Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
Chronic Fatigue Syndrome is a state of deep and debilitating system overload. Often tracking back to a series of system hits that the body has not been able to recover from, the body moves into a state of overload and toxicity, that exhausts and overwhels the energy production pathways, the immune system, and eliminative systems. The resulting exhaustion and pain is due to multi-system breakdown, which then drives further mitochondrial (cellular energy centre) disfunction, immune debility, further pathogen thriving, more bio-accumulative toxicity, and further damage to system physiology.
Effective holistic treatment takes time, as it steps the person through a gentle program which addresses these underlying issues, attuned their body's capacity for the change needed
The typical history of a person with CFS/ME/Fibromyalgie, will involve at least one, often many, situations of infection or poisoning, one or more expereinces that seem to compound the debility over time. I have been supporting people through this experience for many years, and the confounding factors for clients I have seen, commonly involve two or three of the following factors:
A spider bite / Tick / Mosquito / Bed bugs / Insect bites / Unknown skin rash
Staphylococcus / Parvovirus skin rash
Vaccination for the flu / HPV / other pathogen
Glandular Fever - EBV / CMV
Severe Gastro experience / "stomach flu"
Infection experience - influenza / whooping cough / pneumonia
A major life drama involving grief/stress, and overwhelming negative emotional experience
Ultimately, the system takes a number of hits, on multiple levels but typically immune derived by the presence of multiple pathogens with the ablility to move into a 'stealth' state.
Typically diagnosed by a process of elimination, Chronic Fatigue / Myalgic Encephalitis / Fibromyalgia, takes a special understanding to treat. When people are extremly debilitated, the standard treatment with herbs and medicinal substances cannot be processed or tolerated due to multi-system shut down. I use a medical device from Germany to support people with this condition, as often it is the only thing that can support the pathways that have stopped working.
Stealth pathogens are bacteria, viruses, fungi, and microbes that have the ability to evade the immune system, and live 'under the radar' in the body, evading the immune system and hiding in biofilm to evade detection, while they put out toxins and absorb nutrients that you need to stay well. This low grade level of infestation is at the heart of many chronic health conditions, and is hard to detect through mainstream medical testing.
Often there will be trigger in a person's life, glandular fever at high school, vaccination, gastro, a bad flu, something that the person feels 'never well since'. Sometimes this state of debilitating fatigue builds over the years, gathering momentum, until chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia, or a disease is diagnosed. Sometimes the infection can be derived from an insect bite, something you may not even remember. Bacteria, protozoa, mycoplasma, helminths and viruses can be passed on through a bite from a mosquito, tick, sandfly, or spider. It may be something contracted from airborne contact or absorbed through contact with fluids (water, food, body fluids etc), something you may never connect with as the cause of illness.
Another driver of debility is the bioaccumulation of toxins, metabolic wastes and environmental factors. So much of our food is soaked in pesticides, genetically modified, and growth in soils that are far from healthy and nourishing. Chronic nutritional depletion does not help build resilient energy. We may feel like we eat a nourishing diet full of vegetables and proteins, but we fail to realise the impact of agricultural chemicals, depleted soils, cold storage and processing. There is much we tend to be unaware of regarding the things we absorb and are exposed to every day.
When the environment of the body is suitable for infection, it is easy for microbes to thrive. Once a pathogen has evaded the host's defences, there very cleaver strageties that can be used to settle in, such as molecular mimicry, gene transcription alterations and protective biofilms.
This is why chronic fatigue can be so confounding, without a clear cause, it is hard to find effective support and treatment. It can be difficult to determine the cause of a chronic illness, and it isn't hard to feel somewhat crazy as you try to get answers. Ultimately the goal with a Naturopathic treatment is to restore a healthy milleau, and environment that is so healthy that it is not conducive to the conditions that these pathogens enjoy.
Not all people develop a chronic condition or illness after infection with a pathogen and the difference between those who are easily overwhelmed by exogneous and endogenous toxins, and thos who are not, often comes down to gene pathway integrity and eliminative system strength. The physicological ability to overcome a chronic condition is multifactoral, incorporating things such as constitutional strength, health at the time of infection, length of time before treatment is sought, emotional state, energy levels, liver function, microbiome health, nutritional status, and a range of potential genetic predispositions.
The causative factors in a presentation of Chronic Fatigue and chronic illness are individualised, and different for each case. A holistic health review is an important first step to identify where to start on the path to regaining health.
Conditions that may be associated with a 'stealth pathogen' picture include:
Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
Chronic Lyme-like illness
Examples of stealth pathogens include: Bartonella, Babesia, Parvovirus, Mycoplasma, Helicobacter pylori, Epstein-Barr Virus and others.
Epstein-Barr virus, frequently referred to as EBV, is a member of the herpes virus family and one of the most common human viruses. The virus occurs worldwide, and up to 95% of adults between 35 and 40 years of age have been infected with it. Infants become susceptible to EBV as soon as maternal antibody protection (present at birth) disappears. Many children become infected with EBV, although usually have no symptoms or are indistinguishable from other mild, brief illnesses of childhood. However when EBV infection occurs during adolescence or young adulthood, it causes the more serious infectious mononucleosis, or glandular fever, in 35% to 50% of cases. Mononucleosis is characterised by swollen glands, fever, and commonly spleen enlargement, and profound fatigue that may continue for months or longer.
