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February 11, 2010 at 1:49 PMComments: 1 Faves: 0

Oxidative Stress and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

By Smarty More Blogs by This Author

The cause of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome is still the subject of much research.Recently researchers have been able to identify several factors that may be causative. One of these factors, oxidative stress has been shown to play a role in the onset of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.

What is Oxidative Stress?

Oxidative Stress refers to the body's chronic inability to neutralize free radicals caused by long term exposure to oxidative factors.The body uses agents to help metabolize these free radicals.These agents include:

  • Glutathione
  • Vitamins A, C, and E
  • Zinc

When there are not enough of these agents to neutralize the free radicals, they can cause cellular degeneration in the body.

The Link to Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

Several studies point to the relationship between oxidative stress and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.CFS patients have been shown to have lower serum transferring levels and higher lipoprotein peroxidation. These findings indicate that CFS patients have an increased risk of complications from the pro-oxidizing effects of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.


The link between metal sensitivity and CFS has been established, but it also plays a role here.Heavy metals like iron and copper are shown to catalyze the reactions that lead to oxidative stress.Increased levels of these metals in bodily tissues can lead to other diseases that may look like CFS as well.

The Effects of Exercise

Exercise has been found to increase production of oxidants, which may lead some CFS patients to conclude that they have an even greater reason not to exercise.However, research has also shown that continuous exercise results in the body's adaptation of antioxidant capacity, which significantly helps to prevent muscle and cellular damage caused by oxidants.

About Antioxidants

Antioxidants have been gaining attention as disease treatments.While this use for antioxidants remains controversial, they may be effective against Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.Antioxidant supplements include Vitamins C, beta carotene, and E.The best food sources of antioxidants include:

  • Berries; blackberries, strawberries, blueberries, raspberries
  • Walnuts and sunflower seeds
  • Pomegranates
  • Ginger
  • Legumes
  • Spinach
  • Cereals containing barley, oat, or corn

In Conclusion

The cause of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome is unique to each patient.A healthy diet and moderate exercise have been shown to greatly improve many cases of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, and the effect these have on oxidative stress may be a large reason why.If you and your health practitioner suspect oxidative stress to be a causative factor of your Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, you may want to eat more of the antioxidant-rich foods and develop a sound exercise routine.


Photo Credit: xtalpics

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