My name is Erica White. I’m founder of Nutritionhelp, a graduate of the Institute for Optimum Nutrition and an Honorary Fellow of the British Association for Applied Nutrition and Nutritional Therapy. I'm also the author of the 'Beat Candida Cookbook', updated and expanded in August 2014 and flagged by Amazon for many years as their No.1 Best Seller for Special Diets. My other books include the 'Beat Fatigue Handbook'.
If you have been diagnosed with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (C.F.S) or Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (M.E.), you might be interested in the following information.
C.F.S. and M.E. are two names for the same illness, depending on the term chosen by a doctor for the diagnosis. Each of the names covers a great many possible symptoms that can vary from person to person – although there is one common denominator, which is chronic fatigue. All the symptoms may have many different causes – so CFS/ ME is not one single condition which can be given just one single label, like measles or chicken pox. Specific conditions need to be identified – and then tackled – because each of them creates a load on the immune system, causing it to weaken and break down, as well as affecting a wide range of other systems in the body, including the digestive system, the nervous system, muscles and joints, the hormonal system, and so on.
Forty years ago, having struggled with my health throughout my life, I became even more ill than usual and stayed that way for a whole year – weak, sick and aching, unable to care for my young family. Today, I am certain I would be diagnosed with CFS/ ME. At the end of a year we discovered that I was allergic to North Sea gas which had just been piped into our neighbourhood and our house! That particular load on my immune system was allergy, and all our gas appliances had to be removed from our house before I started to feel better. But even prior to this I had already been struggling enormously with my health because, totally unrecognised at the time, my immune system was having to cope with an unsuspected overgrowth of yeast (Candida albicans) in my body together with extremely low blood sugar (hypoglycaemia). In other words, my immune system was already so severely over-loaded by candida and the effects of my poor nutritional status that it broke down completely when faced with the new gas; it was the straw that broke the camel’s back. This is so often the case, with different ‘straws’ being the final burden for different people.
From my experience in nutritional therapy over twenty years, I believe there are ten possible factors, any of which might play its part in weakening the immune system: a virus, allergy, nutritional deficiencies, negative lifestyle factors (like burning the candle at both ends), inefficient thyroid function, stress and exhausted adrenal glands, hypoglycaemia, toxicity and hyperventilation. That makes nine - and in my experience of many hundreds of sufferers, whatever the combination of other predisposing factors they each might have, there has without fail been one factor which they all had in common – a compromised digestive system probably caused by yeast infection, an overgrowth of Candida albicans.
By bringing candida under control, the level of toxins in the body is reduced, and their associated symptoms can be overcome. Appropriate nutritional therapy may also support the liver’s detoxification processes in speeding up the elimination of candida toxins.
It comprises a four-point plan: a carefully-controlled diet avoiding yeast, all forms of sugar, refined grains, fermented products, drinks containing stimulants; appropriate vitamins and minerals to strengthen the immune system (preferably a tailor-made programme); natural anti-fungal supplements to destroy the candida overgrowth; and probiotic supplements to re-establish a healthy colony of friendly bacteria in the gastrointestinal tract.
My experience shows that the anti-candida nutritional regime needs to be followed until symptoms are under control, at which point it is helpful to carry out a one-month diet-relax experiment. Even if this is successful, it is invariably helpful to return to the strict anti-candida diet for a further year in order to consolidate the newly-established healthy balance of microbes which has just been achieved in the gastrointestinal tract.
All I can say for sure is that it is possible for nutritional therapy to support whichever of the body’s systems may have been affected. I have seen many people recover when they have followed appropriate nutritional and lifestyle advice. My research project showed encouraging improvement in the space of one year in 83% of participants; one lady became 100% well in just eight months! I should add that my analysis was based on the subjects’ own assessment of their progress; who better to make that assessment? In many of my clients, I have found that full recovery often takes more than a year of perseverance. Of course, I am making no claim that my approach will necessarily be helpful for everyone. 17% of participants in my research project unfortunately did not show significant improvement in the space of one year – but 83% of them did.
For most of my life I ate lots of sugar and junk foods – with devastating consequences. In particular, I was encouraging my resident candida to thrive and invade my body. It really wasn’t at all surprising that I was ill all the time. But then I discovered that it really is never too late for things to change, and I found ways to take control of the situation by learning how to improve my nutritional status, regulate blood sugar levels, overcome allergies – and bring candida under control. At the age of 53, I had become so well that I started three years of training in Nutritional Therapy and then set up a practice which soon became extremely busy. I realised that if my own appalling health could be turned around to such a remarkable extent, there was hope for others as well – and that’s exactly what I’ve seen over the past 20-plus years.
Post Viral Fatigue Syndrome, by Leon Chaitow
The Yeast Connection, by Dr. William Crook.