Press Release
July 20, 2013


Sen. Miriam Defensor Santiago, suffering from chronic fatigue syndrome, will miss the first Senate session and President Aquino's SONA scheduled for July 22, because of debilitating tiredness that has kept her at home for nearly six months.

However, the senator is hopeful that she will soon be back to normal after her team of doctors, both at the Cedars Sinai Hospital in Los Angeles, and her medical team in Metro Manila, suggested that she should undergo a blood test for Vitamin D.

The blood test taken at St. Luke's QC showed that while the normal level for Vitamin D is 30 to 80 units, Santiago only has 17 units, and is thus suffering from Vitamin D deficiency.

"I want to share this information with the millions of Filipinos suffering form chronic fatigue, because in our country, Vitamin D deficiency is often overlooked," Santiago said.

Santiago also said that her Vitamin D deficiency could also have triggered her hypertension, as declared at the 2012 annual conference of the European Society of Human Genetics. The 2012 European study also examined the causal relationship between Vitamin D status and high cholesterol, which Santiago also suffers from.

The link between Vitamin D deficiency on the one hand, and chronic fatigue and hypertension on the other hand, was first broached in 2009 by research doctors such as Dr. Anna Dorothea Hock of Cologne, Germany.

"Vitamin D deficiency is a hidden disorder of high frequency," the German doctor said. Following the paper published by the German doctor, a medical team led by Dr. Berkovitz of University College London, U.K., published a study in the 2012 International Journal for Vitamin and Nutrition Research, recommending that "all patients with moderate to severe chronic fatigue syndrome should be encouraged to have sufficient sun exposure and with foods high in Vitamin D." Santiago, over the years, has gone on medical leave from her jobs as immigration commissioner and as senator, because of chronic fatigue.

Last January 2013, when Congress adjourned for the campaign break, Santiago consulted with, among others, Dr. Bojan Cercek, Director of the Cardiac Intensive Care Unit, Cedars Sinai Hospital in Los Angeles.

The American doctor said that her blood deficiency was not sufficient to account for her chronic fatigue.

The American doctor suggested that she should consult a neurologist and a rheumatologist in the Philippines.

Santiago's medical team in Metro Manila, is headed by Dr. Joven Cuanang, Senior Vice-President and chief medical officer of St. Lukes. Part of the St. Luke's team is the rheumatology specialist, Dr. Juan Javier Lichauco.

Dr. Lichauco suggested a test for Vitamin D, which has been increasingly linked in recent medical studies to chronic fatigue, hypertension, and high cholesterol.

The laboratory results showed that Santiago's Vitamin D level is very low and she expects to take a megadose of Vitamin D for several weeks. A megadose will consist of 2,000 units daily.

News Latest News Feed