Dysautonomia is the inability of the autonomic nervous system to regulate itself and is a common feature of chronic fatigue syndrome (MECFS), postural orthostatic tachycardia (POTS), fibromyalgia and Long COVID.

The autonomic nervous system consists of the parasympathetic (relaxation) and sympathetic nervous system and controls involuntary actions in the body including heart rate, Blood pressure, digestive and bladder function. When the autonomic nervous system is constantly out of balance it can leave people with some debility symptoms which severely impact quality of life.

Symptoms of dysautonomia include..

  • Heart palpitations
  • Sudden drops in blood pressure
  • Dizziness (especially upon sitting or standing)
  • Unexplained fainting
  • Chronic fatigue
  • Rapid heart rate
  • Trouble swallowing
  • Headaches and brain fog
  • General weakness
  • Irritable bladder
  • Digestive issues such as nausea, bloating and stomach pain

People with dysautonomia are often very sensitive and symptoms can be triggered or exacerbated by slight changes in the internal or external environment. Things such as new medications (including natural medicines), dietary changes or stimulants, temperature fluctuations, dehydration, stress etc. can all serve as triggers for a flare and exacerbate symptoms.

Managing dysautonomia naturally

Diet and lifestyle plays a huge role in the management of dysautonomia both by helping with symptomatic relief and also addressing the underlying drivers that are causing or contributing to dysautonomia.

Natural management of dysautonomia commonly involves some or all of the following.

  • Staying well hydrated
  • Ensuring good magnesium intake (both via diet and supplementation)
  • Eating small meals more regularly
  • Consuming an anti-inflammatory diet rich in polyphenols
  • Avoiding alcohol and stimulants like coffee
  • Not avoiding salt (some will benefit from a significant salt increase in their diet)
  • Compression stockings
  • Engaging in activities that improve vagal nerve tone (a major parasympathetic nerve
    involved in nervous system regulation)
  • Pacing

Other strategies may also be recommended to address the underlying causes or contributors unique to the individual. These may include reducing neuroinflammation, improving digestive health including microbiome balance, correcting nutrient deficiencies, targeting stealth or persistent infections, educating on activities which assist nervous system regulation.

Some patients may require pharmaceutical medications to help regulate heart rate and blood pressure alongside the above dietary and lifestyle strategies. Seeking advice from a Naturopath or Nutritionist who is familiar with dysautonomia can help support you alongside a conventional approach and can help prevent dietary or supplement interactions with medications.

These tips are general recommendations. Please speak with your health team to find out what is most appropriate for your individual circumstance or get in touch to arrange an appointment with myself.