ME   ::  Myalgic Encephalomyelitis
  CFS  ::  Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
  FM   ::  Fibromyalgia
  MCS ::  Multiple Chemical Sensitivity

ABN 67 476 925 016   ME/CFS/FM Support Association Queensland Inc..
Tropical North Queensland Support Group
No 18, December 2007.Newsletter.

Phone (07) 4091 2970   Email:

I hope this Newsletter finds you all happy and well. Personally, I have never known such a period of contrasts. My health has almost fully recovered. I started a full-time job. I acquired food poisoning and had a life-threatening accident. Three weeks off work from my brand new job:- a holiday with crippling pain. Then a complete recovery and return to work. I can only say one thing - God is good!

What is ME/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (ME/CFS)?
Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (M.E.) also referred to as Myalgic Encephalopathy, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Chronic Post-Viral or Post-Infectious Fatigue Syndrome and Chronic Fatigue and Immune Dysfunction Syndrome (CFIDS), is a serious, very debilitating and complex illness that affects multiple systems in the body. Although chronic fatigue is a very common health problem, ME/CFS affects between 0.2 - 0.4 % of the population with a higher rate in females (0.37%) than in males (0.087%). One in 116 women aged 50 to 59 years is affected (a higher rate than cervical cancer) and one in 3000 Australians is severely ill with ME/CFS. As the underlying pathology of ME/CFS is not yet completely understood, there is no single diagnostic test and no known cure. Research is currently directed towards understanding the roles of persistent infection, neurological abnormalities, genetic factors, cardiac abnormalities, genetic factors, gut dysfunction, metabolic disturbances, stress and toxic exposures in causing and/or perpetuating ME/CFS.

We still need an office assistant. At this time, the office is not open regularly. If you phone, please leave your name and number, and your call WILL be returned as we are able. The office is fully equipped thanks to a number of Grants. We even have a VOIP phone which enables 10 cent untimed calls to landline numbers.

We have every intention of making a return to regular meetings. Because of current employment commitments, and to attend all meetings, we will have to hold future meetings at night or on weekends.
Your feedback or requests about meeting timing and/or location is vitally important if these meetings are to meet YOUR needs.
In the meantime, this support group still offers information by phone or mail or email, support by phone or personal visit, advocacy and referral, and access to your local contact.
We've got you covered !

The Queensland Association can only operate successfully if we join with them as financial members. It doesn’t cost much, and you will be supporting the CFS network and State Newsletter.

  • Contributions to this newsletter are always welcome: recipes, jokes, personal stories and victories etc.
  • If you don’t require this Newsletter, please mark it “return to sender” and post it back to us.
  • Please let us know if you have email. It will save us postage.

We need donations to cover office and Newsletter expenses. They can be paid direct into our Bendigo Bank account. BSB 633-000 A/c No 114 607 336. Your support ensures our financial survival.

Queensland Association
The Australian Society
Victorian Society
NSW Society

  We are STILL missing several books.
Please check to see if you have “Chronic Fatigue Syndrome – A Treatment Guide”, by Verillo and Gellman. Please return all books that you have out on loan.
Martin Truman has donated a relaxation CD that is available for loan.

Please feel free to call local contacts:
Atherton:Neil Reynolds4091 2970email
Cairns:Neville Pedler4053 6187email
Cardwell:Joy Dickson4066 0178email
Gordonvale:Irene Murgatroyd4056 1148
Innisfail:Gwen Hammerton4063 2334email
Lake EachamJohn Cuff4095 3063email
Mareeba:Christel Venturi4092 3287
Mossman:Sue Dennis4098 1637
Ravenshoe:Les4097 0132
Smithfield:Peter Cummins4057 5920
Townsville:Ashley Hinds4778 3560email
Townsville:Marta Botta4773 9972
OR;- if there is no group near you, you may wish to become a contact. Please advise Neil ASAP.

Disclaimer: Please note that information provided is given in good faith. No Liability will be accepted, as the information is not intended to replace professional medical help and treatment.

Copyright: Information provided by this group has been given for the education and training of the disabled. This material may be subject to copyright, and as such, the user is only permitted to retain documents for their own use. Any other use or copying must be approved by the copyright holders.

Chemicals: Many people attending our meetings are sensitive to chemicals and scents. For the comfort of others, please refrain from wearing perfumes or strong scents. Please do not bring agricultural chemicals or tobacco odours to the meetings.


