A 30 Year Learning Curve: A Naturopathic Doctor on Treating Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

Cort

Founder of Health Rising and Phoenix Rising
Staff member
Dr. Wayne Anderson has been puzzling over and treating chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS) for over 30 years. A couple of years ago he took a refreshingly honest look back at what he’s learned in an article "The New Era of the Virus: A Personal Learning Curve of the Etiology of CFS/ME". ME/CFS is too often treated by practitioners in online articles as a relatively easy to treat illness. That's clearly not so and Anderson's many different (and often failed) attempts to use emerging treatments over time reflects that.

In the article Anderson traced many of the treatments (fads?) the alternative medicine movement has focused on with regard to this disease.

Epstein-Barr Virus

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[/fright]ME/CFS first showed up for Dr. Anderson, as it did for many practitioners in the 1980s as a chronic Epstein-Barr virus infection. With the treatment remedies available unable to significantly impact the infection, Dr. Anderson reported that the attention shifted to yeast (Candida) and the gut. (Anti-candida treatments may have been the first (unsuccessful) treatments I received for my ME/CFS).

The rise of functional medicine in the 1990’s brought a focus on issues like gluten intolerance, food allergies, heavy metals and hormones. They certainly helped some people but when they weren't the answer, the emphasis shifted, particularly in some parts of the country, to Lyme disease. At one point, Anderson noted, he believed everyone with chronic fatigue syndrome probably had a tick borne illness but antibiotics only worked for a few. Ultimately for the non-Lyme patients, Anderson returned back to the viruses, particularly noting strangely high Epstein-Barr virus titers (high early antigens (> 1:640)) he found in many of his patients.

Antiviral Drugs

This time, however, he had a new tool - alpha-N-acetylgalactosaminidase or nagalase - an enzyme produced by viruses that is able to halt macrophage functioning in its tracks. Dr. Anderson reported that he’s found high nagalase levels virtually every ME/CFS patient he believes has viral issues. Every time he’s successfully treated one of those patients their Nagalase levels have dropped as well.

Anderson’s return to a viral conception of difficult to treat ME/CFS patients coincided with new hypotheses suggesting how Epstein-Barr virus causes chronic illnesses. Queensland researcher Dr. Michael Pender has posited two factors are necessary - both of which may be present in ME/CFS: pour cytotoxic T and NK cell functioning. Yale researcher Dr. David Dreyfuss believes EBV infected B cells are driving autoimmunity.

Both Pender and Anderson, however, have had marginal success with anti-herpes virus drugs. Anderson reported that they can reduce symptoms, but believes they could take decades to eliminate the virus hiding in the B cells. Anderson does not state how long his treatment protocols were but does acknowledge they may not have been long enough. (Dr. Lerner has had success with very long treatment protocols. Other doctors such as Dr. Dantini have reported success using anti-herpes drugs. Still, it’s not that difficult to find ME/CFS patients who have not responded or who have only responded moderately to these drugs.)

XMRV brought up the possibility of using retroviral drugs. Dreyfus’ belief that an endogenous retrovirus may be triggering an autoimmune reaction suggested that antiretroviral drugs that targeted both retroviruses and herpesviruses could be helpful, and indeed in some patients some miraculous recoveries were reported. (I know of one person who did better on antiretroviral drugs than anything else she’s tried, but the side effects in the end proved to be too much.) The side effects, expense, and otherwise not particularly significant effects most kept these drugs for the most part off limits.

Antiviral Herbs

In the end, Anderson reported that aside from antiviral drugs (that were helpful only for a few patients) he found little in the pharmaceutical drug world to help his ME/CFS patients. Instead Anderson reported much better success with herbal extracts developed by Byron White. White has developed many extracts he asserts that “energetically” neutralize specific viruses and other pathogens. He uses Chinese concepts of energy meridians to help explain how the energetic process works.

