What is Chronic Fatique Syndrome (CFS/ME)?
Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) is today's more common term for the illness formerly known as myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME) outside of the USA.
This disease is characterised by dysfunction of multiple organ systems, brought on by a profound level of fatigue that can't be remedied - or only partially remedied - by rest.
For more information refer to Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS/ME).
Although the numbers of CFS/ME sufferers are rapidly growing, this f
fatiguing illness is not new and has previously gone by a variety of other names including chronic Epstein-Barr virus, post viral fatigue syndrome, 'Yuppie' flu and neurasthaenia.
Some sufferers prefer to call the illness chronic fatigue and immune dysfunction syndrome (CFIDS) to better characterise the devastating effects on the immune system. Whereas others campaign for a complete name change because they feel that calling the illness chronic fatigue syndrome trivialises its seriousness, in the same way as calling Alzheimer's disease 'chronic forgetfulness syndrome' would.
What is Fibromyalgia?
Fibromyalgia shares 90% of the symptoms of chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS/ME) but is mostly characterised by chronic muscle and joint pain most often of the shoulder or hip.
This illness too has been around for many years under different names such as muscular rheumatism, fibrositis and psychogenic rheumatism.
Read information about Fibromyalgia here.
What are fatigue related syndromes (FRS)?
In my book, I refer collectively to chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME) and fibromyalgia along with the hundred or so autoimmune diseases as fatigue related syndromes (FRS). I state that – like the 3 blind men feeling the elephant – these illnesses are all slightly different expressions of the same underlying disorder unified by the presenting symptom of a profound fatigue.
Also included in this umbrella term are other related conditions such as multiple chemical sensitivity (MCS), Gulf War syndrome (GWS), Lyme disease and chronic candidiasis.
What are the symptoms of fatigue syndromes?
In both chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) and fibromyalgia, sufferers experience a wide range of symptoms including:
Allergies and sensitivities
Poor response to stress
Reproductive and fertility problems
Lack of coordination
Recurrent and frequent infections
Cold hands and feet and
Feeling cold a lot
There is a wide spectrum. At one end of the scale some sufferers are achy and always feel tired, having to pace themselves and may respond badly to stress. While at the other end of the scale, some sufferers are completely bedridden and unable to care for themselves. Also, fatigue symptoms also highly variable so most sufferers have 'good' and 'bad' days that come without warning.
Click for more information about the Signs and Symptoms of Fatigue Syndromes. Also refer to our Fatigue Syndrome & Toxicity podcasts, videos, print media articles and recommended reading listed under the media section of this site.
How does a fatigue syndrome usually begin?
For some the onset can be fairly sudden and may come on after a period of stress, a vaccination, an infection, dental work or an accident. For many though the onset is gradual with growing fatigue, digestive problems, the development of allergies and food sensitivities, infections that won't clear, insomnia, an inability to respond to stress in the accustomed way and generally becoming more and more run down.
For more on this topic see the articles Illness IS Toxicity and The Descent Into Illness.
Can you die of a fatigue related syndrome?
The answer used to be no, but since the death of Sophia Mirza in the UK whose death was officially listed as being due to chronic fatigue syndrome this has changed. Click to watch the news report about Sophia.
There are also many cases of people with fatigue syndromes taking their own lives because they had become so intolerable. Cases include that of Lynn Gilderdale who was bed ridden for 17 years and whose mother was accused of assisting her to die after a couple of failed solitary suicide attempts. Click for the news story about Lynn.
What causes fatigue syndromes?
Conventional medicine does not understand fatigue syndromes and regards them as being 'multifactorial' or 'mysterious' in origin. In fact, up to 40% of doctors believe they are psychosomatic or that the sufferer is feigning illness – even in cases as severe as the recent case in the UK of Lynn Gilderdale who was being treated by a specialist! This can make finding effective help difficult or impossible, especially for someone whose health may already be seriously compromised.
Natural medicine maintains that the underlying cause of all illness is either deficiency or toxicity. In fatigue related syndromes the individual is usually very toxic and this often involves metals in general and mercury in particular.
Sources of mercury can include various household and personal care products, some fish and the mercury preservative in vaccinations. However, for most people their greatest exposure comes from their dental amalgam fillings or indirectly from their mother's fillings during development in the womb or breastfeeding.
The mercury disables the immune system which is then not able to respond to, or to control, the growth of the microbes it encounters. The mercury also poisons all the biochemical processes of the body including energy production and accumulates in and destroys nervous tissue.
