The role of essential fatty acids in chronic fatigue syndrome. A case-controlled study of red-cell membrane essential fatty acids (EFA) and a placebo-controlled treatment study with high dose of EFA.


Warren G, McKendrick M, Peet M




Acta Neurol Scand


OBJECTIVE: To replicate the treatment study by Behan et al. (1990) using current research criteria for Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS). METHOD: Fifty patients who fulfilled the Oxford Criteria for CFS were randomly allocated to treatment with either Efamol Marine or placebo for 3 months. They were seen monthly and completed a physical symptoms checklist and the Beck Inventory for Depression and reported if they were the same, better or worse at the end of the study. RESULTS: Symptoms generally improved with time but not significantly and there were no significant differences between the treatment and placebo groups. Pretreatment red-cell membrane (RBC) lipids of patients compared with age-and sex-matched normal controls showed no significant differences. DISCUSSION: The results of this study contrast sharply with the previous study where 85% of patients had a clinically significant improvement of symptoms with Efamol Marine over a 3-month treatment period.