How are the essential fatty acids working?
The exact mechanisms are not known and can only be guessed at. It may be that the persistent virus reduced the levels of EFAs, thus causing the symptoms of fatigue and aching muscles. The treatment of Efamol Marine made up this deficit. Secondly, evening primrose oil makes prostaglandins, which are needed for interferon, the body’s own way to fight viruses.
Conclusions for treatment of post-viral fatigue syndrome
Essential fatty acids provide a rational, safe and effective treatment for patients with this condition. Correcting the biochemical abnormality does bring about improvements in symptoms, though it is not a cure. It could be used together with other treatments.
As in all viral infections, it is very important to take evening primrose oil together with its vitamin and mineral co-factors: Vitamin C, Vitamin B6, nicotinamide (B3), biotin, zinc, magnesium and calcium.
Glandular fever (Epstein-Barr virus infection, or infectious mononucleosis)
Research was done recently in the USA on 20 college students who had had a bout of glandular fever. The results show that this viral infection leaves patients with lower levels of essential fatty acids when the acute phase of the illness seems over, only returning to normal during the next 6 months in most cases.
In 7 of the 20 students their fatty acid levels had not returned to normal one year later. Low levels of essential fatty acids clearly coincided with increased symptoms. They experienced more fatigue, malaise, and difficulty in returning to full activity than the other 13 students.
Infection with the Epstein-Barr virus badly affects the levels of essential fatty acids. But these low levels seem to persist after the acute phase of the illness is apparently over and may leave the door dangerously open to illness some years later which may not appear connected with glandular fever in the teenage years.
A rational treatment for glandular fever and the months following it would be essential fatty acids, in the form of evening primrose oil and fish oils.
Viral infections in atopic eczema
Patients with atopic eczema are particularly susceptible to viral infections. They commonly get upper respiratory tract infections, and have a greater chance of getting an Epstein-Barr virus. They are also at particular danger from the smallpox vaccination.
Viral infections can also sometimes bring on an atopic syndrome in people who have no family history of atopic conditions.
It is now known that people with atopic eczema have a defect in their delta-6-desaturase enzyme, which blocks the metabolic pathway of essential fatty acids. By by-passing this metabolic block, evening primrose oil, together with fish oils, supply the missing essential fatty acids with their anti-viral properties and their ability to help maintain a healthy immune system.
Herpes simplex virus
Although no specific work has been done on evening primrose oil and herpes simplex virus, it is known that essential fatty acids have potent virus-killing properties. In the absence of other effective treatment, evening primrose oil with fish oil would be a rational treatment.
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