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What is Triggering My Chronic Fatigue?

Fatigue is something that we all face from time-to-time. Whether brought on by a night of poor sleep, or by an exhaustive day, fatigue is a very real and natural thing that we all go through. But at what point does typical exhaustion become chronic, and are the factors that cause it really so commonplace? 

What is Chronic Fatigue Syndrome?10396471_m-1.jpg

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) is a disorder characterized by profound fatigue that is not improved by bed rest, worsened by physical or mental activity, and not explained by other medical issues or situations. For instance, if you are sick with the flu we know your fatigue is from this medical issue. When you have a thyroid disorder that is not treated, we know that your fatigue is from this. However when all medical conditions have been ruled out and the fatigue is persistent, we start to think you may have chronic fatigue.

Chronic Fatigue has nine official signs or symptoms. They are as follows:

  1. Fatigue
  2. Loss of memory or concentration
  3. Sore throat
  4. Enlarged lymph nodes in your neck or armpits
  5. Unexplained muscle pain
  6. Pain that moves from one joint to another without swelling or redness
  7. Headache of a new type, pattern or severity
  8. Unrefreshing sleep
  9. Extreme exhaustion lasting more than 24 hours after physical or mental exercise

While a single cause of CFS has not been isolated, there are several influencing factors like B12 deficiency or hormone imbalance that can really help with the symptoms when treated. Some of the proposed causes of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, including genetic vulnerabilities and chronic infections like, fungus, viruses, and bacterial infections.

Chronic Infections and Chronic Fatigue

Our immune system is responsible for fighting off  pathogens from the environment and it does this in very specific and nonspecific ways. There are multiple layers to the immune system that allow it to keep away things like bacteria, fungus, and viruses. In some people, some of the layers of the immune system are compromised and the person is not able to full get rid of the pathogen leaving it lingering in the body. The bodies immune response requires extra energy and can be draining to the energy reserves over time. As you can immage Chronic fatigue would eventually occur unless the infection is taken care of or the immune system is given the support it needs to get rid of the infection. In some cases chronic infections can pile up leaving the energy reserves even more depleted.

Here are some common viruses that can affect or create CFS in an individual:

  • The Epstein–Barr virus (EBV): This is also called human herpesvirus 4 and it is one of the most common viruses throughout the world. Spread through bodily fluids, EBV is also the cause the infection known as mononucleosis (AKA Mono). Symptoms of EBV start as fatigue and fever, but can also include an inflamed throat, swollen lymph nodes in the neck, an enlarged spleen or swollen liver, and a rash.
  • Cytomegalovirus (CMV): This is in the family Herpesviridae, and it is also very common. CMV often affects people with weakened immune systems (immunocompromised), attacking specific organs. When first infected, CMV may have symptoms similar to mononucleosis, including fatigue, fever and muscle aches. However, progressing signs of CMV can include; fever, pneumonia, diarrhea, possible bleeding ulcers in the digestive tract, hepatitis, behavioral changes, and even seizures, coma, or visual impairment and blindness.
  • Herpes simplex virus 1 and 2 (HSV): Also known as human herpesvirus 1 and 2, these are two members of the herpesvirus family, Herpesviridae, that infect humans. Both HSV-1 and HSV-2 are ubiquitous and contagious common viral infections. If you’ve ever had a cold sore or fever blister, you picked up the herpes simplex virus. Most cold sores are caused by herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1). Other names for cold sores caused by HSV-1 are: oral herpes, mouth herpes, and herpes simplex labialis.

For people with normal, healthy immune systems, when they come into contact with bacteria, fungus, or virus, they are able to fight off the sickness and carry on. One thing that distinguishes healthy people without these chronic infections and those with them, is their genetics.

Chronic Fatigue and Genetics

As noted above there are multiple layers of the immune system and it is within these layers where genetic vulnerabilities arise. While all the specifics are beyond the scope of this post one of these has to do with how we make immune of globulins. You can think of immunoglobulins as like a surveillance system of the body. the immunoglobulins are like GPS tracers. The immunoglobulins float around in the body and are perfect matches for previously encounters unwanted microbes (and other problematic proteins). When they stick to something they alert the immune system that the microbe is there so the immune cells can kill it off. This is for the most part how vaccines work.

So what happens when your immunoglobulins don’t get formed properly or efficiently? It takes longer for the immune system to recognize the microbe and longer to kill it off.

Another genetic tie-in to CFS is the genetics of our mitochondria. Mitochondria are the energy centers of a cell. Through the creation of energy lots of free radicals are produced. The body has a way to deal with these free radicals, and enzyme called superoxide dismutase.  Both this enzyme and the the various stages of energy production in the mitochondria can be altered and dysfunctional. The sick mitochondria lead to inefficient energy production and the energy levels our bodies are able to produce is severely limited.

Alternative Ways to Treating Your Chronic Fatigue

As with many scenarios, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome is one such medical issue that many patients end up turning to a naturopath physician for answers as western medicine seems to be very limited in what they can offer to help. While there are many ways to approaching your chronic fatigue, in this article we will discuss IV Vitamin C treatments are one general treatment you can do that often helps.

IV Treatments for Chronic Fatigue

Intravenous vitamin treatments are useful for many many reasons but with immune issues it is particular important.  The amount of vitamin C the digestive tract can absorb is limited. When you consume more than about 5 grams you will start to see changes in stool and possibly diarrhea. This does the body no good because little is getting into the body. Even if you don't have altered stools you only absorb a fraction of what you consume. With IV treatments you get it all and the cells have direct access to it.

As was mentioned above, when your superoxide enzymes are hindered, your body can’t keep up with the free radicals generated from your mitochondria. As a result, the the mitochondria are compromised and less efficient. Vitamin C can reduce the free radicals and help reduce the damage.

At Southwest Integrative Medicine, we offer Vitamin C IV therapy for chronic fatigue syndrome especially when there are chronic viral infections present. immune system is weakened, leaving room for those viral and bacterial infections to take over and inhibiting the body’s ability to produce energy.Vitamin C IV Therapy can greatly reduce fatigue levels within 2 hours of the treatment but sometimes takes more treatment to notice the difference.


If you believe that your chronic fatigue might be caused by an infection or genetics and your would like a free consultation to better understand how we can help you treat your fatigue, click on the link below.

Do I Have Chronic Fatigue?

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