Chronic Fatigue Syndrome – Cutting Through the BS

In this episode of Cutting Through the B.S. series we tackle Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. We discuss the different causes of this very confusing conditions as well as the many different treatment options that are out there and why many of them fail. We will then further delve into what is causing the condition in many patients, and treatment options we have found to work in our clinic. Enjoy.

Dr. Martin Rutherford

Dr. Rutherford has worked with thousands of patients from all over the world to help them get to the root cause of their health issues and start to feel better again naturally.

If you are interested in having a consultation with Dr. Rutherford to discuss your specific case and if he feels you would be a good candidate for his protocols please visit

1.Glucocorticoid receptor gene (NR3C1) methylation processes as mediators of early adversity in stress-related disorders causality: A critical review.
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2.Maternal psychosocial stress during pregnancy alters the epigenetic signature of the glucocorticoid receptor gene promoter in their offspring: a meta-analysis.
 Palma-Gudiel H, Córdova-Palomera A, Eixarch E, Deuschle M, Fañanás L.
 Epigenetics. 2015;10(10):893-902. doi: 10.1080/15592294.2015.1088630. Review.
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3.Effects of the Social Environment and Stress on Glucocorticoid Receptor Gene Methylation: A Systematic Review.
 Turecki G, Meaney MJ.
 Biol Psychiatry. 2016 Jan 15;79(2):87-96. doi: 10.1016/j.biopsych.2014.11.022. Epub 2014 Dec 13. Review.
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4.The role of hypocortisolism in chronic fatigue syndrome.
 Nijhof SL, Rutten JM, Uiterwaal CS, Bleijenberg G, Kimpen JL, Putte EM.
 Psychoneuroendocrinology. 2014 Apr;42:199-206. doi: 10.1016/j.psyneuen.2014.01.017. Epub 2014 Jan 30.
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5.Childhood stressors in the development of fatigue syndromes: a review of the past 20 years of research.
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6.Stress management skills, cortisol awakening response, and post-exertional malaise in Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.
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 Psychoneuroendocrinology. 2014 Nov;49:26-31. doi: 10.1016/j.psyneuen.2014.06.021. Epub 2014 Jul 6.
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7.Lower methylation of glucocorticoid receptor gene promoter 1F in peripheral blood of veterans with posttraumatic stress disorder.
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8.Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and DNA Hypomethylation of the Glucocorticoid Receptor Gene Promoter 1F Region: Associations With HPA Axis Hypofunction and Childhood Trauma.
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9.Prenatal exposure to maternal depression, neonatal methylation of human glucocorticoid receptor gene (NR3C1) and infant cortisol stress responses.
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10.Self-critical perfectionism predicts lower cortisol response to experimental stress in patients with chronic fatigue syndrome.
 Kempke S, Luyten P, Mayes LC, Van Houdenhove B, Claes S.
 Health Psychol. 2016 Mar;35(3):298-307. doi: 10.1037/hea0000299. Epub 2015 Dec 21.
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11.Methylation at the CpG island shore region upregulates Nr3c1 promoter activity after early-life stress.
 Bockmühl Y, Patchev AV, Madejska A, Hoffmann A, Sousa JC, Sousa N, Holsboer F, Almeida OF, Spengler D.
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12.Ontogeny of hypothalamic glucocorticoid receptor-mediated inhibition of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis in mice.
 Laryea G, Arnett M, Muglia LJ.
 Stress. 2015;18(4):400-7. doi: 10.3109/10253890.2015.1046832. Epub 2015 Jun 11.
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13.A systematic review of the comorbidity between Temporomandibular Disorders and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.
 Robinson LJ, Durham J, Newton JL.
 J Oral Rehabil. 2016 Apr;43(4):306-16. doi: 10.1111/joor.12367. Epub 2015 Nov 9. Review.
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14.Increased Vulnerability to Pattern-Related Visual Stress in Myalgic Encephalomyelitis.
 Wilson RL, Paterson KB, Hutchinson CV.
 Perception. 2015 Dec;44(12):1422-6. doi: 10.1177/0301006615614467. Epub 2015 Nov 3.
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15.An assessment of fatigue in patients with postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome.
 Wise S, Ross A, Brown A, Evans M, Jason L.
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16.Pain in people with chronic fatigue syndrome/myalgic encephalomyelitis: the role of traumatic stress and coping strategies.
 Krzeczkowska A, Karatzias T, Dickson A.
 Psychol Health Med. 2015;20(2):210-6. doi: 10.1080/13548506.2014.951370. Epub 2014 Sep 2.
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17.[Conditions, controversies and contradictions between Central Sensitivity Syndrome and Depressive Disorders].
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18.Lifetime post-traumatic stress symptoms are related to the health-related quality of life and severity of pain/fatigue in patients with fibromyalgia.
 Dell’Osso L, Carmassi C, Consoli G, Conversano C, Ramacciotti CE, Musetti L, Massimetti E, Pergentini I, Corsi M, Ciapparelli A, Bazzichi L.
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19.Cumulative life stress in chronic fatigue syndrome.
 Nater UM, Maloney E, Heim C, Reeves WC.
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20.A prospective, proof-of-concept investigation of KPAX002 in chronic fatigue syndrome.
 Kaiser JD.
 Int J Clin Exp Med. 2015 Jul 15;8(7):11064-74. eCollection 2015.
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21.Mitoprotective dietary approaches for Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome: Caloric restriction, fasting, and ketogenic diets.
 Craig C.
 Med Hypotheses. 2015 Nov;85(5):690-3. doi: 10.1016/j.mehy.2015.08.013. Epub 2015 Aug 21.
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22.The many roads to mitochondrial dysfunction in neuroimmune and neuropsychiatric disorders.
 Morris G, Berk M.
 BMC Med. 2015 Apr 1;13:68. doi: 10.1186/s12916-015-0310-y.
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23.Metals as a common trigger of inflammation resulting in non-specific symptoms: diagnosis and treatment.
 Stejskal V.
 Isr Med Assoc J. 2014 Dec;16(12):753-8.
