Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) is long-term tiredness (fatigue) that does not go away with sleep, or rest, and affects everyday life.
CFS is also known as ME (myalgic encephalomyelitis). Myalgia is muscle pain, and encephalomyelitis is inflammation of the brain and spinal cord. ME is a commonly used term, although it can be thought to be too specific to cover all the symptoms.
CFS is the term that is often used to describe long-term tiredness by GPs and medical professionals. This is because in the majority of cases, the main symptom is chronic fatigue. This is usually the preferred term rather than ME. In CFS, there is little evidence that inflammation of the brain and spinal cord occurs.
ME is often the preferred term of people who have CFS. This is due to the fact that the fatigue they feel is too general and does not reflect the severity, and different types of fatigue. Also, it is felt that even though fatigue may occur in most cases, it is not the main, or only, symptom people experience.
It is estimated that 150,000 people in the UK have CFS. Anyone can get CFS, although it is more common in women than in men. It usually develops in the early twenties to mid-forties. Children can also be affected, most commonly between the ages of 13-15.
There are number of causes of ME/CFS ranging from infection, environmental pollutants and stress. The common factor in all these causes is the immune system.
TH1/TH2 helper cell imbalance
Stem cells are taught to become executive white blood cells by the Thymus gland (a kind of Eaton and Harrow for the lucky few stem cells), which is located behind the central upper sternum. These matured cells become known as T cells. The most executive of these cells are known as the T helper cells and they occur in two types. TH1 and TH2. T helper cells secrete chemicals (cytokines) that communicate with and control the immune system. These cytokines activate other white blood cells to create an effective immune response. The activity of the T helper cells needs to be constantly balanced. Too little TH1 activity and the immune system can not fight off virus or cancer, whilst too much TH2 activity and the immune system will stop recognising self tissue as self and damage its own body (an auto immune reaction). A balanced T helper cell activity is essential for optimum health.
Several studies have shown Patients with ME/CFS have an imbalance in the T helper cell system.[i] [ii]These patients tend to have a low activity in the TH1 helper cell type whilst they have raised TH2 helper cell types. The clinical picture one would expect to see in these patients is a poor resistance to viral infection and excessive inflammation and pain with raised but ineffective immunological activity.
The most infamous disease where there is low TH1 helper cell activity is HIV infection. In this disease the TH1 helper cells are gradually killed by the virus, this eventually leads to infection from other viruses and infection. Ultimately this patient group may develop AIDS (acquired immune deficiency syndrome) whereby they have an ineffective immune system.
Diseases where patients have raised TH2 helper cell activity are autoimmune diseases and allergies. Autoimmune diseases occur when the immune system creates antibodies against itself. The auto immune disease can either be organ specific such as thyroiditis (thyroid gland only attacked) or it can be non-organ specific and antibodies can spontaneously attack several parts of the body.
The beta-sitosterol and beta-sitosterolin found in Moducare have been shown in several studies to raise the activity of TH1 helper cells and lower the activity of TH2 helper cells.[iii] [iv] [v] This is called modulating the immune system.
Moducare helps fight viral infection
Moducare can enhance the activity of the TH1 helper cells and, by doing so, it increases natural killer cell activity against all viral infection. In a study, HIV positive patients with CD4 cell counts above 500 cells/µl blood and who were not using antiviral drug therapy showed stable TH1 CD4 cells counts and a decrease in their plasma viral loads after employing Moducare mixture for up to 40 months. This group of patients maintained a predominantly TH1 profile indicating that their cell mediated immunity response accounted for both their viral control and prevention of CD4 cell loss. Incredibly after 12 months 7 patients had undetectable viral loads.ix This study shows that Moducare can be used to either prevent the risk of a variety of viral infections or maintain the immune system when one is already infected.
