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Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Health Center

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Chronic Fatigue Syndrome - Other Treatment

The best treatment for your chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) is what makes you feel better. Along with daily self-care and the treatment you get from your doctor, you might find that other treatments help too.

There are safe nontraditional treatments that can relieve pain and stress, ease muscle tension, help you feel better and healthier, and improve your outlook and quality of life.

Treatment choices

Some popular complementary treatments include:

Unproven treatments

There are many unproven treatments for CFS. Some of the more popular ones include:

  • Large doses of vitamins or minerals. But taking too much of certain vitamins and minerals can actually be harmful.
  • Diets that eliminate certain foods or ingredients (such as yeast, sugar, or food additives) that some people believe stress the immune system. Because the exact role of the immune system in CFS isn't well understood, there is no scientific basis for these remedies. But if certain foods seem to make your symptoms worse, there is no harm in avoiding them as long as you are eating a balanced diet.
  • Aloe vera juice.
  • Evening primrose oil.
  • Royal jelly (a bee product).

What to think about

None of these complementary treatments have been proven effective in treating CFS, but some people have reported feeling better after using them. If you have CFS and are thinking about trying a complementary treatment, get the facts before you begin. Consider these questions with your doctor:

  • Is it safe? Do not use treatments that could harm you, such as unusual diets or excessive vitamin or mineral supplements. (A daily multiple vitamin is okay. Try to avoid taking more than 100% of the recommended daily allowance for any vitamin or mineral unless your doctor prescribes it.)
  • Is the product manufactured reliably? Vitamin and mineral supplements and herbal products are not subject to the same regulations as medicines. Ingredients may vary from one maker to another. Read the labels carefully, and choose well-known brands you trust.
  • Does it work? It may be hard to tell whether a treatment is working. Keep in mind that when you get better after treatment, the treatment may not be the reason for your improvement. Symptoms of CFS often improve on their own. Or the treatment may be causing a placebo effect, which makes you feel better.
  • How much does it cost? An expensive treatment that may or may not help you may not be worth the high cost. Beware of products or treatment providers who require a large financial investment up front or a series of costly treatments.
  • Will it improve my general health? Even if complementary treatments are not effective in treating CFS, some of them are safe and healthy habits that may improve your general well-being and may be worth trying.
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