These processes are explained in more detail in The Role of Toxic Metals, Infective Organisms, The Naturopathic Model, Illness IS Toxicity and The Causes of CFS, Fibromyalgia and Autoimmune Diseases, in my book Chronic Fatigue, ME and Fibromyalgia: The Natural Recovery Plan and in Research: Mercury Toxicity, CFS & Fibromyalgia. You may also want to complete the Mercury Toxicity Questionnaire.
Who can get a fatiguing disorder?
Anyone, but they are all nine times more common in women than men. It is difficult to get a handle on numbers because a lot of sufferers either haven't seen a doctor and/or may not have been diagnosed properly. However, incidence rises throughout life with people aged 40 to 50 years the most likely to suffer (as they become more toxic).
Approximately 6% of the population are estimated to suffer with fibromyalgia, one in every 250 with CFS/ME and many millions more with the hundred or so autoimmune diseases. Note that recent official US figures have upgraded the number of CFS sufferers by a factor of ten, so it is much more common than previously thought.
Taken together, at least one in every twenty people and probably more like one in every ten will suffer with a fatigue related syndrome (FRS). If you include the 75% of people attending their GP who complain of being 'Tired all the time' but don't meet the strict criteria for diagnosis, many millions more have been affected to a lesser extent.
Click for more information about the The Causes of CFS, Fibromyalgia and Autoimmune Diseases.
What is the current treatment for fatigue syndromes?
The best treatment 'conventional' medicine currently has to offer is medicating all the different symptoms eg: sleeping pills for the insomnia, pain killers for the pain, antidepressants for the depression and so on until ultimately they run out of options and bring out the pharmacological 'big gun' of corticosteroids.
How long do fatigue syndromes last?
Without effective treatment, most fatiguing illnesses are a life sentence, with less than 5% of sufferers partially recovering after a period of years. The symptoms can also come and go so that some people feel better only to be knocked back by a stressful life event or infection.
How are fatigue syndromes diagnosed?
There is no conclusive test because the cause is not understood by allopathic medicine. At present the diagnosis is one of exclusion ie: ruling out all the other possibilities.
In fact, many tests come back negative (partly because doctors conduct meaningless tests and also for complex reasons to do methodology and with receptors being blocked, etc.) – all of which adds to the notion that these illnesses may be psychosomatic.
Typically, sufferers may encounter a lot of disinterest or hostility as they search for help and may be dismissed by the medical professional they encounter as lazy or depressed.
The Natural Recovery Plan book goes into the diagnosing of fatigue syndromes in some detail and resources are listed on the Useful Contacts page. The article Testing for Toxic Metals may also be useful.
What is the relationship between stress and fatigue syndromes?
Often there is a period of acute or sustained stress or trauma in the run-up to contracting a fatigue syndrome. Also, there is usually a history of an unusual level of childhood stress perhaps involving parental rowing, a parental split or divorce, the death of a parent or sibling, a serious illness, sexual abuse or frequent house moves.
All stress depletes reserves, but it also suspends the normal processes of detoxification and so periods of stress are associated with the accelerated accumulation of toxins. In the case of childhood stress and trauma this may show up 20 or 30 years later as a serious illness.
The articles Book Review: Trauma and Addiction, Perceptions of Stress, Stress and the Adrenal Glands, The Descent Into Illness and Book Review: Adrenal Fatigue may all be helpful.
What is the relationship between depression and fatigue syndromes?
Depression is one of the signs of fatigue syndromes and of mercury toxicity. The depression is caused by actual damage to the structures of the brain and by the blocking of biochemical processes causing changes in brain chemistry. Depression and other 'psychiatric' illnesses can be reversed with effective mercury detoxification.
For more information see the article about Depression and Mercury toxicity, Postnatal Depression: The Causes or Research: Depression and Mercury Toxicity or click to view a video about Mercury and Neuron Degeneration.
What is the relationship between thyroid or adrenal gland disorders and fatigue syndromes?
They are often very interrelated and both caused by toxicity and can be resolved by detoxifying. Click to read more about Endocrine Gland Disorders, Book Review: Adrenal Fatigue, Stress and the Adrenal Glands, Miscarriage, Book Review: Your Thyroid and How to Keep it Healthy or The Parathyroid Glands or for Research: Mercury Caused Endocrine Conditions.
What can I do when others suggest or imply that my illness is imagined?
This often happens because lay people take their lead from the medical profession and because there are no overt signs of how bad you feel. You may want to print out or show the article entitled an Open Letter Explaining Fatigue Syndromes which explains the problem in easy to understand terms or have them watch Part 1 and Part 2 of CFS & Fibromyalgia: Explained or listen to Alison Adams' Interviews.
