The mysterious, chronic illnesses that might be a result of “human hibernation”

I recently came across some fascinating research that may help explain what triggers chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) and fibromyalgia (FM)…two mysterious, understudied ailments that affect approximately 2.5 million adults in the U.S. alone.

The researchers believe people with CFS and FM experience physical changes similar to those experienced by animals preparing to hunker down for a long, dark winter. The good news is, it seems they can “wake up” their metabolism with diet and supplementation…

Declining light and temperatures trigger metabolic shutdown

The ancient Celts called the halfway point between a solstice and equinox a cross-quarter day. And this weekend marks the cross-quarter day of Samhain—which falls between the autumnal equinox and the winter solstice.

Of course, ancient peoples around the world, not just in Ireland, always paid close attention to the turning of the seasons. And indeed, the effects on humans and animals alike are profound, if we take the time to notice them.

The declining heat and light, with the lowering of the sun in the sky, triggers physiological changes in millions of creatures. For example, the sun’s rays from October through April aren’t as strong in North America, north of Atlanta and Los Angeles, to trigger your skin’s natural production of the all-important vitamin D.

In the animal world, all the popular and “creepy” Halloween creatures—such as bats, snakes, and spiders—as well as many other animals are actually preparing to go into hibernation at this time of year. It could even be said they’re going into “power-save” mode for the coming months…

Their body temperatures will drop, metabolisms will slow, and oxygen consumption will go down to minimal levels. These physical adaptations help animals survive harsh winter conditions. And the new line of research I mentioned at the beginning of this Dispatch suggests that humans who suffer from CFS and FM may undergo a similar metabolic “shutdown”…

CFS and FM remain two of the biggest mysteries of modern medicine. Doctors often told patients, “it’s all in your head.”

This misguided mindset significantly delayed research into the conditions. It also reflects the sheer ignorance of some practitioners—since every medical condition is both in the head and the body, as I discussed earlier this week.

In the new study, researchers from the University of California San Diego found that those who suffer from CFS had low levels of 80 percent of their metabolites, as well as abnormalities in 20 key metabolic pathways…suggesting that CFS slows down metabolism.

The researchers said it actually resembles the dauer state experienced by nematodes, a kind of microscopic round worm. (Dauer is a German word, meaning “enduring” or “persisting.”)

Nematodes enter this state when overcrowded, over-stressed by starvation, or when exposed to toxic environments. Research biologists who study aging conduct experiments on nematodes in the dauer state because it represents a “non-aging” state when no cell death occurs.

Similarly, humans seem to come down with CFS or FM after a stressful, triggering event—such as an acute infection, exposure to toxic chemicals, traumatic injury, or post-traumatic stress syndrome (PTSD). And the human cells can also go into defensive mode and shut-down to the minimum metabolism required to just stay alive when under extreme stress. However, after a few days or weeks of illness, starvation, or stress, the metabolism typically goes back to normal.

The researchers suggest that people with CFS and FM go into a kind of dauer state in response to stress. Except they don’t come out of it. Instead, they remain in a kind of “extended metabolic hibernation.”

The good news is, CMS and FM patients can “wake up” their metabolism and place it back into balance with the right diet and dietary supplements. And natural practitioners have been using these techniques successfully for years with CFS and FM patients. Mind-body therapies—such as acupuncture, hypnosis, and biofeedback, among others—can also help.

In fact, my own research shows that your “emotional type” strongly influences your chances of developing CFS and FM. And it influences which mind-body therapies will work best for you, if you have either of these conditions.

To learn more about how to find treatments that will work best for you as an individual, read my book with Mike Jawer, Your Emotional Type, and take this short quiz.

In the end, if you find yourself in “dire straits,” so to speak, or even in the dauer state, you don’t have to spend your “money for nothing” with mainstream medicine. There are always safe, natural, and effective solutions. And you can keep learning all about them right here in my Daily Dispatch and my Insiders’ Cures monthly newsletter. If you’re not yet a newsletter subscriber, now is the perfect time to get started.


“Metabolic features of chronic fatigue syndrome,” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Aug-Sep 2016; 113 (37): E5472–E5480