  1. "Chronic Fatigue Syndrome is not death, but it takes your life away. It's very limiting. It engulfs you in uncertainty because it's so unpredictable"
    M.E. and You Journal, CFS Society of NSW, June 2007.
  2. "Life is not a dress rehearsal. This is my life and it's the only one I'll ever have. CFIDS or not, I don't intend to forget to live it".
    Emerge, CFS/ME Victoria, Winter 2007.

Some excellent information has become available in the last 3 months. Space and time does not permit us to include very much of it here, but we will offer the headlines. If you would like printed copies, please let us know.

From the ME/CFS Society of NSW:-

  1. Parenting with CFS/FM.
  2. Sense and sensitivity - coping with noise and bright lights.
  3. Could you be vitamin D deficient?
  4. Report from Arthritis Foundation's fibromyalgia seminar.
  5. Report from the 8th IACFS Conference, Florida.
From the Queensland Association:-
  • Is there a pot of gold at the end of the CFS rainbow? - managing emotions.
  • Tinker tailor sculptor, scribe - key to living positively.
  • A fibromyalgia patient's guide to exercise.
  • Coeliac disease - the great mimic.
From the Victorian CFS Society:-
  1. Condensed Clinical Definition of CFS from the Canadian Guidelines.
  2. Observations from the ME/CFS Research Forum, Adelaide, March 2007.
Other sources of information:-
  • “The lazy gland", story about the thyroid gland, Health Options issue 17, 2007. From the publication “Uncensored”, Issues 6 January 2007.
  • “Wakeup foods for fatigue”, Treating medical problems with healing foods. Source unknown.

Hidden causes of fatigue.

Maybe your exhaustion is not due to a lack of sleep. Other culprits behind "TATT" - a doctor's shorthand for "Tired All The Time" - include depression and the following energy sappers:

Histamine and other chemicals our bodies release during the allergic response tend to cause sleepiness. Allergy attacks caused by triggers such as dandelions can keep you up all night wheezing and sniffing, as can airway irritation caused by dust mites. Furthermore, many medications used to treat allergies such as anti-histamines can exacerbate fatigue.

The main job of red blood cells is to carry oxygen from the lungs to the rest of the body. If you don't have enough red blood cells, or if they aren't carrying enough oxygen, the result may be anaemia and severe fatigue. A simple blood test can detect anaemia. The cause may be a bleeding ulcer, or a poor diet.

Low Hormone Levels:
In men, low levels of the hormone testosterone can cause exhaustion, weight loss, a lack of interest in sex, and loss of motivation for normal life activities. In women, low levels of oestrogen can cause similar problems. Too little or too much of other important hormones, such as the thyroid hormone or thyroid stimulating hormone, can also result in fatigue. Luckily, hormone levels can easily be checked with blood tests, and low levels can be supplemented.

Irritable Bowel Syndrome
This disorder of the bowel is responsible for many uncomfortable symptoms, and may also result in poor processing and absorption of nutrient from the food you eat. The result can look like malnutrition and feel like chronic fatigue.

Adapted from The Readers Digest, September 2002


Stomach acid deficiency (hypochlorhydria)

Hypochlorhydria is the lack of adequate stomach acid (hydrochloric acid) production [writes Clinical Nutritionist Blake Graham]. Some people actually have a condition known as achlorhydria, in which a person produces no stomach acid. Over 30% of those over 60 have some degree of hypochlorhydria but it can be present in people of any age. The presence of hypochlorhydria is an extremely important finding, as stomach acid is responsible for two key func­tions. The sterilization of food against potentially harmful micro-organisms reduces our risk of being colonized by every micro-organism we ingest daily. Stomach acid plays an important role in the digestion of protein molecules and the absorption of minerals and vitamins. Stomach acid also signals the release of digestive enzymes and bicarbonate from the pancreas required for digestion. Insufficient stom­ach acid also causes absorption of partially digested food molecules, leading to food sensitivities. Food components that should be digested and absorbed in the upper intestines, when not processed properly, pass through into the lower intestines providing fuel for harmful micro-organisms, therefore increasing their numbers. Low stomach acid causes gastrointestinal overgrowth of pathogens, malabsorption of minerals, vitamins and amino acids, and food sensitivities. Low stomach acid levels can be genetic or acquired.

A number of different medical conditions, listed below, are associated with much higher rates of hypochlorhydria. Dr Jonathan Wright has found many individuals with CFS have low stomach acid levels (Wright 2006). I referred a CFS patient of mine to a colleague who does stomach acid testing. We both thought she would come back as low stom­ach acid. We were both amazed when she tested as severely hyperchlorhydric, with excess stomach acid levels. An Aus­tralian endocrinologist found 60% of people with CFS had delayed gastric emptying, which could be caused by high or low stomach acid, although this has not been confirmed. Note that this list contains a high proportion of allergic, auto-immune and dermatological conditions:

Asthma, Coeliac disease, Diabetes melitis, Eczema, HIV/AIDS, Systemic Lupus Erythematosus, Pernicious anaemia, Psoriasis, Rheumatoid arthritis, Rosacea, Urti­caria (hives), Vitiligo.

