Supplements That May Help CFS

The amounts and types of supplements that are helpful for CFS is an individual matter often determined through trial and error. When possible, it’s best to work with a nutritionally oriented health professional who can help you develop a personalized supplement program based on your diet, symptoms, medical history and lifestyle. The following are all supplements that have been shown to be of value either in research or in clinical practice for CFS patients.

B vitamin complex: Vitamins B1, B2 and B3 play crucial roles in how the body’s cells produce energy. In addition, vitamin B6, folic acid and B12 prevent the buildup of homocysteine, which is at high levels in the cerebrospinal fluid of CFS and fibromyalgia patients.
Suggested dose: 50 mg. B complex daily.

NADH (nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide): A substance made from vitamin B3, involved in cellular energy production. A recent study showed that 31 percent of CFS patients had their energy improve after four weeks of supplementation. Suggested dose: 10 mg. daily.

Alpha-lipoic acid: A vitamin-like substance that helps the body burn glucose for energy and increases cell levels of ATP, the substance that stores and releases energy.
Suggested dose: 50-200 mg. daily.

L-carnitine: Helps burn fats for energy. In one study, 3 grams of carnitine daily dramatically improved energy levels in people with CFS.
Suggested dose: 1 to 3 grams daily.

Co-enzyme Q-10: Involved in another stage of energy production: CoQ10 helps move energy-containing electrons to promote the production of ATP for energy.
Suggested dose: 50-100 mg. daily.

Magnesium and malic acid: Two substances that also play roles in energy production. Red blood cell magnesium levels are usually low in CFS patients. One study found that a supplement containing malic acid and magnesium significantly reduced pain in FM patients after seven months.
Suggested dose: 200 mg. of malic acid and 400 mg. of magnesium. Also available in combination.

Essential fatty acids: Required to enable the body to resist viral infections because they have both direct and indirect antiviral actions. One double-blind study found that 85 percent of CFS patients who took a combination of 80 percent evening primrose oil and 20 percent concentrated fish oil had significant improvements in a variety of their symptoms.13,6
Suggested dose: 280 mg. GLA from evening primrose oil, and 140 mg. EPA and 90 mg. DHA from fish oil.

Zinc: An immune booster with anti-viral activity. Tissue mineral analyses reveal that individuals with CFS often have low zinc levels or high levels of copper or heavy metals that are antagonistic to zinc.
Suggested dose: 30-50 mg. daily.