Fatigue might originate in your gut, not your head
Are you frequently feeling zapped from training hard in the gym despite taking regular breaks? You should maybe look for evidence of viruses and fungi in the gut instead of mental reasons.
Researchers from the Cornell University in New York have for the first time identified the reason for chronic fatigue syndrome, a condition where normal exertion leads to debilitating fatigue that is not alleviated by rest.
In the study, published in the journal called Microbiome, the research team described how they detected a biological abnormality that provided evidence against the concept that chronically feeling fatigued is psychological in origin.
According to researcher Maureen Hanson from the Molecular Biology and Genetics section at Cornell University gut bacterial microbiome in people who suffer from chronic fatigue syndrome is not normal and the reason for gastrointestinal and inflammatory symptoms.
Hanson believes that they have identified biological markers for chronic fatigue syndrome in gut bacteria and inflammatory microbial agents in blood after studying patients.
“Our detection of a biological abnormality provides further evidence against the ridiculous concept that the disease is psychological in origin,” said Hanson, who is also the study’s senior author.
In the future gut microbes can be used to change diets and the prescription of prebiotics such as dietary fibers or probiotics to help those who are suffering from the disease.
Hanson and colleagues recruited 48 people diagnosed with chronic fatigue syndrome and 39 healthy individuals to provide stool and blood samples. The team sequenced regions of microbial DNA from the stool samples to identify different types of bacteria.
The diversity of types of bacteria was greatly reduced and there were fewer bacterial species known to be anti-inflammatory in the chronic fatigue syndrome patients compared with healthy people. The researchers found specific markers of inflammation in the blood, likely due to a leaky gut from intestinal problems that allow bacteria to enter the blood. Bacteria in the blood will trigger an immune response, which could worsen symptoms associated with chronic fatigue syndrome.
No evidence was found to distinguish whether the altered gut microbiome is a cause or whether it is a consequence of chronic fatigue disease.
In the future, scientists will look for evidence of viruses and fungi in the gut to determine whether one of these or an association of these along with bacteria may be causing or contributing to the illness.