Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) or Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (ME) is characterised by prolonged, debilitating fatigue, particularly post-exertional fatigue, and multiple non-specific symptoms including ;
- recurrent sore throats
- muscle and joint pains
- memory and concentration problems
- alterations in bowel habit
- poor temperature regulation
CFS shares symptoms with many illnesses, including multiple sclerosis, lupus, sleep apnea, narcolepsy, hypothyroidism, hepatitis, Lyme disease (note that these are all either infective or auto-immune diseases. It is easily mistaken for depression.
Chronic fatigue can be caused by many things. Although the popular perception (both public and medical) is that it is a post-viral phenomenon almost exclusively, I have seen cases of chronic fatigue, that clearly fit the definition of CFS or ME, precipitated by:
- Viral infections (Glandular Fever, Influenza)
- Bacterial (Pneumonia)
- Fungal (Candida and other yeast infections)
- Protozoal (Giardia, Entamoeba, Malaria)
- Venom (Snake bite, spider bite)
- Serious injury (Road accidents, etc)
- Major surgery
- Toxins (Pesticides, Heavy metals)
It is probably reasonable to assume that long-term fatigue may be triggered by anything that can cause short-term exhaustion – although CFS is usually caused by several factors, not just one. The apparent trigger is generally not the sole cause, just the last straw.
Previous health status is often a major factor. Many CFS patients give a history of being a ‘sickly child’. One physician reporting on over 1000 patients (at a conference in 1990), stated that 89% reported recurrent childhood ear,nose, & throat infections, along with 89% reporting pre-existing irritable bowel, and 90% of the females reporting previous premenstrual symptoms.
We should probably add childhood trauma and neglect; a recent study found that childhood trauma (abuse, whether physical, psychological or sexual, or simple neglect) gave a 3 to 8-fold greater risk of developing CFS.
But the one thing that 99% of CFS sufferers do share is impaired mitochondrial function. Mitochondria are the batteries within cells, producing energy in the form of the ATP molecule. In every CFS patient this process is impaired. As the authors of the papers below say;
These patients do not suffer from hypochondria – the problem is mitochondria.
We don’t have all the answers yet, and of course we don’t know how much we don’t know. But Dr Sarah Myhill and colleagues have now published 3 papers investigating CFS, all 3 available free online (via the links here).
In the first paper they show that the lab test, known as an ATP Profile, works; only 1 out of 71 patients (1.4 per cent) with a confirmed diagnosis of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome had a normal “Mitochondrial Energy Score” on the test, while all the healthy controls did.
The second paper looks at 199 patients including the original ones, and examines the mechanisms of disease and recovery. The ATP Profile measures both the levels of nutrients essential for mitochondrial function – such as magnesium – and the presence of toxins capable of interfering with this function. Problems with either or both can cause chronic fatigue.
The third paper, published in 2013, is an audit (so nobody taking part was given a placebo, and they all knew what was going on) that shows patients do benefit from appropriate treatment of these two factors. The paper does not put a number on this, which would be very difficult as there are large differences between patients.
If you have it, you are unlikely to need me to tell you that you have CFS. You may need to make sure that it isn’t something else though, such as hypothyroidism or Lyme disease, and we can certainly do that.
You will need us to run tests to look at your mitochondria, and elsewhere in your system, in order to;
- identify toxins and plan their removal
- identify nutritional deficiencies and correct them
- identify toxic damage to tissues and start the repair process
We have extensive experience of treating these complex health issues, both as individual experts and working together as a team. Contact us to start a conversation about how we can help you. You
You have suffered long enough, act now and contact us.