Fatigue is one of the most prominent and disabling symptoms of Multiple Sclerosis (MS) and many other conditions. Constant, incapacitating tiredness limits social participation and affects performance in all activities of daily life.
But fatigue is not specific to MS. Fatigue is also characteristic of Parkinson’s Disease, Alzheimer’s Disease, Depression, several autoimmune disorders (eg, Sjogren’s syndrome, Rheumatoid Arthritis, Systemic Lupus Erythematosus [SLE]) and the defining symptom of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.
So how does "Fatigue" relate to other conditions?
Brown and his colleagues, in their article published in BMC Medicine, believe the cause of fatigue does not differ depending on disease. Rather, it stems from body inflammation and subsequent immune activation, oxidative stress and mitochondrial dysfunction.
Mitochondria are free-floating, bean-shaped organelles that live in almost every cell of our body. They generate more than 90% of the energy needed by our bodies to sustain life and promote growth. Cells that require the most energy - such as the brain, heart, skeletal muscles, and the eye - contain the most mitochondria.
Targeting the pathways and triggers that underlie fatigue may show benefit for many different diseases. Research has already shown the benefits of certain antioxidant compounds (including N-acetyl cysteine, omega-3’s, curcumin, and coenzyme Q10) in modifying pathways that are involved with chronic inflammation, oxidative stress, and immune function disruption. More research is needed but current research shows promise for symptom-specific, rather than disease-specific therapies.