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Chronic fatigue syndrome from vagus nerve infection: psychoneuroimmunological hypothesis

Discussion in 'Latest ME/CFS Research' started by Ecoclimber, Jun 23, 2013.

  1. MeSci

    MeSci ME/CFS since 1995; activity level 6

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    Have you looked at existing research, Andrew? There is a huge document you can download here for example:

    http://www.meresearch.org.uk/information/researchdbase/index.html

    and you can find some on this site too.

    My own current view from research I have read is that the gut is the source of the illness in many people, and that this is the case for post-exertional malaise (PEM) too. I think it is due to acidosis/hyperlactaemia. We produce too much lactate/lactic acid in our muscles, creating a hyperlactaemic state which feeds back to the gut. Maybe the vagus nerve is affected at that stage. The reason we produce too much lactic acid in the muscles may be a consequence of autoimmunity, perhaps something attacking the mitochondria.

    Many of us seem to have abnormal carbohydrate metabolism (also leading to acidosis, this time in the gut), and are sensitive to gluten, and have noticed considerable improvements since making dietary changes. So there could be a vicious cycle going on, with gut acidosis/leaky gut triggering the production of autoantibodies, which impair muscle function, leading to acidification there too, and feeding back and acidifying the gut again, perpetuating the leaky gut. Gut flora are involved, so that we need to rebalance them in favour of the non-acidifying ones, which can be done through diet and supplements. Attacking the acidity on several fronts simultaneously is the answer, I think.

    Apologies for reposting this from another thread where I posted it yesterday (and a few other places previously), but this paper shows how leaky gut can lead to autoimmunity:

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2886850/

    and this one claims that treating leaky gut can treat ME/CFS, with reference to autoimmunity:

    http://integrativehealthconnection....1/Leaky-gut-in-CFS-treatment-of-leaky-gut.pdf

    I think a lot of us are trying this, including myself, and I have seen many significant improvements.

    What are/were you studying?
    Jon_Tradicionali likes this.
  2. Legendrew

    Legendrew Content team

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    Sorry for the late reply! I was studying Biochemistry at Warwick, but if I recover to the stage where I can attend university again I'd like to switch to biomedical to allow me to do research in areas such as ME/CFS.
    Jon_Tradicionali likes this.
  3. Fogbuster

    Fogbuster Senior Member

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  4. Fogbuster

    Fogbuster Senior Member

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    Linking this discussion with the "gut brain axis" I feel could be extremely relevant and helpful for the more intellectual minds on this forum with Vagal activity.

    I personally think is one of the most incredible insights and descriptions of the
    - brain gut axis
    - explanation of dysfunction of brain gut axis
    - the vagus nerve
    - connection between brain gut axis and vagus activity.

    http://chriskresser.com/the-healthy-skeptic-podcast-episode-9

    Please don't knit pick anything I may of said wrong, I'm just trying to pass on info (if helpful) to the less foggy minds!

    Jamie
    WoolPippi and beaverfury like this.
  5. beaverfury

    beaverfury beaverfury

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    Well found.
    This is a pretty good model for some of the pathology of me/cfs, though he doesn't mention this specifically.


    http://chriskresser.com/the-healthy-skeptic-podcast-episode-9
    ".....90% of our brain’s output goes into something called the pontomedullary area, it’s the lower two-thirds of the brain stem, and that goes into the vagus, or the pneumogastric nerve, which innervates the digestive tract. Now one of the earliest signs of the brain not firing well is poor vagal activity, which will manifest as decreased pancreatic enzyme secretion, poor gallbladder function, and poor gut function overall. And it basically works like this, you have decreased activity in the brain, and we’re gonna talk about how that can happen in a second, and that decreases the activation of the vagal motor nuclei, which in turns suppresses the intestinal immune system and decreases intestinal blood flow. And when that happens you get an increased growth in pathogenic yeast and bacteria, that cause intestinal permeability or leaky gut, which we’ve talked about a lot, and leaky gut causes a state of chronic low grade inflammation. Then the inflammatory cytokines produced in the gut travel through the blood and they cross the blood-brain barrier. One of the problems with inflammation is that it makes the blood-brain barrier leaky so you get leaky brain. And then those inflammatory cytokines once they get into the brain activate the microglial cells, which are the second type of cell in the brain. You have neurons and then you have microglial cells. The microglial cells are the immune cells of the brain and once they’re activated by these inflammatory cytokines this is basically inflammation of the brain. So your brain gets inflamed, you get a leaky brain and then you get inflamed brain. And that’s no fun, definitely. Cause one of the problems is that unlike the rest of the immune system in the body that has T-regulatory cells that can turn off inflammation in the brain, the microglial cells don’t get turned off. So, when you’ve got an inflamed brain it can be really tricky to reduce that inflammation without some outside help."
  6. Iquitos

    Iquitos Senior Member

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    This may be why LDN (low dose naltrexone) works/helps some people. (Me.) Some of the European research on how it works says that it normalizes microglia. I do feel it has helped my brain fog a lot and probably my immune system, gut and otherwise.

