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Understanding Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

I am a chronic fatigue specialist in Brisbane Australia. I focus on the root cause and the following are trends I have identified in practice. If you're looking for 'doctors specialising in chronic fatigue syndrome near me', read this article first.


Chronic Fatigue Syndrome includes:

  • Unreasonable, excessive, on-going fatigue.

  • Adequate rest does not resolve the fatigue.

If you are dealing with chronic fatigue syndrome in Australia please read until the end. We are going to uncover:

  • Hidden causes of chronic fatigue,

  • What chronic fatigue actually indicates,

  • Alcohol and chronic fatigue,

  • ADHD & chronic fatigue syndrome

  • Chronic fatigue and POTS

  • Methylfolate supplement Australia,

  • The link between ADHD and chronic fatigue,

  • Parasite cleanse Australia

  • & gene methylation test Australia.

Let us begin by addressing the hidden causes of chronic fatigue.

Hidden Causes Of Chronic Fatigue

Chronic fatigue is your bodies "stop button."

For some reason, your body has put on the breaks.

If your body were to keep going how it is going, something may happen.

Chronic fatigue is therefore, a defense mechanism.

Because of this, a better way of phrasing this subheading would be:

Common threats that cause a reduction in energy production.

Iron Deficiency Related Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

Chronic, iron deficiency anemia is often seen in 'healthy,' meat-eating individuals. Let's explore why:

Iron deficiency anemia is a condition distinguished by a lack of adequate healthy red blood cells. This is because of insufficient iron, a mineral essential for the production of haemoglobin. This causes chronic fatigue because of low blood oxygen.

In some cases, the body actually increase levels of hepcidin, the key regulator of iron metabolism. This is a defense mechanism which can lead to reduced serum iron levels. Hepcidin draws iron from the blood and shuttles in into storage site such as cells and tissue. It also causes a reduction in iron absorption from the diet.

Below are several reasons why this process may occur:

1. Infection and Inflammation

Pathogen Defense: Many pathogens require iron to multiply and thrive. By reducing iron availability in the blood, the body limits the resources available to bacteria, viruses, and fungi. This aims to slow down their proliferation.

Inflammatory Response: During inflammation, the body increases hepcidin production as part of the initial response. This is a protective strategy to deprive invading pathogens of iron which is crucial for their growth.

2. Chronic Diseases

Chronic diseases, such as:

  • autoimmune disorders,

  • cancer,

  • and chronic kidney disease,

can lead to an inflammatory state. This triggers increased hepcidin production. This can contribute to the anemia of chronic disease (ACD) or anemia of inflammation. Once again, iron is stored in tissue and not the blood stream.

3. Autoimmune Conditions

Autoimmune conditions can trigger inflammation, leading to elevated hepcidin levels. This response can be part of the body's effort to mitigate tissue damage caused by autoimmunity. The body limits oxidative stress (caused by iron) in inflamed areas.


  • Complete Microbiome Mapping

  • Inflammatory markers - CRP and Cholesterol Profile

Can Adrenal Fatigue Cause Chronic Fatigue?

Adrenal glands, small but mighty organs perched atop your kidneys, play a crucial role in your body's response to stress. They do so through the production of hormones such as cortisol, adrenaline, and aldosterone.

These hormones help regulate your metabolism, immune system, blood pressure, response to stress, and other essential functions. Adrenal dysfunction involves a state where the adrenal glands cannot keep up with the demands of chronic stress. This leads to a host of symptoms including chronic fatigue.

However, it's important to note that "adrenal fatigue" is not a medically recognised condition. The symptoms associated with it are real but might be the result of various other recognised medical conditions.

Mechanism Behind Chronic Fatigue and Adrenal Function

Cortisol's Role: Cortisol, often called the "stress hormone," helps your body deal with stress over the long term. It has many functions, including:

  • Regulating your metabolism

  • Reducing inflammation

  • Controlling your sleep/wake cycle

The theory of "adrenal fatigue" suggests that the adrenal glands can become overburdened and start producing less cortisol. This leads to symptoms like chronic fatigue, brain fog, and sleep disturbances.

