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‘The Cell Danger Response’ (CDR), as proposed by Dr. Robert Navieaux MD, Ph.D., gives us a theoretical framework for not only Chronic Fatigue Syndrome but all chronic illnesses.

His theory states that when cells perceive an outside threat, they go into a ‘hibernation mode’ until the threat is gone. This explains why we have fatigue when we get a cold. All of our energy must be preserved when our immune system is fighting the virus. That means all non-essential functions-like higher brain function, digestion, detoxification, etc. are put on hold until our bodies beat the virus. So this process works great for acute illness but becomes problematic when the body incorrectly perceives a threat as a perpetual threat. ¬†Similar to how a car could get stuck in first gear, the immune system gets stuck in a hyperactive mode. Because of this certain cells and organs may get stuck in a low state of metabolism, whereby organs such as the thyroid and adrenals may not work properly.¬† To learn more about the Cell Danger Response, see this video. below:




  1. Home page

  2. Naviaux RK. Perspective: Cell danger response Biology-The new science that connects environmental health with mitochondria and the rising tide of chronic illness. Mitochondrion. 2020;51:40-45. doi:10.1016/j.mito.2019.12.005

  3. The Cell Danger Response: The New Disease Paradigm (100 Chronic Illnesses such as Diabetes, ME/CFS, Autoimmune Diseases and more )NOVEMBER 9, 2018 VERONIQUE MEAD, MD, MA http://chronicillnesstraumastudies.com/cell-danger-response-disease/