Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) is the presence of an unexplained persistent or relapsing fatigue and exhaustion that has not been life long, is not the result of ongoing exertion, is not alleviated with rest, and results with a significant reduction in activity.
Symptoms of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
It is characterized by prolonged fatigue, tiredness and exhaustion as well as indigestion, bloating, constipation, headache, muscle pain, tender lymph nodes, frequent urination, sleep problems, poor temperature control, depression/anxiety, etc.
Fibromyalgia (FMS) is a condition characterized by prolonged aches and pains in the muscles and fibrous tissues. People diagnosed with fibromyalgia usually have chronic fatigue syndrome with just more noticeable muscle aches than other symptoms so these two conditions are often discussed together.
The Cause of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
Officially the cause of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome is unknown but many theories exist. Many of these are discussed below. We find in practice many chronic fatigue patients may have a number of issues combined which could include:
(1) Pathogens – Numerous studies have demonstrated a high incidence of chronic infections in chronic fatigue syndrome and fibromyalgia. These include viral infections of Epstein bar (EBV), Barmah Forest virus, cytomegalovirus (CMV), human herpes virus-6, (HHV-6), and bacterial infections such as mycoplasma, chlamydia pneumonia (CP) and Borrelia burgdorferi (Lyme disease). Unfortunately standard tests which look for an elevation of IgG and IgM antibodies, is not a sensitive means of detecting chronic infections in these patients. Chronic infections are almost always present in those whose symptoms started very acutely, especially with an infection, those who’s symptoms were ever associated with swollen lymph nodes or sore throat and those with significant cognitive dysfunction or flu-like symptoms.
(2)Hormonal imbalances -the majority of patients we see with chronic fatigue and exhaustion suffer from adrenal exhaustion and/or hypothyroidism. Both the adrenal and thyroid hormones are responsible for regulating metabolism and thus energy production so low levels of these hormones cause fatigue symptoms. We adhere to recommendations by Fibromyalgia specialist Dr Lowe whom advocates the use of thyroid replacement for the treatment of these hypometabolic disorders in addition to Dr Holtorf’s recommendations which involves restoring all major sex, adrenal and thyroid hormones to their optimal levels.
(3) Mitochondria Dysfunction – A number of studies have demonstrated that mitochondrial dysfunction is present in chronic fatigue syndrome and fibromyalgia patients. The mitochondria are the energy factories for the cells where sugar is burned and energy is produced in the form of ATP (adenosine-tri-phosphate). When the mitochondria are not working properly, the cells and tissues of the body are starved of energy (ATP). Supplements used to enhance mitochondrial function are essential for increased energy production. Our laboratory produces a comprehensive mitochondrial support supplement with all the essential co-factors required by the mitochondria for ATP production. This is available online through the members section of our website.
(4)Toxins – exposure to environmental chemicals including pesticides, heavy metals or copper toxicity, intoxicants, neurotoxins, etc can poison mitochondrial function and thus affect energy production.
(5) Lipid Membranes – a loss of integrity of various cellular and mitochondrial lipid membranes caused by certain fat soluble toxins can disrupt cellular function. Dr Patricia Kane has developed a lipid replacement therapy protocol and detox programme to help eliminate the neurotoxins responsible and rebuild lipid membranes. One of the main ingredients used to repair lipid membranes is phosphatidylcholine.
(6) Allergies/Intolerances -certain food allergens are able to cause a variety of symptoms including fatigue. Many of our patients have been found to have an intolerance or allergy to a number of foods they consume in their diets that they were unaware of due to the delayed reaction often seen with intolerances.
(7) Nitic Oxide Cycle Malfunction– Professor of biochemistry Dr Pall’s hypothesis of a malfunction in the nitric oxide pathway causing an accumulation of its oxidant product, peroxynitrite, is claimed to potentiate a viscous cycle (which includes mitochondrial dysfunction) which explains the many symptoms of chronic fatigue/FM. This cycle dysfunction can be the result of pathogens, toxins, etc. Many CFS experts such as Dr Myhill and Dr Teitelbaum use components of Dr Pall’s ideas in their treatment plan.
(8) Methylation – Richard A. Van Konynenburg, Ph.D. has proposed a hypothesis that CFS is the result of a blockage of the methylation cycle. Certain supplements are recommended in order to ensure this cycle is restored thus overcoming the symptoms of CFS. MTHFR gene mutations have also been implicated in methylation disorders.
(9) Dysautonomia/Mitral Valve Prolapse Syndrome – seems to be a neuroendocrine disorder with the following symptoms: fatigue, weakness, dizziness, palpitations, anxiety, chest pain, shortness of breath, migraine, IBD, panic.
(10) Vitamin D Deficiency – this deficiency can cause osteomalacia which presents with symptoms that mimic fibromyalgia.
(11) Stress – The common factor in most CFS/FMS patients is that they have been exposed to chronic high levels of stress. This may be emotional, physical or mental stress including illness. Usually we find stress in combination with any factors mentioned here is responsible for this condition.
