digestive problems like chronic constipation or diarrhea but with chronic fatigue and immune system malfunctions of nearly every type.

– Low stomach acidity or low pancreatic enzyme production in response to food intake leads to subclinical malabsorption syndromes and numerous nutrient deficiencies, which, when corrected alleviate some cases of chronic fatigue.

Discuss these possibly overlooked diagnoses and treatment options with your natural health care practitioner. For more information, see the references below.


Bateson-Koch, Carolee. Allergies, Disease in Disguise. Vancouver: Alive Books. 1994. Crook, William G. Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and the Yeast Connection. Professional Books: Jackson, Tennessee, 1992. Ford, Norman D. 18 Natural Ways to Beat Chronic Tiredness. New Canaan, Connecticut; Keats Publishing, 1993. Lark, Susan M. Chronic Fatigue & Tiredness. Los Altos, CA: Westchester Publishing Company. 1993. Moore, Neecie. Bountiful Health, Boundless Energy, Brilliant Youth: The Facts about DHEA. Dallas: Charis Publishing Co.,Inc. 1994. Rona, Zoltan P. and Martin, Jeanne Marie. Return to the Joy of Health, Vancouver: Alive Books, 1995