Chronic Fatigue Syndrome is a notoriously tricky illness to pin-down.  Since CFS related health-issues tend to be serious to the degree that it can be life-altering, but they are usually not so serious that they become a classified disease like heart disease.  This is not only confusing to the sufferer but immensely frustrating too since many of the symptoms are not taken seriously by mainstream medicine.

1.  The first condition to be common among CFS sufferers is Adrenal Fatigue

Unrecognised by most General Practitioners, Adrenal Fatigue affects our energy performance.  It influences how we regulate energy via our adrenal glands, but it is not Addison’s Disease – which is a recognised disease. Adrenal Fatigue is a serious life-altering condition – but it is not Adrenal Failure.

So what tends to happen is the adrenal glands are tested with a blood test.  But because a blood test is not a sensitive enough test to pick up on adrenal dysregulation, results come back suggesting they are functioning normally.

This presents false understanding and confusion when the sufferer is experiencing low energy due to sub-optimal adrenal function, but the tests being used are not sensitive enough to pick up on the true performance.

A four-point saliva test should be provided, obtainable by private labs through the UK and overseas.  The four-point saliva test picks up on steroid hormone excretions throughout the day, tracking adaptogenic responses.  And therefore provides a clear understanding of how the adrenal glands are ‘responding’ and adapting to daily stressors.

2.  The second condition is Left Ventricular Disease

Studies release that a shocking 35% of us is said to have this condition, however, the CFS / ME sufferer will experience the downstream effects of this condition as a chronic and debilitating element of the whole CFS picture.

They may be aware that their heart feels unstable but unable to identify this through medical means since it is not classic heart disease and easily missed.

3.  The third piece to the Chronic Fatigue conundrum is the role of Gut Dysbiosis

Often present in those with Chronic Fatigue.  Gut Dysbiosis fits into the picture of both Adrenal Fatigue and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome due to the role the adrenal glands play in providing an anti-inflammatory corticosteroid (cortisol) to the body to buffer inflammation in the gut.

  • Causative factors for inflammation in the gut 
  • Food Intolerances / Virus / Toxins such as methyl-mercury / Stress

Gut Dysbiosis has a number of potential causative factors with stress, food intolerances as well as toxins such as methyl mercury trumping possible causes for. Gut Dysbiosis is chronic low-grade inflammation, however, it is not inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) and therefore unrecognised by medical communities once again.

4.  The fourth mechanical issue to arise within CFS, and ties in with a performance of the heart, liver and adrenal glands are Mitochondrial dysfunction

This is not an inborn error of the mitochondria, however, it is an inherited epigenetic malfunction.  What that means is that due to the environment the mitochondria has been presented within, the functionality of mitochondria is reduced.  The trouble is, when there is a poor mitochondrial function, then everything else in the body is affected.  But in particular, the function of the heart and liver since this is where mot mitochondria reside.

  • Nutrients which positively support Mitochondria Function / Krebs Cycle
  • D-Ribose / L-Carnitine / B3 (NAD) / Co-enzyme A / Co-enzyme Q10

What causes mitochondrial breakdown?

Crisps, rancid fats, hydrogenated oils, poor nutrient profile, toxic metals blocking biochemical pathways and oxidative stress.

5.  The fifth area of health which has more studies relating to CFS than any other area is Nitric Oxide and Oxidative Stress

Within the central nervous system and under normal conditions, Nitric Oxide (NO) is an important physiological signalling molecule, however when produced in large excess Nitric Oxide also displays neurotoxicity and is a risk to heart health.

Nitric Oxide has been found to be excessively high in Chronic Fatigue Sufferers and is seen in conjunction with risk factors for cardiovascular disease.

6.  The sixth element of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome is observable Inflammation

Inflammation is present but it is not a classifiable Auto-immune Disease.

