Fibromyalgia? CFIDS?
or Hemochromatosis!?
From Sandra Thomas, President
American Hemochromatosis Society, Inc.
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This letter will be of great concern to everyone who is diagnosed with CFIDS or Fibromyalgia (like me!). Please send this article to anyone concerned or publish it in your newsletters, newspapers, etc. My name is Philip de Sterke and I work for the Dutch Liver patients Organization. You can correspond through internet: or
This article can also be read on:
A (possible) underestimated cause of chronic fatigue: Hemochromatosis
Dr. Philip H.L. de Sterke.
Hemochromatosis (iron overload) is the most common genetic disorder. Approximately 1 in 200 to 300 humans have this disorder (1-5). Most doctors still think it is a rare disorder (1). About 10% of the population carries the gene that causes iron overload. When someone inherits this gene from both parents, he or she may(6) absorb to much iron from their normal diet. This iron will be stored in the liver and several other tissues in the body and can cause a great number of symptoms. These symptoms, as a cause of Hemochromatosis, can be found in babies and small children, but it is most common above the age of 40. Unfortunately, when symptoms are found at this age, it is considered a "late diagnosis" and the damage has been done. Early screening and diagnosis could help patients completely avoid organ damage and premature death.
One or more of the following complaints can point to Hemochromatosis. * Chronic fatigue * Increased susceptibility for infections * Liver function abnormalities * Arthritis (pain, swelling and morning stiffness of certain joints, often the hands) * Diabetes * Loss of libido (less desire in sex) and impotence * Infertility * Swollen stomach (or uncomfortable, heavy feeling, mostly on the right side of the belly) * Heart complaints * Shortness of breath with physical effort * Skin pigmentation (bronze or grey coloured skin) * Loss of weight * Decrease in body hair * Early menopause * Porphyria Cutanea Tarda
Every doctor should consider Hemochromatosis in his diagnose when there is no direct cause found for one of the above complaints (2, p. 158-9), 3, 7-9).
Striking is that not all of these complaints are mentioned in every publication. This is probably because of the great variety of complaints caused by the excess iron. Chronic fatigue is most often mentioned, and one article is entirely devoted to this problem (8). This article states for example: "Fatigue is the most commonest symptom present at diagnosis regardless of whether cirrhosis is present or not. Although also a symptom of liver failure and cirrhosis, fatigue is often a prominent symptom of precirrhotic haemochromatosis with normal liver functions, suggesting that it is iron overload per se that causes this symptom" (...) "A number of studies have examined the usefulness of a variety of investigations in the assessment of patients presenting with chronic fatigue in general practice. In general such investigations have not proved useful as only a low yield of abnormal results has been found. However, such studies have not included screening tests for haemochromatosis and sometimes even liver function tests are not included"(8).
On the preceding list of symptoms we can add that patients with Hemochromatosis can have problems with: diarrhea, constipation, depression, cramp, irritability, less appetite, fainting, confusion, immune-disorders, less concentration, sleeping problems, change in body temperature, hair loss and food intolerance (3, 10).
There are doctors who state that patients with a diagnosis of Fibromyalgia, CFIDS or Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) have a greatly increased chance of having Hemochromatosis (10). This sound logical, but until now there has been nothing published about this in the scientific magazines.
A first diagnosis can be made most cost-effectively by measuring the Transferrin Saturation % (T.S.% (11)) and the serum ferritin (by taking some blood from the patient). When the T.S. is above 45 % and/or ferritin is above 150 there will follow further examination to establish the diagnosis (12). With a DNA-test (cheapest is $78) the diagnosis is confirmed in about 85% off all cases (13). A liver biopsy, until recently "the gold standard" , is not necessary for the diagnosis of hemochromatosis (2, 9) but your doctor can ask for this to establish the diagnosis with more precision. When there is doubt about the diagnosis or the biopsy is refused, for understandable reasons, a trial of phlebotomy can establish the final diagnosis (2; p.153, 3). A liver biopsy however could be useful to estimate the damage to the liver!
When you are having one of the above symptoms and your doctor can not find a direct cause, you should ask your doctor if (s)he has already done the mentioned tests or if (s)he wants to do this. Also an eventual anemia (shortage of iron) should be tracked this way. Measuring of hemoglobin and/or hematocrit does not give a certain diagnosis and they are therefore of no use for the diagnosis of this disorder! Be sure to know your own exact T.S.% and serum ferritin level! As mentioned before, doctors underestimate the problem of iron overload and use too high serum values for their "normal range" and/or do not respond when they are elevated.
This is concerning, as it is essential to intervene as quickly as possible. For this reason, several investigations and (medical-) organizations dispute for the preventive screening of the whole population on Hemochromatosis. According to them this should be done with everyone above the age of 20 years (1, 2; p. 140). Despite overwhelming evidence supporting the necessity of screening, several investigators and mainstream medical organizations still dispute the benefits of preventive screening.
