Surprise, surprise CFS is a problem of a leaky gut.
posted by Toula Mantis at Monday, May 16, 2011
Melbourne. - For some time now I had suspected that damage to the intestinal wall was the problem of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) but no doctor would testify to this truth. In fact, the mere proposition of such a simple down-to-earth explanation was always met with a dismissive nod from the general practitioner asking for my history of symptoms. It seemed that my years in studying biochemistry, zoology and chemistry were a waste of time and that science in the name of "moden medicine" was the only valid voice with authority on the subject.
INTESTINAL BACTERIA CAUSE HAVOC IN CFS SUFFERERS
However, this weekend, I was encouraged to hear the latest discoveries in this area from Dr Henry L Butt and Dr Don Lewis during the ME/CFS Awareness Week 2011 Seminar held in Melbourne. Dr Butt is an expert in intestinal bacterial flora and is working with Melbourne University's Molecular Science and Biotechnology Institute. His work has identified that the workings of a CFS sufferer's metabolism is "very different" to that of a healthy individual. Apparently, the infamous bacteria that can cause traveller's diarrhoea, Escherichia coli (E. coli), is quite useful in the normal habitat of the intestinal gut but it is missing in action in CFS sufferers. Instead, what is found is a large presence of the "harmless" bacteria, Proteus, and streptococcus - that is, until they are found in other parts of the human body. Alarmingly, Proteus can cause havoc when other bacteria have been eliminated with antibiotics whilst streptococcus has the capacity to break down fibrous barriers, hence affecting the lymphatic system and even causing septicaemia. As a result, the bioenergetics and oxidative metabolism process become dangerously unbalanced in CFS sufferers.
COENZYME UBIQUINONE IS THE KEY TO THE CURE
The missing link due to the absentism of E. coli is the lack of the appropriate enzymes to get the process back in line. According to Dr Butt, the coenzyme ubiquinone might be the key to the answer to the CFS problem. Its job is to transfer electrons for power generation. It is found in the inner membrane of mitochondria (these are the battery cells of our bodies) and in the plasma membrane of bacteria. Simply speaking, affecting ubiquinone in any way has a damaging effect on the process of power generation and our bodies become like a car with a dying battery, thus the symptoms of CFS. The solution is to get the intestinal flora back in the right proportions to fix the enzyme deficiency. This approach requires getting the leaky intestinal walls patched up and reinforced so that the helpful bacteria do not escape and the unhelpful bacteria stay out. Thereby, allowing for the production of enzymes and its associated biochemistry to resume normally for proper healthy functioning bodies.
WOMEN SUFFER THE BRUNT OF CFS
One doctor that is frustrated with the fact that his peers have not really done anything to offer hope to CFS sufferers is Dr Don Lewis. He is personally experienced with the problems that go with living with CFS as his wife has been suffering from it for many years. For this reason, he has become an advocate for CFS research and has rolled up his sleeves to get on with it himself. To date, he cares for over 2,000 patients diagnosed with CFS. His research shows that women are overwhelmingly affected by CFS (at a rate of 70 per cent compared to just 30 per cent of men having been diagnosed with it). The typical age of onset is 27 years old. Interestingly, according to Dr Lewis' research, CFS sufferers go without proper diagnosis for up to five years. This means that they spend all this time trying to get answers from general practitioners but to no avail and then, once diagnosed, are told that there is no cure for CFS!
THIRD WORLD EXISTENCE FOR CFS SUFFERERS IN AUSTRALIA
In Australia, the resulting quality of life for those with CFS ends up being that only one in ten are able to continue working in their jobs whilst just two in ten are able to care for themselves, according to Dr Lewis. In other words, having CFS suddenly confines one to an existence of third world proportions where poverty and illness dominate leaving sufferers without any hope of escaping the daily misery. It is no wonder that many with CFS become depressed and some even take their own lives.
A MATTER OF RESETTING THE BODY FUNCTIONS
Dr Lewis has proposed a methodology of treatment to "reset the way the body works". This methodology is likened to the biochemistry of a tree, that is, the "nutritional flow" of the root system, the trunk and the fruit. "CFS did not begin with what triggered the symptoms but started from something which took place in life in the past," he said. He has concluded that the intestinal permeability (holes in the gut) is due to an immune response to proteins from foods which then cause malabsorption and intolerances, such as fructose and lactose intolerance. "For example, with increased lactic acid in the body there is increase in body pains experienced," he said. So, to reset the body functions involves a three-fold approach. Firstly, there is the requirement for the bacterial flora balance to be restored in the gut. Secondly, the right digestive enzymes need to be re-introduced. Thirdly, there is the need to use antibiotics and probiotics appropriately to heal the bowel wall. "But this restorative therapy is going to take time!" Dr. Lewis said.
ENZYME DEFICIENCIES HAVE A GENETIC COMPONENT
This is not new science but rather a new direction for those who are seriously researching CFS. The idea that an enzyme deficiency can be the underlying problem to many illnesses suffered by humans is something that medical science has identified a long time ago. It is common knowledge that the ability to produce particular enzymes is dependent on one's genetics. This gives hope that a genetic marker might actually be discovered to lead to identifying the risk of suffering CFS, thereby offering a preventative management course for future generations. Time will tell.