Chronic fatigue syndrome affects perhaps as many as 1 million people in the U.S. It 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 these symptoms:
- Extreme fatigue after exertion
- Difficulties with memory and concentration
- Unrefreshing sleep
- Muscle pain
- Joint pain
- Sore throat
- Tender lymph nodes
At our Arizona cancer center, we address chronic fatigue syndrome as part of our holistic approach to optimizing health and fighting disease.
Chronic fatigue syndrome came to attention after a 1984 outbreak which affected several hundred people in Incline Village, Nevada. It initially was called the Chronic Epstein-Barr Virus Syndrome (CEBVS). But, as it turned out, many people tested did not show elevated levels of Epstein-Barr antibodies. In 1988, the name was changed to the chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS).
Meanwhile, people in England, Australia, New Zealand, and Canada had been writing and talking about a disorder which they called Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (ME). Epidemics of this disorder developed in the United Kingdom, in Iceland, and Australia. The names differed, but the symptoms were a carbon copy.
Enter William G. Crook, MD. He heard reports that that some doctors had found success treating CFS patients with a sugar-free special diet and antifungal medications including Nystatin, Nizoral and Diflucan. He went on to author a breakthrough book, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and the Yeast Connection (1992).
Carol Jessop, MD, a leading CFS clinician and researcher, showed that chronic fatigue syndrome can develop in individuals who give a history of:
- Repeated courses of antibiotic drugs
- Recurrent vaginal yeast infections
- Diets loaded with sugar and alcohol
Dr. Jessup treated 1,000 chronic fatigue syndrome patients with anti-fungal medication. She found that up to 75 percent of those patients also had candidiasis.
Dr. Crook wrote, “I feel that CFS and fibromyalgia are often yeast-related. People with these disorders seem to develop them because their immune systems are weakened (by yeast overgrowth), viruses are activated, yeasts multiply, food and chemical allergies become activated, and nutritional deficiencies develop.” Clearly, candida, an overgrowth of a normally present yeast, plays a large role in many cases of chronic fatigue syndrome.