7.  The seventh component of this complex condition is the presence of low-grade infections

Usual infections often present in CFS sufferers

Epstein Bar / HHV6 / Enteroviruses / Cytomegalo viruses / Parvovirus B19 / Retrovirus

Co-infections often present in CFS sufferers

Mycoplasma / Chlamydia / Chronic Borrelia / Bucella / Rickettsia / Babesia 

All together we can view this complex condition as a disease of compromised milieu. Triggered by increased cellular stresses such as toxic heavy metals, infections, and emotional stressors.

Strengthening the milieu / biological terrain interior will help to de-activate the viruses present.

8.  Finally, the eighth piece in this Chronic Fatigue quandary is the emotional status of the CFS sufferer

It is interesting to note that Chronic Fatigue patients tend to fall in three main personality categories known as energy-depleting psychology types.

  • The Achiever Perfectionism Type
  • Anxiety Type
  • The Helper Type

There can also be a genetic or epigenetic predisposition element to our stress responses to emotional trauma. Meaning that this can be either genetically inherited or genetically learned behaviour.  And then the condition/illness itself perpetuates further trauma in the sufferer as there is a constant fear of becoming ill.  Other behaviours feed into this cycle such as avoidance of certain foods and situations that they believe will make their condition worse.

Each category will be expanded upon within subsequent posts in the coming weeks.

Chronic Fatigue, otherwise known as ME (Myalgic Encephalomyelitis), is a harrowing and debilitating condition, with no differential diagnosis in medical terms.  Diagnosis is exclusion based only, therefore other conditions similar by experience and presentation of symptoms must first be eliminated. To receive the diagnosis of CFS/ME other possibilities such as cancer, liver disease, heart disease, and autoimmune conditions must be eliminated.  When nothing else comes up after 6 months of unrelenting fatigue then the diagnosis is given.  This is the FUKUDA criteria.

Low-grade chronic inflammation has been found consistently in those with Chronic Fatigue.  Inflammation of the brain and spinal cord as well as muscle pain and tenderness.  According to official guidelines in the realms of psychology 1990s, CFS was understood to be an unrelenting and debilitating condition, more functionally impaired than congestive heart failure, Multiple Sclerosis, Type 2 Diabetes, and even End-stage renal disease!


The realms of psychology also cleverly define CFS from depression by differentiating underlying motivations.

Ask the question ‘ What would you want to do with your life?’

The depressed person will tell you that they do not know.  While the CFS person will give you an exhaustive list, but if it wasn’t for their energy!!

Do personality types then factor into Chronic Fatigue Syndrome?

There is also a clinical definition of neurochemistry which ties into psychological predisposition.  High serotonin is often found in those with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome rather than low serotonin.  Depression is LOW serotonin.

Chronic Fatigue has not gained much traction within medical communities, and this is largely down to the linear medical model and approach typically adopted by allopathic medicine.

Ultimately Chronic Fatigue Syndrome is a thresh-hold illness, with a range of imbalances resulting in a perfect storm ending up with post-exertional fatigue and CFS.

This does not serve those with CFS/ME since there are multiple biological adaptive systems which will be under-functioning.  And when you seek to support one system alone, within the Chronic Fatigue Model, you can very easily upset other systems which are also functioning to the brink of chaos and tip them over.

This is an extremely important point when understanding the nature of this condition and its healing pathway.  Since it feels as though we have lost control of our bodies.  We are no longer in control of how much energy we have, there may be pain throughout the body and we seek to regain control.

And so, when multiple systems have collapsed and reorganised to a new level.  Meaning that the way we produce energy is no longer happening as it should, and we have limited energy, then this is the new norm, and the system is stable.  True, we don’t have energy, and we have lost control.  But, the system is still stable.

By attempting to heal CFS / ME without an understanding of how biological systems lean into each other. Therefore looking at ‘communication between systems’, it becomes easy to collapse currently stable systems into temporary chaos and to feel sicker than ever!

For this reason, a holistic approach, Otherwise known as a systems biology approach, which values multiple systems, is the only model which can successfully support the CFS sufferer toward health.  This is why the medical model cannot help the CFS / ME sufferer.  And we end up feeling sicker, more terrified, more out of control and more at sea with our symptoms than ever before.

