I am always asked by patients “what causes CFS?” Or “What causes Fibromyalgia?”The answer is a complicated one.
We know that in patients with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome have sleep disorders, hormonal imbalances, especially thyroid dysfunction, mitochondrial dysfunction, and viral infections. The infectious component of the disorder is debated amongst the medical community. I believe, as do many other physicians, that exposure to an infectious agent could be the triggering factor in developing Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. However, there is no agreement as to which exact virus is the cause. There has been much discussion in the media, about the XMRV as the causative agent in CFS.
This past May, researchers at the University of Utah performed a comprehensive study of CFS patients to determine if XMRV could be implicated in CFS. According to the article, published in the Journal of Virology, they were unable to confirm a link between XMRV and CFS patients.
I tell my patients that it is extremely difficult to isolate viruses from tissue or blood samples. The type of infection associated with CFS as well as Fibromyalgia are infections that can lie dormant in the body. These include Epstein Barr Virus, Human Herpes Virus 6, Cytomegalovirus, and Parvovirus. Some bacterial infections include Mycoplasma Pneumoniae, Chlamydia Pneumoniae, and Lyme disease. Other infections include candida and parasites. Under emotional or physical stress these infections get reactivated and can cause or exacerbate the underlying symptoms of CFS.
Regardless of the associated infection, I focus on building up the patient’s immune system with supplements, either oral, injectable or intravenous. Maitake mushroom extract is a potent immune stimulator. In addition, Gamma Globulin has been shown to decrease the incidence of infections. Sleep and hormonal issues must be addressed. If associated infections are found, they may be treated with antivirals and antibiotics. I have found that a comprehensive approach to the treatment of CFS and Fibromyalgia works best to help the patient recover.
Dr. Dean Mitchell
Mitchell Medical Group, NYC & Long Island