The Natural Recovery Plan Book
What is your book about?
It's about how mercury toxicity from dental amalgam fillings is the underlying cause of many serious, degenerative and chronic illnesses and is specifically the cause of chronic fatigue syndrome, ME and fibromyalgia. Click here for more information about The Natural Recovery Plan book.
What does it say about fatigue syndromes?
That all fatigue syndromes are slightly different expressions of the same underlying problem which is primarily mercury toxicity from dental amalgam fillings.
This poisons all the biochemical pathways of the body affecting such functions as energy production and digestion and undermining the immune system. This means that the body cannot mount an effective response to the microbes that it encounters and sufferers typically have several latent viral and/or bacterial infections and problems with overgrowth of yeasts (which are normal inhabitants of the body).
This is further explained on our The Causes of CFS, Fibromyalgia and Autoimmune Diseases page and the article There are No Diseases may also aid understanding.
What are your credentials?
I have both a UK degree and a US Master's degree in dentistry and 20 years work experience as a dentist, latterly running my own central London dental practice. I then retrained as a naturopath obtaining 8 diplomas in various subjects including 2 forms of kinesiology, so I have the perspective of having trained in both conventional and natural medicine - and dentistry!.
I also have the personal experience of slowly degenerating health over a lifetime and then the process of recovery, so I have lived what I write about and have also witnessed recovery in others.
For more details see the About Alison Adams page.
How did you come to write your book?
I came from a family where there was a big history of autoimmune disorders and where the women, in particular, tended to die quite young.
I had chronic health problems from birth and as a result had lifelong treatment using various different drugs, therapies and 21 operations. Eventually I became unable to continue working and realising that I might be in the process of dying and that the medical profession had no real answers for me I ended up retraining as a naturopath in a bid to solve my own health problems.
I followed a mercury detoxification protocol and it became obvious that something profound was going on and also – over time – that I was gradually starting to improve.
When, after learning a particular postgraduate technique ALL my clients tested positive to mercury toxicity I became convinced that occult mercury toxicity was a cause of a lot of illness. Although recognised by some specialist dentists and health practitioners, I felt that even they underestimated the scale of the problem.
Realising that I had not been able to find this information myself when I was ill and in desperate need, I determined to write the book in order to share with other fatigue sufferers what it had taken me so long and cost me so much to discover.
Click for more About Dr Adams and about my book The Natural Recovery Plan.
Who is it for?
Whilst the book is obviously aimed at chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS/ME) and fibromyalgia sufferers, it also has direct applications for those suffering with autoimmune diseases and more generally, anyone with a chronic, serious or degenerative disorder who is keen to try and recover rather than manage their symptoms. Anyone concerned about the issue of mercury toxicity in particular and metal toxicity in general would also be well advised to read the book before attempting any detoxification or removal of their amalgam fillings.
Click here for more about the book.
Our Natural Detoxification Programme
What form does your detoxification plan take?
The plan outlined involves a multi-pronged approach using diet, exercise, rest, supplements, addressing unresolved emotional issues and the replacement of dental work. The plan sets out what to do before, during and after replacement of dental amalgam fillings.
Click for more information about The Natural Recovery Plan.
What might someone expect by following this plan?
Recovering from these illnesses is not a quick fix because every tissue in the body has been affected by one of the most potent toxins known. The speed of recovery is strictly limited by what your compromised organs of excretion can cope with and also there is a limit to what people can tolerate.
The symptoms suffered during detoxification vary from mildly to very unpleasant. However, as you come to understand that it is the only way to recover you become prepared to tolerate these symptoms which may not be much worse than the symptoms of the illness anyway.
There are 3 main routes out of the body and they are in the urine, in the stool and through the skin. Rashes and changes in bowel habits are the most common side-effects, along with feeling emotional and difficulty sleeping.
What is naturopathic medicine?
Naturopathic medicine uses natural means to treat illness and aims to works with the healing power of the body. The central tenet of naturopathy is to identify and remove the cause of illness rather than treating symptoms as is the case with 'conventional' medicine.
The articles There are No Diseases, Illness IS Toxicity, The Descent Into Illness and The Naturopathic Model of Health and Disease may help understanding. In addition, there are many podcasts, videos and print media articles covering this topic.
What is kinesiology?
