by Karen Stauffer

So, what do most people need?В I ask them.В Number one seems to be MORE ENERGY.

I fight that battle everyday, because along with Lyme Disease, (I’ve been fighting it since 1997), I now have chronic fatigue syndrome.В Yes, it’s a real condition, not laziness or neurosis, not caused by depression or lack of ambition.

First associated with high Epstein Barr viral levels, then suggested to be related to HHV-6 infection, nobody knows exactly what causes it yet.

So, since we can’t fight the unknown cause, we have to try to improve daily functioning any way possible – and these can work for “ordinary” fatigue as well.

Most important – get a good nights sleep!В Most people don’t.В I have trouble myself now, especially with menopause in the mix.В (Blankets on… blankets off… blankets on, repeat…)

Here’s my nightly nutrient routine: a 500 mcg melatonin lozenge (sublingual to fall asleep faster), 1200 mg magnesium (to relax muscles – you may need a lower dose, it may have laxative effects), some valerian (I prefer capsule to tea, as it smells like dirty socks), 200mg theanine (an amino acid from green tea to relax that chattering monkey that lives in my head), a hot flash formula containing soy and black cohosh – and, if all else fails, a half an antihistamine or half a prescription sleeping pill.В (I only resort to chemicals once or twice a week, usually if I don’t feel well or the neighbors are having a party…)

Yeah, that’s right – I will take medication when not sleeping when need be because not sleeping would be more damaging than the drug, but only after I’ve used everything else first.

There are other relaxants and sleeping aids to try.В 5HTP (or tryptophan, very similar) can help dream recall and vividness as well as sleep.В GABA can be a tranquilizer for over-active brains, and KAVA (no, it’s NOT toxic in normal doses) is a good sedative.

So once you get to sleep, 8 hours (hopefully) later you’re waking up and most people go right to CAFFEINE, a useful stimulant.В Beverage of choice – coffee, tea, mate, cocoa, guarana – will all do the job – but… caffeine is addictive, causes jitters, worsens high blood pressure, and eventually stops working well even as you consume higher and higher amounts.В Any more than one or two beverages a day can set you on the road to escalating use and headaches if you try to abstain.

Start your day with a high protein, low sugar breakfast, and a source of B vitamins (not sure if you’re getting enough B’s in your breakfast?В A multi-vitamin is good insurance).

Then, instead of sugar, caffeine, or sugar and caffeine (why do we have so many places to buy coffee and donuts?), try ginseng or another one of the adaptogenic herbs like rhodiola (seems to be particularly helpful for Lyme fatigue), gynostemma or cordyceps.В Use as a tea, or take a pill with water or juice.

I also like Emergen-C TM packets – a bit pf B vitamins, some potassium, 1000mg vitamin C and some useful minerals makes a good all-purpose pick-me-up, sports drink, hangover cure or whatever.В Just mix with a bottle of water, sip slowly.

Save caffeine for when you really need a stimulant – moving day, staying awake at the wheel, etc.В It’s a drug – treat it like one, not like a basic food group!

Other favorites of mine for energy – COQ 10, carnitine and D-ribose (all also great for your heart!)

Try oxygenating your cells – my favorite product is Cell FoodTM.В 8 drops in your 8oz glass of water 3x daily is good for physical and mental energy.В Works in 3 days, good for almost everybody,

Some people love Maca (South American root), Acai berry juice, massive doses of B 12… keep a small notebook of what you’ve tried, the dose, and your results.

Wishing you a great sleep and energy to spare!В Call or write with questions and topics.В Karen.

Introduction to Karen:

Hi!В I’m Karen Stauffer, owner and nutritionist at River of Life Natural Foods in Lahaska, PA since 1989.В You can call me at 1-800-651-3820 or email me at KarenStauffer@aol.com and let me hear what you’d like to know about vitamins, herbs or health challenges you’re facing.В I’ll cover as much as possible in my articles, but I’m also available by appointment for private consultations (phone or in person).В Snail mail at P.O. Box 215, Lahaska PA 18931.

Remember that I do not offer medical advice, and that you should see a doctor for diagnosis and treatment of disease.В I provide information about nutrients that can strengthen and improve its function.В You must make your own medical decisions, and decide which doctor’s advice to follow.

First let me say that although our bodies have similar needs, each person has specific nutrient needs due to genetics, diet, toxins, or diseases and other environmental hazards.В Sometimes it requires some trials to determine what’s best for you – there aren’t always accurate tests for every deficiency.

Also, optimum levels of a nutrient may be much higher than what’s required for an “official” deficiency disease, and can vary greatly between people.

Some of us may have too much of certain nutrients built up in our bodies for a variety of reasons and need to eliminate the excess, or at least avoid supplementing them.

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