Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Antibiotics, Latent Infections and Parasites
Infections can play a large role in causing people to either feel tired, or more severe conditions such and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and fibromyalgia.
Although we hear about infections all the time, there is actually a lot of confusion over different types and how they effect health.
Humans live with a vast array of different microbes. These live on our skin, inside glands, the conjuntiva, oral mucosa and gastrointestinal trace. Overall this collection of mostly bacteria and fungi are called the human microbiome.
Different types of microbes live in different places. Basically, microbes will find an hospitable environment to live in.
What is an acute infection
The microbiota is not bad. We live symbiotically with it. In other words, we need them.
It's well known that a healthy gut flora is essential to aid in absorption of nutrients and regulation of immune system activity. However, microbes in other places also perform important functions.
One of these functions is expunging toxins through the process of infection.
At first this sounds like nonsense. Aren't infections caused by microbes? Don't we need to kill them off - if not with antibiotics then at least with antimicrobial supplements?
To an extent yes. There are certain types of infections that are bad and do need to be killed off. However, when it comes to acute bacterial infections for the most part the bacteria are simply growing in a hospitable environment.
Furthermore microbes plan an important part in detoxification. They eat up toxic material which the body then expunges through the process of infection.
Until recently bacteria were considered the foremost cause of inflammation. The problem seen homotoxicologically, however, recognizes that the same bacteria found at the site of inflammation are also found in the gallbladder, the mouth and pharynx, the prostate, the intestine, etc. Obviously the germs "eat" homotoxins since an inflammation with bacterial participation develops, especially, in a situation of an extreme toxic terrain. Without this homotoxic situation, the bacterial invasion could not take place.
The past hundred years the pathogenetic role of bacteria has obviously been exaggerated. Bacteria have to fulfill an important biological duty. They secrete enzyme hyaluronidase which dissolves connective tissue. homotoxins stored in the connective tissue are set free as well. The homotoxins, not the bacteria, are the decisive factor in inflammation. They must be detoxicated and should, to a certain extent be "burned in the fire of the reaction phase."
In the inflammation mechanism, therefore, we detect a reaction series which is simultaneous in character, supplementary and biologically goal oriented. Al these mechanism direct themselves against homotoxins and their elimination by pus, suppurations, mucous substances, (etc). Once this goal is reached, the bacteria are no longer useful and disappear. After such inflammatory processes, the body is healthy and free of homotoxins.
Homotoxicology: Illness and Healing Through Anti-homotoxic Therapy by Dr. Hans-Heinrich Reckweg (page 59)
What happens when we take antibiotics?
Antibiotics are not bad. In certain situations they are life savings.
Nonetheless, when poorly used antibiotics can cause a great deal of harm. If taken for an acute infection antibiotics can work very well in killing off some bacteria and reducing infection.
Assuming the infection itself is the problem this is fine.
But the problem is not infection. Infection is simply the body's response to the real underlining problem. Since the process of detoxification through infection requires the immune system working symbiotically with microbes when we kill off the microbes was stop the acute infection.
This in effect aborts the local detoxification process, trapping toxins inside the body.
What often happens is since the problem is still there, the infection just comes back later. This is why people who often get sick and use antibiotics need to keep on using antibiotics for reoccurring infections.
Sometimes the infection doesn't come back, in the same place. Instead later on the patient gets and infection elsewhere. This is commonly seen when women get urinary tract infections after using antibiotics for an infection elsewhere.
Basically what happens is the antibiotics push the disease deeper into the body, so the body fights back with even stronger symptoms.
Alternatively the infection may go away never to come back. Does this mean the patient has been cured?
No. Remember that infections represent just one method the body has to deal with toxins. If toxins can no longer be dealt with through the process of inflammation, then the body tends to wall off toxins and store them. At first the body will tend to pack toxins away in the extracellular space. This is called "deposition" and commonly is seen as cysts or polyps. If this fails then toxins will become "impregnated" inside cells.
The pushing of toxins deeper into the body as disease develops is called "progressive vicariantion." The detoxification and remove of toxins is called "regressive vicariation."
So using antibiotics indiscriminately will abort the body's attempt to heal itself and trap toxins inside.
What about chronic viral infections and parasites?
Viruses and parasites are fundamentally different types of infections. They body does not use them to aid in detoxification. These are true pathogenic invaders that do need to be killed off.
Typically antibiotics are prescribed for bacterial infections. Not virus and not parasites.
There are many viruses and other pathogens which research points to as possible triggers of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome:
The CDC lists the following:
- Epstein-Barr Virus (EBV) also called mononucleosis
- Herpes virus 6
This is just a short list and doesn't include pathogens such as CMV or parasites such as entameba histolytica.
Researchers are still analyzing samples from CFS patients using the latest molecular methods to search for previously unknown infections (pathogen discovery). To date, these studies suggest that no one infection or pathogen causes CFS and that the illness may be triggered by a variety of illnesses or conditions.
This lead back to a basic problem. How are researchers ever going to find the single cause of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, if it's a multifactorial problem, with numerous potential triggers and no all encompassing single cause?
Treating Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and the immune system
From a Naturopathic perspective, signs of superficial inflammation represent the body's attempt to cleans itself of toxins. This includes infections such as:
- Ear infection
- Sinus infection
- Sore throat
- Various skins rashes
- Urinary tract infection
- Vaginal infection
It is best to support the body during this process in such a way that symptoms are palliated, but the infection/detoxification process is not aborted. When antibiotics are use, detoxification is stopped and toxins are pushed back into the body.
Of course in certain circumstances antibiotics are useful. The point is to only use them when necessary.
At the same times a careful assessment needs to be made for true pathogens (viruses and parasites), which do not serve a biological role in the body. For these there are many natural treatments, and at times medications.
Additionally a poor immune system which is susceptible to pathogens is a sign of poor health. So it's not just about killing out the bad guys, but improving overall health and wellness instead.