Kinesiology was developed by an American chiropractor 40 years ago and it is based upon the energy meridian system outlined by Traditional Chinese Medicine. It uses muscle testing to communicate with the client's body to establish both the cause and the preferred treatment for a variety of ailments and uses supplements and non-invasive corrective techniques.
Listen to the podcast Applied Kinesiology listed under our Natural Recovery or refer to the article Muscle Testing Dental Restorations and the associated videos.
Dental Amalgam (Tooth Fillings Amalgam)
What is dental amalgam?
Dental amalgam is half liquid mercury and half powdered metals such as silver, copper, tin and zinc. We have been using dental amalgam for about 180 years, so that is 6 or 7 generations of use and it was introduced long before any safety testing was required.
When you mix the different metals together and insert them into the moisture of the mouth, we now know that they become electrically active and as they discharge their current, they emit mercury vapour. In this time-released manner, 50% of the mercury is lost by 7 years and 80% by 20 years – all of which slowly accumulates within the owner's body.
The average filling contains 1 gram of mercury, the average dentist inserts 1.5 kilos into their patients every year and 150 metric tonnes of mercury are used in dental amalgam globally every year. Unfortunately, a new 'high copper' formulation of amalgam (non-gamma II) was introduced in the mid-1970s which has been shown to release 50 times as much mercury as the previous formulation.
When amalgam was introduced no health problems were immediately apparent, however, the growing catalogue of 'mysterious' illnesses such as Alzheimer's disease and multiple sclerosis started to be identified a few decades after its introduction.
The mercury from dental amalgam has been allowed to accumulate within the human population over the generations as much of the mother's burden passes to the child in the womb and breast milk and I maintain that autism, dyslexia, allergies, childhood cancers and so on are the end result of this process.
For more information see our audio, video, printed articles and recommended books sections. If you haven't done so already watch Part I and Part II of CFS & Fibromyalgia: Explained or the Smoking Tooth Video. Alternatively, read The Causes of Cancer, Alzheimer's and Autism: The Mercury Connection, Mercury, Memory and Alzheimer's, Balance and Hearing Problems: Iatrogenic Causes, Miscarriage, Is Dental Amalgam Safe for Humans? or Facts About Mercury and Dental Amalgam (101 pages) and/or consult the other research papers available here.
What do we know about the health effects of mercury?
Mercury is an incredibly potent toxin and its profound mental, physical and psychological effects have been recognised for centuries.
It can exist in lots of different chemical forms which all have different actions so that every bodily system is affected and it can pass through all the barriers within the body such as the blood/brain barrier or placental barrier of a pregnant woman to accumulate in her developing child.
In its pure liquid or vapour form it is the third most toxic substance known to man, but when transformed into a biological 'organic' form it can become between one hundred and one thousand times more toxic, which means that it is far and away the most potent toxin known to man!
It poisons all the hundreds of thousands of different biochemical reactions that take place within the body and it is also a highly potent neurotoxin which means that it is magnetised towards, and also highly destructive of, nervous tissue.
This is why it often goes undetected because much of the body burden is firmly bound within the nerves where it can cause such disorders as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's diseases and multiple sclerosis.
For more information either go to the following articles with accompanying videos Symptoms of Mercury Poisoning and A History of Mercury Poisoning, listen to the Interviews with Alison Adams or refer to the podcasts or videos listed under Mercury & Dentistry. Alternatively refer to the Research page particularly the Facts About Mercury and Dental Amalgam (PDF 101 pages) or Dental Amalgam Fillings and Chronic Health Conditions: An Overview (PDF 5 pages).
What evidence do you have to support your assertions?
There is a huge amount of evidence 'hidden in plain view' and I have posted some of it in the CFS and Fibromyalgia: Explained video (click for Part 1 and Part 2) and on Research page of my website including:
600 pages referencing 4,000 papers that have appeared in peer-reviewed journals in all sorts of disciplines.
One article documents 60,000 cases of recovery from a wide variety of illnesses by combining the removal of tooth filling amalgam with a programme of detoxification.
Practitioners working in this field have documented 60-90% improvement in most conditions and those who follow a particularly rigorous protocol claim 97% improvement in symptoms. Click for supporting research paper.
The US Centre for Disease Control studied the health of 11,000 people in a very large NHANES study in 2001 and concluded that the number of amalgam fillings was significantly correlated to many serious and degenerative disorders including cancer and MS.
Murray Vimy et al at the University of Calgary, Canada have conducted a lot of both animal and human studies over the last two decades that demonstrate categorically that mercury is emitted from dental amalgam fillings, that it is distributed throughout the body and that it especially accumulates within the embryo/foetus of a pregnant mother. Click for their Smoking Tooth Video or video showing the neurological damage caused by mercury toxicity.
