Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) is a chronic, complex, and highly variable condition characterized by new onset fatigue severe enough to produce a substantial decrease in activity in addition to several other symptoms including post-exertional malaise, sleep disturbance, cognitive slowing (brain fog) and difficulty standing for an extended period of time. Chronic Fatigue Syndrome may also be referred to as Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (ME) and Systemic Exertion Intolerance Disease (SEID).

It is estimated that up to 2.5 million Americans currently have CFS, many of whom have not yet been formally diagnosed [1]. CFS can be physically, mentally, and emotionally debilitating, and persons with this diagnosis are twice as likely to be unemployed as persons with fatigue who do not meet the diagnostic criteria for CFS [2].

Symptoms of Chronic Fatigue Include:

  • Severe fatigue
  • Unrefreshing sleep
  • Post-exertional malaise
  • Cognitive impairment
  • Difficulty standing
  • Persistent sore throat
  • Flu-like symptoms
  • Headaches

How is Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Linked to Mitochondrial Health?

Mitochondrial dysfunction is an etiologic mechanism that may explain the multisystem range of symptoms experienced by CFS patients [2]. Electron micrographs of muscle biopsies have also shown abnormal mitochondrial degeneration in patients with CFS [3]. Furthermore, evidence of oxidative damage and increased activity of antioxidant enzymes have been detected in CFS patient muscle specimens [4].

The above findings have led to researchers investigating CFS treatment regimes that include high-potency antioxidants and other mitochondrial support nutrients. In the United Kingdom, Sarah Myhill and colleagues, utilizing a regimen of mitochondrial support nutrients taken for several months, showed that nearly all patients who complied with the regimen showed biochemical evidence of improved mitochondrial functioning [2]. In essence, mitochondrial support nutrients are important for optimizing mitochondrial function, which play a crucial role in energy production and overall cellular health. Certain nutrients like coenzyme Q10, alpha-lipoic acid, and L-carnitine have been shown to enhance mitochondrial activity and improve energy metabolism. By providing these essential nutrients, we can support and promote healthy mitochondrial functioning, leading to improved overall cellular performance and vitality.

References: [1] Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2023, March 21). What is me/CFS?. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

[2] Kaiser, J. D. (2015). A prospective, proof-of-concept investigation of KPAX002 in chronic fatigue syndrome. International journal of clinical and experimental medicine.

[3] Plioplys, A. (1995). Electron-microscopic investigation of muscle mitochondria in chronic fatigue syndrome. Neuropsychobiology.

[4] Lee, J.-S., Kim, H.-G., Lee, D.-S., & Son, C.-G. (2018, August 27). Oxidative stress is a convincing contributor to idiopathic chronic fatigue. Scientific reports.

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