Symptoms/signs of hypochlorhydria include:

  • Bloating, belching and flatulence
  • Reflux, heartburn and indigestion
  • Feeling overly "full" after eating
  • Diarrhoea or constipation
  • Food allergies
  • Nausea after taking supplements
  • Excess hair loss and nail problems

Individuals with gastrointestinal symptoms and/or evidence of malabsorption should consider a diagnostic trial of betaine-hydrochloride (stomach acid replacement supple­ments) to assess stomach acid levels. The procedure for this diagnostic trial is outlined by the following quote by Dr Jonathan Wright, nutritional medicine pioneer and author of Why Stomach Acid is Good for You.

Supplement with betaine hydrochloride-pepsin. Start with one capsule before each meal. If you don't have any problems after two or three days, take two with the meal. A few days later, you can up it to three capsules. Gradually increase the dose in this step-like fashion until you're taking five or six capsules with each meal.

Somewhere during this experiment you will either notice:

  • Improvements in digestion such as reduced bloating, less stomach fullness, improved stool formation, etc. indicating the correction of low stomach acid levels, or;
  • Heartburn, indicating your stomach acid levels have risen too high.

Safety notes: 'Hydrochloric acid should never be used with any anti-inflammatory medications, including aspirin, Indicin, Motrin, or Butazolidin, because of the risk of in­ternal bleeding.' (Dr Jonathan Wright)

If you experience any negative effects (e.g. heart burn) from betaine hydrochloride supplementation stop taking it imme­diately. Do not use betaine hydrochloride if you have a stomach ulcer.>/p>

The gold standard for stomach acid assessment is the Hei­delberg pH Diagnostic System. In this system a person swallows a capsule containing a high-frequency transmitter which measures pH levels of the digestive tract and can also diagnose some other aspects of digestive function such as delayed stomach emptying, pyloric insufficiency and heavy stomach mucus levels. For more information on this topic and for a listing of practitioners who do this test, see

Copied from ME/CFS News, West Australia, July 2007, Page 9.


Coconut benefits: - weight loss.

Delicious, smooth, creamy, dreamy coconut with its heavenly aroma — mmm, true paradise...You probably would never associate this devil food with weight loss. And sure you've got many reasons for that -coconut is loaded with fat, mostly saturated, has a lot of calories and tastes too good for a diet food. Would you dare to give in to this indulgence while dieting? I am sure you would after reading this - eating coconut on a regular basis will help you drop those extra kilos, triple your energy levels, strengthen your immune system and improve overall health. Surprisingly, depriving yourself of this delicacy is the biggest mistake any health-conscious dieter can make. Literally, coconut is your miracle food that has shown to do all this and more for millions of people.

What is Coconut

Most people think of a coconut as a nut - probably due to its look and name. Actually, coconut is a fruit, and one of the most nutritious ones you can find. Coconut has received bad publicity for its saturated fat content and presumed potential to raise cholesterol levels. But new modern discoveries have shown the importance of saturated fats for overall health and their irrelevance to cholesterol and fat gain. In fact, we all know of someone who has lost weight on a high-fat diet. But coconut story goes even beyond that. The fat found in coconut oil is so unique, that it gives you immediate energy boost of a sugar, metabolizes easier than protein, has fewer calories than any other plant or animal fat and is never deposited in your body. You know that the nature of various fats is as complicated as the impact on the body. During past decades we've learned one classification of fats based on their saturation: polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats come from plants, while saturated fats come from animal sources and from coconut and palm kernel oils. So, what is so different about the plant supply of saturated lipids? It is the size of the fat molecule, or precisely the length of its fatty acid chain. All fats and oils consist of fatty acids connected into chains of carbon atoms. The difference in length of fatty acid chain serves as a predominant factor in how a certain fat effects our bodies. While most plant and animal fats contain Long-Chain Fatty Acids (LCFAs), coconut supplies Medium-Chain Fatty Acids (MCFAs) or Medium-Chain Triglycerides (MCTs).The MCFAs have a lower melting point, a smaller molecular size and a greater solubility in water and biological fluids than the LCFAs. This unique feature gives coconut the cutting edge above all other fats.