Oxidative stress caused by free radicals
Oxidative stress has been acknowledged as a common feature in CFS/ME. Dr Raymond Perrin states that oxidative stress may induce many of the symptoms seen in ME/CFS. Beta-sitosterol and its sterolin found in Moducare have been shown to be effective free radical scavengers and protective to DNA as found in genetic material.[vi]
Allergies (Hypersensitivity reactions)
Dr Raymond Perrin also highlights the increased incidence of hypersensitivity of CFS/ME patients to pollen, chemicals, food, and airborne particulates.[vii] This certainly fits in with the picture of immune dysfunction expected in CFS/ME. Raised TH2 helper cells will lead to certain types of hypersensitivity reactions (also called allergies). Low dose beta sitosterol and beta-sitosterolin as found in Moducare has been shown in both children and adults to reduce allergy symptoms in both seasonal and perennial rhino-sinusitis. It also showed an increase in peak inspiratory flow rate and peak nasal inspiratory flow rate, reduction in plasma eosinophils and nasal secretion eosinophils. Moducare induced a favourable TH1-TH2 helper cell balance in the allergic patients, which was evaluated using flow cytometric analysis of T helper cells.[viii] [ix] Taking Moducare capsules three times daily reduced allergic symptoms after six months.
An imbalanced immune system that is underactive at fighting infections such as viruses and over active causing inflammation to the body is a characteristic of ME/CFS. Research on the plant sterols in Moducare show that they can modulate the immune system and correct immune system imbalance. Indeed they raise the antiviral immune system whilst lowering allergies and auto immune reactions. Moducare also has antioxidant properties. Here in lies a simple nutritional supplement with five uses in CFS/ME.
- 20 Chickens For A Saddle by Robyn Scott ISBN: 0905553667
- Beta-Sitosterol - A Medical Dictionary, Bibliography, and Annotated Research Guide to Internet References ISBN 0597843538
- The Immune System Cure by Lorna Vandehauge and Professor Patrick Bouic ISBN 1 903116 36 8
- The Bird Flu Pandemic, Can it happen, will it happen, How to protect yourself if it does Dr Jeffrey Green with Karen Moline ISBN 0312360568
- Beating The Flu, the Natural prescription for Surviving Pandemic Influenza and Bird Flu by JE Williams OMD ISBN 151745076
- Cracking the Metabolic Code by James Lavelle ISBN 1591200113
[i] Klimas NG, Salvato FR, Morgan R, Fletcher MA. Immunologic abnormalities in chronic fatigue syndrome. J Clin Microbiol. 1990 Jun;28(6):1403-10.
[ii] Skowera A, Cleare A, Blair D, Bevis L, Wessely SC, Peakman M . High levels of type 2 cytokine-producing cells in chronic fatigue syndrome. Clin Exp Immunol. 2004 Feb;135(2):294-302.
[iii] Bouic PJD, Etsebeth S, Liebenberg RW, Albrecht CF, et al. Beta-sitosterol and beta-sitosterol glucoside stimulate human peripheral blood lymphocyte proliferation: implications for their use as an immunomodulatory vitamin combination. Int J Immunopharm 1996; 18:693–700.
[iv] Bouic PJD, Clark A, Brittle W, Lamprecht JH, Freestone M, Liebenberg RW. Plant sterol/sterolin supplement use in a cohort of South African HIV-infected patients—effects on immunological and virological surrogate markers. South African Med J 2001; 91: 848–50.
[v] Louw,I, et al. A pilot study of the clinical effects of a mixture of beta-sitosterol and beta-sitosterol glucoside in active rheumatoid arthritis (RA). Am J Clin Nutr 2002;
[vi] R. Paniagua-Perez E. Madrigal-Bujaidar S. Reyes-Cadena I. A´ lvarez-Gonzalez L. Sanchez-Chapul J. Perez-Gallaga N. Hernandez G. Flores-Mondragon Æ O. Velasco. Cell protection induced by beta-sitosterol: inhibition of genotoxic damage, stimulation of lymphocyte production, and determination of its antioxidant capacity Arch Toxicol (2008) 82:615–622
[vii] Dr Raymond perrin, The Periin Technique How to beat Chronic Fatigue Syndrome/MrolinE.Hamersmith Press ISBN 978905140121
[viii] Aivazis, V et al Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Greece Clinical and laboratory changes at children with allergic rhinitis after 6 months treatment with combination of beta-sitosterol and beta-sitosterol glucoside EAACI 2008 barcelona June 11th 2008 Poster Session - Treatment Options in Rhinitis/Rhinosinusitis (913)
[ix] Myers, L and Bouic, PJD. Flow cytometric analysis of the TH1-TH2 shift in allergic individuals using Moducare® (sterols/sterolins). Proc. 26th Annu Cong Physiol Soc S. Afr. 1998; Abstract 178.