Are ME/CFS and fibromyalgia tryptophan-associated disorders?

A Brief Historic Overview of Clinical Disorders Associated with Tryptophan: The Relevance to Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) and Fibromyalgia (FM)
– Source: International Journal of Tryptophan Research, Sep 17, 2012

By Adele Blankfield, BSc

[Note: The full text PDF of this article is available free HERE. It reviews research suggesting that up-regulation of the ‘kynurenine pathway’ may play a role in the clusters of signs and symptoms that predominate in ME/CFS and fibromyalgia patients.

What is the kynurenine pathway? It’s complex, but we located this brief video by biochemist Wesley Hurrell which diagrams the pathway; how its chronic up-regulation may lead to tryptophan and serotonin depletion & produce chronic Th1-immune activation; and the association with symptoms common in ME/CFS and fibromyalgia, including IBS, cognitive impairment, sleep disturbances and depression.]

Last century there was a short burst of interest in the tryptophan-related disorders of pellagra and related abnormalities that are usually presented in infancy.1,2 [L-Tryptophan is an essential amino acid that is a precursor to many neurotransmitters and neurochemicals, including serotonin and melotonin.]

Nutritional physiologists recognized that a severe human dietary deficiency of either tryptophan or the B group vitamins could result in central nervous system (CNS) sequelae such as ataxia [lack of muscle coordination], cognitive dysfunction and dysphoria [anxiety/restlessness], accompanied by skin hyperpigmentation.3,4

The current paper will focus on the emerging role of tryptophan in chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) and fibromyalgia (FM).

Source: International Journal of Tryptophan Research, Sep 17, 2012; 5, 27-32. DOI: 10.4137/IJTR.S10085, by Blankfield A. Kew, Australia. [Email:]

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