Are Antioxidants Problematic in the Treatment of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome?

What may be a driving force for both clinical benefits as well as relative risk of using antioxidants as well as omega-3 fish oil is the redox stability of the patient being treated. In the case of CFS, that redox stability or redox buffer capacity is very poor and demonstrable by ETM in all cases of CFS so far tested. The point is that antioxidants are all potentially pro-oxidants and possibly harmful if used to excess in an overly oxidizing state such as CFS as they cannot be maintained in their reduced state. If fully oxidized, antioxidants are pro-oxidants if they cannot be re-reduced. Published meta-analysis studies of anti-oxidant use show both increased mortality and morbidity in populations of both healthy and non-healthy patients. It is likely that if those studies could separate the redox stable vs. the redox unstable sub-sets of patients under study, the data might be much more compelling concerning the risk vs. benefit of pharmacologic doses of antioxidants.

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