Individuals with chronic fatigue syndrome may also experience the same symptoms as multiple chemical sensitivity. Multiple chemical sensitivity is an extreme sensitivity or allergic type of reaction to a combination of chemicals. This sensitivity is unique to individuals. It is the accounting of symptoms similar to those present in chronic fatigue syndrome disability such as joint pain, clouded thinking, memory loss, headache, fatigue, muscle aches and digestive problems.
Some additional symptoms of multiple chemical sensitivity that are not necessarily autoimmune related are eye irritation, respiratory problems, nasal and sinus irritations, skin irritations and seizures.
The link between individuals with chronic muscle fatigue and multiple chemical sensitivity is that they are both experience chronic inflammation. When the body’s immune system becomes depleted inflammation is the result. When a person has an auto immune disease they begin to show a multiple chemical sensitivity and the disease becomes worse. With an already depleted immune system any additions of toxins from a combination of chemicals makes it more difficult for the body to fight them off.
Chronic fatigue syndrome and multiple chemical sensitivity are closely related and it is difficult to determine if one causes the other or if they both result simultaneously.
There are three main theories of how multiple chemical sensitivity occurs. The first one is that somehow the immune system has become damaged or overly sensitized. The second theory is that enzymes have been depleted and internal toxins have affected the immune system. The third theory is that it is a conditioning response. This theory suggests that the body responded emotionally to an allergic reaction to a food or chemical and further exposure will cause fear or create a trigger to other foods and chemicals.
The environment in which a person spends time has a profound effect on multiple chemical dependency. Farmers that use chemical fertilizers and pesticides, industrial workers that are exposed to solvents, war veterans that were exposed to chemical warfare and employees of buildings where chemical vapors with improper ventilation all have an increased risk of getting multiple chemical dependency.
For individuals that are not exposed to chemicals risks through their work environment they still have to be careful of too much exposure. New carpeting will release certain chemical gases, cleaning supplies, printer toner, second had smoke, residing near manufacturing buildings that release chemicals into the air and water, and even certain hobbies can cause too much exposure. Photography, oil, acrylic painting and printing can cause a reaction.
For the chronic fatigue syndrome individual in the UK with these environmental conditions it is impossible to know if their symptoms are the result of their disease or a reaction to multiple chemical sensitivity.
Treatment for this condition varies. Since individuals are unique in their sensitivity what works for one will not work for the other. The basic approach for treatment is to bolster the immune system. Proper diet is a strong defense against chronic fatigue causes as well as multiple chemical sensitivity. Foods such as fresh vegetables, fruits, almonds, seeds, flax and foods high in omega –3 help reduce inflammation. In individuals where allergies occur those foods should be avoided. An increase of lean protein with foods such as chicken, turkey, fish and soy help the body to maintain proper blood sugar levels which keeps inflammation in check.
While it is impossible to avoid all exposure to chemicals or foods that trigger multiple chemical sensitivity it is possible to create a game plan to try and manage this condition.