ProHealth health Vitamin and Natural Supplement Store and Health
Home  |  Log In  |  My Account  |  View Cart  View Your ProHealth Vitamin and Supplement Shopping Cart
800-366-6056  |  Contact Us  |  Help
Facebook Google Plus
Fibromyalgia  Chronic Fatigue Syndrome & M.E.  Lyme Disease  Natural Wellness  Supplement News  Forums  Our Story
Store     Brands   |   A-Z Index   |   Best Sellers   |   New Products   |   Deals & Specials   |   Under $10   |   SmartSavings Club

Trending News

10 Fibro-Friendly Foods with a Bonus: Beautiful Skin

Fight Back! Win the War Being Waged Against Your Immune System

Studies Show that Magnesium L-threonate Improves Brain Plasticity, Leading to Direct and Significant...

Clary Sage Oil May Be Pricey, but Its Benefits Are Priceless

Component of red wine, grapes can help to reduce inflammation, study finds

Poly MVA: A Novel Therapy for Increasing Energy, Repairing DNA, and Promoting Overall Health

Pumpkin Pie Turmeric Breakfast Smoothie - Vegan + Gluten-Free

Vitamin D supplementation extends life in mouse model of Huntington's disease

What’s Fenugreek Good For?

Omega-3 fatty acid stops known trigger of lupus

Print Page
Email Article

Chronic fatigue syndrome from vagus nerve infection: A psychoneuroimmunological hypothesis

  [ 18 votes ]   [ Discuss This Article ]
By Michael B. VanElzakker • • June 24, 2013

Editor's Comment: The vagus nerve (the 10th cranial nerve) is a very long nerve that wanders from the brain stem to the intestines. It is primarily responsible for receiving sensory input through ganglia (nerve bundles), which is then processed by the brain. Neurotransmitters released through vagus nerve stimulation are parasympathetic; they slow physiological responses. Heart rate and blood pressure drop, neurons in the brain fire less, and so on. For this reason, vagus nerve stimulation is used to control tachycardia (rapid heartbeat) and epilepsy. An overstimulated vagus nerve can cause vasovagal syncope (fainting). VanElzakker's hypothesis states that the symptoms of CFS are caused by infections in vagus nerve ganglia. As an explanation for the cause of this illness, his hypothesis is worth consideration. A vagus nerve infection would affect every organ in the body. It should be mentioned here that the autopsy of Sophia Mirza  found damage in 80% of her dorsal root ganglia, which, like vagal ganglia, are responsible for processing afferent nervous system signals. (Sophia Mirza's symptoms included hypersensitivity to noise, light and touch.) It is possible that CFS/ME subsets may correlate with damage caused by infections in different nervous system ganglia.

By Michael B. VanElzakker 


Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) is an often-debilitating condition of unknown origin. There is a general consensus among CFS researchers that the symptoms seem to reflect an ongoing immune response, perhaps due to viral infection. Thus, most CFS research has focused upon trying to uncover that putative immune system dysfunction or specific pathogenic agent. However, no single causative agent has been found.

In this speculative article, I describe a new hypothesis for the etiology of CFS: infection of the vagus nerve. When immune cells of otherwise healthy individuals detect any peripheral infection, they release proinflammatory cytokines. Chemoreceptors of the sensory vagus nerve detect these localized proinflammatory cytokines, and send a signal to the brain to initiate sickness behavior. Sickness behavior is an involuntary response that includes fatigue, fever, myalgia, depression, and other symptoms that overlap with CFS.

The vagus nerve infection hypothesis of CFS contends that CFS symptoms are a pathologically exaggerated version of normal sickness behavior that can occur when sensory vagal ganglia or paraganglia are themselves infected with any virus or bacteria. Drawing upon relevant findings from the neuropathic pain literature, I explain how pathogen-activated glial cells can bombard the sensory vagus nerve with proinflammatory cytokines and other neuroexcitatory substances, initiating an exaggerated and intractable sickness behavior signal.

According to this hypothesis, any pathogenic infection of the vagus nerve can cause CFS, which resolves the ongoing controversy about finding a single pathogen. The vagus nerve infection hypothesis offers testable hypotheses for researchers, animal models, and specific treatment strategies.

SourceMedical Hypotheses. 21 June 2013 (10.1016/j.mehy.2013.05.034). Michael B. VanElzakker 

Post a Comment

Featured Products From the ProHealth Store
Optimized Curcumin Longvida® Mitochondria Ignite™ with NT Factor® Vitamin D3 Extreme™

Looking for Vitamins, Herbs and Supplements?
Search the ProHealth Store for Hundreds of Natural Health Products

Article Comments

Be the first to comment on this article!

Post a Comment

Natural Pain Relief Supplements

Featured Products

Optimized Curcumin Longvida® Optimized Curcumin Longvida®
Supports Cognition, Memory & Overall Health
Ultra ATP+, Double Strength Ultra ATP+, Double Strength
Get energized with malic acid & magnesium
Ultra EPA  - Fish Oil Ultra EPA - Fish Oil
Ultra concentrated source of essential fish oils
FibroSleep™ FibroSleep™
The All-in-One Natural Sleep Aid
Vitamin D3 Extreme™ Vitamin D3 Extreme™
50,000 IU Vitamin D3 - Prescription Strength

Natural Remedies

Safely Burn Away Body Fat Safely Burn Away Body Fat
Block Acid Reflux to Prevent Esophageal Problems! Block Acid Reflux to Prevent Esophageal Problems!
Vitamin K-2 – A Key Player in Cardiovascular and Bone Health Vitamin K-2 – A Key Player in Cardiovascular and Bone Health
The Most Powerful Natural Antioxidant Discovered to Date - Hydroxytyrosol The Most Powerful Natural Antioxidant Discovered to Date - Hydroxytyrosol
Improve Cardiovascular and Metabolic Health with Omega-7 Improve Cardiovascular and Metabolic Health with Omega-7

ProHealth, Inc.
555 Maple Ave
Carpinteria, CA 93013
(800) 366-6056  |  Email

· Become a Wholesaler
· Vendor Inquiries
· Affiliate Program
Credit Card Processing
Be the first to know about new products, special discounts and the latest health news. *New subscribers only

CONNECT WITH US ProHealth on Facebook  ProHealth on Twitter  ProHealth on Pinterest  ProHealth on Google Plus

© 2016 ProHealth, Inc. All rights reserved. Pain Tracker App  |  Store  |  Customer Service  |  Guarantee  |  Privacy  |  Contact Us  |  Library  |  RSS  |  Site Map