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Tired Too Often? It’s More than a Gut Feeling

If you’re tired all the time…

your condition may be linked to your gut. A new study shows a link between Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) and gut bacteria.

How Ya Doin’?

Do you wake up feeling exhausted? Are you extremely tired after doing even the most mundane tasks? You sleep, take naps, and yet you can’t shake the sensation of tiredness. You could be suffering from Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. And it could be caused by inflammation and a bacterial imbalance in your gut.

Getting Diagnosed

Here’s the thing. Many doctors have difficulty diagnosing CFS. It can also be referred to as myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME). There is no specific blood test or easily read biomarkers. Psychological factors, viruses, and infections can cause extreme tiredness. To deem one’s condition with a “chronic” label is a serious diagnosis.

According to the Mayo Clinic website, CFS has nine signs and symptoms. The first, of course, is fatigue. The others include: enlarged lymph nodes in neck or armpits, unexplained muscle pain, random joint pain, and an unusual headache. Other symptoms are: un-refreshing sleep, exhaustion lasting more than a full day after exercise, loss of memory, and a sore throat. You can see why other diagnoses would be considered first.

What are the Causes?

Until now, doctors or scientists who have diagnosed CFS, have been perplexed about exact causes. Some believe certain viruses might trigger the syndrome. Perhaps an impaired immune system leaves individuals susceptible to CFS. Hormonal imbalances have also been studied as a possible cause offsetting the condition.

Finally, a recent study offers more in the way of reason. Your gut bacteria and inflammatory agents in the blood may cause CFS.

Researchers at Cornell University studied stool samples of the 77 participants. Forty-eight had already been diagnosed with CFS, while the other 39 were perfectly healthy. The study, published in the journal Microbiome, showed that those with CFS had less bacterial diversity in the gut. They also had markers showing inflammation. One theory was that “leaky gut” allowed bacteria from the intestines to enter the bloodstream.

What to Do?

As far as the new research shows, the indicators of imbalance in gut bacteria may now be used as one way to test for CFS. Maureen Hanson, a professor involved in the study explained, “Our work demonstrates that the gut bacterial microbiome in chronic fatigue syndrome patients isn’t normal.” It was an indicator in 83 % of the participants in the study. This is a great breakthrough for those who advocate the condition isn’t just “psychological.”

Restoring the gut microbiome balance may be a path to treating CFS. A variety of probiotics may help along with a change in diet. Exploring ways to get your gut bacteria back to healthy levels is a great start. Discuss options with your doctor or naturopath. With this new evidence and proper treatment, your fatigue may no longer remain chronic.

For more information on maintaining balance in the body and mind, check out