Immune System Dysfunction with Chronic Microbial Infection and Gut Abnormalities

Pathogens: ME/CFS patients appear to have a problem with a wide variety of pathogens because of immune system dysfunction. One is Natural Killer Cells, which (along with other components of the immune system) have been found to be dysfunctional in ME/CFS. Dr. Klimas and her colleagues have quite a bit of experience in treating dysfunctional Natural Killer Cells–As it sometimes requires extremely low doses of LDN or other approaches. Some patients may have low IgG and/or IgA levels that now can be treated by IV, IM or Subcutaneous  Immune Globulin.

Commonly, ME/CFS patients show abnormal levels of some or all of the following pathogens: herpes family viruses (e.g. EBV, CMV, HHV-6, HHV-7); enteroviruses; various insect-borne bacteria (e.g. borrelia, bartonella, ehrlichia); systemic parasites (e.g. babesia, toxoplasma gondii); other bacteria (chlamydophila pneumoniae, streptococcus, staphylococci, rickettsiae); mycoplasma; coxiella burnetii (Q fever); parvovirus B19; intestinal parasites (e.g. blastocystis, giardia, other amoebas, worms); and fungi (e.g. aspergillus, candida). These infections are mostly reactivated intracellular ones, meaning that they show up as IgG rather than IgA or IgM on lab tests. Infections can be systemic or settle into specific organs in the body. While it seems like killing these infections would be a good idea, many ME/CFS patients (especially those who are severely ill) have a very hard time with this. Like AIDS patients, they often get what is known as an IRIS (Immune Reconstitution Inflammatory Syndrome) response. Because inflammation is particularly problematic in ME/CFS, this sort of “die-off” or “Herxheimer” response can make patients significantly more sick, sometimes permanently so. Even when pathogen killers are tolerated, they usually work slowly in ME/CFS patients. Often months are needed before improvements are noted, and patients who discontinue the treatments often relapse. There are aecdotal reports of dramatic improvements with patients using something called GcMAF. This has to be imported from Europe and can be difficult to find. 

An immune system workup typically includes:

  1. Natural Killer Cell number and function

  2. Immunoglobulins: IgM, IgG, IgA

  3. IgA in stool sample

  4. Cytokines: TNF-A, Interferon Gamma, IL-10, and T cell helper to suppressor ratio

  5. CD47 and other specific immune cells.

Testing for chronic microbial infections utilizes:

  1. A panel from MDL, Igenex, or an equivalent lab to test for the microbes (as listed above) typically seen in the CFIDS populations or suspected by a careful history

***Special Note on B Cell Hyperactivity: Anecdotal reports of at least short-term dramatic improvements in CFIDS patients in Europe have spurred the initiation of controlled studies of treatment with a monoclonal antibody against B cells. With this rationale, a German Immunologist has sought a collaboration with the company BGLI (which supplies Gc-MAF), and he is offering a combination treatment to CFS , ME and MS patients who are not recovering to 100% on the Gc-MAF. 

Treatment involves 3 steps:
1. Plasmapheresis
2. Rituximab (A monoclonal antibody against B cells)
3. Adult Stem Cell transplant.

Cost is significant ($50.000, yet this is a discounted rate for patients who apply via BGLI) it includes all aspects of the treatment including hospital admission, surgery, anesthesia, tests, and the 3 treatments.

Total treatment duration 31-45 days of which the first 7 and last 2-3 are in hospital. There are openings in 2007. 
Contact Maria via email for more information:

***Special note on Lyme diagnosis: Lyme is diagnosed first with a Western Blot. However, unless you had the classic rash, it can be difficult to diagnose. As a case in point, Dr. Martz was bedridden with presumed ALS and had a negative Western Blot for Lyme. It is only when he did a “stress test” for Lyme that he had positive result, treated the Lyme and reversed his disease and returned to practice. He is an advocate for screening any neurologic illness for Lyme or other chronic microbial infection.

Leaky Gut:

One of the big problems with chronic microbial infections, is that they can be released from the GI tract into the  body if there is the problem of a leaky gut. So it is a vital first step, after checking the above labs and a stool sample, to restore normal gut function.

As an example of how catastrophic leaky gut can be, below is a picture of normal gut tissue vs. damaged gut tissue (middle and right pictures)


Stop “Leaky Gut” 

  • Use Prebiotics such as XOS or others and Probiotics (You can have excessive intake of the most common Probiotic, the Lactobacillus genus, so check Lactate levels in stool samples for a dangerously high lactate level which is toxic to brain cells.)

  • You can use Bifidobacterium (which can have a difficult time “taking,”) and Propionibacterium freudenreichii whih Dr Leo Galland notes has distinct metabolic effects that impact the growth, structure and physiology of the entire community of organisms in the GI tract. 

  • Chew your food slowly to release the enzyme pytalin that helps to digest carbohydrates, and the Immunoglobulin sIgA, in the saliva, that fights microbes in the gut.

  • Most patients have decreased secretion of acid in response to meals: You can undergo a trial of Betaine HCL with meals or measure acid secreting function with a Heidleberg test. Appropriate stomach acid decreases with age as it is an energy intensive system.

  • Supplement vital amino acids 30 minutes before meals. (Especially threonine, the amino acid which is by far the most common amino acid in GI tissue) .Use butyrate and glutamine which are important GI energy sources.

  • Pancreatic supplements both for  meal digestion and to break up “Biofilms–” which have been declared by the NIH as a major health hazard.

  • Gall bladder & liver flushes, intermittently. See “Detox Liver.”

  • Measure your load of heavy metals (DMPS challenge test) and remove them with: Cilantro with Chlorella, EDTA or DMSA, DMPS, Seaweeds, or natural products that feed your organs for their removal. See Dr Mercola’s website for one protocol.

  • Measure and optimize bowel transit time: In some cases, use colonics or at home coffee enema’s to reduce toxic colon stool build-up. Increased oral intake of Magnesium and Vitamin C can increase GI flow. “Vitality” or other herbal products can help improve GI flow. They typically contain Senna and/or Cascara and others.

  • Food sensitivity testing to check for “silent allergies.”

  • Elimination or Rotation diet to reduce food sensitivities.

  • Supplements, Herbs and/or medicinals to help “calm” the inflamed gut. (“See “Cytokine Calming List” under Detoxification)

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