There is very little help offered to chronic fatigue/fibromyalgia patients as most medical doctors are not equipped with the right information on how to treat these conditions. Usually they just prescribe antidepressants without addressing the cause of the disease.
Diagnosis of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
The following tests should be requested to aid diagnosis and help determine the best coarse of action for you.
(1) Hormonal Assessment – Have your adrenal hormones (DHEA and cortisol) and thyroid hormones (T3, T4, reverse T3) tested to make sure they lie within the upper one third of the normal physiological range. Most CFS/FM patients we encounter have adrenal exhaustion and quite often also have thyroid deficiencies or imbalances therefore it is very important to check these!
(2) Food Allergy/Intolerance tests – ALCAT blood tests are available which help identify any food allergies/intolerances that may be present thus enabling a customized diet to be determined free of any foods that may be causing a problem. Individualized diets are more effective than generalized ones.
(3) Heavy Metals – Challenged 24hr urine tests or hair analysis should be performed to determine the presence of toxic heavy metals such as mercury, lead and copper. All these can cause adrenal exhaustion and poison mitochondrial activity, amongst other serious problems.
(4) Complete Digestive Stool Anlysis – will help identify any gut/digestive problems that may be responsible for your symptoms.This will also identify any pathogens in the intestines such as bacteria, candida and parasites which may be responsible for your symptoms.
(5) Organic Acids Urine Test will identify mitochondrial dysfunction.
(6) Hypoglycemia – A three hour glucose tolerance test should be performed to check for the presence of hypoglycemia as many FM patients have this condition.
(7) Pathogen tests – Blood test for the presence of certain pathogens may not be sensitive enough for an accurate diagnosis however may be of some use.
(8) Vitamin D blood test
(9) MTHFR gene Test
(11) Immune Dysfunction – Natural Killer cell function <30
Treatments for Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
Treatment of this condition must involve a multi-faceted approach in order to achieve good results and should include the following:
(1) Bioidentical adrenal and thyroid hormone supplementation to restore optimal adrenal and thyroid hormone levels if found to be deficient or imbalanced. For more detailed information on this you are required to log into the free members section.
(2) Support Mitochondrial function – A number of studies have demonstrated that there is mitochondrial dysfunction in chronic fatigue syndrome and fibromyalgia patients. The mitochondria are the energy factories inside all cells where sugar is burned and energy is produced in the form of ATP (adenosine-tri-phosphate). When the mitochondria are not working properly inadequate energy production is the result and thus the cells and tissues of the body are starved for energy. This abnormality may be the common endpoint for all the dysfunctions present in CFS and fibromyalgia. No sugar is burned resulting in weight gain, and no energy is produced, resulting in fatigue, muscle pain, poor concentration, gastrointestinal dysfunction, headaches, etc.
(3) Enhance Immunity with low dose naltrexone and eliminate any pathogens – Eradicate any pathogens such as bacteria, virus’, candida or parasites that may be present and support your immune system dysfunction.
(4) Detoxification including alkalinise your body. Dietary restrictions eliminating any foods identified as being problematic by the ALCAT blood test. Heavy metals removal if tests indicate they are a problem.
(5) Energetically adrenal exhaustion is the result of leaking kidney energy by giving your power away to others. Most people tend to give their power away to others and/or trying to live up to (giving power to) certain ideals and/or beliefs usually in order to gain some sort of recognition from others due to a need. You need to observe in what areas of your life you are doing this and chose to change your behavioral habits in order to prevent it from continuing to occur. Click here to learn more how to truly heal your adrenals.
Fibromyalgia is the result of internalising, or burying, anger in your body. You need to begin to deal with your anger issues and thus release it from your body. Anger is a secondary response, or reaction, to undelt with sadness/grief so in order to deal with the anger you also need to deal with the underlying sadness. Techniques such as esoteric healing will help restore kidney energy and clear anger and sadness from the body and thus aid the healing process.
(6) Prof. Martin Pall has developed a protocol utilizing nebulised nutrients in order to “mop up” excess perioxynitrite levels which can be the result of a dysfunction with the nitric oxide pathway. This protocol also seems to help overcome chemical sensitivities. More information available on request.
(7) Restore your methylation cycle.
(8) Dr. Shoemaker believes CFS is a result of neurotoxins and uses cholestyramine (a prescription cholesterol lowering drug) to help detoxify them from the body. Dr Patricia Kane also uses this protocol however also uses phosphatidylcholine to help repair the membrane damage caused by the neurotoxins.
(9) Generally your body will require plenty of relaxation, adequate nutrition and good quality sleep in order for it to heal and repair any damage done. This is a time of self nurturing and self love to aid the healing process. This process can be facilitated by the gentle breath meditation.
(10) Low dose naltrexone has been used to treat both CFS and fibromyalgia.
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