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24.The glutathione system: a new drug target in neuroimmune disorders.
 Morris G, Anderson G, Dean O, Berk M, Galecki P, Martin-Subero M, Maes M.
 Mol Neurobiol. 2014 Dec;50(3):1059-84. doi: 10.1007/s12035-014-8705-x. Epub 2014 Apr 22. Review.
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25.Mitochondrial dysfunctions in myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome explained by activated immuno-inflammatory, oxidative and nitrosative stress pathways.
 Morris G, Maes M.
 Metab Brain Dis. 2014 Mar;29(1):19-36. doi: 10.1007/s11011-013-9435-x. Epub 2013 Sep 10.
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26.Evidence for the existence of Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (ME/CFS) with and without abdominal discomfort (irritable bowel) syndrome.
 Maes M, Leunis JC, Geffard M, Berk M.
 Neuro Endocrinol Lett. 2014;35(6):445-53.
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27.The hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal stress axis in fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome.
 Crofford LJ.
 Z Rheumatol. 1998;57 Suppl 2:67-71. Review.
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28.The HPA axis and the genesis of chronic fatigue syndrome.
 Cleare AJ.
 Trends Endocrinol Metab. 2004 Mar;15(2):55-9. Review.
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29.The hypothalamo-pituitary-adrenal axis in chronic fatigue syndrome and fibromyalgia syndrome.
 Tanriverdi F, Karaca Z, Unluhizarci K, Kelestimur F.
 Stress. 2007 Mar;10(1):13-25. Review.
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30.Childhood trauma and risk for chronic fatigue syndrome: association with neuroendocrine dysfunction.
 Heim C, Nater UM, Maloney E, Boneva R, Jones JF, Reeves WC.
 Arch Gen Psychiatry. 2009 Jan;66(1):72-80. doi: 10.1001/archgenpsychiatry.2008.508.
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31.Foundations of posttraumatic stress disorder: does early life trauma lead to adult posttraumatic stress disorder?
 Pratchett LC, Yehuda R.
 Dev Psychopathol. 2011 May;23(2):477-91. doi: 10.1017/S0954579411000186. Review.
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32.The neuropsychiatric and neuropsychological features of chronic fatigue syndrome: revisiting the enigma.
 Christley Y, Duffy T, Everall IP, Martin CR.
 Curr Psychiatry Rep. 2013 Apr;15(4):353. doi: 10.1007/s11920-013-0353-8. Review.
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33.Hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis dysfunction in chronic fatigue syndrome.
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 Nat Rev Endocrinol. 2011 Sep 27;8(1):22-32. doi: 10.1038/nrendo.2011.153. Review.
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34.Depression and anxiety correlate differently with salivary free cortisol in the morning in patients with functional somatic syndrome.
 Mutsuura H, Kanbara K, Fukunaga M, Yamamoto K, Ban I, Kitamura K, Nakai Y.
 Appl Psychophysiol Biofeedback. 2009 Dec;34(4):291-8. doi: 10.1007/s10484-009-9110-5. Epub 2009 Aug 7.
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35.Concurrent and prospective associations between HPA axis activity and depression symptoms in newlywed women.
 Ge F, Pietromonaco PR, DeBuse CJ, Powers SI, Granger DA.
 Psychoneuroendocrinology. 2016 Nov;73:125-132. doi: 10.1016/j.psyneuen.2016.07.217. Epub 2016 Jul 22.
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36.Glucocorticoid receptor DNA methylation, childhood maltreatment and major depression.
 Bustamante AC, Aiello AE, Galea S, Ratanatharathorn A, Noronha C, Wildman DE, Uddin M.
 J Affect Disord. 2016 Dec;206:181-188. doi: 10.1016/j.jad.2016.07.038. Epub 2016 Jul 19.
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37.Acute cortisol reactivity attenuates engagement of fronto-parietal and striatal regions during emotion processing in negative mood disorders.
 Peters AT, Van Meter A, Pruitt PJ, Briceño EM, Ryan KA, Hagan M, Weldon AL, Kassel MT, Vederman A, Zubieta JK, McInnis M, Weisenbach SL, Langenecker SA.
 Psychoneuroendocrinology. 2016 Nov;73:67-78. doi: 10.1016/j.psyneuen.2016.07.215. Epub 2016 Jul 22.
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38.Chinese herbal medicines promote hippocampal neuroproliferation, reduce stress hormone levels, inhibit apoptosis, and improve behavior in chronically stressed mice.
 Sun GG, Shih JH, Chiou SH, Hong CJ, Lu SW, Pao LH.
 J Ethnopharmacol. 2016 Dec 4;193:159-168. doi: 10.1016/j.jep.2016.07.025. Epub 2016 Jul 11.
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39.Male-specific effects of lipopolysaccharide on glucocorticoid receptor nuclear translocation in the prefrontal cortex of depressive rats.
 Brkic Z, Petrovic Z, Franic D, Mitic M, Adzic M.
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40.Relative hypocortisolism is associated with obesity and the metabolic syndrome in recurrent affective disorders.
 Maripuu M, Wikgren M, Karling P, Adolfsson R, Norrback KF.
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41.Neuroendocrine Regulation of Anxiety: Beyond the Hypothalamic-Pituitary-Adrenal Axis.
 Borrow AP, Stranahan AM, Suchecki D, Yunes R.
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42.Cortisol and Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor Levels Prior to Treatment in Children With Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder.
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 J Clin Psychiatry. 2016 Jul;77(7):e855-9. doi: 10.4088/JCP.15m10146.
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44.Hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis hyperactivity is associated with decreased brain-derived neurotrophic factor in female suicide attempters.
 Ambrus L, Lindqvist D, Träskman-Bendz L, Westrin Å.
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45.Genetic predisposition for high stress reactivity amplifies effects of early-life adversity.
 McIlwrick S, Rechenberg A, Matthes M, Burgstaller J, Schwarzbauer T, Chen A, Touma C.
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47.The emerging role of autoimmunity in myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/cfs).
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48.Dysregulated stress signal sensitivity and inflammatory disinhibition as a pathophysiological mechanism of stress-related chronic fatigue.
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49.Altered neuroendocrine control and association to clinical symptoms in adolescent chronic fatigue syndrome: a cross-sectional study.
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  1. Is there anyone in NM who follows your protocols?

