Chronic Fatigue

Low Blood Volume and Chronic Fatigue

Although Chronic Fatigue is not associated with B6 toxicity, it is associated with low blood volume and the following excerpt from Healthrising.org discusses the importance of increasing salt to increase blood volume:

“You guys are about a litre short in blood volume, ok? If I’m sitting at five litres, you’re sitting at four. So, you’re really, really sensitive to blood volume changes. If you’re a little dry, you crash. ”

-Dr. Nancy Klimas

Many people with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome are about a liter short of blood.

The low blood volume finding in chronic fatigue syndrome has been consistently replicated; there is no doubt that low blood volume is common in this disorder. Low blood volume can cause, among other things, reduced blood flows to the brain (cognitive difficulties), problems standing (orthostatic intolerance), increased heart rates and reduced heart functioning. While not the entire answer to chronic fatigue syndrome, increasing blood volume can be quite helpful.

Non-Drug Approaches

Elevating Your Head While Sleeping

In what’s surely the easiest practice simply elevate the head of the bed six inches by putting some risers under the bed legs at the head of the bed (or by using a body-length wedge shaped cushion. NASA uses this approach to recondition its astronauts after spaceflights.  One person found a dramatic improvement in his sleep after doing this for a week.

Salt

“The reduction in salt, which is a good idea for most people, may push orthostatic intolerant people into having symptoms of OT”

-Dr. Peter Rowe

Many people with chronic fatigue syndrome crave salt.  Increasing your salt (with your doctor’s permission) and fluid intake can increase your blood volume increasing blood flows to your heart and brain, enabling you to stand more easily and think more clearly.

Increasing salt intake will only work, though, if you increase your fluid intake as well for (see below). Increasing salt intake should be done slowly and is often achieved simply by eating saltier foods. Some ME/CFS and POTS patients who already had low salt intake have had dramatic improvements by increasing their salt intake. Do not increase your salt intake, however, if you have high blood pressure.

Be consistent! – Dr. Rowe suggests that patients who make a serious (i.e. consistent) effort at increasing their fluid intake will benefit the most. He recommends drinking a glass of liquid every two hours with a goal of drinking at least two liters of water a day (approximately half a gallon).  If you’re trying to increase both blood volume and salt tomato juice is an excellent choice.

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