Posted 12/22/2009 7:40 PM (GMT -7)
Yes, the LIVER can be involved in CFS. I am now a 64-year-old man. When I was 39, I contracted a VERY debilitating illness that just FLATTENED me. I was a college journalism/English professor, happy with my work and family, and suddenly......fatigue, blurred vision, fatigue, all manner of physical oddities. I KNEW I was sick, and the doctors in those days just denied all of us, despite the fact that there was a nationwide epidemic of CFS (in England and other countries as well). It took me three years to get over the initial major problems, and another six to final spiral my way out of the CFS and into pretty good health again. I DID get well. But all the time I was sick, my SGPT liver transaminase levels stayed elevated (not alarmingly, but about twice the high normal range). A biopsy showed nothing more than non-alcoholic fatty liver. But my gastroenterologist acknowledged that some form of low-grade inflammation (hepatitis of some sort) was going on, likely contributing if not causing some portions of my fatigue, depression, sleeplessness, etc. (CFS is a very pleomorphic disease, which means simply that it can hit different patients in different organs or body parts). By the way, EBV & CMV can each attack the liver, if conditions are right. When your immune system goes a bit *off* or a lot off, or you get a destructive disease, EBV and CMV can be released to attack the body. Otherwise, they are kept in check by our immune system, if it is healthy. I had all sorts of minor problems--arthritis, aches & pains, dizziness, just a whirl of bad things happening, but over it all, a CRUSHING fatigue. People ask me how I got well, and the best I can come up with is: (1) the passage of TIME, (2) I did all I could to eat well and exercise as I could and do what I could to empower my body to be stronger & ward off whatever was causing the CFS, (3) I began writing for magazines, and I was angry as hell at the disease, the medical establishment [the NIH and the CDC were not only idiots about the disease, but in the case of the CDC, they were corrupt and illegally diverted millions of dollars allotted finally to CFS research into work being done on some other disease, and they were caught doing it], and at stupid and stupefied physicians who would not LISTEN to patients who were genuinely suffering. WE knew we were sick--we knew, for example, that Cher had CFS (her representative kept showing up at our national meetings in California with large checks to fund CFS research, and you will notice that, after Cher won the Academy Award for best actress, she virtually quit acting, for years), but she was never personally unwilling to come forward as a CFS celebrity patient. (Would've hurt sales on her exercise tapes, which she had mostly finished *before* she got sick.),.....and (4) finally, and most specifically to your question, in my case, I believe my use of supplements---dandelion root, milk thistle, and szhizandra berries--were very instrumental in helping my liver recover, and once that started happening, my doctor (who would recommend ONLY Vitamin B Complex) began to report that my SGPT liver enzyme levels were dropping! I never even bothered to inform her of WHY I thought that was happening, and a year later she died of emphezema, caused by years of smoking! But I've always thought that dandelion root and milk thistle really helped me, and to this day, my liver has never shown irregularities in LFT blood tests. I ordered szhizandra berries from California, from a Chinese pharmacist, and decocted them into a horrible tea that I would drink ONLY when I was going through a very rough time (with fatigue, depression, hallmarks of liver disease). Now you can buy szhizandra
capsules in nearly all health food stores and off the internet. And, P.S., I had the easy bruising, tendency to bleed more than I should when I cut myself, etc. I am dead-sure positive I had CFS, I am dead-sure positive that EBV and CMV were involved (perhaps not as causes-----many researchers are now producing evidence that a retrovirus, XMRV, may be to blame for CFS and for some cancers, especially prostate cancer. [I have the great fortune of having had first CFS, and now serious prostate cancer, for which I've had two surgeries at Johns Hopkins, so I tend to believe what I'm hearing recently about XMRV.] No matter what, I always thought some VIRUS was kickstarting CFS and a lot of little viral boogers such as EBV and CMV (and god knows which viruses we do not YET know the names of!] I am dead-sure positive that, at some point, EBV or some other virus let loose by WHATEVER CAUSED MY CFS attacked my liver, and caused the definitely problematic elevation of my SGPT. "Depression" and "honey, it's just your time of life," etc. do NOT cause liver enzyme elevation. Also, strangely, I had heard for years that YEAST or candida were one of the many manifestations of CFS, but I always thought that meant WOMEN patients, and....vaginal yeast. Imagine my surprise in 1996, well after my recovery, when I opened my mouth one day to brush my teeth....only to discover CANDIDA coating my tongue (Medications help me erase it quickly.) I was married, my wife did not have candida, nor had I ever had it. I am dead-sure it was just an old hang-over symbol of my having had a REAL disease, CFS. (Again, depression & change-of-life issues do not CAUSE your tongue to coat, or your liver to go on the fritz.) Many patients I knew did NOT have liver problems along with CFS, but a very good handful of them did. MY BEST WISHES TO YOU---hang in there. I once someone say, "When you're walking through hell, keep walking." I did that. I'm not courageous, I'm like Piglet in WINNIE THE POOH, but I had no choice but to keep walking, and eventually I walked OUT of the "hell" of CFS. Six years later.......It was real, and crushing.
Good luck to you...