Many researchers have investigated effective treatments for chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) and multiple chemical sensitivity (MCS), but Martin Pall, Ph.D., Professor Emeritus of Biochemistry and Basic Medical Sciences at Washington State University, and author of Explaining “Unexplained Illnesses”, is the first to suggest a plausible underlying cause and therapeutic method of treatment. Pall, who came down with a severe case of CFS in 1997 and fully recovered in 18 months, has dedicated the rest of his career to understanding and treating these illnesses.
Pall has discovered that abnormal levels of nitric oxide (NO), high levels of peroxynitrite (ONOO-) and superoxide activate the disabling and widely varying symptoms that characterise this entire group of unexplained illness. The fundamental approach: reducing NO-related free radical activity.
According to Pall’s theory, a known stressor initiates high levels of NO and ONOO-, most often a pathogen like a virus or bacteria, physical trauma, exposure to pesticides (including organophosphates and carbomates), solvents, or severe psychological stress. Other stressors can include exposure to biocides and organochlorine, parasitic infections like toxoplasmosis, poisoning from ciguatoxin, carbon monoxide or thimerosal. After the acute stressor, the body is unable to recover and continues to exist in a chronic state of elevated free-radicals.
Evaluation of Quality of Life in Persons with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome/Myalgic Encephalomyelitis Before and After Administration of Food Supplements Designed to Reduce Free Radical Activity.
By Ingrid Franzon, MSc, Bo Jonsson M.D., Ph.D., and Peter Wilhelmsson, N.D.
This study evaluated nine patients with treatment-resistant CFS over a period of eight weeks. The Medical Outcomes Survey Short Form-36 (SF-36) was used. This is a well-validated psychometric instrument, and is one of the tools recommended in the measurement of the entire syndrome of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome/Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (CFS/ME) as it addresses physical and social activity, vitality, bodily pain, physical and mental states, and perception of general health. The multi-item scales are weighted, summed up, standardised and transformed to allow score indices: the Physical Component Score (PCS) and the Mental Component Score (MCS).
Four supplements containing multiple nutritional ingredients that have individually been shown to affect NO/ONOO- and superoxide activity were administered to a group of nine patients with CFS/ME for 8 weeks. The SF-36 was administered at the outset, after a month of supplementation and at the end of the supplementation period. When presented with the raw data on both physical and mental fatigue, Dr. Martin Pall did an inferential statistical analysis for significance, using a paired t-test where each patient’s results were analyzed at zero, four and eight weeks. The smaller a study, the more you want marked significance. Here, the results for physical symptoms were highly significant: the p value for the time period of 0-4 weeks was .006, nearly ten times stronger than p=.05, which is the minimum required for statistical significance. For 0-8 weeks the p value was .0149, and 0.482 for 4-8 weeks. Although these are also significant, the greatest improvement occurred in the first four weeks of the program, and though improvement continued to be statistically significant, it was not as dramatic.
There were no significant results on mental symptom tests; perhaps the tests used for mental symptoms were not particularly revealing. These strong findings on this small study present compelling evidence that Dr. Pall’s hypothesis and suggested nutrients designed to reduce NO/ONOO- and superoxide activity are very useful in CFS/ME.