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CHRONIC FATIGUE SYNDROME - Myalgic encephalopathy (ME)

Chronic fatigue syndrome causes extreme exhaustion which affects every day life and this is not rectified by rest or sleep. Individuals with ME may also suffer from sarcoidosis, fibromyalgia, muscular pains and are often unable to concentrate.

Some doctors mistakenly believe that ME is a psychological illness but there are physical causes for these disorders and inflammation, due to the over activity of the immune system, is often present in those suffering from ME. Increased levels of immune molecules called cytokines, particularly interferon gamma which has been linked to the fatigue that follows many viral infections, have been found in people during the early stages of this disorder (within three years).

Microbes, such as bacteria, fungi and viruses, interfere with the innate immune response. These pathogens survive and reproduce by disrupting vitamin D nuclear receptors, which are an evolutionarily consistent mechanism for survival, and this leads to the development of chronic inflammatory diseases.


Pathogens that grow slowly, and accumulate over the course of decades, may play a strong role in many chronic diseases. These bacteria are transmitted in a variety of ways: mother to foetus, sperm to embryo and among families and social groups. Particular patient groups without the benefit of a fully functioning immune system, specifically newborn infants, people who already have illnesses and the elderly, are uniquely susceptible to pathogens.

Those who use or consume any of the drugs and supplements which exert immunosuppressive effects are also uniquely predisposed to acquire new bacteria and permit them to reproduce. These substances include: immune-suppressants, antibiotics such as penicillin, high levels of vitamin D and corticosteroids.

The acquisition of new bacteria is only one factor in the when and why chronic diseases strike. Bacteria are capable of rapidly changing their genetic structure, and can become more pathogenic and harder to kill with traditional therapies, through processes like horizontal gene transfer. Also, bacteria are allowed to proliferate because of a disabled immune response, for which they themselves are, at least partially, responsible.

One particular strain of bacteria known as Clostridium perfringens, Type B,  makes a toxin that can travel through blood to the brain and kill the myelin producing cells which is the damage seen in multiple sclerosis. Multiple sclerosis can also be an auto-immune disease where the body's immune system attacks and destroys the myelin coating of nerves in the brain and spinal cord. What this means is that a substance or microbe gets in a location of the body that the immune system cannot reach. The immune system attacks the area around the substance (trying to destroy the substance), but in the process, may do far more damage than the substance itself is causing.

Cell wall deficient bacteria can find their way inside of the myelin sheath of nerve cells. The immune system is unable to reach this bacteria and so it damages the myelin sheath and this can lead to  inflammation and pain. One example is the Lyme disease bacteria, which can be contracted from deer ticks, and is often misdiagnosed as Parkinson’s disease.


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Mycotoxins are a group of naturally occurring chemicals produced by certain moulds. They can grow on a variety of different crops and foodstuffs including cereals, nuts, spices, dried fruits, apple juice and coffee, often under warm and humid conditions.

The most harmful mycotoxins include the aflatoxins, ochratoxin A, patulin and toxins produced by Fusarium moulds, including fumonisins, trichothecenes and zearalenone.

Ochratoxin A has been found in barley, oats, rye, wheat, coffee beans and other plant products, with barley having a particularly high likelihood of contamination. There is also concern that ochratoxin may be present in certain wines, especially those from grapes contaminated with Aspergillus carbonarius.

Mycotoxins can cause a variety of adverse health effects in humans. Aflatoxins, are the most toxic and have been shown to be genotoxic which means they can damage DNA and cause cancer in humans and animal species. There is also evidence that they can cause liver cancer in humans. Other mycotoxins have a range of other health effects including kidney damage, gastrointestinal disturbances, reproductive disorders or suppression of the immune system.

The growth of fungi on animal and human hosts produces the diseases collectively called mycoses, while dietary, respiratory, dermal and other exposures to toxic fungal metabolites produce the diseases collectively called mycotoxicoses.

Mycoses range from mild such as athlete's foot or thrush to life-threatening as with invasive aspergillosis. The fungi that cause mycoses can be divided into two categories, primary pathogens such as Coccidioides immitis and Histoplasma capsulatum and opportunistic pathogens such as Aspergillus fumigatus and Candida albicans. Primary pathogens affect otherwise healthy individuals with normal immune systems. Opportunistic pathogens produce illness by taking advantage of debilitated or immunocompromised hosts. The majority of human mycoses are caused by opportunistic fungi.