Losing Fat With Coconut

Compared to other fats, MCTs in coconut promote weight loss through a number of mechanisms. Coconut oil has fewer effective calories than any other oil or fat - 6.8 vs. 9 calories respectively. And you know very well how calories can add up little by little. MCTs are more easily digested absorbed and used for energy instead of being stored in your body. This is because coconut fats are processed directly in the liver and immediately converted into energy without over-burdening the digestion system. Coconut oil helps regulate blood sugar minimizing insulin spikes and fat storage. For its ability to improve insulin sensitivity and glucose tolerance, it is a must-have food for all diabetics. MCTs from coconut oil are known to shift metabolism into a higher gear even more than protein causing the body to burn more calories and fat stores. And several studies have shown that if you substitute coconut for other oils, you will increase the fat-burning or thermogenic effect by 50%! Because of its easy absorption and less strain on the pancreas, liver and digestive system, coconut has better solubility in biological fluids and is highly recommended for those who have difficulty digesting fat Coconut oil has been shown to improve thyroid function thus increasing metabolism. Just the opposite is known about LCTs that come from other oils, such as soybean or corn. Unsaturated fats can actually block thyroid hormone secretion, its movement in the circulation, and the response of tissues to the hormone. If you have digestive problems and nutrient malabsorption, coconut may be the ultimate cure. A lot of people absorb the calories that come from food but bypass and excrete valuable vitamins, minerals and other micronutrients. This may be the down-ward spiral leading to cumulative weight gain and poor health. Healing effects of coconut oil sooth inflammation of the digestive tract and help those with Crohn's disease and Irritable Bowel Syndrome. Coconut's composition also makes it a truly exceptional food. It is rich in lauric acid, a proven antiviral, antibacterial and antifungal agent that kills many harmful pathogens, protects against liver damage, reduces inflammation and builds up the body's immune system. It has shown a promising effect in helping HIV and cancer patients strengthen the immunity. Lauric acid in coconut is the same lauric acid found in mothers' milk that is essential for babies' developing systems and immunity.

Even though coconut fat is saturated, it has virtually no cholesterol and no dangerous trans-fats found in vegetable oils. In fact, coconut actually has a positive effect in reducing bad cholesterol and minimizing risk of heart disease. The cholesterol-lowering properties of coconut oil result from its ability to stimulate thyroid function. Last but not least, eating coconut will provide pleasant satiety, feeling of fullness after a meal even when lesser amounts of food are consumed.

Using Coconut

Coconut oil has a long shelf life, resistant to spoilage and heat and is the safest cooking fat you can find. It has a mild delicate flavor, supplies fewer calories and is much healthier choice than all other milk and fat products.There are plenty of ways to use coconut milk, oil and pulp.

  • Substitute coconut milk in all of the recipes requiring dairy
  • Use coconut oil in place of other oils, margarine, butter, shortening
  • Add coconut oil or milk to juices and smoothies
  • Mix coconut oil with lemon juice for a delicious salad dressing
  • Use coconut oil as a wonderful moisturizer for dry skin, or as a healing mask to prevent wrinkles and blemishes.
Choose organic coconut oil, unprocessed coconut cream and milk (stay away from low-fat varieties), or better make your own from raw coconut
  • Coconut juice or water - the liquid inside the coconut when you crack it open
  • Coconut meat or pulp - the solid white meat inside the shell, contains coconut oil
  • Coconut cream - coconut meat blended and pressed
  • Coconut milk — expressed juice of grated meat and water
Other Weight-Loss Foods
Organic Flaxseed Oil and Cold-Pressed Virgin Olive Oil - use fresh liberally
Apple Cider Vinegar, Lemon Juice in sauces and dressings
Almonds, Pumpkin Seeds, Linseeds in salads, smoothies and baking for healthy fats and micronutrients
Flaxmeal, Psyllium Husk and Bran in cereal and baking for fiber contents

Elena Voropay is a professional health writer and science journalist with a passion for natural health. She is a Certified Nutritionist, Personal Trainer, Iridologist and Herbal Medicine Specialist For a wealth of information, visit her web sites at and

Copied from Options, Issue 18, 2007 , Pages 18-19.


Laugh of the month:

Some of us feel like our CFS has caused us to age prematurely. The following jokes have been plagiarised from a multitude of sources.


  • Senior citizen - anyone over 55 who still thinks life is worth living.
  • Youth is a disease from which we WILL recover
  • Most seniors acquire AIDS:
          Visual aids, hearing aids, walking aids ...........................


We have included a thought-provoking article about pesticides for your consideration. This is a copy from the Qld Association's "photocopies" available to members.



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2004 Newsletters still avialable on our old site.

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