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 ClinicalTrials.gov (http://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT01471652). 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 http://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT01471652

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9 thoughts on “Trial of therapy for CFS as mitochondrial dysfunction at Columbia”

  1. Laehcar says:

    The organization of fibers in each of us is determined genetically. The endurance of the long-distance runner and the short-burst of energy experienced by the sprinter are both genetic in nature. Slow-twitch muscle fibers like those of the long-distance runner have abundant mitochondria and use large amounts of energy slowly so that you can work out for a long time without getting tired. Slow fibers use oxygen-using (aerobic) pathways for activities that require endurance.

    Fast-twitch muscle fibers found in sprinters have less mitochondria and use small amounts of energy quickly. Fast fibers use sugars for fuel (anaerobic) and do not require oxygen. It gives you the ability run fast, but for short distances. The byproduct of this (anaerobic) energy production is heat and lactic acid. Lactic acid accumulation in the muscle causes fatigue and soreness. The anaerobic energy system is a limited system for energy production. Perhaps, because some of us were genetically never meant to be long-distance runners,it may have in some way contributed to our development of CFS.

    1. teefy says:

      Your comment that “Perhaps, because some of us were genetically never meant to be long-distance runners, it may have in some way contributed to our development of CFS” is nonsense. I was an excellent long-distance runner and keen army cadet whilst at school, and relative to my peers growing up I know that I am this physical type for sure – and was among the best. I have had CFS/ME for 13 years now and if there is a genetic predisposition, which is likely, I do not believe that it relates to whether you’re a sprinter type or long-distance type metabolically.
      I have regularly been taking all of the supplements listed here for the past year (and the antioxidants regularly since onset), plus D-Ribose daily. Although I perceive that there is some positive impact on the symptoms, it’s very limited, and the benefit is more in aiding recovery from crashes rather than preventative of them. However, I have been unable to improve my physical conditioning, as even small amounts of sustained exercise cause me problems every time (since relapse 2.5 yrs ago), and I think that the reconditioning aspect may be crucial in facilitating the production of better functioning mitochondria.
      This article was useful: http://www.drmyhill.co.uk/wiki/CFS_-_The_Central_Cause:_Mitochondrial_Failure

  2. marlenerobin says:

    It’s good to see clinical nutrition being studied as a part of the treatment plan for mitochondrial dysfunction in ME and CFS.
    It would be interesting to have some scientists find out why the mitochondria seem to slow down, become sluggish after an effort.
    To make a comparison, could mitochondria become exhausted as adrenals?

    1. teefy says:

      For further info on why mitochondria slow down and become sluggish after exertion in CFS, the following article provides a good hypothesis. It’s about the recycling of ATP from ADP and damage to cells from free radicals: http://www.drmyhill.co.uk/wiki/CFS_-_The_Central_Cause:_Mitochondrial_Failure

    2. FAN says:

      In response to Sleptaway who says: “I will not take the alfa-lipoic-acid because of extreme sensitivity to sulfa. If anyone knows how to get around this sensitivity (also to glutathione), please tell me how.”

      A good NAET practitioners might be able to help with these sensitivity issues. Search “NAET Practitioner” to find one near you.

  3. Sleptaway says:

    As a result of recent blood tests, I will b starting the same protocol next week. I will not take the alfa-lipoic-acid because of extreme sensitivity to sulfa. If anyone knows how to get around this sensitivity (also to glutathione), please tell me how.

    1. vorly says:

      I’m also interested in alternatives for sulf*-sensitive individuals.
      I’m able to tolerate small amounts of the stuff, but if I’m taking it in a supplement, that will remove any leeway I have in my diet, which is already fairly restricted.

    2. sona0505@outlook.com says:

      Ever since I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia i have been searching on line for answers that make sense to me. This one does. I am very sorry that this study was never done. I would love to hear more on this subject if anyone has any information to share.

  4. Sleptaway says:

    As a result of recent blood tests, I will b starting the same protocol next week. I will not take the alfa-lipoic-acid because of extreme sensitivity to sulfa. If anyone knows how to get around this sensitivity (also to glutathione), please tell me how.

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