Many other countries in Europe (Russia, Sweden, Denmark, Austria, Norway, etc) have already considered the evidence and banned the use of amalgam. Other countries such as Finland, Canada, Japan and the UK have introduced restrictions/partial bans on the use of amalgam. Some states in the US require warnings to be posted in dental offices and the risks to be explained to the patient. Click to read an article about the banning of dental amalgam in other countries.
The World Health Organisation recently came out in favour of a global phase-down preparing for a phase-out of the use of mercury in medicine and dentistry. See WHO Report on Amalgam: Update for Dentists and Mercury in Medicine and Dentistry.
That mercury is released from amalgam fillings and that it is a potent toxin is not disputed by anyone. Academics merely argue about the form, the amount, the time taken, the prevalence and the damage caused.
Dentists are in the front line on this issue as they are exposed to 400 times the safe working levels of mercury (TLV as determined by the WHO) and their health record is very poor. Compared to the general population they have: 7X the suicide rate; twice as many brain tumours; 3.5X as many miscarriages and still births; more kidney, heart and lung diseases, etc. Click for a research paper documenting the Health Effects of Exposure to Mercury Vapour on Dental Personnel.
The US Food and Drug Administration was forced in a recent lawsuit to take down reassuring statements from their website and to post a statement warning about the dangers this deadly toxin poses to the unborn child. They did so briefly before reneging on the deal by recategorising amalgam (with bandages and glasses). Click here for an article about the FDA approval controversy.
All of the symptoms of fatigue syndromes are recognised effects of mercury poisoning.
The US Food and Drug Administration and the American Dental Association have recently removed reassuring statements about amalgam from their websites and the US Centre for Disease Control has removed an entire webpage refuting amalgam as a cause of illness.
My personal and professional experience of witnessing recovery.
Finally, we have been doing something as plainly inadvisable as implanting the second most deadly substance known to man in our mouths in time-release form for 7 generations. How much more evidence could we possibly need?
Why has no-one else identified the link between dental amalgam and illness?
They have. There are many dentists and health practitioners around the world working in specialist clinics, particularly in countries like Germany that are very well aware of the link between mercury poisoning and ill health.
However, the medical profession fundamentally does not recognise that most illness is toxicity, so they are not finding the evidence because they are not looking for it. If, for example, you had a breast lump removed or died of a heart attack, the sample would not be sent for toxicological analysis. And if you went back to your dentist to say that you had not been well since having dental treatment, they would tell you that the two events were not connected.
Also, since the mercury is tightly bound to nerves and within the cells you need to administer a chelating agent to dislodge it first before it will show up in blood or urine tests.
There are also a number of variables that confound making the link including the number and size of amalgam fillings, the presence of other metals in the mouth, whether the individual is exposed to electromagnetic radiation, their genetic ability to detoxify, their nutritional status, whether they are stressed and so on.
For more information refer to the Audio, Book, Video and Print Media Articles listed under Mercury Toxicity & Dentistry in the media section.
How do you respond to the fact that the authorities claim dental amalgam is safe?
First, a lot of authorities don't think using dental amalgam is safe and its use has been banned in a number of other countries including Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Austria and Japan.
Second, there are lots of precedents where the authorities have been wrong or have actively concealed the truth from the people to protect their own interests. The American Dental Association, for example, holds the patents for amalgam and so has an obvious vested interest in its continued use.
We have in our time used asbestos with abandon, x-rayed children's feet in shoe shops and used DDT as fertiliser. All these appear self-evidently bad ideas now, but all were embraced enthusiastically until the consequences subsequently became undeniable.
Dental amalgam was never subjected to any kind of safety testing before use and so now we are in the position of having to prove that this material is harmful beyond all doubt, rather than having to prove that it is safe before it was released for use – as should have been the case.
Mercury poisoning produces different effects in everyone, there is a delay between exposure and any ill-effects and the mercury poisoning is passed down through the generations, so the link between cause and effect has not been immediately apparent. This is complicated by various factors including the fact that even if doctors were looking for it (and most of the time they are not) it is still hard to detect.
Part of the resistance to change may also relate to the fact that for many years we didn't have any viable alternatives, but now we do and other countries have already banned dental amalgam and transitioned to a new way of working using mostly composite plastic filling materials.
As stated above, the World Health Organisation (WHO) have recently called for a global mercury phase-down over a phase-out for purely logistical purposes.
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