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[/fleft]Anderson lauds White on the front page of Anderson’s website stating that he has found them “indispensable” for treating Lyme disease and other neurodegenerative disorders and that he’s used them in thousands of patients. He predicted they will quickly “become an essential therapeutic tool in the treatment of Chronic Lyme disease and the other chronic fatigue-like illnesses”.
Anderson reported that he finds the A-V combination very beneficial for ME/CFS patients with viral issues particularly those with central nervous system symptoms such as brain fog, cognitive problems, headache and dizziness. An immune adaptogenic formula he finds A-V both “provoking and regenerative”.

Could herbal extracts be more powerful than antiviral drugs? Anderson’s report is intriguing because he has tried both and has clearly had more success with herbal treatments. A recent study Health Rising reported on suggested that antiviral treatments could be as effective as antibiotics in treating irritable bowel syndrome.

The catch with White’s formulas is that they are only provided to physicians; i.e. you have to see a physician who is using them to get access to them. (Check out White’s website here. The website has the kind of dated and amateurish presentation that does not help its credibility.)

Anderson loves the Byron White extracts but even they don't necessarily provide a straightforward treatment path. There is no cookie-cutter approach with these extracts. There is no set dose and the dosing schedules vary depending on an individuals response. Furthermore, Anderson states that as many as 85% of his patients with unresolved infections and neurotoxic problems have other conditions that have developed over time. Often some sort of catastrophic event throws their immune system into further disarray. These are, in the end, complex diseases.

Hormones

In a 2014 interview focusing mostly on Lyme disease but which is clearly relevant to ME/CFS Anderson talked about another important facet in functional medicine – bio identical hormones. Bio-identical hormones form the backbone of many functional practitioner’s treatment protocols. Anderson believes that people with adequate hormonal levels can deal with the chronic inflammation brought on by infections. Knock those hormonal levels down, though, and they’ll have significant problems. Women entering menopause, in particular, can experience debilitating symptoms.

Anderson often finds evidence of hormone dysregulation in chronic fatigue syndrome, but unless their hormonal levels are significantly out of range, does not begin hormone replacement early. (Other practitioners will prescribe hormones based on symptoms.) As with the viral issues he’s found that bio- identical hormones don’t always work in some patients with clear hormonal problems. Even when improvement is made it’s usually followed over time by a return to baseline. Anderson’s general thesis is that an underlying infection is probably present in patients who respond poorly or unusually to a generally effective therapy.
Anderson practices at the Gordon Medical Center in Santa Rosa, Ca.
 
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GracieJ

Active Member
Thanks for this article.

I think most of these remedies fail because they are addressing only one piece, but may actually be on the right track.

More and more, I am convinced that if the immune system can be strengthened and supported enough, the body would heal.

Article pulled up on iPad, will read over a couple times. Good stuff.
 

Mona-Alisa

Member
Great article Cort! Like many of us I often find alternative medicine more helpful than conventional. I am intrigued by his finding that White's formulas work for ME and Lyme. I was dx'd with Lyme when it was "the answer" to ME, but didn't respond well to treatment, although it was alternative. I hope White's formulas could help with both. This is timely for me because I am in a relapse and have been strongly considering antivirals, but have been scared. Thank you so very much!!
 

Cort

Founder of Health Rising and Phoenix Rising
Staff member
Great article Cort! Like many of us I often find alternative medicine more helpful than conventional. I am intrigued by his finding that White's formulas work for ME and Lyme. I was dx'd with Lyme when it was "the answer" to ME, but didn't respond well to treatment, although it was alternative. I hope White's formulas could help with both. This is timely for me because I am in a relapse and have been strongly considering antivirals, but have been scared. Thank you so very much!!
I had never heard of those formulas before either. Anderson sure seems to like them.
 

Albert Chang

New Member
Viruses, viruses, viruses... Of course, many others (like the person this article is speaking about) have thought all along that latent-residing pathogens represent some of the main pillars in these diseases.

Been saying it all along!
 

