About a month or so ago, I realized that I didn’t know what the physical root of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome was. Is it the mitochondria in the cells that are being affected? Which organs does it emanate from? I tried looking it up on the internet, but found no answers. On Friday, my karma healer handed me an article written by her teacher on “RNase-L Enzyme Defect Disease, also called Myalgic Encephalitis, also called Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Immune Deficiency)! This paper contained some of the answers I was looking for! Little by little, I am acquiring pieces to the puzzle.
RNase-L is an enzyme that is normally 80 molecular weight. It is responsible for breaking up the damaged and infected cells in the TH1 immune system, in which the body sends out “scouts” or white blood cells to look for infected or broken cells in the body. “In RNase Enzyme Defect Disease, the RNase enzyme breaks apart for some unknown reason and the center part of the enzyme falls away and the two end pieces of the enzyme join back together forming a truncated 37 molecular weight ‘junk’ RNase enzyme. This junk RNase has many deleterious effects on the body. When the Rnase-L breaks, the TH1 immune system becomes ineffective, so the viruses re-surge.”
“The broken RNase-L KILLS the mitochondria, which are the energy factories of the cells. This causes a slowing of ALL cells in the body. The normal brain cell contains over 1000 mitochondria. When these cells die off, the cell ceases to work correctly, causing brain fog, sleeplessness, and cell death. In some cases, people develop symptoms of cognitive, memory, and reading comprehension problems. Severe cases have been known to develop seizures and other neurological symptoms… Some people claim to have only 15 percent of the physical stamina from before they got sick.”
“The ‘junk’ RNase-L literally junks up the system. The lymphatic system gets filled with leftover truncated junk RNase. The brain cells do not Meios or replicate after childhood. Because of this, they do not clean themselves very effectively and are particularly affected by the broken RNase-L. They are also the first to get channelopathy. This is a condition where the cell walls become plugged and the cellular metabolism fails. ALL other cells in the body are also affected.
The weakening of the first line of defense leaves the body open to other disease processes and maladies. Because the TH2 immune system becomes overactive when the antibody titers surge from the failed TH1 immune system, various auto-immune problems can arise as the TH2 immune system becomes over-revved.”
He says one way to keep the RNase-L from breaking into the ‘junk” version is to lower overall inflammation. Heavy exercise (especially cardio over 10 minutes) MUST be avoided, as it dramatically increases inflammation and requires RNase-L in large numbers to clean up the body of broken cells from the exercise. (I don’t know who would be able to do even a few seconds of cardio or heavy exercise with CFS!) Alcohol and sugar causes the RNAse to break into the defective version and must be avoided. Gluten should also be avoided. Lowering psychological and mental stress also helps to reduce inflammation.
There is only one place in the US that performs an RNase-L assay test (VIP Dx lab in Reno). “High levels of the broken RNase-L 37 molecular weight are very indicative that a person has this syndrome. Some statistical analysis says that 95% of people with the symptoms of CFS show the RNase-L protein marker.”
“There are some statistics that show only about 20% of people who get this condition partially recover and only about 4-5% completely recover. (!!) There is evidence of shortened life with many dying in their mid-fifties to mid-sixties through the development of secondary problems from the weakened immune system. The weakened immune system is also thought to cause co-infections and susceptibility to parasites and toxic chemicals. Research has pointed out that 5-10% of REDDS victims develop Non_Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. Many people get cancer from the weakened immune system.”
“It is a little like Alzheimer’s because of the brain fog and loss of some concentration and cognitive abilities It is a little like AIDS because it is an immune system failure. It is little like Rheumatoid arthritis because in some people, the broken RNase-L attackes the joints, causing great pain. It is a little like Multiple Sclerosis because it may cause nerve damage and even seizures in some individuals.”
A great wave of compassion swept over me as I read this article. I finally had an answer for what was happening inside of my body! And now, I have a way of explaining it to others. No one seems to have sympathy for a person who who is completely depleted or unable to recover from energy expenditure. I find people’s strong reaction to the word “cancer” so interesting. So many people that have been diagnosed with cancer are able to work full-time, exercise like they always have (even running marathons!), and have a fully functional life, when people who suffer from Chronic Fatigue Syndrome or Lyme Disease, or a host of other auto-immune diseases are confined to their beds or homes, unable to function at all, or have at best, a tiny sliver of their former capacities. No wonder I have no energy and no ability to recover! My mitochondria have been killed and EVERY cell in my body is being affected! And I am one of the luckier ones. There are many people with CFS who can not even stand up and have to be fed intravenously!
Here is a short video featuring one of these people (along with 2 other cases that aren’t as severe). It highlights the stigma of the disease, the lack of concern from doctors and society, the stripping away of one’s life, and the tremendous isolation this disease causes. I highly recommend watching this!
And here is great documentary about a woman’s search for answers after receiving no help for her own condition. She tracked down doctors and patients from the first outbreaks of this disease in the US. Unfortunately, not much has changed since this documentary came out in the late ’90s!