Galway Advertiser 2005/2005_09_22/GA_2209_E1_026.pdf
September 22 2005
H E A LT H
syndrome with fatty acids came up with positive results. Some sufferers reported improvements in fatigue, muscle pain, dizziness, poor concentration and depression. The professor's study, which was published last year, indicated major improvements in a 25-year-old female patient after being prescribed omega3 and omega-6 fatty acids. She had been ill for six years. He used an MRI scanner to look at the structure of her brain before she started the treatment and a few months after she had been on it. There was a substantial reduction in some symptoms after a few months and she was less disabled. There was also a positive change in the result of her brain scan. It appeared that her brain tissue actually increased over the course of treatment. "When I saw her after 16 weeks, she was a transformed person," he says. "She and her mother both reported her chronic fatigue began to go into remission for the first time in over six years, between six and eight weeks after she started to take the omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acid supplementation. By 16 weeks she reported being more motivated, having a brighter mood and sleeping much better. She was able to walk better. She reported that her depressed mood had lifted after taking the supplementation." He says other research indicates a link between low levels of EPA and the occurrence of depression or suicide. He maintains almost everyone can benefit from taking fatty acid supplements. "Say four VegEPA capsules daily for those who do not suffer from chronic fatigue syndrome or depression. The only caution is in respect of those who are taking a blood-thinning drug such as warfarin or heparin. In fact, although I have never suffered from either chronic fatigue or depression I take eight capsules daily, as four each morning and four each evening, with food." * Professor Basant Puri will discuss the history of ME/CFS, examine research into the condition and explain why he believes supplementing with omega-3 and omega-6 polyunsturated fatty acids can help people with this illness at his free lecture at the Harbour Hotel on Thursday September 29 at 7pm. The talk is organised by the Irish ME/CFS Support Group. * His book Chronic Fatigue Syndrome - A Natural Way to Treat ME is published by Hammersmith Press, London.
A natural approach to ME
"Pull yourself together, it's all in the mind". This is the response ME sufferers often get from people, particularly in the past and unfortunately still today. Some academics and health professionals subscribe to this way of thinking too, believing depression is at the root of this condition which affects the immune and central nervous system and is characterised by debilitating chronic fatigue. Professor Basant Puri, a consultant at Hammersmith Hospital in London and the head of the Lipid Neuroscience Group at the Imperial College there - who will speak in Galway next week - views the illness in a different way and advocates a natural method of treating it. The author of the recently published book, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome - a natural way to treat ME he says it is a real disease, not simply psychosomatic. "I believe that it is a genuine physical illness with clinical features over which patients have little or no control. My stance on the disease is somewhat contentious and reflects the controversy that has surrounded the nature of this condition in academic medical circles." He describes ME as persistent or relapsing fatigue for six or more consecutive months and where four of the following symptoms are concurrently present for more than six months. These include impaired memory or concentration, sore throat, tender lymph nodes in the neck or armpit, muscle pain, multi-joint pain, new headaches, unrefreshing sleep Professor Basant Puri believes viral infections play an important part in causing and post exertion malaise. chronic fatigue syndrome. "Within this framework, selfinfection". reported, persistent fatigue of one "On the contrary, it is perfectly He maintains ME can be treated in month or longer is defined as being possible for such a virus to establish a natural, cost effective way with fatty prolonged fatigue and only becomes itself in the body at a sub-clinical acid supplements. He recommends chronic after it has lasted for at least level. The virus might still be present one with a particularly high level of six consecutive months. However in and causing a persistent infection but EPA - eicosapentaenoic acid - an clinical practice I do not require the acute symptoms and signs may no omega-3 fatty acid found in fish oil patients to have suffered from the longer be evident. Chicken pox is a which includes a special form of illness for at least six months before I particularly well known example. evening primrose oil, known as virgin am prepared to make this diagnosis." After infection, the virus that causes evening primrose oil. He feels these it can lie dormant for years and then may have a beneficial action on the manifest itself as shingles when Viral infections chemical imbalances in the brain triggered by other health problems." which he identified. EPA also has antiHe believes viral infections play an He says most of his ME patients viral properties and helps with sleep, important part in causing chronic suffered from viral infection-like which is often a problem for people fatigue syndrome. There may be other illnesses before coming down with with ME/CFS. influencing factors as well which chronic fatigue syndrome. One, a 20"The one supplement currently reduce essential chemicals in the year-old student, had struggled with available to the general public that body, he says. ME since she was a child. fulfils these criteria is VegEPA. This In 2002, he and his team at "After suffering from numerous can be obtained from the website Hammersmith Hospital in London episodes of ear infections as a child, www.vegepa.com" published the first systematic study she came down with an influenza-like He says omega-3 and omega-6 fatty on ME sufferers using a type of brainillness at the age of 12. This lasted five acids are very important to the proper imaging technology called MRS (it to six days. After making a partial functioning of our bodies as they measures chemicals in the brain). It recovery, she appeared to catch a maintain the correct structure of cell indicated a difference in their brain similar illness a few weeks later. This membranes. chemistry compared with healthy time she was laid low by the illness "The omega-3 fatty acid EPA has a volunteers. The people with ME had and never seemed to recover fully. particularly important role in helping higher choline (an essential nutrient Both she and her mother can mark the body to combat viral infections. It necessary for the structure and the start of profound fatigue, muscle turns out that EPA can actually kill formation of cells) levels suggesting a pain, weakness and poor viruses in the body without harming problem with fatty acid metabolism in concentration to the second episode of us in the process." the brain. the influenza-like illness at the age of Similar results were found in a 12." study published subsequently by Professor Puri explains that once Fatty acids teams in Scotland and Japan. He says an acute viral illness appears to be the increased choline levels in the over, this does not necessarily imply A number of major studies, brain are "precisely what we would that the virus which caused it has including Professor Puri's, into the expect to see following a major viral disappeared from the body. treatment of chronic fatigue
What is ME?
ME is an illness that affects the brain, muscles and immune system. It usually follows a flu-like illness and results in symptoms such as sore throats, muscle and joint pain, sleep difficulties, concentration and memory problems, and a feeling of overwhelming flu-like exhaustion and weakness following minor activity. There are an estimated 10,000 sufferers in Ireland, hundreds of whom live in Galway city and county. The onset of the condition is commonest between 20 and 40 years and women are more affected than men.