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 or chronic fatigue syndrome, often used when both illnesses are considered the same.