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Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) vs. Gut Health: Treatment Tips and More

7 minute read


Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) has been difficult to understand medical professionals. The condition is marked by a constant feeling of fatigue that no amount of sleep remedies are capable of curing.

There are not any known triggers or causes, and diagnosing it requires a number of tests. At least, that was the case until recently.

Studies have found that there are markers in gut bacteria that signify the disease. While research continues, this new information points to improving gut health as a factor in reducing chronic fatigue syndrome.

What Is Chronic Fatigue Syndrome?

Chronic fatigue syndrome is a complicated condition. The extreme fatigue experienced seems to have no underlying cause, which is why many medical professionals think it is a psychological problem rather than a physical one.

The fatigue felt is both physical and mental, and no amount of sleep improves it. The most common complaints include:

♦ Loss of concentration

♦ Sore throat

♦ Unexplained muscle or joint pain

♦ Constantly feeling tired

♦ Headaches

♦ Enlarged lymph nodes

With so many physical symptoms, it seems possible that chronic fatigue syndrome is a real condition. Interestingly, the symptoms all have a common underlying factor—inflammation.

The inflammatory response is released by your immune system, and, since your lymph nodes are also part of that system, it makes sense for them to be overworked and enlarged. The physical pain of headaches and joint pain are also caused or exacerbated by inflammatory chemicals.

There are certain factors that are believed to increase your risk of chronic fatigue. Hormonal imbalances have been thought to affect fatigue levels, and studies have found abnormal hormone presence in cases of chronic fatigue.

Stress is also a risk factor because excessive production of stress hormones is known to trigger inflammation. Immune system dysfunction is also a risk factor, as those with impaired or weakened immunity seem to experience fatigue more chronically.

There are a number of theories as to what contributes to this condition, but until recently it has been a cause for debate. It now seems that certain bacteria play a role in chronic fatigue, and the health of your gut can influence inflammation in your body, which directly impacts energy levels and fatigue.

Bacteria Are Behind Chronic Fatigue

Studies have found recently that certain biomarkers in gut bacteria trigger inflammation that can cause chronic fatigue. After looking at the gut bacterial composition of healthy individuals and those with chronic fatigue, a significant discovery was made.

The bacterial microbiome in those with chronic fatigue was significantly different. This could be an explanation for inflammatory distress in the intestines and excessive fatigue.

Discovering that there are certain bacteria present at the same time as chronic fatigue indicates that the condition is not just in our heads. By identifying a gut bacterial link to the fatigue, this allows scientists to develop possible treatments to reduce fatigue. Changes in diet and the use of prebiotics could encourage the growth of beneficial bacteria, which will reduce inflammation, stress, and improve gut function.

An imbalanced gut causes damage to the lining of the intestinal walls, largely through the triggering of inflammation. When the walls are damaged, intestinal permeability increases, which means particles can pass through to the blood more readily.

These particles travel through the blood, triggering immune system responses. The chronic inflammation is a drain on your body as your immune system fights itself, and fatigue is the result.

As these studies have shown, gut bacteria and the prevention of leaky gut syndrome may play an important role in the reduction of CFS. Immunity supplements can bolster your efforts, so trying a high-quality gut-fortifying supplement is an excellent option.

5 Ways of Treating Chronic Fatigue

Outside of gut health-promoting supplements, there are additional natural therapies you can try.

1. Get Restful Sleep

Sleep doesn’t always help chronic fatigue, but it certainly will help reduce any daily tiredness. If you are having trouble sleeping, try taking a bath before bed, or taking an herbal supplement, like valerian, to promote sleep.

Melatonin is also a beneficial supplement to help promote sleep. Melatonin is a hormone naturally found in your body that regulates your sleep cycles. If you need help setting a schedule to ensure you get more sleep, this may help you do that.

2. Eat More Greens

Green vegetables are full of powerful plant compounds that protect from inflammation and support immune system function. In doing so, those with chronic fatigue will have reduced pain and reduced tiredness.

The antioxidant content of all plant foods is beneficial to your overall health and combats many conditions that could be contributing to your fatigue. In general, eating a more balanced diet full of nutrient-dense foods will benefit this condition.

3. Licorice

Often individuals with CFS have lower blood pressure levels, and this contributes to feeling tired. Licorice extract contains anti-inflammatory compounds that increase the sodium levels in your blood, elevating blood pressure.

As oxygen travels more efficiently by way of higher blood pressure, energy levels can be increased.

4. Ginkgo

This herb is known for its ability to increase blood flow to the brain. When this happens, alertness is enhanced and concentration is improved. Because chronic fatigue can contribute to mental fog and lack of concentration, this herb is a natural way to stay on top of things.

5. Coenzyme Q10

People with chronic fatigue have been found to have lower levels of ATP, the compound that provides energy to your cells. When these levels drop, your cells lack energy, which means you lack energy.

| Related: Is Gluten Causing Your Leaky Gut Syndrome? |

Coenzyme Q10 helps your body to produce more ATP and can also boost your immune system. The combined effects of this immune system supplement mean you will have more energy and better control over inflammation.

The Bottom Line

By promoting gut health and reducing inflammation, leaky gut can be reversed and your intestines can heal. Probiotic blends, as well as other gut health supplements, can boost immunity and your natural defenses and promote intestinal health.

When your gut is happy and functioning correctly, you feel better as a result of more efficient nutrient absorption. And there is no longer a drain on your body from excessive inflammation. Improving your gut barrier could be an important part in combating chronic fatigue syndrome.

READ NEXT >>> L-Glutamine: The Leaky Gut Superhero


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