Mycoses caused by opportunistic pathogens are largely diseases of the developed world, usually occurring in patients whose immune systems have been compromised by advanced medical treatment. Mycotoxicoses, in contrast, are more common in underdeveloped nations. One of the characteristics shared by mycoses and mycotoxicoses is that neither category of illness is generally communicable from person to person.

A number of rare and obscure diseases have been hypothesised to be possible mycotoxicoses, often on extremely meagre evidence.

Mycotoxins are named after the organ they affect. For instance, mycotoxins can be classified as hepatotoxins (liver), nephrotoxins (kidneys), neurotoxins (brain and nervous system) or immunotoxins (immune system) etc.

Fungal infections and ingestion of mycotoxins can cause far more damage if they happen alongside a viral infection.


The herpes virus is particularly virulent and has vastly increased within the human population. The vast majority, a full two-thirds of infected individuals, never show symptoms which is how it has spread so rapidly. Following initial infection, the herpes virus becomes latent in the sensory neural ganglia. Virtually any part of the neuraxis may be affected by this virus, including the retina, brain, brainstem, cranial nerves, spinal cord and nerve roots.

Herpes simplex virus 1 usually infects the trigeminal ganglion which is located at the base of cranium and cell bodies here receive sensory information from the face and mouth. They then project to the brainstem.

Herpes simplex virus 2 usually infects the sacral ganglion which is any of ganglions on either side of the body at the base of the spinal cord but it can  infect any other parts of the neural ganglia.

Acute disseminated encephalomyelitis (ADEM) is an autoimmune disease marked by a widespread attack of inflammation in the brain and spinal cord. ADEM typically damages myelin, causing destruction of white matter. It is often triggered following a viral infection or vaccination. ADEM's symptoms are similar to multiple sclerosis (MS) and it is considered part of the multiple sclerosis borderline diseases. It can reoccur and leave the individual with motor deficits.

Because viruses can remain in the body for life and reoccur during times of bacterial and fungal infections, hormone imbalance, immunosuppressant drug ingestion, nutrient deficiency, mycotoxin overload, stress and various other factors, and because chronic fatigue syndrome is also an immune system disorder, it is highly probable that it may have a root cause of any of the above factors or prior microbial infections from bacteria, fungi or viruses that the body is unable to eliminate.


Th1 spectrum disorder refers to the group of chronic inflammatory diseases, which are hypothesised to be caused by the Th1 pathogens, a microbiota of bacteria which include L-form, biofilm and intracellular bacterial forms. Although the exact species and forms of bacteria, as well as the location and extent of the infection, vary between one patient suffering from chronic disease and the next, the disease process is common: bacterial pathogens persist and reproduce by disabling the innate immune response.

Although patients who become infected with the Th1 pathogens are given a variety of diagnoses, there are often no clear cut distinctions between one disease and the next. Rather, symptoms frequently overlap creating a spectrum of illness in which diseases are more connected to one another than mutually exclusive disease states.

The evidence supporting a bacterial cause for chronic disease is strong but there are other competing explanations including:

  • Acid/alkaline imbalance.

  • Autoimmune disease.

  • Genetic predisposition.

  • Immune suppressant drugs.

  • The single pathogen theory.

  • The spontaneous remission theory.

  • Viral co-infections.


All vitamin and minerals act with, for and against each other and are so intricately dependent upon each other that any imbalance can have a knock on affect which can lead to liver disorders, a compromised immune system, pain and inflammation, nerve damage and chronic fatigue.


Alpha-lipoic acid is an antioxidant that helps the body turn glucose into energy. Adding to its potency as an antioxidant is its ability to rehabilitate other antioxidants such as  glutathione, vitamins C and vitamin E. Most other antioxidants at work in the body tend to wear themselves out and dissipate, but alpha-lipoic acid can rehabilitate these free radical-fighting substances and get them working again. It also has a protective effect in the brain and nerve tissues. Alpha-lipoic acid works as an antioxidant in both water and fatty tissue, enabling it to enter all parts of the nerve cell and protect it from the damage caused by peripheral neuropathy.

