Alcohol intolerance may occur in ME/CFS. It usually develops after the onset of the illness, where the patient was previously able to tolerate alcohol. It may form part of a wider range of allergies and sensitivities that can develop during the course of the illness.
Recovery from CFS/ME is often accompanied by the return of alcohol tolerance.
A 2019 study with Stanford ME/CFS Initiative reported that 66% of subjects meeting the 1994 Fukuda CFS criteria were less able to tolerate alcohol compared to their pre-illness state. This finding replicates those in a 2004 study of patients fulfilling UK criteria for chronic fatigue syndrome referred to a specialist clinic: two-thirds reduced alcohol intake. The most common reasons were increased tiredness after drinking (67%), increased nausea (33%), exacerbated hangovers (23%) and sleep disturbance (24%).
Prevalence[edit | edit source]
- 1995, Katrina Berne, PhD, reported an estimated prevalence of 45-75% for alcohol intolerance (although she notes that this symptom may be underreported and therefore more prevalent than indicated).
- 2001, In a Belgian study, 59.5% of patients meeting the Fukuda criteria and 63.7% of patients meeting the Holmes criteria, in a cohort of 2073 CFS patients, reported alcohol intolerance.
- A 2019 study with Stanford ME/CFS Initiative reported that 66% of subjects meeting the Fukuda 1994 CFS criteria were less able to tolerate alcohol compared to their pre-illness state.
Symptom recognition[edit | edit source]
Research studies[edit | edit source]
- 2004, Alcohol use in chronic fatigue syndrome
Possible causes[edit | edit source]
- Channelopathy has been proposed as a mechanism of the illness which would explain intolerance to alcohol and other drugs.
- Gut fermentation problems
- Alcohol is a depressant of the central nervous system, which tends to be hyper-reactive in people with ME/CFS
- Alcohol is toxic for the liver, and many people with ME/CFS have suboptimal liver function
- Alcohol can interfere with the methylation cycle
- Alcohol is a vasodilator - this will exacerbate vascular symptoms such as neurally mediated hypotension or POTS
Potential treatments[edit | edit source]
If a patient presents with alcohol intolerance, alcohol should be avoided, including that in mouthwashes and herbal tinctures.
See also[edit | edit source]
Learn more[edit | edit source]
- Alcohol intolerance in CFS – gives us a clue as to the mechanisms of fatigue by Sarah Myhill for ProHealth
References[edit | edit source]
- Myhill, Sarah (Sep 21, 2015). "Alcohol intolerance in CFS - gives us a clue as to the mechanisms of fatigue". Prohealth. Retrieved Jul 9, 2019.
- Chu, Lily; Valencia, Ian J.; Garvert, Donn W.; Montoya, Jose G. (Feb 5, 2019). "Onset Patterns and Course of Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome". Frontiers in Pediatrics. 7. doi:10.3389/fped.2019.00012. ISSN 2296-2360.
- Woolley, James; Allen, Roz; Wessely, Simon (Feb 2004). "Alcohol use in chronic fatigue syndrome". Journal of Psychosomatic Research. 56 (2): 203–206. doi:10.1016/S0022-3999(03)00077-1.
- De Becker, Pascale; McGregor, Neil; De Meirleir, Kenny (December 2001). "A definition‐based analysis of symptoms in a large cohort of patients with chronic fatigue syndrome". Journal of Internal Medicine. 250 (3): 234–240. doi:10.1046/j.1365-2796.2001.00890.x.
- Berne, Katrina (Dec 1, 1995), Running on Empty: The Complete Guide to Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFIDS), 2nd ed., Hunter House, p. 58, ISBN 978-0897931915
- Verrillo - Channelopathies
- Verrillo - Gut fermentation and small intestine bacterial overgrowth (SIBO)
- Verrillo - Foods to Avoid
Myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME) - A disease often marked by neurological symptoms, but fatigue is sometimes a symptom as well. Some diagnostic criteria distinguish it from chronic fatigue syndrome, while other diagnostic criteria consider it to be a synonym for chronic fatigue syndrome. A defining characteristic of ME is post-exertional malaise (PEM), or post-exertional neuroimmune exhaustion (PENE), which is a notable exacerbation of symptoms brought on by small exertions. PEM can last for days or weeks. Symptoms can include cognitive impairments, muscle pain (myalgia), trouble remaining upright (orthostatic intolerance), sleep abnormalities, and gastro-intestinal impairments, among others. An estimated 25% of those suffering from ME are housebound or bedbound. The World Health Organization (WHO) classifies ME as a neurological disease.