Weight gain in CFS

Discussion in 'Fibromyalgia Main Forum' started by elliespad, Jun 8, 2012.

  1. elliespad

    elliespad Member

    This is an old post written by RichVanK explaining why those with CFS have trouble losing/maintaining weight.

    This knowledge has helped me loose 45 lbs since March 18. Thought this might help others. Thank you Rich !!

    4/27/09 9:31 AM Weight gain in CFS

    Hi, all.

    For what it's worth, in the Glutathione Depletion--Methylation Cycle Block hypothesis, weight gain is an effect of CFS, rather than the cause. Losing weight can bring some advantages, as people have already posted, in terms of one's self-image, being able to move more easily, less load on the heart, and other things, but it won't cure CFS. The process of losing weight, especially if it's done rapidly, can even make a person with CFS feel worse, because of the mobilization of lipid-soluble toxins to the blood stream in the presence of a detox system that is not working well because of the methylation cycle block and glutathione depletion.

    In the GD-MCB hypothesis, weight gain occurs when the PWC consumes carbohydrates and/or fats at a rate higher than the rate at which they can be oxidized for fuel. This rate of oxidation is limited in the PWC, because there is a partial block in the Krebs cycle at the enzyme aconitase, as a result of elevations in the concentrations of reactive oxygen species. The latter occurs because of depletion of glutathione, which is the basis of the body's antioxidant enzyme system.

    Carbohydrates and fats must enter the Krebs cycle at acetyl CoA, which is upstream of this partial block. That's why PWCs can't oxidize them very well. When carbs can't be "burned" in the Krebs cycle, the resulting pyruvate and lactate are sent to the liver and converted back to glucose by the process of gluconeogenesis. This raises the blood glucose level, and the pancreas responds by putting out more insulin. When the insulin level rises high enough, the glucose is converted to fats and stored in the fat cells, which produces the weight gain. The fats coming directly from the diet that cannot be burned are also stored in the fat cells.

    The inability of the Krebs cycle to accept fats at a normal rate is also the explanation for the stubbornness of the weight gain in CFS. In order to bring the weight down, the excess fat has to be oxidized, and the Krebs cycles can't do that at a normal rate because of the partial block. So all those people who blame PWCs for not losing weight are viewing it from the point of view of a person whose Krebs cycles are working normally. They have no idea what it's like trying to lose weight when the fire has gone out in your "fat furnaces"!

    Protein in the diet of a PWC is a different story. Proteins are broken down into amino acids, and most of the amino acids can readily be converted from one to another (if there is enough vitamin B6) and can be fed into the Krebs cycle downstream of the partial block. Therefore, PWCs can burn protein for fuel without gaining weight, and this also explains why many report having more energy and feeling better on a high-protein diet.

    However, the long-term solution is to lift the methylation cycle partial block, which in turn will allow glutathione to come back up to normal and will then lower the concentrations of the reactive oxygen species and will lift the partial block in the Krebs cycle. Then the person will be able to burn carbs and fats normally again, and the weight can be more easily brought back under control.

    If this sounds like a "happy ever after" story, that's what it is intended to be, but it's not a fairy tale. It's for real. If you want to know about the test for the methylation cycle block and glutathione depletion, and the low-cost, over-the-counter treatment for it, look for some of my recent posts. I'm not selling anything, and am not financially involved with either the test or the treatment.

    Best regards,


    [This Message was Edited on 04/27/2009]

  2. hermitlady

    hermitlady Member

    So, what have you been eating? Mainly protein I assume. Fill me in if you don't mind. I could sure use to lose some weight!

    Like many of us, I'm so inactive that I probably don't burn many calories on an average "couch potato" day.

    Have you been able to exercise? I can't do much other than stretching/yoga type stuff due to bursitis in my hips (among other things).

