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Med Hypotheses. 1994 Jul;43(1):31-42.

Eicosanoids and essential fatty acid modulation in chronic disease and the chronic fatigue syndrome.

Erratum in

  • Med Hypotheses 1995 Aug;45(2):219.


Abnormalities of Essential Fatty Acid (EFA) incorporation into phospholipid are found in chronic diseases. More recently changes in circulating EFA metabolites (EFAM) together with EFAM hypo-responsiveness of immune cells and EFAM production from cells have been found associated with disease. We hypothesize that changes in ratio of EFAMs are the normal physiological responses to stressors, but when stressors are excessive or prolonged, EFAM systems may become unpredictably hypo-responsive owing to factors such as receptor down regulation and substrate depletion. In time, many homeostatic system become deranged and held in that state by minor stressors. Literature review of chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) shows hyper and hypo-responsiveness in immune function, several Hypothalamo-Pituitary (HP) axes and sympathetic nervous system, all relatable to dysfunctional changes in EFA metabolism. For the first time, we explain chronic immune system activation and hypo-responsive immune function in CFS; through EFAMs. Dietary EFA modulation (DEFA) can alter ratios of both membrane EFAs and produced EFAMs, and if maintained can restore hypo-responsive function. We discuss dietary strategies and relevance in CFS, and a case series of CFS patients applying DEFA with other titrated published managements which saw 90% gaining improvement within 3 months and more than 2/3 fit for full time duties. This hypothesis and DEFA may have relevance in other chronic conditions.

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