Syndrome (CFS) is characterized by unexplained moderate to severe
persistent, relapsing, debilitating, disruptive fatigue of at least
6 months duration often accompanied by pain and not relieved by
CFS was a previously recognized diagnosis where at least four
other symptoms must be present, including painful lymph nodes,
post-exertion malaise (feeling extremely run down after physical
activity), nonrestorative sleep (doesn't feel like you've slept),
muscle and joint pain, sore throat, poor memory, difficulty
concentrating, depression, mood swings, and headaches of new
severity and type.
Other common symptoms
are allergies, digestive disturbances, weakness, swelling, fever,
night sweats, severe PMS in women, herpes breakouts, shingles, and
swollen lymph nodes.
There is no single
causative factor in CFS, though it is thought it may be initiated by
chronic immune activation by at least on of the following
infections: Epstein-Barr Virus (EBV) (one cause of Mononucleosis),
mycoplasma, Coxsackie Virus, Human Herpes Virus-6 (HHV-6),
Cytomegalovirus (CMV), measles, and Human T-Lymphotropic Virus-11
recently new evidence links CFS to a common pathogen that can
cause acute respiratory or gastrointestinal infections, known as
Researchers obtained stomach biopsies
from 165 chronic fatigue syndrome patients. According to the study
results published online September 13, 2007 in the Journal of Clinical Pathology, 82
percent of the samples contained enterovirus protein.
Gastrointestinal complaints are considered common among chronic
fatigue syndrome patients.
The study also found evidence that
enterovirus infection was chronic in a subset of chronic fatigue
syndrome patients. There was also microscopic evidence of chronic
inflammation in 157 of the 165 samples. Previous studies have linked
persistent enterovirus infections with chronic myocarditis, type 1
diabetes, and neuromuscular conditions.
remains controversial though, according to
It is commonly
preceded by and acute viral or bacterial throat infection thought to
adequately lower one's immunity to allow Epstein-Barr Virus, Cytomegalovirus or others to
proliferate like enterovirus. Thus, CFS looks similar to a
mononucleosis which lasts longer and is more severe.
While there is a strong infectious
connection that must be ruled out in CFS there are other
associations that have been noted, including allergies, chronic low
dose organophosphate toxin exposure (insecticides, in particular),
altered fatty acid metabolism and oxidative stress. In fact, Many
CFS patients are allergic, and CFS and allergy patients often share
similar immune status. It has been proposed that the simultaneous
influences of allergic inflammation and immune activation may interact
to produce symptoms of CFS.
What Can be Done?
Addressing factors such as proper
nutrition, removing toxic exposure and other environmental insults
where possible, detoxification, stress modification, adequate rest, and
eliminating food allergies can help decrease the total "insult" load
in people with CFS.
Allergies and inflammation appear to play an
important role in CFS, so modulating these processes and shunting
the immune system's attention to true infectious agents when present
is a treatment goal.
Individualized treatments may include
eradication of infectious agents, removal of toxic exposures,
detoxification and support of antioxidant systems, repair nutritional
deficiencies, decrease overall inflammation, and
give treatments to improve energy, stamina, stress resistance, sleep
patterns, mood, concentration and