HPA Axis Dysregulation: Another mechanism involves the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis, a complex network that regulates your body's stress response.

Chronic stress can lead to dysregulation of the HPA axis, potentially causing imbalances in cortisol levels. This can contribute to symptoms of fatigue and stress intolerance.

Causes of Adrenal Dysfunction Symptoms

  • Chronic Stress: Prolonged exposure to stress can lead to HPA axis dysregulation. This can affect cortisol production and its daily rhythm, potentially leading to symptoms commonly associated with adrenal dysfunction.

  • Poor Sleep: Quality sleep is crucial for adrenal and overall health. Chronic lack of sleep can stress the HPA axis, affecting cortisol patterns.

  • Dietary Factors: Poor nutrition, chronic caffeine use and processed food can all stress the adrenal glands. They do so by creating fluctuations in blood sugar levels and various other hormones. This in turn can lead to energy crashes and increased stress on the body.

  • Mental health problems like anxiety and depression can make you feel more tired and sluggish by adding stress to your body.

  • Physical Stressors: Chronic infections, illness, or inflammation can place additional stress on the body, potentially leading to symptoms associated with adrenal dysfunction.

Recognised Conditions

While "adrenal fatigue" itself might not be a recognised medical condition, adrenal insufficiency is. Adrenal insufficiency, including Addison's disease, is a diagnosed condition where the adrenal glands produce insufficient hormones, necessitating medical intervention.

Toxic Load, The Thyroid & Chronic Fatigue

The thyroid gland plays a pivotal role in regulating metabolism through the production of thyroid hormones, notably thyroxine (T4) and triiodothyronine (T3).

These hormones influence the speed at which your body's cells work, affecting nearly every physiological process, including:

  • heart rate,

  • body weight,

  • and energy levels.

To understand how toxins affect the thyroid, it's important to know how the body deals with and reacts to them. We need to know how this can affect thyroid health and overall metabolism.

Toxin Exposure and Thyroid Function

Toxins and Their Impact:

The following environmental toxins can disrupt thyroid function:

  • heavy metals (like lead and mercury),

  • pesticides,

  • plastics (such as bisphenol A, or BPA),

  • and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs),

These substances can:

  • interfere with thyroid hormone production,

  • mimic thyroid hormones,

  • disrupt the hormones' transportation within the body,

  • or alter their metabolism and excretion.

The body's exposure to high levels of toxins can trigger a defensive slowdown. This metabolic processes can then allocate resources for detoxification and repair.

Metabolic Slowdown as a Defense Mechanism: 

Your ability to detoxify has an impact on your metabolism. A high burden of toxins can lead to a slowdown in metabolic rate.

This is a protective mechanism that allows the body more time to process and eliminate these substances. Slower metabolism can result in reduced energy expenditure, which may help conserve energy needed for detoxification processes.

Resource Allocation for Detoxification: 

Detoxification is an energy-intensive process requiring significant resources, including various enzymes and cofactors. In response to high toxin exposure, the body may prioritise resources towards detoxification pathways, potentially at the expense of other metabolic processes.

This prioritisation can affect thyroid function:

  • indirectly by altering the demand for thyroid hormones

  • or directly by interfering with their production and regulation.

Mechanisms of Toxin-Induced Thyroid Disruption

Interference with Thyroid Hormone Synthesis:

Toxins can disrupt the synthesis of thyroid hormones by affecting iodine uptake. They can also interfere with the enzymatic processes involved in hormone production.

Alteration of Thyroid Hormone Transport and Metabolism: 

Many toxins and their metabolites can bind to transport proteins in the blood. This displaces thyroid hormones and affecting their distribution and metabolism.