Cort

Founder of Health Rising and Phoenix Rising
Staff member
What if ME is autoimmune in some? Would strengthening the immune system cause even bigger damage then?
I would think so..... Anderson does mention the possibility of autoimmune problems...
 
Dispensing the a-v herb mixture to only physicians is rather cruel. Cruel to the often homebound and bedbound for some of the target population. Objectively I could understand if the reason was for physician oversight to enhance patient 'safety' when using the herbal a-v mixture. Yet for me after 20 years of severe decline in health and finances while under physician care , what is safety again?
 

Cort

Founder of Health Rising and Phoenix Rising
Staff member
Dispensing the a-v herb mixture to only physicians is rather cruel. Cruel to the often homebound and bedbound for some of the target population. Objectively I could understand if the reason was for physician oversight to enhance patient 'safety' when using the herbal a-v mixture. Yet for me after 20 years of severe decline in health and finances while under physician care , what is safety again?
I don't get it and I don't like it either!
 

Steve

Well-Known Member
I'm always a skeptic when proprietary meds without RCT are touted. And long-suffering folks like us would be pretty likely to bear the risks of herbal supplements on our own. Treating disorders without really knowing their underlying pathophysiology is a crap shoot anyway IMO. Then we get the "flavor of the month" speculative etiology as Cort's article elucidates.
 
I live in MA; no practitioners here. Also, I'm in remission from Crohn's disease, but suspect the Sjogren's syndrome is still active. I suspect interstitial cystitis is autoimmune; I'm in remission from that. I'd only feel comfortable with someone who understands how complicated the immune system is.
 

Hari

Active Member
What if ME is autoimmune in some? Would strengthening the immune system cause even bigger damage then?
Neunistiva,

The meaning of "strengthening immune system": Provide enough intelligence to the immune system cell such that our immune cells respond to the actual threat and support to build good health.

By strengthening our immune system, we are actually providing intelligence / information to immune cells to build our health, not damage.

In my personal experience I used transfer factor, enzymes and probiotics to strengthen my immune system. It worked wonders for me. Please see my other post The Principle I Followed To Restore My Health for complete info.

Have fun,

Hari

Transfer Factor balance immune system.JPG
 
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Hari

Active Member
Thanks for this article.

I think most of these remedies fail because they are addressing only one piece, but may actually be on the right track.

More and more, I am convinced that if the immune system can be strengthened and supported enough, the body would heal.

Article pulled up on iPad, will read over a couple times. Good stuff.
You are correct Gracel.

I understood the same as : For SEID the solution should be at system level treating all the symptoms, lifestyle and emotional well being at a time, not by each symptom or sequentially.

Most of the studies the scientists are conducting at the symptom level, and trying to find the root cause for that particular symptom. This approach currently is and will always be so ineffective as one symptom contributes to the other either to alleviate or to aggravate in SEID.

After lot of struggle for years, once I started to follow 'system level' healing, then I had relatively rapid progress in restoring my health.

Have fun,

Hari

SEID - Systemic Exertion Intolerance Disease is the new name given to FMS / CFS/ME.
 

Hari

Active Member
I'm always a skeptic when proprietary meds without RCT are touted. And long-suffering folks like us would be pretty likely to bear the risks of herbal supplements on our own. Treating disorders without really knowing their underlying pathophysiology is a crap shoot anyway IMO. Then we get the "flavor of the month" speculative etiology as Cort's article elucidates.
Steve, I clearly understand your concern on dietary supplements approach to treat SEID. After suffering for 10 to 12 years, in 2009 I choose - either I am living healthily or I should not be on planet earth.

I choose to study carefully alternate methods that helped others to heal from various disorders. Then I picked my battles carefully and made my body a 'natural dietary supplement lab' and invested significantly. I saw progress by choosing natural dietary supplements and taking several times more vitamins intake than RDA.

Prior to that between 2003 and 2006 I took dietary supplements as per RDA and felt no difference. I felt for my fatigue there was no solution, then I stopped to take dietary supplements until 2009. After I was introduced to Dr. Ohhira's probiotics in 2010, then I continued my study and experimenting. Now I am on the verge of restoring my health from SEID.