Highest sources of alpha-lipoic acid in alphabetical order


Anserine is a dipeptide found in the skeletal muscle and brain. It is an antioxidant which helps fight fatigue. It has also been reported to lower the uric acid level, remove active oxygen and lower blood pressure. It also has an anti-inflammatory effect and can be of help to people who suffer from chronic fatigue syndrome.

Highest sources of anserine in alphabetical order


Arginine is an amino acid which is used to make nitric oxide, a compound that relaxes the blood vessels and can lower blood pressure and improve blood flow. Decreased fatigue and deeper sleep have been noticed with Arginine consumption.

Highest sources of arginine in alphabetical order


Iron increases  immunity, raises energy levels, holds the energy level stable and promotes a calm sleep therefore a lack of iron may also be a cause of chronic fatigue syndrome. The World Health Organisation estimates that 600 - 700 million people are deficient in iron, probably making it the most common nutritional deficiency disorder in the world. Iron deficiency can be caused by infections, malnutrition and the excessive use of drugs and chemicals as well as an imbalance of vitamins C and E as mentioned above. It may cause nutritional anaemia, lowered resistance to disease, a general run down condition, pale complexion, fatigue, shortness of breath on manual exertion and loss of interest in sex.

Highest sources of iron in milligrams per 100 grams

  • Black pepper, marjoram, parsley, spinach, thyme 224 mg

  • Cocoa powder 46 mg

  • Spirulina 29 mg

  • Clams 28 mg

  • Bran 19 mg

  • Liver 18 mg

  • Squash and pumpkin seeds 15 mg

  • Caviar 12 mg

  • Sun dried tomatoes 9 mg

  • Dried apricot 6.3 mg

  • Wheat 6.3 mg

  • Black strap molasses 4.7 mg

  • Prunes 3.5 mg

  • Artichokes 3.4 mg

  • Prawns 3.1 mg

  • Lean beef 2.9 mg

  • Turkey 2.3 mg

  • Raisins 1.9 mg

  • Chicken 1.3 mg

  • Tuna 1.3 mg


Manganese is necessary for a healthy functioning nervous system. It is also necessary for the production of feminine hormones, the normal structure of the bones. brain function, the formation of thyroxin (thyroid gland hormone), the synthesis of structural proteins in the body and the metabolism of glucose and is a useful mineral for athletes.

The human body contains 30 to 35 mg of manganese, widely distributed throughout the tissues. It is found in the liver, pancreas, kidney and pituitary glands. This mineral helps nourish the nerves and brain and aids in the coordination of nerve impulses and muscular actions. It helps eliminate fatigue and reduces nervous irritability. Manganese is also important for regulating blood sugar.

Highest sources of manganese in milligrams per 100 grams

  • Cloves 60.1 mg

  • Rice bran 14.2 mg

  • Pine nuts 8.8 mg

  • Mussels 6.8 mg

  • Hazelnuts 5.6 mg

  • Pumpkin seeds 4.5 mg

  • Whole wheat 2.1 mg

  • Cocoa beans 3.8 mg

  • Soya beans 2.2 mg

  • Sunflower seeds 1.9 mg

  • Garlic 1.7 mg

  • Brewer’s yeast 0.08 mg (depending upon source)

  • Egg yolks 1.1 mg

  • Black beans 1.1 mg

  • Dried peas 0.39 mg

  • Kidney beans 0.2 mg


Selenium and vitamin E are synergistic and the two together are stronger than each one alone. Selenium is an important antioxidant that plays a role in the body's utilisation of oxygen. Alcoholics, as well as patients with candidiasis, chronic fatigue syndrome and arthrogryposis-renal dysfunction-cholestasis (ARC), have all shown low levels of selenium.

Therefore chronic fatigue syndrome could be the result of a myriad of causes including underlying infections, especially bacterial and viral, nutrient imbalances, intestinal flora imbalances or toxic overload or a combination  of any of these factors.

The easiest one to address first of all would be the diet because, once imbalances of nutrients are corrected they may, in fact, relieve the other causes. A full count blood test should be done and a diet of natural organic foods, with plenty of colourful vegetables and fruit, should be adhered to. The addition of nuts, oily fish, lean meats like rabbit and venison, seeds and whole grains plus herbs and spices will help to provide the body with the nutritional support it needs to overcome chronic fatigue syndrome and infections of most types.