DISEASE DELUSION – Anna’s commentary

The father of Functional Medicine Jeffery Bland asks you to cast your mind back to the late nineteenth century and recall the diseases that brought fear and loss to many.. diphtheria, whooping cough, pneumonia, influenza, even plague routinely swept our county.

These diseases were the reality for many that decimated and destroyed our communities throughout our ages. At the time it was believed that noxious vapours from decaying matter were that cause, and to be avoided.

Scientists such as Lister, Koch, Pasteur revolutionised the way illness was perceived from the previous ages, which in turn transformed medicine.  Medicine no longer sought to avert the population from poisonous vapours, but to instead target and hunt for germs! And with that, the germ theory was born.

And so too was the age of antibiotics and vaccinations as these methods greatly succeeded in treating infectious diseases very well.

But!, did we get it 100% correct? 

On his death bed, Pasteur admitted that his germ theory was flawed.  Bechamp’s theory of environmental influence was to supersede Pasteur’s germ theory in practice at least. Which, translates into how the cell responds to its environment, whether it be the petri-dish or the body, it is the environment within which it is placed.  Also known as our Bio-terrain / body-terrain. 

As hygiene improved, so pathological disease did decline. But in tandem with vaccination, to considerably blur the picture.

Germ theory, although discredited, remained the model of allopathic medicine.

A new family of illnesses did also grow in prevalence and severity over the last 100 years.  These are Chronic Complex Health Diseases.  

Chronic Diseases are defined by their nature, in that they never really ever go away.  On the contrary, the picture deepens, as the individual becomes more susceptible to reaching a lowered state and thresh-hold to stress.  Over time the severity of symptoms often increases, disabling and draining the life out of every cell.

Chronic Complex Health Diseases are on the increase

  • Heart and blood-vessel diseases like type 1 & 2 diabetes, gout, high blood pressure, and dementia.
  • Autoimmune disorders such as depression, attention deficit disorders and autism
  • Digestive diseases: gastric reflux, duodenal ulcer, and inflammatory bowel
  • Bone loss diseases like osteoporosis
  • Obstructive pulmonary disease and asthma
  • Muscle pain and weakness from chronic fatigue syndrome and fibromyalgia
  • Kidney and liver ailments
  • Vision problems like macular degeneration and retinopathy
  • Cancer
  • Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
  • ME
  • Fibromyalgia

Chronic diseases are not self-limiting.  The common cold is self-limiting.  It runs its course and then it is gone.

Chronic diseases do not have a single cause.  And this is very important to understand, both within diagnosis and treatment.  Which is why General Practice medicine is so bad at dealing with chronic diseases.  When it looks for a single diagnosis and treatment or for a single organism it does not find the answer it seeks for.

Chronic illnesses have complex symptom profiles, with hard to specify causes of no single origin.

Which means that they don’t go away, rather too frequently they get worse and worse over time as we attempt to palliate but not successfully obliterate the condition.

Fortunately, the model of medicine that is becoming increasingly recognised and respected, Functional Medicine, looks at patterns, not pathologies.  Addressing dysfunctions that underly modern-day chronic diseases.  And fortunately offering a model of care that can prevent and even reverse these illnesses.

Functional Medicine looks at genotype predispositions via nutrigenomics and epigenetics.  It also considers interactions between our biological systems (circulatory, digestive, nervous, respiratory, etc) and well as endotoxins and exotoxin stressors found within our environment.

Functional Medicine understands that our biological systems function successfully in an orchestra, even to the brink of chaos, but that our robust adaptogenic capacity can become maladaptive and even collapse over time.  Some chronic diseases only manifest once we can no longer adapt healthily to stressors in a healthy hormetic capacity. Environmental toxicity and nutrient availability will have everything to do with how well we continue to adapt to stress.  Not forgetting our predispositions to stress, described by our inborn epigenetic enzyme deletions known as SNP’s, which shape our shape us, even before we interface with the increasingly toxic and stressful environments. 

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