ME and CFS Medical Abnormalities – Lipid Issues


Following is a list of articles about abnormalities in lipids in ME and CFS.

Links to the more than 1,000 peer-reviewed journal articles are listed on the ME and CFS Medical Abnormalities page of this website.


Maes M, Mihaylova I, Leunis JC. In chronic fatigue syndrome, the decreased levels of omega-3 poly-unsaturated fatty acids are related to lowered serum zinc and defects in T cell activation. Neuro Endocrinol Lett. 2005 Dec;26(6):745-51. PMID: 16380690

The results of this study show that a decreased availability of omega3 poly-unsaturated fatty acids plays a role in the pathophysiology of CFS and is related to the immune pathophysiology of CFS.


Liu Z, Wang D, Xue Q, Chen J, Li Y, Bai X, Chang L. Determination of fatty acid levels in erythrocyte membranes of patients with chronic fatigue syndrome. Nutr Neurosci. 2003 Dec;6(6):389-92.

Levels of the arachidonic acid (ARA) and docosahexanoic acid (DHA) were decreased in patients suffered from CFS. However, the levels of the palmitic acid and oleic acid were increased. We speculated that there are two possible mechanisms–one of which is that oxidative stress has led to an excessive oxidation and resulting in the above fatty acids. Alternatively, insufficiency of ingestion of fatty acids might not be the major cause.


Gray JB, Martinovic AM. Eicosanoids and essential fatty acid modulation in chronic disease and the chronic fatigue syndrome. Med Hypotheses. 1994 Jul;43(1):31-42. PMID: 7968718

The authors suggest that essential fatty acids may play a role in CFS.


Ogawa R, Toyama S, Matsumoto H. Chronic fatigue syndrome–cases in the Kanebo Memorial Hospital. Nihon Rinsho. 1992 Nov;50(11):2648-52. PMID: 1337561

Some CFS patients in this study had mild elevation of antibodies against Epstein-Barr Virus and immunologic abnormalities (natural killer cell dysfunction and high rates of skin reactivity to house dust, pollen, drugs and common food). In these patients, the researchers found decreases in serum concentrations of arachidonic acid and dihomogamma-linolenic acid.


Horrobin DF. Post-viral fatigue syndrome, viral infections in atopic eczema, and essential fatty acids. Med Hypotheses. 1990 Jul;32(3):211-7. PMID: 2204789

The authors propose an interaction between infections and essential fatty acid metabolism in post viral fatigue syndrome.


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