Should people with chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) or fibromyalgia be blood donors?
Because of recent research suggesting that XMRV virus may be present in a higher percentage of people with chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), blood bank officials are debating whether people with CFS should be allowed to be blood donors.
An argument could be made equally well that people with prostate cancer should not be allowed to be blood donors, as that illness is also associated with higher levels of XMRV virus. Yet another question is, should any patient who is immune-suppressed be prevented from giving blood, as they are more likely to carry infections?
CFS patients are likely to have multiple different infections associated with poor immune function, so although the question of XMRV gets more attention, the issue goes much farther.
Although this is likely to become a politically and emotionally charged topic, it does not need to be.
Research has shown that people with chronic fatigue syndrome have a very significant deficiency of red blood cells, which is likely a major contributor to their symptoms. Because they are also dehydrated, the blood tests performed looking for anemia come back as falsely normal.
Donating blood is likely to worsen their CFS and is therefore not recommended, just as in anyone with anemia. Instead, those with CFS should consider following our "S.H.I.N.E. Protocol" (Sleep, Hormonal support, Infections, Nutritional support, and Exercise as able).
S.H.I.N.E. includes numerous measures for helping those with CFS, including measures that can help support the production of red blood cells.
S.H.I.N.E. has been shown to help 91 percent of CFS patients, and is used at the Fibromyalgia and Fatigue Centers nationally.
Posts by Jacob Teitelbaum, M.D.
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