  2. The short answer to your question is we unfortunately don’t know of anyone in your area. The longer answer is that we have married two disciplines (functional medicine and chiropractic neurology) to put together what we feel is the most comprehensive program for chronic problems available today. While there are others who claim to do similar treatments we have not met any who practice exactly how we do and have made referrals in the past where the results were less than stellar. We have patients that we have worked with from all over the world. If you would like to find out how you can schedule a consultation with Dr. Rutherford to go over you particular case you can find out more at

  3. I’m in Sarasota, Florida. I’m primarily interested in what protocols you prescribe for the overactive amygdala/ stress responses? I do have a history of childhood trauma and largely unsuccessful treatment of depression/anxiety symptoms. Also now suffering from chronic migraine and arthritis/ body pain. Mind/body approaches like meditation & psychotherapy help somewhat but haven’t brought significant relief.
    I appreciate very much any help you can give. Thank you.

  4. In the context of chronic anxiety and childhood trauma we largely assess frontal lobe function. We use various eye movement testing procedures (you can look up saccade testing and optokinetic testing for a better idea) that are quantifiable and highly researched (hundreds to over a thousand peer reviewed research articles on each one compiled into the textbook “The Neurology of Eye Movements” by Leigh and Zee) to determine what areas of the brain are functioning appropriately or below par. We then start neuroplasticity based oculomotor and sensory feedback exercises to get the areas of the brain not firing correctly firing in a more normal fashion again.

    We also use targeted supplementation aimed at correcting the imbalance between the hippocampus and the amygdala. We do work in tandem with a hypnotherapist, psychologist, and a psychiatrist trained in functional medicine for tougher cases.

  5. Congratulations on your excellent work! I am healing from Hashimoto’s and agree with your approach. I am a therapist and am incorporating EMDR to help people with these symptoms, along with the recommended diet changes. You may also find interesting data on the genetic changes of the children of Holocaust survivors and books on intergenerational trauma. Keep up the great work!

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