Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) may be simply hypothyroidism

The rate of CFS in the general population has been steadily increasing over the last 2 decades. While mainstream medicine refuses to accept the pathology as objectively existing condition, an off-label diagnosis of CFS is often communicated by a doctor to a patient, and is explained as being a “functional” idiopathic disorder for which currently there is no cure. The cause of CFS remains unknown but among doctors who agree that it exists the prevailing opinion is that some sort of immune dysfunction leads to a metabolic dysregulation characterized by reduced glucose oxidation. Sounds familiar? Well, the study below examined a group of such patients and found that the majority of them have classic objective biomarkers of hypothyroidism – i.e. low levels of T4 and T3 and elevated levels of reverse T3 (rT3). The only thing missing from this set of biomarkers is elevated TSH and then the patient would have been officially diagnosable as hypothyroid. It is truly unfortunate that public health authorities have ruled that TSH is the gold standard in diagnosing hypothyroidism. Even accepting the pathological upper limit of the “normal” range for TSH, it is hard to argue that a patient will be in good health if their circulating levels of thyroid hormones are low, especially when combined with elevated rT3. In addition, CFS patients often have low temperatures and pulse, which are also classic signs of hypothyroidism. However, in the twisted medicalized reality we live in low pulse is seen as a sign of “good” heart health and is much more likely to draw praise rather than concern from the doctor. My only hope is that the low T4/T3 and high rT3 will be enough for some doctors to prescribe thyroid therapy, and if those patients rapidly improve that may draw the attention of the medical powers that be that yet another mysterious condition is nothing more than low metabolism in disguise. Actually, in this case there is no disguise 🙂

“…Chronic fatigue syndrome is a common disease marked by lengthy spells of weakness, fatigue and depression. Its diagnosis is predominantly based on symptoms and on ruling out any underlying medical condition, rather than on laboratory tests and physical examination. Interestingly, several symptoms resemble those of hypothyroidism — a condition where the thyroid gland does not produce enough thyroid hormone. In hypothyroidism, the body tries to encourage thyroid hormone activity by releasing more thyroid-stimulating hormone — however, this does not happen in patients with chronic fatigue syndrome. This contrast in thyroid-stimulating activity led the study’s authors to hypothesize that chronic fatigue syndrome is caused by low activity of thyroid hormones in the absence of thyroidal disease. Led by Dr. Begoña Ruiz-Núñez at the University Medical Center Groningen, The Netherlands, the researchers compared thyroid function and markers of inflammation between 98 CFS patients and 99 healthy controls. Remarkably, the CFS patients had lower serum levels of certain key thyroid hormones such as triiodothyronine (T3) and thyroxine (T4), but normal levels of thyroid-stimulating hormone. Additional analyses indicated that CFS patients had a lower urinary iodine status and low-grade inflammation, which possibly mirrored the symptoms of patients with hypothyroidism. These CFS patients, however, had relatively higher levels of another thyroid hormone called “reverse T3” or rT3. This appeared to be due to a shift in hormone production, where the body preferred to convert T4 to rT3 instead of producing T3. The low T3 levels found in CFS patients coupled with this switchover to rT3 could mean that T3 levels are severely reduced in tissue. “One of the key elements of our study is that our observations persisted in the face of two sensitivity analyses to check the strength of the association between CFS and thyroid parameters and low-grade inflammation,” says Dr. Ruiz-Núñez. “This strengthens our test results considerably.”

Author: haidut