Adding prebiotic and probiotics foods to the diet can help to address any intestinal flora imbalances as can entirely eliminating all processed and refined foods, especially those containing additives. Also, the avoidance of alcohol, caffeine, sugar, toxins and unnecessary drugs will help strengthen the immune system and the liver and readdress imbalances that may exist.

Highest sources of selenium in milligrams per 100 grams

  • Brazil nuts 1917 g

  • Oysters 154 g

  • Lamb's liver 116 g

  • Tuna 108 g

  • Wheat germ 79.2 g

  • Sunflower seeds 79 g

  • Amaranth 70.7 g

  • Caviar (fish roe) 65.5 g

  • Egg yolk 56 g

  • Chia seeds 55.2 g

  • Pork 51.6 g

  • Oat bran 45.2 g

  • Lean beef 44.8 g

  • Rabbit 38.5 g

  • Chicken and turkey 37.8 g

  • Sesame seeds 34.4 g

  • Kamut 30 g

  • Couscous 27.5 g

  • Mushrooms (Crimini) 26 g

  • Rye (whole grain) 13.9 g

  • Asparagus 6.1 g

  • Spinach 5.5 g


Vitamin B12 is needed in the manufacture and maintenance of red blood cells. It also stimulates appetite, promotes growth and releases energy. Deficiency of vitamin B12 can result in a sore tongue, weakness, fatigue, weight loss, back pain, lethargy and apathy. It might further result in loss of balance, decreased reflexes, tingling of the fingers and toes and tinnitus (ringing in the ears). It may also result in the raising of the level of homocysteine in the blood - which in high doses can be toxic to the brain and may be involved in Alzheimer's and Parkinson's disease. Another problem that appears in deficiency is the eroding of the myelin sheath - the fatty sheath of tissue, which insulates the nerve fibres in the body. Vegetarians and those that take certain medications and/or drink regularly often tend to be lacking in sufficient vitamin B12.

Highest sources of vitamin B12 in milligrams per 100 grams

  • Clams 98.9 μg

  • Liver 83.1 μg

  • Octopus 36 μg

  • Caviar/fish eggs 20.0 μg

  • Ashitaba powder 17.0 μg

  • Tuna fish 10.9 μg

  • Crab 10.4 μg

  • Lean grass fed beef 8.2 μg

  • Lobster 4.0 μg

  • Lean Lamb 3.7 μg

  • Swiss Cheese 3.3 μg

  • Whey powder 2.37μg

  • Turkey 1.0 μg

NOTE: One μg is one microgram.


Low vitamin D levels leads to fat accumulation which then lowers the metabolism and can cause  tiredness and chronic fatigue.

Patients with chronic inflammatory diseases are often deficient in 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25-D) and consuming greater quantities of vitamin D further elevates 25-D levels, which can alleviate disease symptoms. Molecular biology has identified 25-D as a secosteroid which would typically be expected to depress inflammation and this explains the short-term symptomatic improvement but it can cause long-term harm due to its immune-modulatory effects. Therefore, vitamin supplements, especially vitamin B9 (folic acid) and vitamin D can make chronic fatigue symptoms worsen and should be avoided.

In the developed world, especially in the northern hemisphere of the planet, many people may be deficient in vitamin D. This is mainly due to the fact that fear of skin cancer from over exposure to the sun has increased the use of sunscreens and many do not consume enough vitamin D rich foods and often work inside during daylight hours. This, generally, does not cause ill effects for healthy people, however, once a person becomes infected by microbes, yeasts or viruses this can make the infection worse and prolong the disease.

The body has natural stores of dehydrocholesterol, a cholesterol precursor. When exposed to energy, specifically ultraviolet light, dehydrocholesterol becomes pre-vitamin D3. Pre-vitamin D3 spontaneously isomerises to vitamin D3 via a process called sigmatropic shift.

In addition to the endogenous production of vitamin D3, people get D3 from animal meats. Vitamin D2 is found in plants and fungi and is functionally similar to D3. Vitamin D3 and D2 are hydroxylated in the liver and become 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25-D).
25-D is further hydroxylated by the enzyme hydroxylase, into the main biologically active hormone 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D (1,25-D). While this reaction was originally thought to occur only in the kidneys, is now known to take place in tissues throughout the body, including within white blood cells called macrophages.