Herpes & Wart Viruses
These viruses never go away but live forever in the body, showing up when the environment favours a spawning cycle. They are inflammatory, give off metabolic toxins and wastes and are highly detrimental to health. Ironically, it is health that keeps them in hibernation.
Candida is a type of yeast that lives naturally in the body, and is kept under control by strong commensal populations of beneficial flora and immune balance. Candida is said to be responsible for breaking down the body when we die. For candida to grow out of control, the body's immune defences are out of control. Prolonged antibiotic intake both through medication use and in the food chain (eg: farmed meat), damaging the body's microbiome, which is meant to protect us from these overgrowth. Hormone imbalances, high sugar, high carbohydrate diets and other issues can encourage overgrowth. It is really a sign that the body is providing a suitable environment for it's overgrowth, and that is something we want to change.
Chronic Infections and Co-Infections
There are a great many potential stealth pathogens in the world. Some people are more vulnerable than others.
Borrelia burgdorferi is the microbial organism most commonly associated with Lyme disease, however other strains and species can cause also cause debilitating issues. Borelia, Bartonella, Babesia, Ricketsia and a range of other blood-bourne pathogens can wreak havok on a person's life, particularly if they don't know what they have.
In the acute stage of infection, Borellia for instance, causes immense fatigue, fever, sweats, rashes, swollen and sore glands, headaches, inflammation, joint pain and other flu like symptoms. Once such an infection moves deep into the body, it changes it's form and can penetrate into many of the body's deep systems - the nervous system, brain, liver, blood, becoming chronic and virtually impossible to find on a pathology test. Some people just bypass the acute symptomatic stage, or write it off as the flu, only to find themselves plunged into the chronic phase and unable to work out what is going on.
People can present with a wide range of strange symptoms that may not be associated with a stealth infection. They may be misdiagnosed a host of times before the real issue is identified.
Common symptoms of stealth infection, depending on the pathogen and process in the body, can include severe and debilitating exhaustion, lack of stamina and resilience, sleep disturbances, body pain, numbness, tingling, loss of sensation, coldness, flushes of heat, night sweats, delirium, dysfunctional memory, inability to think, muscle and bone pain, stiffness painful feed, and a range of symptoms that can mimic a range of auto-immune diseases.
Many patients suffer with severe and often debilitating symptoms that greatly impair their quality of life. Acute Lyme disease, and its associated flu-like symptoms, usually responds well to short-term antibiotic treatment. However, up to 60% of Lyme patients develop a range of chronic nonspecific symptoms including chronic fatigue, muscle and/or joint pain, neuropathies, and cognitive dysfunction, known as post-treatment Lyme disease syndrome (PTLDS).
Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (ME) - Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) :
A complex, multi-system, neuroimmune condition with a multitude of symptoms related to the dysfunction of:
Endocrine and cardiac systems
ME/CFS can range from mild to severe and can cause profound disability in those affected. In the young, for example social and school, higher education life can be severely impacted. In those of working age, many are unable to stay in employment due to their illness. Social and family life can become drastically restricted and sometimes very strained. Many lose contact with pre-illness friends and non-supportive family members. For those at the severe end in terms of symptoms, they can remain housebound or bedbound for months or years. (Source: http://emerge.org.au)
Dealing with Stealth Pathogens
Western medicine can do little to help people with this condition, but Naturopathic Medicine together with Bioresonance Therapy, can help a great deal, supporting the body through each stage of recovering cellular and immune function, helping the body to repair and restore itself.
Stealth infections can affect multiple body systems and it is common for symptoms to 'move'. For example joint pain may be the predominant symptom, then it changes to nerve pain (neuralgia) and fatigue, then extreme irritability, insomnia, anxiety and/or depression. Hence, treatment strategies need to have a multipronged approach and are chosen based on the individual and their symptoms. Core strategies utilise dietary modification, herbal medicines, nutrients and lifestyle changes.
Key factors to incorporate into a treatment plan may include:
The most important place to start is by changing the terrain of the body and beginning a very gentle detoxification process and cleaning up of the diet and lifestyle. It is vital to go very slowly with treatment, focusing first on putting a halt to the intake of toxins and adverse substances that don't contribute to the health and nourishment of the body. Every system in the body will need to be asses and a plan tailored to the specific needs of the individual.
Following are examples of treatments used:
Bicom Therapy (more here)
Probiotics, fibres and binders
Toxin clearance (detox)
Enzymes and Biofilm dissolving agents
Diet: Anti-inflammatory, identifying food sensitivities, avoiding alcohol, sugar and caffeine, and avoiding processed foods and chemicals
Emotional awareness – reducing stress drivers in the body, past and future focus, self talk etc.
Environmental review – moulds, emotional toxins, airborne pollutants etc.
This condition can take a very long time to recover from. It is often something that needs to be treated at regular visits over a long period of time. Stress intolerance, adrenal exhaustion and a host of systemic issues will need to be moved through systematically, but having a plan and understanding your process helps vastly in moving forward.
* Stealth pathogens are bacteria and viruses capable of adapting to avoid (and hide) from our immune system. They can form biofilms which effectively 'shield' them from our immune system. In chronic health conditions, breaking down biofilms to give the immune system access to the infective agents is a key strategy in supporting the body to recover and get a foothold on restoring the dynamic balance of the microbiome.
This information is not intended to replace medical advice.