Catecholamines, Heart Palpitations, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Bacteria

Health Rising recently had a nice article published on Nov 1, 2013 on the research of Dr.Visser on this common symptoms of CFS patients. Later in the month there was also a video.

Reading the article, I noted that catecholamines appears to be a significant part of the symptom. Catecholamines is a family of chemicals consisting of  epinephrine, norepinephrine, dopamine and hydrocortisone: cortisol. This caused me to wonder what we knew about the microflora and catecholamines. A search on PubMed found 1880 articles — too much information for most people!

Articles summarizes what I was expecting “These results indicate that gut microbiota play a critical role in the generation of free CA[catecholamines] in the gut lumen.” [2012] and a treatment that some would like: ” Dark chocolate reduced the urinary excretion of the stress hormone cortisol and catecholamines and partially normalized stress-related differences in energy metabolism (glycine, citrate, trans-aconitate, proline, beta-alanine) and gut microbial activities (hippurate and p-cresol sulfate)….   a daily consumption of 40 g of dark chocolate during a period of 2 weeks is sufficient to modify…” [2009]

And their impact on species typically overgrown in CFS is significant [2002], which is why stress often worsen CFS symptoms — the overgrowth increases.

It is interesting to read the NIH list of items that increases catecholamines (and thus risk of palpitations)

  • Acetaminophen (Tylenol, Paracetamol, Anacin)
  • Albuterol
  • Aminophylline
  • Amphetamines
  • Buspirone
  • Caffeine
  • Calcium channel blockers
  • Cocaine
  • Cyclobenzaprine
  • Levodopa
  • Methyldopa
  • Nicotinic acid (large doses)
  • Phenoxybenzamine
  • Phenothiazines
  • Pseudoephedrine
  • Reserpine
  • Tricyclic antidepressants

The only thing listed for reducing were prescription drugs.  However, a little research on PubMed found

During the research I found 1 2013 article: “Plant-based medicines for anxiety disorders, part 2: a review of clinical studies with supporting preclinical evidence“, which list some familiar herbs and some new-to-me ones that were deemed to be effective in the studies reviewed  (Yes — an already researched list!). I am assuming that their mechanism is reducing catecholamines levels.

  •  Piper methysticum [Kava]
  • Matricaria recutita, [German Chamomile]
  • Ginkgo biloba, [Ginkgo]
  • Scutellaria lateriflora, [Blue skullcap]
  • Silybum marianum, [Milk thistle]
  • Passiflora incarnata, [Purple Passionflower]
  • Withania somniferum, [Ashwagandha]
  • Galphimia glauca, [Thryallis]
  • Centella asiatica, [Centella]
  • Rhodiola rosea, [Rosavin]
  • Echinacea spp., [Echinacea]
  • Melissa officinalis [Lemon Balm]
  • Echium amoenum [Borage]

Each has different chemicals, so it you have regular palpitations — you may wish to discuss with your medical profession about trying each of these for a week to see if any has a positive effect.