Have fun,

Hari
 

Cort

Founder of Health Rising and Phoenix Rising
Staff member
The meaning of "strengthening immune system": Provide enough intelligence to the immune system cell such that our immune cells respond to the actual threat and support to build good health.

By strengthening our immune system, we are actually providing intelligence / information to immune cells to build our health, not damage.

In my personal experience I used transfer factor, enzymes and probiotics to strengthen my immune system. It worked wonders for me. Please see my other post The Principle I Followed To Restore My Health for complete info.

Have fun,

Hari

PS: I requested Cort to check why all my posts are not displayed in my browser. In my latest post I mentioned the dosages I used which is not displaying. Please be patience until he fixes the same.

View attachment 621
One of my first doctors loved transfer factor!
 

Luke

Member
I'm crippled and my life is ruined by ME/CFS... this terrible disease. I want real scientific treatments that work, not vague unscientific ideas about healing naturally etc.

I think CortJohnson.org does a wonderful job.... making the science and politics of me/cfs digestible... keeping us up-to-date.... alerting the community of opportunities to petition... all this to achieve our ultimate goal of more funding and a cure so we can get our lives back (at least in the case of patients with serious me/cfs who cannot go about there day to day lives... at all... due to this disease).

However, i must speak candidly if only for the record...

I think articles about naturopathy do nothing to help me/cfs advance forward... and everything to hurt our cause... which is to get funding for science to find drugs to solve this disease. (Over the last 30 years.... how successful have alternative therapies been at solving this disease. And claims by people who say they got well using alternative therapies... continue to trivialize our disease in the mind of the general public)

If naturopathy helps you... good for you. But you never had me/cfs. Or you did have it but you healed with time.

I think saying that alernative medicine helps me/cfs trivializes the seriousness and severity of many people battling with me/cfs... this disease.... just like it does when people who say "I had me/cfs and changed my diet and got well". If this is your case a) You never had the distinct disease that is SEID/ME/CFS b) you had a mild case (possibly with a year or so of severe symptoms then recovery) and got well over time due to your genetics and the scientific fact that every ones body's body has different and varying abilities to deal with and fight off pathogens and illness.

I hope the day science cracks and solves our disease... anyone who is an advocate of naturepathy... has the integrity to refuse the scientific treatments available and continues on with their "healing" using herbs etc... curing their body from within.... not taking drugs to solve symptoms but ACTUALLY relying on their naturopathic treatments to treat the root causes (which is after all so much more superior)... etc... etc... and all the silliness that naturopathy people talk of which makes it sound like naturepathy has some substance, scientifically, when it absolutely does not.

Naturepathy exists because science is lacking answers in so many areas and so many people turn elsewhere for answers (doing something is better than doing nothing, is their logic, which is not always true and is often not true).

I dont like alternative medicines because there is no evidence... no proof... that they work. Just a few people (usually with an incentive to promote it) who claim it helps while ignore the fact the placebo effect exists and is so deceptively real. Naturepathy has NOT provided an adequate solution to me/cfs over the last 40 years. Period. I think enough is enough... lets focus on science helping us and not give people a reason to dismiss us as gullible idiots who promote nonesense treatments for our disease which has already suffered enough stigmatization.

I want real drugs and scientific help.
 

keepinghopealive

Active Member
I'm crippled and my life is ruined by ME/CFS... this terrible disease. I want real scientific treatments that work, not vague unscientific ideas about healing naturally etc.

I think CortJohnson.org does a wonderful job.... making the science and politics of me/cfs digestible... keeping us up-to-date.... alerting the community of opportunities to petition... all this to achieve our ultimate goal of more funding and a cure so we can get our lives back (at least in the case of patients with serious me/cfs who cannot go about there day to day lives... at all... due to this disease).

However, i must speak candidly if only for the record...

