Nitrates, Type-3 diabetes and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

Recently the noted scientist, David Suzuki, “CBC The Nature of Things”, did a program called Untangling Alzheimer’s. In it he interview a researcher that has coined an expression, Type-3 diabetes which has found acceptance in research circles as this 2008 review article attests.

“there is a rapid growth in the literature pointing toward insulin deficiency and insulin resistance as mediators of AD-type neurodegeneration,”

The question arises, reasonably, whether this may part of the mechanism causing cognitive issues with CFS. Diabetics have twice the risk of developing Alzheimer’s and other cognitive impairments.  Diabetics have ZERO RISK of developing CFS — because diabetes is an exclusionary conditions for CFS (thus by the definition of CFS, you cannot have both a CFS and a diabetes diagnosis, only diabetes!– thank you CDC!).


In the same program was presented evidence of the inclusion of nitrates in processed foods with the increasing incidence of Alzheimer’s Disease. This weak evidence was then coupled with lab experiments on mice that would develop dementia when feed commercial food nitrates with their food while their litter mates eating the same food without nitrates did not.

A few articles by the leading researcher, Suzanne  de la Monte include:

Nitrates and the Gut Model

Nitrates are added to food to preserve the food — what does this mean? They inhibit some bacteria growing. So what happens when they are consumed by humans, the nitrates will alter your gut bacteria as many studies have found going back many years, for example Antimicrobial effect of acidified nitrite on gut pathogens: importance of dietary nitrate in host defense (1996)

Bottom Line

Going nitrate free may be in the best interests of all people, not just CFS patients. The levels of nitrates were reduced many years ago because of an association with cancer. The odds are that the only safe level is zero added nitrates. Look at the labels on your food and see if nitrate are added…

There is an excellent study on the amount of nitrates found in different foods here.