IV Saline Solution For Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (ME/CFS)

Saline IV's are a staple of every trip to see Dr. Peterson

Saline solution is often used to treat chronic fatigue syndrome

It is the most effective treatment for severe ME/CFS that I have found in my 21 years of looking….Dr. David Bell

Saline solution is…

an intravenous IV drip containing sodium chloride (salt water) at levels close to those found in the blood (usually 0.9%).  Saline solution raises blood volume levels; a common need in a disorder where patients are often a liter or more down in blood volume. It may also effect the functioning of a system, the autonomic nervous system, that is increasingly being implicated in chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia and similar other disorders.

Outside of chronic fatigue syndrome saline solution is typically used in emergency situations when blood volume drops enough (hypovolemia) to significantly impair blood circulation.

Saline Solution May Be Effective in Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Because…

it raises blood volume and for other undetermined reasons. Saline may be particularly effective when taken before and after surgery at reducing the side effects of anesthesia.


Giving 1200 mg. sodium chloride daily for eight weeks enabled half the chronic fatigue syndrome patients with orthostatic hypotension (low blood pressure upon standing) who failed a tilt table test to pass it in a 1997 study. In a Children’s National Medical Center study, Burklow et. al found providing saline to adolescents who had fainted during a tilt table test, enabled all of them to pass successfully pass a 30 minute tilt table  test without fainting.  Heart rate variability tests suggested the saline stopped the sympathetic nervous system crash the adolescents were experiencing and demonstrated saline’s effectiveness at regulating autonomic nervous system functioning.

Saline solutions effectiveness in chronic fatigue syndrome is currently being evaluated in an NIH funded study.

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (ME/CFS) Doctors Report

Dr. Bell noted that a year of daily 1 liter saline infusions had enabled a severely ill CFS patient who had been undergoing seizures (which had been characterized as psychological in nature) to return to full-time work. Saline solution’s effects are temporary resulting in a return of symptoms when the treatment is stopped. Dr. Bell reported that  75% of the 25 patients he’d tried saline solution on had improved.

Many specialist ME/CFS practitioners including Dr. Peterson, Dr. Klimas and Dr. Bateman use saline solution.

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Patients Report

Many people have reported significant increases in energy and reduced symptoms following saline. One patient suffering a severe relapse after being given general anesthesia for an operation reported being revived 5 weeks later after being given saline solution.

One ME/CFS patient reported saline helped her recovery from surgery greatly…“I recently had major surgery and was given IV saline continuously from pre-op until two days later when I left the hospital. It made all the difference in the world for me, I believe because it not only increased my blood volume but it also helped to flush out the effects of general anesthesia. As a result, I’m still recovering from the surgery but I did not experience any relapse in ME/CFS symptoms. Following the anesthesia protocol (always carry your laminated card and present it with your insurance card) is equally important but I can’t stress enough the benefits of IV saline before, during and after surgery.”


 An Aussie blogs on her experiences with IV saline – lots of information here. The Nitty Gritty on IV Saline and POTS / Speed and frequency – Does it Matter?

Medications for Orthostatic Intolerance

Dr. David Bell “Intravenous Fluid as a Treatment for ME/CFS”

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