Case Study: Resolving Long Term Exhaustion
Marsha came to see me several months ago because she was fed up with feeling sick and exhausted all the time. She had numerous symptoms that were concerning her and she was scared she was developing chronic fatigue syndrome.
Marsha said she has been living with a sore throat on and off for the past 6 months. Certainly for the three months of winter she has woken with a sore throat. It resolves during the day, and becomes sore again by around 6pm. The glands in her neck were raised and sore most days of the week. Most mornings she noticed that just turning her head in the shower caused mild discomfort in her neck due to the swollen glands.
Marsha also suffered with aching muscles, particularly in her arms and legs. She didn’t experience the muscle aches every day, but for several days each week she felt like she was coming down with a cold or flu, with generalized aches and pains. She didn’t actually develop much of a cold or flu; her symptoms were limited to sneezing, a runny nose and excess mucus in her throat. Dust and windy days aggravated her symptoms and sometimes she put up with a runny nose and runny eyes all day.
Marsha was just frustrated with the fact that she felt continually unwell and run down.
She had good days, and occasionally a good week, but for the last 6 months she experienced continual fatigue and flu like symptoms.
It was clear to me that Marsha had a very weak immune system. She had a chronic low grade viral infection that was zapping her of energy and greatly reducing her quality of life. She found it increasingly difficult to perform her job. Marsha was a journalist, and she was beginning to find the deadlines overwhelming. She found it increasingly difficult to concentrate well enough to write articles.
Marsha’s immune system was weak for several reasons:
- She has a stressful job and an anxious, perfectionist personality. This means she finds it hard to unwind in the evenings and it takes her a long time to fall asleep. Poor quality or insufficient quantity of sleep weakens the immune system.
- Marsha has used antibiotics on and off long term for recurring urinary tract infections. She has not had a urinary infection for the past month, therefore has stopped the antibiotics.
- She snacked on quite a bit of sugary foods throughout the day. She said she felt she “needs” sugar to help her brain to focus, in order to meet the deadlines at work.
Marsha had seen her local doctor and he ordered several blood tests. Nothing really significant showed up. She was mildly vitamin D deficient, which I expected, since she had an indoor lifestyle. Many people are aware of the benefits of vitamin D for the immune system, but most do not take enough of this vitamin. Most people need approximately 5000 IU of vitamin D each day, while some people need even higher amounts. It is best to ask your doctor for a vitamin D blood test to determine which dose is right for you.
I asked Marsha to take two Allergy Relief tablets per day. The natural anti-inflammatory ingredients would help to stop the annoying and draining allergy symptoms she had been putting up with.
I asked Marsha to increase the amount of protein, vegetables and good fats she was eating. She actually wasn’t eating enough protein and healthy fats, and this was leaving her wide open to struggling with sugar cravings for much of the day. Specifically I asked her to eat a more substantial breakfast, such as eggs and vegetables cooked in pastured butter or ghee, or a protein powder smoothie or dinner leftovers. To help overcome the current flu like symptoms she was experiencing quickly, I gave Marsha a vitamin C supplement.
Selenium is a critical mineral for the immune system because it helps the body to fight viral infections. People who are selenium deficient have a very hard time overcoming infections. I asked Marsha to take one Selenomune capsule per day. Along with strengthening her immune system, this would give her an energy boost.
Her long history of antibiotic use, combined with a high sugar diet meant that Marsha had an overgrowth of harmful microbes in her intestines. Approximately 80 percent of our immune system is located in our intestines; therefore poor gut health is an enormous contributor to a weakened immune system.
I asked Marsha to take one BactoClear capsule with each meal. This would help her overcome the abdominal bloating and recurring vaginal Candida she suffered with. I also encouraged her to make her own fermented vegetables at home, such as pickled cucumbers and sauerkraut. This would help to restore good levels of beneficial microbes in her intestines.
I recommend magnesium to all of my patients who have difficulties winding down in the evening. It is excellent for helping to calm the nervous system and allow you to reach a deeper level of sleep at night.
I have seen Marsha several times over the last 3 months and she no longer suffers with the symptoms she initially sought help for. I have found that cleaning up the diet, restoring good gut health and correcting nutrient deficiencies are the foundations for helping to restore a strong and healthy immune system.
The above symptoms have not been evaluated by the FDA and are not intended to diagnose, treat or cure any disease.