Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Chronic Fatigue and Gluten Sensitivity

Chronic Fatigue, now known as Chronic Fatigue and Immune Dysfunction Syndrome (CFIDS), affects between 400,000 and 900,000 adults, and is characterized by unexplained fatigue that lasts for at least six months, fails to get better with rest, and interferes with daily activities. It is also accompanied by at least some of the following additional symptoms: extreme fatigue after exertion, memory and concentration problems, poor sleep, headaches, muscle and joint pain, sore throat, or tender lymph nodes.

Chronic fatigue is unfortunately one of those syndromes that seems to “fall through the cracks” of our traditional medical system. Why? Likely because it doesn’t fit into the symptom-drug model. No drug has been created that successfully treats the myriad symptoms associated with CFIDS.

Not being a particular fan of masking symptoms with drugs, I don’t find the lack of “effective” drug treatment a negative. But what I would like to address is the success we’ve had here treating Chronic Fatigue and the interrelated causative factors.

Research studies have associated the development of chronic fatigue with patients exposed to traumatic events and chronic stress, with stress increasing an individual’s risk by 500%!

If you evaluate the symptoms associated with adrenal gland exhaustion and compare them to those of chronic fatigue, you will see a common thread between the two.

The adrenal glands are your stress gland and when they aren’t functioning adequately you can expect to experience such symptoms as fatigue, immune system weakness, joint pains, muscle aches, depression, anxiety, insomnia and headaches. Basically the symptoms of adrenal fatigue are identical to those of chronic fatigue.

Our philosophy is to address the underlying root cause and upon evaluating a chronic fatigue patient it is most common to find the following:
Weakened adrenal glands
Food sensitivities
Digestive malfunction
Infections of the digestive tract
Hormonal imbalance.

While the list may seem a bit extensive, a program can embrace most all of those issues simultaneously resulting in a patient feeling substantially better in 2 or 3 months.

Many researchers are putting chronic fatigue and fibromyalgia in the same category and I too see similar features in both disorders.

But more important than the label is to truly normalize body function such that the unrelenting fatigue and other debilitating symptoms are no longer an issue. When addressing root cause one needs to get to that undercut of malfunction that, when resolved, results in regained health. While this can prove challenging it truly isn’t difficult when one understands how the body functions.

We reviewed that adrenal malfunction and chronic fatigue have similar symptoms. So the next question is, how do we resolve adrenal fatigue? It’s a natural therapy but it doesn’t tend to be the bottom line root cause. Rather it’s often a secondary effect of the root cause. The primary problem is often digestive in nature and involves food sensitivities (think gluten and dairy as the biggest culprits), infections in the small intestine and a resultant weakened immune system.

Diagnosing and treating the above is not difficult and it’s completely natural (excepting an occasional antibiotic to treat a particularly stubborn infection). But the program must be done as an orchestrated whole utilizing strong enough remedies to affect the necessary change. Simply going to your local health food store and picking up some vitamins or probiotics is likely not going to be sufficient.

We have treated many patients with chronic fatigue successfully. The worst of which was a woman in her 30s that was disabled because of it. I’ll never forget speaking to her on the phone and her relating to me that she would lift her forearm off the bed just to see if she still could. That was the extent of effort she could perform. We not only got her back to work but it has been over a decade and she continues to do well and has a very productive life.

If you know someone suffering please forward this to them and let me know how I may be of further assistance. I truly believe that the treatment protocol that I’ve laid out above can be successful for most.

Visit us at If you have questions or need any help, I’m here for you! Call 408-733-0400.

I look forward to hearing from you.

To your good health,
Dr Vikki Petersen, DC, CCN, CFMP

IFM Certified Practitioner

Founder of Root Cause Medical Clinic
Co-author of “The Gluten Effect”

Author of the eBook: “Gluten Intolerance – What You Don’t Know May Be Killing You!”


M. said...

Someone is being very confused here. "Chronic fatigue" is NOT the same thing as chronic fatigue syndrome/myalgic encephalomyelitis (CFS/ME), also known as CFIDS. "Chronic fatigue" is a symptom of numerous health conditions from depression to cancer. CFS/ME is a severe neurological infectious disease which can be deadly.

Anonymous said...

I believe you are speaking about Chronic Fatigue Syndrome not chronic fatigue (always tired) --the distinction is VERY important.

Anonymous said...

The distinction between Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (neuroligic and autoimmune illness) and chronic fatigue (always tired) is VERY important.

Anonymous said...

According to the CDC, CFIDS affects between between 1 and 4 million Americans.

Anonymous said...

Can't we take the gist of the article rather than argue about the small details - as someone suffering from chronic fatigue (syndrome) and recently diagnosed gluten intolerance I found this very interesting - I believe the gluten intolerance has hindered my recovery

lumin smith said...

Chronic fatigue symptoms are different from drowsiness. In general, drowsiness is feeling the need to sleep, while fatigue is a lack of energy and motivation.

lumin smith said...

Chronic fatigue symptoms are different from drowsiness. In general, drowsiness is feeling the need to sleep, while fatigue is a lack of energy and motivation.

lumin smith said...

There is a commonality among the symptoms of Chronic fatigue syndrome that affects those who suffer from the condition. While many of the symptoms are similar the way they affect one person may be quite different from the affects felt by another person.