Located in the nucleus of a variety of cells including immune cells, the vitamin D receptors act as a control system. When exposed to infection and damage, especially that which is caused by pathogens, the body begins to convert the inactive form of 25-D into the active form, 1,25-D. As cellular concentrations of 1,25-D increase, 1,25-D activates the vitamin D receptors, turning on any number of genes the receptor commends.

This significantly affects more than 200 human genes. Many of these genes have long been associated with autoimmune diseases and cancers including, for example, the genes IRF8 (linked to multiple sclerosis) and PTPN2 (connected to Crohn's disease and type I diabetes). The activation of certain genes also leads to the synthesis of antimicrobial peptides which are the body's “natural antibiotics” and have a potent anti-bacterial effect.

However, bacteria create ligands, which like 25-D, inactivate the vitamin D receptors and, in turn, the innate immune response. This allows the microbes to proliferate. In response, the body increases production of 1,25-D from 25-D, leading to one of the hallmarks of chronic inflammatory disease: a low 25-D and a high 1,25-D.

A confusing picture that emerges from the variety of the diseases that vitamin D supplements are claimed to affect beneficially, is the belief that supplemental vitamin D will both reduce infections and suppress the immune system at the same time. It is hard to envision that a substance can have strong anti-infectious properties while at the same time having a strong immune suppressive effect.

For a variety of reasons, neither increased consumption of vitamin D supplements nor the body's synthesis of additional 1,25-D is ultimately effective at combating infection.

Highest sources of vitamin D

  • Sunshine on the skin

  • Krill oil

  • Maitake mushrooms

  • Halibut

  • Mackerel

  • Eel

  • Salmon

  • Rainbow trout

  • Portabella mushrooms

  • Chanterelle mushrooms

  • Egg yolk

  • Caviar


Nickel and vitamin C share a common antagonist  vitamin E. This inhibiting effect of vitamin E is not related to the antioxidant properties of vitamin C or vice versa (both are antioxidants, so in that respect they are synergistic), but they are antagonists, ratio wise to one another, and to other chemical members: For instance, vitamin C increases iron uptake, which vitamin E inhibits. Vitamin C lowers manganese and zinc, while vitamin E helps increase manganese and zinc absorption. As a result, a very high intake of vitamin C will require an equally high intake of vitamin E to maintain the same ratio. Therefore those taking supplements of extra vitamin C may be in danger of manganese and zinc deficiencies. Similarly anyone who consumes excess vitamin E rich foods or supplements and not enough vitamin C rich foods may suffer from an iron deficit.

Vitamin E deficiency is very rare in healthy people and is almost always linked to certain diseases where fat is not properly digested or absorbed. Examples include Crohn's disease, cystic fibrosis, liver diseases and certain rare genetic diseases such as abetalipoproteinemia and ataxia with vitamin E deficiency. Vitamin E needs some fat for the digestive system to absorb it.

Deficiency can cause nerve and muscle damage that results in loss of feeling in the arms and legs, loss of body movement control, muscle weakness and/or vision problems. Other signs of deficiency are inflammation, a weakened immune system and fatigue.

Highest sources of vitamin E in milligrams per 100 grams

  • Wheat germ 149.4 mg

  • Hazelnut oil 47 mg

  • Almond oil 39 mg

  • Sunflower seeds 38.3 mg

  • Chilli powder 38.1 mg

  • Paprika 38 mg

  • Sunflower seeds 36 mg

  • Rice bran oil 32 mg

  • Grape seed oil 29 mg

  • Almonds 26.2 mg

  • Oregano 18.3 mg

  • Hazelnuts 17 mg

  • Flaxseed oil 17 mg

  • Peanut oil 16 mg

  • Hazelnuts 15.3 mg

  • Corn oil 15 mg

  • Olive oil 14 mg

  • Soya bean oil 12 mg

  • Pine nuts 9.3 mg

  • Cloves (ground) 9 mg

  • Peanuts 8 mg

  • Celery flakes (dried) 6 mg

  • Spirulina 5 mg

  • Dried apricots 4.3 mg

  • Bell peppers (red), eel, olives and salmon 4 mg

  • Jalapeno peppers 3.6 mg

  • Anchovies 3.3 mg

  • Broccoli, chicken, chilli peppers (sun-dried), cod, crayfish, dandelion greens, egg yolk, duck, goose, pecan nuts, spinach, tomatoes (tinned or pureed) turkey and turnip greens 3 mg

