Trial of therapy for CFS as mitochondrial dysfunction at Columbia

“As more data are acquired, we and others believe that CFS is actually a metabolic mitochondrial dysfunction resulting in insufficient energy production.”

Researchers at Columbia University will be recruiting soon for a trial of four nutrients that they believe have the potential to support improved mitochondrial energy production in Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (ME/CFS) patients. This 6-month trial of a therapeutic intervention, set to start in February, will be randomized, double blinded, and placebo controlled.

The trial – “Chronic Fatigue Syndrome: Correction of Mitochondrial Dysfunction by Conditioning Exercise and Nutraceutical Therapy” – is now listed in ( It is based on research suggesting that:

• ME/CFS involves an energy-draining “mitochondrial dysfunction of the brain and skeletal muscle of genetically susceptible individuals,” often preceded by a viral infection.

• “Both patients with mitochondrial disorders and patients with CFS manifest elevated serum lactate levels after exercise, and demonstrate elevated brain cerebrospinal fluid levels and decreased brain glutathione levels on nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy.”

• Certain nutritional supplements have been beneficial in treating patients with mitochondrial disorders and have improved the clinical conditions of individual CFS patients.

• Therefore, this trial will administer these nutrients to the treatment group:

– Coenzyme Q10,

– Acetyl-L-carnitine,

– Alpha-lipoic acid,

– DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) – an omega-3 fatty acid found in fish & krill oils.

– And a multivitamin

• The placebo group will receive fake supplements

• Both groups will undertake ‘conditioning’ exercise

• Results will be measured in terms of change in fatigue and other CFS symptoms, tests of cerebrospinal fluid, glutathione and lactate levels in the brain, and more.

The Principal Investigator is Alfred E Slonim, MD, a CFS specialist focused on correcting “metabolic disorders of uncertain origen.”

Contacts for queries regarding the trial are listed at

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