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Fatigue, fatigue syndrome

Fatigue - as well as stress - is usually understood as psychological fatigue (mental, subjective). With subjective fatigue, we are still physically able to continue the tired activity, but we feel compelled to take a break. Objective fatigue is more often called physical exhaustion - the afflicted person is basically unable to resume tired activity due to the depletion of reserves (energy, neurotransmitters ...) Fatigue syndrome is a chronic condition that manifests itself as lethargy, drowsiness and lack of energy.

Short-term fatigue

Fatigue is associated with stress, is the consequence and manifestation of increased stress. Increased stress (alostatic load) generally leads to greater fatigue. From a hormonal point of view, however, there is a big difference between stress and fatigue. Stress occurs with so-called generalized adaptation syndrome associated with the excretion of catecholamines (adrenaline, noradrenaline) and glucocorticoids (cortisol). On the other hand, fatigue (fatigue syndrome) correlates with immune molecules such as interleukin 1 and interleukin 6. Fatigue is therefore related to inflammation and fever , which can be easily observed in short-term (muscle) fatigue: After physical exercise (sport, ) occurs in heavy muscles to tear a certain portion of muscle fibers. This leads to a mild inflammatory reaction (muscle fever). Immune molecules associated with this inflammation will cause mild fever and muscle fatigue. Depending on the extent of the muscular strains, these inflammatory signal molecules also cause a general feeling of fatigue and drowsiness. There are many kinds of pain, but the pain that is associated with muscle fatigue is of the type that makes it very pleasant to relax with relaxation and stretching or massaging the muscular groups - the short-term fatigue syndrome leads us to optimal regeneration behavior tired muscles. As soon as the muscles recover to such an extent that the inflammation recedes, a decrease in inflammatory signal molecules will also make the feeling of fatigue disappear.

Chronic fatigue syndrome

Continuous signs of fatigue occur when, for some reason, there is a long-term increase in plasma levels of interleukins (IL-1, IL-6, IL-10 and others). The reason may be an infectious disease (even concealed) or an immune disorder (autoimmunity) . The main symptom of chronic fatigue syndrome is lethargy - drowsiness, lack of energy for anything but rest. This is beneficial for infectious diseases because the patient who is being saved is quicker to heal. But then he does not call himself a fatigue syndrome, but a patient's behavior . The name chronic fatigue syndrome is more or less reserved for cases where its cause is hidden.

Ginseng is an extremely effective anti-fatigue agent

Adaptogens are by definition anti-stress effects and thus also their effectiveness against fatigue . Ginseng right is in the display of fatigue and the exhaustion of TČM has been used since time immemorial. Modern ginseng research as a means of fatigue dates back to the 1960s and is gradually expanding to other potential natural adaptogenes. As an example of fatigue, the importance of the pharmacological concept of adaptogen can be well demonstrated - for example, cocaine also works against fatigue (and very effectively, as confirmed by the cognizant Sigmund Freud) but is not an adaptogen because (roughly speaking) it is harming.

Efficacy of ginseng and ginsenoside Rg 1

If we neglect the thousand-year-long tradition of the TCM, and we will focus only on scientific resources, ginseng as a means of fatigue was roughly at the same time described in Chinese publications ( Tsung1964tsf , Wang1983sae ) and the group around Lazarev and Brechman (Brekhman1969pig) who also identified another plant with these effects, eleuterokok ostnitý. Ginseng and especially ginsenoside Rg 1 were confirmed as a means of fatigue by a battery of Japanese mouse tests ( Saito1974epg ), whose author well knows and quotes previous Soviet research. This work published at the famous Tokyo University dates back to the golden age of scientific medicine, and for me personally represents a definitive confirmation of the effectiveness of this adaptogen against fatigue, even if I did not read anything else and myself, in my experience with ginseng, strongly suspected of obliviousness. Research, of course, went on, on the other hand, towards specific ginseng applications in mental and physical fatigue, and on identifying other adaptive anti-fatigue agents.

Specific effects on physical and mental stress

In effect on mental performance, ginseng was found to be better than piracetam, which is often referred to as nootropic ( Banerjee1982aap ). Attempts similar to those of the 1960s were reproduced in the 21st century ( Kaneko2004pme ) - ginseng would be found effective in physical stress (work stress) , cold stress and infectious stress ( influenza ).

Clinically interesting is the effect of ginseng on chronic fatigue. According to Ellis2002epg , 58% of ginseng-taking probes (but only 18% of placebo-taking probes ) reported an improvement in the sense of health (as measured by a questionnaire). The Kim2013aep clinical trial of 90 patients with chronic fatigue found the ginseng extract to be effective against chronic fatigue above placebo, but not at a statistically significant level. I would note that daily dosing in the Kim2013aep study was low enough, 1g or 2g per day.

Other adaptogens with anti-fatigue effect

Just passwords of some well-known anti-fatigue plants:

| 11.7.2010