Most people still think that when you are tired you should take iron supplements. After what you have read here, it should be clear that iron supplements should not be taken before one is thoroughly examined, (14) including the above mentioned tests. This is not always done, with possible negative consequences. If you used iron-supplements (in great quantities?) in the past, without being thoroughly examined, you should ask for these tests.
The treatment of Hemochromatosis is simple and cheap, namely bloodletting. With this method excess iron is removed easily and quickly in large amounts in the most efficient way. When bloodletting is not possible there are alternative options. After treatment, and if the diagnosis is fairly early, most complaints usually disappear.
When you want more information on hemochromatosis, you can contact: American Hemochromatosis Society, Inc. 777 E. Atlantic Avenue, Z-363 Delray Beach, Florida USA 33483-5352 Email:
Please send a SASE with two stamps for free AHS educational brochures...
Dr. McCain
< 6-4-99
I am Dr. McCain a practicing naturopathic doctor and I was alarmed at this article. It is completely opposite in most cases to my research. I use a Live Field Microscopy system, (a Dr. Bradford developed scope) and my findings for the Chronic Fatigue patients as well as the Fibromyalgia patients is this. In EVERY case studied the patients had fungus in the blood stream. Systemic candida. When that was detoxed, and it is tricky, the patient recovers quite nicely. This fungus in the blood stream is also seen in my cancer patients, lupus and others.
In Dr. Bradfords clinic in Mexico, where I trained, the statistics for cancer patients with systemic yeast infections in the blood is staggering. Bradford estimates 80% of all cancer patients die from the systemic yeast infection, not the cancer. It is truly epidemic in the American population at this time. The feds closed my microscope clinic down from public use two years ago, when I started to publish my findings. Now, I do private research which they have no jurisdiction over. The other classic with this chronic systemic infection is anemia. Yes, the people need iron. I look directly at the red blood cells on a live slide and can see anemic cells in about 60 seconds. The very nature of chronic fatigue is fatigue and this is due in great part to anemia and exhausted immune response trying to fight the yeast.
Some of the causes I am investigating : a) increased radiation on the planet (this increases fungal growth) b) pathenogens deliberately let into the environment c) medical treatment with radiation & chemotherapy d) parasitic infections are often seen with the fungal infection e) contaminated water supply
Many of these ailments were not in the medical books 10 years ago! I noticed a huge surge in sickness in the entire US population after the Gulf War. GWS patients also have systemic yeast as well as some other infections. Now this systemic yeast is deadly when left untreated. Conventional medicine does nothing. The antibiotics make it worse. Most patients end up on Prozac! One of the number one symptoms is acid reflux (caused by yeast fermentation). You have seen advertisements for stomach medicine on the TV for this new Reflux Disease. This new disease has sprung up in the last few years!
Reflux, indigestion, joint pain and stiffness (often diagnosed and treated like arthritis), hair loss, loose and bleeding teeth, chronic fatigue, depression (due to the infection going into the liver), skin rashes (due to liver overload and body trying to get rid of it throught the skin), kidney problems (due to infection in the kidneys - dialysis centers popping up like donut shops in every plaza now-a-days) are all associated with chronic systemic yeast infections (candida & mutant forms of it).
I have also found many mysterious bacterial infections that are chronic in many of my patients. Their immune systems are working overtime to rid the body of them, and when they can't then the body starts to break down in other areas.
I have also found in my research that certain leukemia disorders are infectious (contagious). The medical field has little success in treating this ailment. My approach is simple. In leukemia the white blood cells (immune response) come out in full force and attack the red blood cells. The conventional medical field finds this anomally acceptable. I don't. I don't believe the white blood cells just attack for no reason. I had a patients who had just been to a hospital for 2 weeks with her mother who had died of leukemia. She also had leukemia and did not know it until I looked in her blood. In my testing I have a protocol that looks for a viral band (even though I can not see the actual virus with this scope - need electron scope for that) The viral band was present indicating a viral infection was present. It was my feeling that it must be in the red blood cells and that is why the white cells are attacking. I treated her with a powerful natural antivirals as well as pumped in antioxidants to fight along with the immune system offering support for the white blood cells (conventional medicine takes the other approach and tries to kill off the white cells.) In less than 2 weeks, she was back to normal! Had she have gone conventional chemo and radiation she would be dead.
I have helped thousands of people worldwide. I can be reached at I have been in the natural medicine field for 20 years. There is much more going on out there and in my opinion conventional medicine theories and hereditary clap trap is a smoke screen to cover up the real truth. I am currently researching homeopathic formulas to help with this nasty contrail issue. More on that later...
Dr. McCain