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To B or Not to B
A Fresh Look at Chronic Fatigue
So many people these days (especially women) are suffering from chronic fatigue
that one might call this phenomenon an epidemic. Chronic fatigue syndrome is not
really a disease, per se, but rather a set of symptoms that are so great in number
that patients frequently are told by their physicians that they are hypochondriacs.
Or, chronic fatigue is commonly blamed on the Epstein Barr Virus. Not able to catch
this sickly tiger by the tail, patients often are referred to a psychiatrist to deal
with the complexity of emotional upset.
The question persists: Is it really possible to have so many symptoms and still
be sane? Does chronic fatigue cause mental problems or do mental problems cause chronic
fatigue? Although there is no denying the connection between the body and the emotions,
several biochemical researchers have discovered that a single thread of commonality
runs through each chronic fatigue case, despite the seemingly erratic patient complaints.
Although not a mental disorder, chronic fatigue syndrome leads its sufferers to
a state of mental or emotional crisis. Unable to get relief from their doctors for
this mysterious "plague," patients often beg their physicians to prescribe
antidepressants, relaxants, pain relievers and other drugs to allay the disturbances
that get in the way of leading a life of normalcy.
Some common complaints associated with chronic fatigue syndrome include mental
confusion, constant exhaustion, forgetfulness, depression, sleeplessness at night
and sleepiness during the day, physical fatigue, soreness, frequent sickness, mental
irritability, crying spells, loss of sex drive, indecisiveness and more. With such
an extensive array of symptoms, it is no wonder why both doctor and patient are led
to believe that this syndrome is probably more mental than physical in nature. But
wait a minute...
Dr. Richard P. Murray, of the Biomedical Health Foundation in Ormond Beach, Fla.,
over the course of his 40 years of biochemical and nutritional practice, has found
a remarkable parallel between what has been labeled "chronic fatigue syndrome"
and a lack of the vitamin B complex. (Note that "vitamin B" refers to food-based
nutrients and not the kinds of vitamins that are sold in health food or drug stores).
One of the greatest errors in thought is that people in the United States cannot
have a vitamin B deficiency because of all the foods that are "enriched"
with this vitamin. However, enriching pasta, bread and other foods with synthetic
sources of vitamins is not a solution to the vitamin B deficit. Without vitamin B
in its whole, food-based form the biochemical needs of human physiology cannot be
In 1947, Tom Spies, M.D., discussed the deficiency of vitamin B1 as resulting
in one or more of the following: constipation, weakness and fatigue, irregular pulse,
exhaustion, itching, mental confusion, heart murmurs and muscle soreness. Other deficiencies
described in biochemical textbooks include instability, forgetfulness, difficulty
in orderly thinking, uneasiness, vague fears and so forth.
Vitamin B3 deficiency often causes numbness and tingling in the hands and feet,
loss of appetite, lethargy and mental confusion.
The list of symptoms of vitamin B complex deficiency does indeed resemble the
mysterious chronic fatigue syndrome enough to speculate that the disease is not so
mysterious after all. In this day and age of processed, milled, heated and devitalized
foods finding their way into the average American diet, the incidence of chronic
fatigue syndrome should come as no surprise. And the attempt to rectify this deficiency
should not be to reach for over-the-counter, mail-order or health food store supplements,
because, according to biochemical researchers such as Dr. Richard Murray, Dr. Judith
DeCava and Dr. Royal Lee, among others, the body certainly knows the difference between
synthetic and fractionalized supplements and the real food itself. (The words natural,
pure and enriched do not denote that vitamins are real.)
Back in 1984, Dr. Murray prophetically wrote, "The end result of food devitalization,
synthetic enrichment, bureaucratic newspeak and proliferating pseudo-nutritionists
will be a daily increase of vitamin B deficiency syndrome cases. Most will be made
worse by taking megavitamin therapy. When the adrenals cannot compensate, the victim
will be unable to further cope with stress ... and adrenal exhaustion will present
the finality - the nervous breakdown."
During World War II, in the South Pacific, American military personnel discovered
first-hand what today may be called chronic fatigue syndrome. It was called Beri-Beri,
which translates to "I can't, I can't." Beri-beri was reversed with vitamin
(Reprint, article by Vic Shayne, Ph.D., Clinical Nutritionist and co-director
of the Holistic Health & Counseling Center in Carefree: Box 17482, Boulder,
CO 80308. 1-888-595-4752.)
Copyright © 1996. The Light Party.