    Yes, very interesting.
    Fogbuster likes this.
  7. Fogbuster

    Fogbuster Senior Member

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    Thats very interesting Iquitos. Thanks for your insight on your experience. I will now consider trialing LDN, as brain fog is by far my worst symptom.
  8. Fogbuster

    Fogbuster Senior Member

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    I've learnt that your vocal chords are one of the many things connected to the vagus nerve. From my experience of being a singer I've experienced that when I ingest gluten or dairy, my voice goes from Michael Buble esq to Ozzy Osbourne; no vibrato and my range is grossly affected. Could this suggest that I may have an over reactive vagus nerve or at least a damaged vagus nerve?

    For some reason I've had a strong gut feeling that some sort of trapped vagus nerve problem could be the root of my OI and could well be helped if not drastically improved via some spinal manipulation through some form of osteopath.

    Backstory: When I was about 14 I was jumping on my trampoline and jumped very high and whilst doing so purposely propelled myself so I would land off it, in doing so I landed with my back and legs straight (bad idea!), which jarred my back very heavily, which left me in excruciating pain for weeks.

    Out of interest, does anyone think that a spinal misalignment affecting my vagus nerve could be a underlying causative factor of my OI and IBS?

    Best wishes
    Jamie
  9. Hip

    Hip Senior Member

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    I wouldn't have thought that any spinal misalignment would affect the vagus nerve, as the vagus is unique in being the only nerve that goes from the brain to the organs of the torso and runs outside the spinal chord. Even in paraplegic spinal damage, the vagus still operates, as this nerve is independent of the spine.

    However, spinal misalignment might be causing some other problems, so you might consider seeing an osteopath, and/or taking up yoga, which helps align the spine.

    It's more likely the vagus might become pinched in the jaw or upper neck area, I would have thought.

    There is another nerve that also triggers sickness behavior in the brain like the vagus can, and that is the trigeminal nerve, which runs from the brain to the jaw, sinuses and forehead. The trigeminal can become trapped or pinched.

    Some time ago I came across this interesting story of an individual who was diagnosed with probable ME/CFS, but was cured using nothing more than dental appliances to realign her jaw (correcting dysfunctional temporomandibular joints). I speculate that her symptoms may have been due to a trapped or pinched trigeminal or vagus nerve in jaw area, and the jaw realigning fixed this, so that her symptoms disappeared.
    Fogbuster likes this.
  10. brenda

    brenda Senior Member

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    I have a black out whenever l vomit, ever since being poisoned with pesticide actually in the middle of it. I read that it is due to the vagus nerve and you can avoid it if you are not standing up - great fun trying to throw up lying flat. It did not work. Thankfully l rarely get food poisoning but last two times l felt l was having a seizure when l came to.
  11. Wayne

    Wayne Senior Member

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  12. adreno

    adreno 3% neanderthal

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    I've had Thoracic Outlet Syndrome for a few years before I developed CFS. I suppose it could quite easily pinge the vagus nerve. Anyone else feel sick when they work with their hands above their heads?
    Last edited: Jan 17, 2014
  13. Valentijn

    Valentijn Activity Level: 3

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    That might be due to heart rate dropping when raising arms above your head. It's supposed to happen, to compensate for the increased pulse pressure. Except pulse pressure doesn't increase when I try it, just the slower heart rate.
  14. adreno

    adreno 3% neanderthal

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    When my TOS was at it's worst I had no measurable pulse in my hand when raising my arm straight up.
    Valentijn likes this.
  15. adreno

    adreno 3% neanderthal

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    Cardiovascular functional disorder and distress among patients with thoracic outlet syndrome
    Anyone knows what T wave vacillation is?
  16. MeSci

    MeSci ME/CFS since 1995; activity level 6

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    I can't work with my hands above my head. So I have to keep resting when putting out the washing or browsing a high clothes rail. I think this is common in ME. I don't feel sick - it's just that my arms start hurting and become weak.
    rosie26 and Tito like this.
  17. Wayne

    Wayne Senior Member

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    Adreno, thanks for mentioning this. Raising my arms above my head is just about the worst for me. I get sick, nauseous, etc. faster from this than just about anything else. Just a few minutes, or even seconds, can set me back with PEM for hours. --- I just read on Wikipedia it can be caused by whiplash; I had a severe whiplash at age 15.
    Tito likes this.
  18. Snowdrop

    Snowdrop Senior Member

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    Yes. I do.
  19. Jon_Tradicionali

    Jon_Tradicionali Senior Member

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    This hypothesis depends on the vagus nerve infection causing chronic 'sickness behaviour'.

    As much as we'd all like this to be the case, so we could have a lead to go on, it isn't the case as the report below clearly outlines the dissimilarities between CFS and sickness behaviour. Therefore disproving this theory.

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/m/pubmed/23497361/?i=6&from=/23790471/related
  20. Snowdrop

    Snowdrop Senior Member

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    Of course by the way they are defining it they have to come to this conclusion.

    The question is (if I understand what I've read, I have increasing issues) whether it is correct that only acute infection can include/induce 'sickness behaviour' or if this can be the case with a chronic infection also.

    From a personal experience point of view I think that my symptoms of years long sore throat for example are 'sickness behaviour' resulting from long term (and possibly periodically latent) infection.

    Again, although I want to be part of the dialogue I'm having trouble being sure of understanding what I've read.
    SD

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