I am very sorry to let you know that Rich Van Konynenburg, PhD, died quietly early Tuesday morning. His wife contacted our doctor’s group to let people know, and asked that the information be passed on to those who might need to know. He appears to have suffered a heart attack.
Dr. Van Konynenburg was a generous man who spent much of his free time thinking of how to help patients with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Autism, and other possibly related illness. Though he was not a medical professional, he had a curious and methodic mind, which he put to use to come up with ideas that would be of help to others. Rich believed it is possible that a methylation block, causing glutathione depletion was an important trigger in causing symptoms in Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, and he developed the Simple Methylation Protocol as an over the counter treatment for patients to experiment with.
Rich Van Konynenburg’s formal education was in engineering and the applied physical sciences. He received a Ph.D. degree from the University of California–Davis in 1974. He served as an officer in the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for two years, and worked for the University of California at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory for 30 years, doing research and development in nuclear materials and technology. He has studied Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (ME/CFS) for the past 16 years. In 2007, he proposed a hypothesis for the pathogenesis and pathophysiology of CFS, called the “Glutathione Depletion-”Methylation Cycle Block” hypothesis. Based on this hypothesis, he has been encouraging the application of methylation cycle treatment (originally developed to treat autism), to the treatment of ME/CFS. This type of treatment was found in a clinical study with Neil Nathan, M.D., to provide significant benefit to about two-thirds of the patients who participated, and its use is growing in the ME/CFS community internationally. In 2009, Rich proposed a link between Lyme disease and ME/CFS involving oxidative stress and the depletion of glutathione.
Rich will be greatly missed by the many patients to whom he gave hope through his attention at a time when few were giving attention to research into these areas. Not only did he come up with his theory, but he spent time in conversation with the patients, answering questions, thinking deeply about problems, and speaking worldwide to professionals, encouraging them to use a protocol that was simple, safe, and for many, of great help.Our hearts go out to his family.