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Toxins and Immunity in Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

  [ 39 votes ]   [ Discuss This Article ] • August 26, 2002

Journal: J of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Vol. 10(3/4) 2002, pp. 43-50  John Richardson, MB, BS  Affiliation: Newcastle Research Group, Belle Vue, Grange Road, Ryton, Tyne and Wear, NE4O3LU, England.

ABSTRACT. In this paper, Dr. Richardson illustrates links between exposure, absorption and effects of viruses, bacteria, and inorganic toxins, and their toll on the immune system, as potential causes of chronic symptomatology as seen in chronic fatigue syndrome.

KEYWORDS. Cyanide, pesticide, myalgic encephalomyelitis, aspartame


Environmental health problems are in some ways more complex than ever. In past centuries the emphasis usually centered around biological mediated epidemics such as childhood illnesses of measles, scarlet fever, chickenpox, and smallpox, to mention a few. However, other infections such as tuberculosis in the UK or malaria in other countries are endemic. These pathological conditions are all mediated by biological organisms which have the ability to replicate and also mutate within the host. Some microbes do so in a slow and chronic way, whilst others invade and replicate in a disaterously rapid way.

However, the factors which are of importance relate to the ability of the organisms to replicate or mutate within the host and this varies in relation to both bacteria and viruses. In the more recent decades new challenges have occurred. This is seen in the vast rise in the use of inorganic substances in the environment. In nature itself inorganic substances which are toxic, are also found, but their biological concentrations are chiefly related to the environment to which they are produced. Cyanide is found in the stones of some fruit such as cherries. It is poisonous as are other substances such as opiods, etc., but this relates to the concentrations which are necessary to protect the vegetation from predating creatures.

There is evidence that the creatures that live on these vegetations do so in a synergistic manner so that the whole environment survives in harmony. However, man has invaded this area, in some aspects usefully but also sometimes detrimentally. This is seen in the use or misuse of drugs such as digitals, heparin or the opiods, all of which if taken excessively can have fatal results. An instance of this occurred some years ago when a patient went to a retiring party and drank some cherry brandy which had been made by the host and fermented for a long period with the stones in situe. When I saw him he was hyperventalating due to this cyanide toxication and had to be admitted to the hospital but fortunately recovered.

Others who had attended the party had been affected but it was obviously dose related. Many other substances too profuse to mention occur in nature and taken in excess can be lethal. This relates to the "minimal lethal dose" (the MLD) which applies to the inorganic rather than the organic compounds. The MLD is the relationship between the amount of toxin absorbed and the bulk-body weight of the host, e.g., microgram/gram. This obviously does not apply to the virus as they replicate, whereas the inorganic substances cannot.

Moreover, the immune system with its cellular protection can "recognise" living organisms by their genetic relationships to the major histocompatibility complex (MHC) to the host cells and can then "attack and destroy"-a function which is not applicable to inorganic substances. Whereas viruses may be exterminated, it is possible to predict the effects of exposure, which may be transient or repeated on numerous occasions, to agents which now contaminate soil, water, food, soft drinks and even bed-linen and other household goods.

These substances which are termed "pesticides" as they supposed to only kill "pests," are found in all these areas of our environment. The effects of these toxins have been studied by many workers and it is known that diverse communities have been affected. For those who work with these toxins, be it farmers, spraymen, airline pilots and others, many disastrous results have occurred. Yet mankind is not alone and multitudes of creatures, be it birds, animals or fish, have also suffered and many have succumbed. These toxins can have serious genetic effects in the affected host's offspring and also later in life act as carcinogens. This is all seen in the web of life in which we all live be it plants, insects, animals or mankind.

A well-known example is seen in birdlife. When soil is sprayed the worms are affected; then the birds eat the worms and many are affected and die; the eggs of females are often sterile and so the web widens. This is typical of what is happening to the human race, for vast amounts of produce are sprayed, be it grain or fruit and this is consumed by mankind. Oranges and melons are a good example, for the skins are used to make varying marmalades. Other fruits such as grapes, cherries and tomatoes cannot be peeled prior to eating and washing does not remove ingrained pesticide.

© 2002 by The Haworth Press, Inc. All rights reserved.

[Copies of the complete article are available for a fee from The Haworth Document Delivery Service: 1-800-HAWORTH. E-mail address: - Website: ]

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