Impact on Thyroid Hormone Receptors:

Some toxins can act as endocrine disruptors. They bind to thyroid hormone receptors and either mimic or block the action of natural thyroid hormones. This leads to disruptions in metabolic processes and energy balance.

Managing Toxin Exposure and Supporting Thyroid Health

Reduce Exposure:

Minimise contact with known environmental toxins by:

  • choosing organic foods when possible,

  • Investing in a quality water-filter

  • Investing in a home air purifier

  • using natural cleaning and personal care products,

  • and avoiding plastics for food storage and consumption.

Support Detoxification Pathways:

Consuming a diet rich in:

  • antioxidants,

  • vitamins,

  • and minerals.

This supports the liver and kidneys, the primary organs involved in detoxification. Staying hydrated and engaging in regular exercise can also facilitate the elimination of toxins.

Monitor Thyroid Function:

Regular monitoring of thyroid function through blood tests can help identify any disruptions early, allowing for timely intervention. Hair Tissue Mineral Analysis (HTMA) is my preferred method for identifying thyroid dysfunction.

The link between ADHD and chronic fatigue

ADHD (Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder) and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS), also known as Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (ME/CFS), are two different conditions. However, they share several symptoms that can sometimes make the initial screening process challenging.

Understanding these overlapping symptoms is crucial for healthcare providers to consider a comprehensive evaluation to differentiate between the two conditions or identify their coexistence. Here are some symptoms that ADHD and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome have in common:

1. Fatigue

ADHD: Individuals with ADHD may experience fatigue because of the constant mental effort required to stay focused. Fatigue may also be because of poor sleep quality stemming from ADHD-related sleep disturbances.

CFS: Debilitating tiredness is a primary symptom of CFS. The fatigue is not significantly relieved by rest. It also worsens with physical or mental activity.

2. Difficulty Concentrating


  • Difficulty maintaining focus,

  • easily getting distracted,

  • and problems with sustaining attention on tasks are core symptoms of ADHD.

CFS: People with CFS often report difficulties with concentration and attention.

3. Memory Problems

ADHD: Working memory challenges, such as forgetting tasks or difficulty remembering information, are common in individuals with ADHD.

CFS: Impaired short-term memory and word recall are also symptoms of CFS.

4. Sleep Issues

Individuals with ADHD often experience sleep disturbances such as:

  • difficulty falling asleep,

  • restless sleep,

  • and irregular sleep patterns,

CFS: Un-refreshing sleep can contribute to daytime fatigue.

5. Difficulty Regulating Emotion

ADHD: Mood swings, irritability, and difficulty managing emotions can be part of the ADHD experience.

CFS: Individuals with CFS experience emotional distress, including frustration, anxiety, and depression. This is often a reaction to their limited energy and the impact of the condition on their daily lives.

Differentiating Between ADHD and CFS

While these overlapping symptoms can complicate diagnosis, there are key differences in the presentation of ADHD and CFS. Healthcare professionals can use the following to tell the difference between chronic fatigue syndrome & adhd:

The following are characteristic of ADHD:

  • inattention,

  • hyperactivity,

  • and impulsivity that impair functioning in multiple settings (e.g., home, school, or work) and usually manifests from childhood.

CFS, on the other hand, involves significant fatigue that is not because of ongoing exertion. Rest does not reduce fatigue in CFS and this reduces activity levels. Symptoms typically worsening after physical or mental exertion (post-exertional malaise).

Doctors need to examine medical history, symptoms, and perform additional testing to distinguish between ADHD, CFS, and similar conditions. Doctors must review medical history, symptoms, and may do more tests to tell apart ADHD, CFS, and similar illnesses.his helps them determine the specific condition a patient may have.

By analysing these factors, doctors can make an accurate diagnosis and recommend appropriate treatment. Conducting extra tests may be necessary in some cases to rule out other potential conditions and confirm the diagnosis.

When looking for a specialist for Chronic Fatigue Syndrome it is important that they can tell the difference between fatigue and conditions such as ADHD.


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