Chronic Fatigue Syndrome: Oxidative Stress and Dietary Modifications


Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) is an illness characterized by persistent and relapsing fatigue, often accompanied by numerous symptoms involving various body systems. The etiology of CFS remains unclear; however, a number of recent studies have shown oxidative stress may be involved in its pathogenesis. The role of oxidative stress in CFS is an important area for current and future research as it suggests the use of antioxidants in the management of CFS. Specifically, the dietary supplements glutathione, N-acetylcysteine, alpha-lipoic acid, oligomeric proanthocyanidins, Ginkgo biloba, and Vaccinium myrtillus (bilberry) may be beneficial. In addition, research on food intolerance is discussed, since food intolerance may be involved in CFS symptom presentation and in oxidation via cytokine induction. Finally, recent evidence suggests celiac disease can present with neurological symptoms in the absence of gastrointestinal symptoms; therefore, celiac disease should be included in the differential diagnosis of CFS.