Burnout Nutrition

I tried 30 different supplements while healing my CFS/ME – Here’s which ones worked for me

I’ve had two bad burnouts in the past 10 years, both lasted me years, both scattered my life all about the place. I’ve spent far too long in dark rooms and I’ve had to give up a lot of things I thought were key to my life. It’s been rough.

During that time I’ve learned to improve my nutrition a bunch, (largely with help from a good specialist nutritionalist). I think, other than therapy, and redesigning my life, nutrition was the most important factor to my recovering my energies and health.

I’ve spent a fortune on remedies/supplements/trying stuff, but a lot of it seemed to do nothing, or make me poop myself. I first shared this over on reddit r/cfs, and doing so had such a good response I thought I’d write a little update post following on from my original Burnout post.

Here’s what I tried, and what worked for me (note, mileage will vary – we all start this pain journey from different nutritional states. I’m not a doctor, and I only pursued most of these under nutritionist supervision – don’t take stuff without checking with a pro).


Let’s do this right: only consider changing your diet or nutrition after consulting a qualified professional. Above all, you don’t want to do any harm to your system. I am not a doctor, nothing on this website is a recommendation, please be careful with your health. Be well!

Supplements I tried

Definitely helped:

For me, the following supplements definitely ‘did something’. Mostly they reduced my key three symptoms: fatigue, cognitive impairment (brainfog), and sleep quality. Some of these dramatically helped.

Note: I’m specifically not giving doses/instructions here, this is intended to be a root for you to do your own research from 🙂

  • Mitochondrial NRG
  • Probiotics (Microbiome formula Mood by Garden of Life)
  • Rhodiola Rosea
  • Vitamin C
  • Vitamin D / Vitamin D3 and K2 spray
  • Omega 369
  • B12 sublingual
  • B complex (Organic B complex by cytoplan)
  • Inulin with FOS powder
  • Noni Juice
  • Magnesium glycinate
  • L-theanine
  • Ashwagandha
  • Athletic greens / Daily Greens (AG1, and another brand I can’t remember)

Somewhat helped:

These seemed to have a positive impact, but either I didn’t test them super scientifically, or their effects were, (on me), marginal.

  • 5-HTP
  • Ginseng
  • Ground seeds (flaxseed or mixed)
  • Protein powder (I used organic European pea protein)
  • Phosphatidyl serine
  • Phyto-ADR
  • Motherwort
  • Vitamin B2 (Ribose)
  • Coenzyme Q10

Not sure these did anything for me:

These I tried but couldn’t infer any positive change on my CFS symptoms, (though that’s not to say they might not work for you).

  • NADH
  • Melatonin
  • Iron
  • DHEA
  • Lysine
  • Acetyl L-Carnitine
  • Alpha-lipoic acid

How I know what ‘worked’ for me

I am, by nature, a pragmatist. I am an engineer in my work and play; I dabble in a scientific mindset. All that said, I’d like to clarify how I went about verifying which of these supplements helped me with my symptoms.

Firstly, (as those who’ve suffered with CFS will know), it’s hard to do very clinical science on yourself amidst massive health challenges. Juggling extreme conditions, some semblance of a life and work, and your own healing journey is a tall order.

… so my results here are my best inferences from as methodical testing as I could achieve given my health. I cycled onto things and off of things, noting dates and logging changes. I went back again and again to things that worked, stacking my wins. I’m confident in the above, for me at least.

Food and Supplements for those suffering with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (Burnout/ME)

Secondly, this is not statistics; it’s not meant to be – it’s a study of 1. We all bring different bodies in different health states to this, and so it’s natural we’ll benefit from different nutrition to support our healing. It’s important to work through your own journey.

All that said, this post isn’t about recommending any particular supplement, or vitamin stack. This post is me sharing what’s worked, and collating all of the supplements I’ve seen mentioned into a useful starting point for you to explore.

Indexing Fatigue Supplements

As I explored this world of CFS, diet and supplementation, I found endless little strands of information which proved interesting, but cascading in nature. Reading about adrenal fatigue would lead me to HPA axis research, which would lead me to methods for calming the nervous system down. Gut health would lead to biome understandings etc. etc.

This was all very exhausting, while in the thick of burnout.

It’s only now that I’m mostly free of the symptoms that I can look back at this and collate it all. Doing so, and sharing on reddit, showed me that I only maybe captured/read up on half of the available supplements, (not that I want to try them all). The comments on the reddit thread I started were varied and many, with lots of new things to research.

… I’ll include a list of the other recommendations by redditors in the comments below.

Also, to collect this together in a more meaningful way, I made burnoutnutrition.com so that there’s a single hub for all this fatigue supplement info.

Your Experiences with Fatigue Supplementation

Did you try anything not on this list? What worked for you? I’m interested to read about your experiences with different supplements and coming back out of the abyss.

Please comment here, or on the reddit thread.

Be well!

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    One response to “Burnout Nutrition”

    1. Here’s a summary list of other users suggestions from the comments on the reddit post, for your ease. These are ones I’ve not yet tried, and have no idea about their efficacy.

      Again, a disclaimer: I am not a doctor, I do not play one on the internet. Please do not make any changes to your diet or nutrition before consulting a qualified professional. Be safe!

      Reddit suggested supplements:
      Alpha gpc
      Citicoline (multiple users suggested)
      L Glutathione
      tru niagen
      N-acetyl Cysteine (NAC)
      High dose thiamine (B1)
      Ginkgo biloba
      Oxaloacetate (benaGene)
      Electrolytes & ORS
      Agmatine sulfate
      Methylene blue
      Cortexin peptides
      Inositol (people with ovaries)
      Lysine (make sure to not deplete your arginine too much)
      Seriphos for high night cortisol
      Multi-vitamins like Ultranutrient by pure encapsulations
      Digestive aid called Happy Gut by Carlyle
      Licorice root (helped with low cortisol)
      Sodium butyrate
      Bee pollen

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