Aside from the brain fog commonly associated with chronic fatigue syndrome, finding the right diet for this syndrome is confusing. At this time the cause of the sleeplessness, pain and exhaustion associated with chronic fatigue syndrome are unknown. However, some nutritional deficiencies are related. (1)
Depending on which way you look there are websites boasting the benefits of diets ranging from vegetarian to Paleo. Following a restrictive diet can lead to nutritional deficiencies. This list does not cover all aspects of nutrition related to chronic fatigue syndrome and there is no particular diet recommended for chronic fatigue syndrome but making smart nutrition decisions can make sure you are on the right track.
Diets high in processed foods are often full of sugar, salt and additives. These foods are not a good source of vitamins and minerals.
A recent study revealed a relationship with an imbalance in gut bacteria and chronic fatigue. (2) As of yet there are no recommendations related to the amount of probiotic supplements that may be beneficial, so focus on including a mixture of prebiotics and probiotics in your daily diet to nourish a healthy gut.
Protein, Carbohydrates and Fat
Carbohydrates are the main source of energy for the body and the brain. Protein and fat can be used as fuel as well but also have other jobs. A carbohydrate our bodies use to create energy is D-Ribose, in order for our bodies to make it, we need the vitamin B2 that comes from meat, milk, eggs, cheese and almonds. In an effort to make sure your body has everything it needs to function well it is important to eat a diet with a wide array of nutrients and not to limit any food groups. (3)(4)
Vitamins, Minerals and Supplements
Folic acid, Vitamin B 12 and iron are important in the creation of the red blood cells that carry oxygen through the body. The combination of these has helped reduce symptoms of chronic fatigue for those who have had deficiencies. (3)
Coenzyme Q10 levels have been documented as commonly low in those with chronic fatigue syndrome. Supplementing with 200 milligrams per day for 3-6 months may prove beneficial. (1)(5)
- Mahan, L. K., & Raymond, J. L. (2017). Krauses food & the nutrition care process. St. Louis, MO: Elsevier.
- Nagy-Szakal, D., Williams, B. L., Mishra, N., Che, X., Lee, B., Bateman, L., . . . Lipkin, W. I. (2017, April 26). Fecal metagenomic profiles in subgroups of patients with myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome. Retrieved June 27, 2017, from
- Riboflavin. (2017, January 30). Retrieved June 27, 2017, from https://lpi.oregonstate.edu/mic/vitamins/riboflavin#nutrient-interactions
- Regland, B., Forsmark, S., Halaouate, L., Matousek, M., Peilot, B., Zachrisson, O., & Gottfries, C. (2015). Response to Vitamin B12 and Folic Acid in Myalgic Encephalomyelitis and Fibromyalgia. Retrieved June 27, 2017, from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4406448/
- Maes, M., Mihaylova, I., Kubera, M., Uytterhoeven, M., Vrydags, N., & Bosmans, E. (n.d.). Coenzyme Q10 deficiency in myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS) is related to fatigue, autonomic and neurocognitive symptoms and is another risk factor explaining the early mortality in ME/CFS due to cardiovascular disorder. Retrieved June 27, 2017, from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20010505