    Congrats to you, I'll bet you feel great about yourself and this huge accomplishment. xoxo
  3. elliespad

    elliespad Member

    Yes it feels good to get the weight off. But, no, I can't exercise. Once or twice a week I drive up to Lake George (15 minutes away) and walk along the water, about 1/4 mile. It has concrete walkway, level and there are benches every 30-50 feet so I stop at each one. I wouldn't call it exercise but it is movement. Then I can't walk at all for a couple days, and hobble horrible. Haven't been able to go in about a week now, so it's not anything I can do reliably. 45 lbs. down and it doesn't feel any easier to walk or stand, but I'm keeping at it. Then I eat my lunch in my car overlooking the lake.

    I eat VERY lean protein (meaning chicken breast or eggs 95% of the time, about 2-4 oz per meal), vegetables every meal(not the starchy ones) 1 or 2 servings of fruit, no dairy and hardly any fat. I'm strict. I don't cheat EVER. It's slow going, but it's going. I had pork once, taco seasoned ground beef twice, turkey twice and steak 3 or 4 times, the rest of the time I've had chicken breast or eggs.

    I eat a LOT of Thai food (spicy), a LOT of mushroom and pepper omelets, a LOT of Chicken with Garlic and fried peppers, with salsa and jalapeno, a LOT of chicken stirfry, and chicken with any vegetable, like asparagus, or brocoli. I have a salad almost every day and allow myself a tiny bit of bottled dressing, measured.

    I read somewhere that to loose a lot of weight you have to treat it likes it's your job. I ALWAYS make sure I have several meals of cut up chicken cooked, and 1/2 doz. hard boiled eggs already peeled. Vegetables cut and bagged or a few days cooked ahead. That way I don't make bad choices or get overly hungry. Something is always ready. I eat everything fresh, nothing canned or frozen, but I've always eaten like that.
    [This Message was Edited on 06/08/2012]
  4. MicheleK

    MicheleK Member

    I am very inactive due to M.E, CFS. I spent almost six of the last 7 years bedridden. I am now in bed half the time and in a recliner the other half. Improvement but not any physical movement.

    I always at very little. I have POTS and it stunts my appetite. Still, I didn't lose weight. So I decided to try a higher protien diet by drinking protien shakes and making myself eat at least one normal meal a day. (no restrictions). I also allowed myself either a yogurt or ice cream each day.

    I was stunned when weight just started to come off. In the first month of making sure i got 60 grams of protien a day, I lost 7lbs without any exercise. I have continued to do this and I have now lost 14lbs. I am amazed. All these years I thought you couldn't lose weight without movement. Wrong!

    I am happy I discovered this. This is what works for my body. I do not experience hunger but then again I had stunted hunger for a long time.

    It was interesting to read the article and learn a bit about the Krebs cycle. By the way, I have been tested and do have the Methylation blockage. So now I understand more why the protien thing is helping my body shed pounds. Thanks for reposting it.

  5. gb66

    gb66 Well-Known Member

    I gained 40 pounds the first year after getting CFS/FM. I had never weighed over 124 prior to that and lost down to 106 when the CFS hit.

    One year later, I weighed about 145. Later, got up to 170. I have struggled for all these years, gone on several different diets but always lost some and then regained it.

    I was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes last year and began a lower carbohydrate meal plan. I cut my carb intake by about 1/2. I eat about 165 to 180 carbs a day now. I eat all the protein I want, any low carb vegs. and limit potatoes, rice, etc., limit fruits to two servings a day and moderate fat intake, meaning I've cut back on butter/margarine, some eggs and full fat cheese, 2% milk.

    In the last year, I've lost almost 15 pounds and I wasn't even trying to lose weight. I was just trying to keep my blood sugar under control. (Carbohydrates raise blood glucose levels).

    I am amazed. I can't exercise at all either so this is just the different meal plan in action. I'm never too hungry like I used to be. I eat a little sweets now and then but used to eat a LOT.

    Protein is very important. I think it's about balance too. I haven't eliminated any foods from my diet. I can't eat whole grain products so eat white bread. GB66
    [This Message was Edited on 06/09/2012]