Suggested Causes for Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
Dysfunction of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis, low cortisol levels and increased systemic inflammation and immune function (increased cytokines, T cell activation markers) and have been implicated as cause for CFS. Neurally mediated hypotension (NMH) or postural orthostatic tachycardia (POTS) has, also, been implicated, but is most likely an associated sign rather than a cause for the condition.
The Role of HPA Axis & Adrenal Gland Dysfunction
It appears that HPA axis and adrenal gland dysfunction underlie much of the dysregulation of inflammation, immune function, blood pressure, and blood sugar seen in most people diagnosed with CFS. Abnormal circadian rhythm of cortisol through the day typically correlates with the impaired sleep patterns and abnormal tiredness upon waking seen in people with CFS.
The Role of Food & Environmental Sensitivity
Another aspect of CFS is how commonly food and environmental sensitivity is seen in this group. This issue appears to be at least a compounding factor for people with CFS. Again from the CDC website on CFS, ” Many patients do, however, report intolerances for certain substances that may be found in foods or over-the-counter medications, such as alcohol.”
There is a tremendous amount of overlap between the symptoms associated with CFS and those associated with food and environmental sensitivity/intolerance to sulfites, aldehydes, phenols, prostaglandins, biogenic amines, and histamine. It is common for these sensitivities/intolerances to be present concurrently with CFS and worsen the overall pattern or be primary triggers for a pattern of symptoms that have been misdiagnosed as CFS.