I think articles about naturopathy do nothing to help me/cfs advance forward... and everything to hurt our cause... which is to get funding for science to find drugs to solve this disease. (Over the last 30 years.... how successful have alternative therapies been at solving this disease. And claims by people who say they got well using alternative therapies... continue to trivialize our disease in the mind of the general public)

If naturopathy helps you... good for you. But you never had me/cfs. Or you did have it but you healed with time.

I think saying that alernative medicine helps me/cfs trivializes the seriousness and severity of many people battling with me/cfs... this disease.... just like it does when people who say "I had me/cfs and changed my diet and got well". If this is your case a) You never had the distinct disease that is SEID/ME/CFS b) you had a mild case (possibly with a year or so of severe symptoms then recovery) and got well over time due to your genetics and the scientific fact that every ones body's body has different and varying abilities to deal with and fight off pathogens and illness.

I hope the day science cracks and solves our disease... anyone who is an advocate of naturepathy... has the integrity to refuse the scientific treatments available and continues on with their "healing" using herbs etc... curing their body from within.... not taking drugs to solve symptoms but ACTUALLY relying on their naturopathic treatments to treat the root causes (which is after all so much more superior)... etc... etc... and all the silliness that naturopathy people talk of which makes it sound like naturepathy has some substance, scientifically, when it absolutely does not.

Naturepathy exists because science is lacking answers in so many areas and so many people turn elsewhere for answers (doing something is better than doing nothing, is their logic, which is not always true and is often not true).

I dont like alternative medicines because there is no evidence... no proof... that they work. Just a few people (usually with an incentive to promote it) who claim it helps while ignore the fact the placebo effect exists and is so deceptively real. Naturepathy has NOT provided an adequate solution to me/cfs over the last 40 years. Period. I think enough is enough... lets focus on science helping us and not give people a reason to dismiss us as gullible idiots who promote nonesense treatments for our disease which has already suffered enough stigmatization.

I want real drugs and scientific help.
Luke, I agree with every word you wrote. Fortunately for us, there are more scientists than ever working on unraveling this terrible disease, and more government funding too. Whoever unlocks this thing is going to be world-famous, so there is a huge incentive in the scientific community, and perhaps in the pharmaceutical world as well, to get to the bottom of this. So I'm hopeful for effective treatment within the next 2-3 years.
 

GracieJ

Active Member
@Luke

"Naturopathy" as you call it IS medicine. It was medicine before modern medicine jealously pushed it aside politically. No one is LOOKING for proof that it works or not because there is no money in it.

Be careful what you say to others here about natural medicine. Saying that they must not have what you have may be true, but what if a person does have what you have, and is functioning on natural medicine? I just have to shake my head on the backwards logic here. I am functioning at a 7-8 , working, on natural medicine. There is no doubt that mine is a full-blown case of ME.

There is no way on earth I am waiting for modern science to save me, not after 25 years of suffering and loss. Whether or not I have a roof over my head is up to me. Herbal medicine and supplements brought me that.

I do agree with you. It really makes the patient population look bad. Such is the nature of the culture. If I were on prescriptions that had me this far, fellow patients on online forums would be all over it. As it is, going from a 2-3 to 7-8 with natural means is just considered an anomaly. Yawn.

When modern science does unravel the mechanics/biochemistry of the disease, I will be all ears. The strength of modern medicine is indeed in the diagnostics.

Then I will head to the health food store once again.

There is always a price to pay for using pharmaceuticals with this body, either side effects, permanent damage, a very quick lack of response, or just the opposite response intended. Not worth long-term use. If there turns out to be a healing response from a short-term course of a combination of medicine, I would weigh out possibilities with my doctor - all along planning a running detox plan of herbal medicine at the same time.

Don't knock it if you really do not understand its power.
 

GracieJ

Active Member
I see that spell check changed a word on me. I cannot edit from my iPad. Correction: "Naturopathy" should be the direct quote, "Naturepathy."
 

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