Chronic fatigue syndrome: oxidative stress and dietary modifications.

Logan AC, Wong C.

CFS/FM Integrative Care Centre, Toronto, ON, Canada.

Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) is an illness characterized by persistent and relapsing fatigue, often accompanied by numerous symptoms involving various body systems. The etiology of CFS remains unclear; however, a number of recent studies have shown oxidative stress may be involved in its pathogenesis. The role of oxidative stress in CFS is an important area for current and future research as it suggests the use of antioxidants in the management of CFS. Specifically, the dietary supplements glutathione, N-acetylcysteine, alpha-lipoic acid, oligomeric proanthocyanidins, Ginkgo biloba, and Vaccinium myrtillus (bilberry) may be beneficial. In addition, research on food intolerance is discussed, since food intolerance may be involved in CFS symptom presentation and in oxidation via cytokine induction. Finally, recent evidence suggests celiac disease can present with neurological symptoms in the absence of gastrointestinal symptoms; therefore, celiac disease should be included in the differential diagnosis of CFS.


Medical Hypotheses (1999) 53(4): 347-349 - 1999 Harcourt Publishers Ltd. - Article No. mehy. 1998.0780


Competition For Glutathione Precursors Between The Immune System And The Skeletal Muscle:  Pathogenesis Of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome


G. Bounous1, J Molson2


1Former Professor, Department of Surgery, McGill University, and career Investigation

of the Medical Research Council of Canada

21994 Quebec Cycling Champion. Road and Time Trial


Summary - The chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) is typically associated or follows a recognized or presumed infection.  Abnormalities of both humoral and cellular immunity have been demonstrated in a substantial proportion of patients with CFS. The most consistent findings are of impaired lymphocyte responses to mitogen. As an antioxidant, glutathione (GSH) is essential for allowing the lymphocyte to express its full potential without being hampered by oxiradical accumulation. Hence, protracted challenge of the immunocytes may lead to cellular GSH depletion. Because GSH is also essential to aerobic muscular contraction, an undesirable competition for GSH precursors between the immune and muscular systems may develop.  It is conceivable that the priority of the immune system for the survival of the host has drawn to this vital area the ever-diminishing GSH precursors, thus depriving the skeletal muscle of adequate GSH precursors to sustain a normal aerobic metabolism resulting in fatigue and eventually myalgia. 1999 Harcourt Publishers Ltd.