Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) linked to gut imbalance

5 July 2016

Imbalance in gut microbiota could explain inflammatory symptoms present in chronic fatigue syndrome, say US researchers.

Their analysis of stool samples taken from 48 patients with CFS and 39 controls without CFS shows CFS patients had decreased bacterial diversity and an increase in pro-inflammatory bacteria such as proteobacteria compared with controls.

They also had significantly lower levels of anti-inflammatory bacteria such as faecalibacterium and bifidobacterium.

Blood samples from CFS patients showed higher levels of inflammatory markers such as c-reactive protein, intestinal fatty acid-binding protein, lipopolysaccharide, LPS-binding protein and soluble CD14.

Based on this data, the researchers were able to correctly diagnose CFS in 83% of patients.

“Our detection of a biologic abnormality provides further evidence against the ridiculous concept that the disease is psychological in origin,” says lead researcher Professor Maureen Hanson.

Co-author Associate Professor Ruth Ley says the combination of blood tests and stool samples could complement other non-invasive diagnostic tools for the disease.

“But if we have a better idea of what is going on with these gut microbes and patients, maybe clinicians could consider changing diets, using prebiotics such as dietary fibres or probiotics to help treat the disease,” she says.

Last Reviewed: 5 July 2016
Reproduced with kind permission from 6minutes.com.au.

Online doctor

mydrgo.com.au - see a doctor online

myDr.com.au can't replace advice from a trusted healthcare professional. If you are located in Australia, you can consult a Doctor now via video, available on desktop (Chrome/Firefox), iPhone or Android.

Rachel Worsley

Rachel Worsley

Rachel Worsley is a reporter with Medical Observer and the Specialist Updates sister publications. She has written for The Sydney Morning Herald and The Conversation, and was an executive producer on community radio station 2SER.