What Is Chronic Fatigue Syndrome?

Many people are tired often. We live at a fast pace and have many pressures pulling at us all the time. But there is a difference between being tired and being so exhausted that it is difficult to make it through normal daily activities.

If you have wondered about chronic fatigue syndrome, here is a clear explanation of what is known about this mysterious condition. 

Also referred to as myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME), chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) is a condition characterized by extreme fatigue that does not improve with rest.

Aside from persistent fatigue, symptoms used to diagnose ME/CFS include unrefreshing sleep, headache, joint pain, sore throat, tender lymph nodes in the neck or armpits, problems with concentration and memory, and severe exhaustion and sickness after exercise or mental exertion.

A diagnosis of CFS may be made if four or more of these symptoms last 6 months or longer.

Other symptoms of the condition may include visual problems, dizziness or fainting, brain fog, and irritable bowel.

Because the symptoms of CFS are very similar to those of other illnesses, the condition can be tricky to diagnose. As such, it is unclear how many people in the United States have CFS, though estimates suggest it affects around 1 million Americans.

Another factor that makes CFS difficult to diagnose is that the cause of the condition is unknown.

Despite years of study, researchers have been unable to reach a definitive conclusion about what triggers CFS, leading some investigators to suggest the condition is psychosomatic – that is, it is caused by anxiety, stress, or other psychological factors.

However, Hanson and colleagues say their new study offers evidence that CFS is not psychosomatic, after finding that people with the condition have abnormalities in the gut microbiome – the population of microbes in the intestine.
– via Medical News Today

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Linked To Gut Bacteria

Exciting new research shows that there is often a link between abnormal gut bacteria and chronic fatigue syndrome. Not all patients with CFS have this abnormality in their gut, but many do.

Take a look at what the research shows and be encouraged that there could be answers around the corner.

If patients with chronic fatigue syndrome don’t have as diverse a population of bacteria, she said, that could cause problems. The researchers also found markers of inflammation in the blood samples of chronic fatigue syndrome patients, likely due to a “leaky gut” from intestinal problems that let bacteria enter the blood. Bacteria in the blood could trigger an immune response and worsen symptoms, the researchers said.

Using the microbiome findings, the researchers said they were able to correctly classify whether 83 percent of the study volunteers had chronic fatigue syndrome or didn’t. If these findings are confirmed in a larger study, the authors suggested that the gut microbiome could be used as an additional test to determine if it’s likely that someone has chronic fatigue syndrome.

The new research “is yet another study that proves this is not a psychological disease,” said Zaher Nahle, vice president for research and scientific programs at the Solve ME/CFS Initiative, a nonprofit organization focusing on myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome.

More and more research on various health conditions has focused on what experts call the gut-brain axis, Nahle said. Other research has suggested the gut microbiome might be linked with anxiety, depression, autism and other conditions. “It’s a promising avenue of research,” he said.

If the research progresses and bears out for chronic fatigue syndrome, Nahle said, adjusting the diet might be one way to help symptoms.

Remedies such as probiotics are often suggested to patients, Hanson said. Probiotics are foods or supplements with live “good” bacteria that may alter and improve the gut environment. But it’s too soon to know if it would have an effect.
– via Consumer HealthDay

Do you take probiotics daily?