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What Is the Cell Danger Response in Chronic Fatigue Syndrome?

The cell danger response (CDR) has been increasingly covered in functional medicine circles for good reason. A 2013 review published in Mitochondrion has described the CDR as a critical evolutionarily conserved metabolic response that is part of your body’s innate defense system. It protects your individual cells from cellular threat, danger, and harm. Whether the threat is physical, biological, or chemical, if it goes beyond your cell’s natural capacity to ensure homeostasis, cellular balance, it triggers a CDR.

The human body is a complex system of individual cells that work together to form tissues, organs, and other systems in the body. Each cell has several components. The most important component of the cells, and the entire body, is the mitochondria. The mitochondria are the powerhouse of your cells. It’s responsible for creating energy from the food you eat to fuel and energize your cells, tissues, and organs.

If there are constant factors such as poor diet, stress, infections, toxins or poor sleep, it will lead to metabolic instability such as low energy production, increased metabolic waste, increased oxidative stress and low anti-oxidant production. Metabolic instability then leads to Mitochondrial Damage and Dysfunction which has been associated with migraine headaches, chronic fatigue syndrome, autoimmune disorders, fibromyalgia, cardiovascular disease, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s, autism and cancer.

Another job of the mitochondria is making sure there is always energy in order to maintain homeostasis. In a healthy cell, mitochondria produce optimal energy for cellular balance and buffers oxidative stress. Under CDR, the mitochondria turns down energy production and produces lots of oxidative stress.

What decreases cellular energy and can potentially trigger a CDR?

  • Biological stressors, such as viruses, bacteria, parasites, and fungi, as well as nutrient deficiency, nutrient depletion, hypoxia or low oxygen, inflammation, or oxidative stress

  • Chemical stressors, such as heavy metal toxicity, chemical toxins, other toxins, and medications

  • Physical stressors and trauma, such as accidents, injuries, burns, surgeries, and major infections

  • Psychological stressors or trauma, such as divorce, loss of a loved one, emotional neglect, emotional abuse, major financial difficulties, and dealing with a chronic disease

For example, when you feel fatigued and inflamed, it is actually a purposeful response from your mitochondria to protect cells and tissues from the body due to infections, toxins, chemicals and trauma.

Normally this response is short-lived and within a few days or weeks, the body should recover from any infection, toxin exposure, or injury. The problem is that if this issue becomes ongoing, it can increase the risk of chronic illnesses.

The Cell Danger Response in Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) is a chronic illness that’s widespread across your body affecting many areas of your health. It may be triggered by various infections, toxins, physical trauma, or psychological traumas.

CFS may cause chronic fatigue, muscle pain, tender lymph nodes, headaches, brain fog, concentration troubles, gut and immune issues, IBS, cold hands/feet, and increased inflammation throughout the body. This happens because the mitochondria are frozen in a very slow-moving metabolism, hypometabolic state, which will lead to a flight or freeze stress response, which when prolonged can increase the risk of disease. This ongoing state of threat can become overwhelming to the body leading to an ongoing survival-based CDR causing the chronic symptoms of CFS.

Larisa Belote, Health Practitioner & Certified Detox Specialist is a strong believer that your body is a smart machine and can heal itself given a chance and the right set of tools. Call/Txt 732.996.6963 or email: for a FREE 20-minute consult and discover how to restore cellular energy so you can get your life back.


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