  • Avocado, beef, bilberries, blue berries, butter, chicory greens, cinnamon (ground), crab, halibut, herring (pickled), mackerel, marjoram, mustard greens, pistachio nuts, poppy seeds, sardines, sesame seeds, Swiss chard, trout, tuna, turnips and walnuts 2 mg

  • Fish roe 1.9 mg

  • Asparagus, kiwi fruit and parsnips 1.5 mg

  • Black berries 1.2 mg

  • Chlorella 1.1 mg

NOTE: Vitamin E dietary supplements can interact or interfere with certain medicines as follows:

  • It can increase the risk of bleeding in people taking anticoagulant or antiplatelet medicines.

  • In one study, vitamin E plus other antioxidants (such as vitamin C, beta-carotene and selenium) reduced the heart-protective effects of two drugs taken in combination, a statin and vitamin B3 (niacin), to lower blood-cholesterol levels.

  • Taking antioxidant supplements while undergoing chemotherapy or radiation therapy for cancer could alter the effectiveness of these treatments.


Zinc deficiency can result in alopecia, delayed wound healing, depression, diarrhoea, fatigue, frequent infection, growth retardation, impaired immunity,  impaired senses, impaired taste, loss of hair, impotence, male infertility, night blindness, photophobia, poor appetite, reproductive failure, scaly skin inflammation and skin diseases, sterility and weight loss. Those suffering from rheumatoid arthritis may have a zinc deficiency.

Heavy drinkers lose a lot of zinc in their urine and if an individual ingests excessive amounts of caffeine, drugs or sugar, it is more than likely that a zinc deficiency will develop. Low zinc levels can cause liver deterioration and diminished functioning of the reproductive organs, immune system and skin. Copper, together with zinc improves the absorption of vitamin D, the vitamin which aids in the absorption of calcium.

Highest sources of zinc in milligrams per 100 grams

  • Oysters 78.6 mg

  • Chlorella 71 mg

  • Wheat germ 16.7 mg

  • Beef 12.3 mg

  • Calf's liver 11.9 mg

  • Pumpkin and squash seeds 10.3 mg

  • Sesame and watermelon seeds 10.2 mg

  • Bamboo shoots, endives and gourds 9 mg

  • Chervil (herb) 8.8 mg

  • Lamb 8.7 mg

  • Venison 8.6 mg

  • Alfalfa seeds (sprouted), amaranth leaves, Crimini mushrooms, Irish moss and tea 8 mg

  • Crab 7.6 mg

  • Lobster 7.3 mg

  • Agave, basil, beefalo, broccoli, elk, emu, oats, ostrich, spinach and turkey 7 mg

  • Cocoa powder 6.8 mg

  • Asparagus, chicken livers, laver seaweed, mushrooms, parsley and rice bran 5.7 mg

  • Cashew nuts 5.6 mg

  • Pork 5.1 mg

  • Jute (herb), lemon grass, mung beans, Portobello mushrooms, radishes and shiitake mushrooms 5 mg
    Agar seaweed, butterbur, cauliflower, chicory, Chinese cabbage, chives, coriander, green beans, lentils, lettuce, okra, rocket, spring onions, summer squash, Swiss chard, tomatoes and wasabi (yellow) 3.4 mg

  • Peanuts 3.3 mg

  • Cheddar cheese 3.1 mg

  • Mozzarella cheese 2.9 mg

  • Anchovies and rabbit 2.4 mg

  • Cabbage, cucumber, jalapeno peppers, , kidney beans, navy beans, spirulina and turnip greens 2 mg

  • Arrowroot, artichokes (globe), beetroot, bell peppers, black eyed peas, borage, braod beans, Brussel sprouts, butter beans, cabbage, carrots, celery, chilli peppers, courgettes, dandelion greens, garlic, horseradish, kale, kelp, mustard greens, peas, pinto beans, potatoes, pumpkin, turnips, Swede, sweet potato, tomatoes (red), wakame (seaweed), watercress and winged beans 1.2 mg

"Nature cures not the physician..." Hippocrates 460 BC


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