Belfast Telegraph

Dr Sarah: Worth trying oral B complex for your fatigue

Dr Sarah answers your health queries

By Sarah Brewer

My doctor diagnosed post viral fatigue and signed me off work for two weeks, and prescribed vitamin B12 injections.

I still feel very tired.

What else can help?

The exact cause of post-viral or chronic fatigue syndrome is unknown and many different factors are thought to be involved.

There is evidence that B vitamin status, especially vitamin B6 is low in people with chronic fatigue syndrome, and it's worth trying an oral B complex supplement to see if this helps.

Up to 80pc of people with chronic fatigue benefit from taking high doses of evening primrose and omega-3 fish oils which are rich in essential fatty acids.

Co-enzyme Q10 (CoQ10) is a vitamin-like substance that is essential for production of energy in cells.

Levels of CoQ10 naturally start to decline from the age of 20 and taking supplements can improve fatigue - it usually takes three weeks and occasionally up to three months before energy levels are noticeably increased, however.

Ginseng is also a popular tonic.

For information on the condition, contact the Northern Ireland ME Association (Tel: 028 9043 9831

Siberian ginseng can help you deal with stress

Whenever I'm under stress I get eczema on my hands, and headaches that last for three or four days.

Short of spending the rest of my life applying increasing amounts of hydrocortisone, and eating paracetamol, what can I do?

High stress levels can certainly trigger eczema and headaches in some people.

Take time out for relaxation, regular exercise (to burn off stress hormones), eat a healthy diet without skipping meals and take a good vitamin and mineral supplement with extra antioxidants as a nutritional safety net.

Try to avoid excess salt, caffeine and alcohol.

Taking Siberian ginseng will also help you adapt to stress.

Plant-based steroid-free creams are effective at treating eczema, such as the Allergenics and Aderma ranges. Effective herbal treatments for migraine headaches include Feverfew and Butterbur.

For more information on migraine, contact the Migraine Association of Ireland (Helpline: 1850 200 378

Dab son's warts with tea tree essential oil

Both my sons have warts on their hands. My GP says there's no real treatment and they'll eventually go of their own accord.

Can home remedies help?

Warts are a nuisance, and do tend to clear up on their own if left untreated. In older children, it can help to freeze the warts (eg using Wartner from chemists) but this can sting and is less commonly used in younger children.

A useful home remedy is to dab the lesions regularly with tea tree essential oil which has an antiviral action.

Other options include applying a weak colloidal silver solution, vitamin E oil or the milky white juice from a dandelion leaf/stem several times a day.

Homeopath's remedy sounds quite odd

I recently consulted a homeopath about my asthma. He sold me several different vitamins and oils including cod liver oil and malt extract.

In addition I was told to avoid dairy products, red meat, pasta, rice and other foods which "hold" water.

I am to drink no more than one glass of water per day.

I'm concerned about such a restricted fluid intake.

This regime sounds very odd and, like you, I am concerned at the low fluid intake suggested which will rapidly lead to dehydration.

Ideally, you need to drink at least two or three litres of fluid per day - more if you exercise, are in hot surroundings or sweat a lot.

Ask the homeopath what nutritional qualifications he has for suggesting this dietary advice and what evidence his approach is based on.

My instincts are that you should stay well clear.

You can also ask advice from the British Homeopathic Association found at www.trusthomeopa or telephone 0870 444 3950.

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