Sunday, October 21, 2018

ME/CFS is not a psychosomatic illness

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When people get diagnosed with CFS, they are most likely told it is a psychosomatic illness. The meaning of  "psychosomatic", found in various dictionaries online, being:
 ...caused or aggravated by a mental factor such as internal conflict or stress...
... of mental or emotional origin...

...of or relating to a disorder having physical symptoms but originating from mental or emotional causes...

The patient is basically told, it's his or her own fault and most likely a consequence of hectic stressful life and/or internal emotional problems. When he or she changes her life outlook, thinking, job, beliefs, or even house and partner, everything should get better. Yes?

Not quite...

Medical dictionary  meaning of this word is slightly more complicated and we learn, that even asthma, migraine, and peptic ulcer is "psychosomatic"! Therefore more or less related to our emotions and stress, as are most chronic illnesses... Shouldn't we all be sent to a psychotherapist for a correct diagnosis?!

After a long and somehow uneasy decade of self-managing this condition, I have looked at the NHS website with a hope, that there would be something new on offer in terms of  testing, treatment, guidance or a specific support. I haven't found anything new, but their website pointed to ME Association with the article I copy below in full.

You can also check my small "collection" of information on this subject here and the latest outcomes from the same group of scientist are becoming more and more specific in terms of biomarkers (Nagy-Szakal et al. 2018):

Among the top plasma biomarkers differentiating ME/CFS patients from controls were decreased levels of betaine, complex lipids (lysophosphatidylcholine [LPC], phosphatidylcholine [PC]) and sphingomyelin (SM), and increased levels of triglycerides (TG), α-N-phenylacetyl-glutamine, ε-caprolactam and urobilin (Table S2). Set enrichment analysis of the results of logistic regression models revealed that ME/CFS subjects had reduced levels of PCs and dysregulation of the choline-carnitine pathway (Table 2).

I do hope that the mystery of CFS is on a good way to be resolved by mainstream medical science. In the meantime, functional medicine and nutrition has a lot to offer to support overall health if you want to be pro-active and not just wait for "magical pill".

Check out my system of coaching here or,  if you're already able to walk for at least an hour and wish to get outdoors, send me an email to book a Walk&Talk experience.

---------------- here is the article ------------------

W. Ian Lipkin, Director of the Center for Infection and Immunity and the Center for Solutions for ME/CFS at Columbia University, has written the following letter several days before the Fourth Annual Conference on Psychosomatics at Columbia University this weekend. The original letter can be found at this link.

18 October 2018
Dear Colleagues and Friends,
The Center for Infection and Immunity (CII) has been committed to ME/CFS research since 2010. We began this research with generous support from the Chronic Fatigue Initiative of the Hutchins Family Foundation, the National Institutes of Health, and the Microbe Discovery Project.
In 2017, the CII was selected to host one of three NIH centers funded for collaborative research into the biology of this disease. The Center for Solutions for ME/CFS (CfS for ME/CFS) includes representatives from #MEAction and Solve ME/CFS as well as clinical and basic scientists drawn from leading academic institutions and clinical sites across the United States.
Our studies of blood, cerebrospinal fluid, saliva and feces, using state-of-the-art methods that include microbial gene sequencing, metabolomics, proteomics, and immunological profiling, confirm that patients with ME/CFS have biological abnormalities that cannot be characterized as psychosomatic.

Committees convened by the National Academies of Sciences, the National Institutes of Health, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have also concluded that ME/CFS is not a psychosomatic disorder.
We are committed to actively investigating the causes of immunological and metabolic abnormalities in ME/CFS. Our hope is that this work will enable insights that lead to treatments.
W. Ian Lipkin, MD
Director, Center for Infection & Immunity
Director, Center or Solutions for ME/CFS

Thursday, February 8, 2018

Simple Sauerkraut

Kraut, or cabbage, is a traditional food in many parts of the world. Sauerkraut is raw, finely sliced or shredded white or red cabbage, which is then lacto-fermented in salty brine, by wild bacteria and yeasts, naturally present on the cabbage leaves. It is therefore ideal to use organic or home-grown cabbage. The final product is full of good bacteria (probiotics), full of fibre (prebiotics), and a good source of vitamins such as C, B and K. Cabbage is also a good source of glutamine, an amino acid which helps to heal and seal the gut lining. Good amount of sulphur compounds support healthy liver detoxification.  The only people, not to be advised to eat too much of aged and fermented foods such as this cabbage, are those with severe histamine intolerance. For the rest of us it is a quick, tried and well-tested way how to re-establish and re-balance our gut microbiom. If you've never had any, starting to eat sauerkraut after longer period of time, or have digestive issues, do start very very slowly. Literally few shreds or a teaspoon of juice are enough per day for the first week.

You will need 


· Small head of healthy cabbage, ideally hard Winter variety

· Natural crystal salt

· One larger glass jar, well washed and sterilised with hot water

· One smaller sterilised jar, which just fits into the large one

· A large bowl



· Remove several outer leaves and the core.

· Slice very thinly using knife, mandolin or shredder.

· Place the first layer (2-3 handfuls) into the bowl, salt the top generously.

· Repeat until all the cabbage is used.

· Cover with clean napkin and leave to stand for about 30 minutes.

· Mix everything and keep pressing with your fists to release the juices.

· Fill the larger jar, keep pressing the cabbage well, do not leave any air pockets!

· Fill the smaller jar with water and push inside, cover with clean cloth or plastic.

· Leave to stand in cooler, dark place.  Not too cold! About 16C, bottom kitchen cabinet if your house is not overheated.

· Check every odd day to make sure all the cabbage is well-covered with brine.

· Ready to eat from day 5 but ideally after 3 weeks, as you will get different strains of bacteria.

· After 3 weeks keep in the fridge.

Photo recipe

Bubbles will appear after few days...

Feel free to experiment with other veggies!