• Dr. Dooreck with Leila Alami | Clinical Neuro-Psychophysiologist

The Big "F" Word: "Fatigue"



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Chronic fatigue may be induced by unbalanced gut microbiota

What is chronic fatigue?


Certainly, we've all felt tired at some point in our lives. However, there is a difference between being occasionally tired and chronically tired.


Chronic fatigue syndrome, also known as myalgic encephalomyelitis, is a complex condition characterized by excessive exhaustion that lasts at least 6 months and cannot be explained by an underlying condition. The fatigue is typically exacerbated by physical and mental activities and does not alleviate with rest.


Chronic fatigue syndrome, also known as myalgic encephalomyelitis, is a complex condition characterized by excessive exhaustion that lasts at least 6 months and cannot be explained by an underlying condition.

The cause of this condition is unknown; however, environmental or genetic factors may play a role.


What may be some accompanying symptoms?

Extreme fatigue is the most common symptom of chronic fatigue syndrome, although it can also include muscle and joint pain, cognitive impairment, and sleep disturbances.


Moreover, many patients with chronic fatigue syndrome also have IBS.


Many patients with chronic fatigue syndrome also have IBS


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What is the gut-brain axis?


The gut-brain axis is the connection between the gut and the brain. The digestive system consists of approximately 100 million nerve cells that constantly send signals to the brain.


The sympathetic nervous system (“fight or flight”) and parasympathetic nervous system (“rest and digest”) deliver bidirectional signals between the gastrointestinal (GI) tract and the brain.


Through the central nervous system and the immune system, gut bacteria play a vital role in balancing our bodies as a whole. Therefore, unbalanced microbiota and their metabolites may induce chronic fatigue syndrome by disrupting bidirectional communication between the brain and the stomach.


Unbalanced microbiota may induce chronic fatigue syndrome

How can an imbalanced gut bacteria contribute to chronic fatigue syndrome?


Certain quantity imbalances of bacterial species found in the intestine (such as Faecalibacterium, Roseburia, Dorea, Coprococcus, Clostridium, Ruminococcus, and Coprobacillus) have been linked to chronic fatigue syndrome. For example, the main indicators of chronic fatigue syndrome with IBS were an increase in Alistipes gut bacteria and a decrease in Faecalibacterium gut bacteria. Researchers believe that examining the fecal microbiota may enable clinicians to distinguish gut imbalances and subtype patients with chronic fatigue syndrome.


How is chronic fatigue syndrome diagnosed?


There is no single test that can confirm a diagnosis of chronic fatigue syndrome.


Symptoms can mimic a variety of other illnesses, such as sleep disorders, medical problems, and mental health issues. Thus, before a chronic fatigue syndrome diagnosis can be made, different tests may be required to rule out other diseases.


Nevertheless, in comparison to healthy adults who did not have the condition, people with chronic fatigue syndrome typically show an imbalance in gut bacteria, with higher levels of certain gut bacteria and lower levels of others.


There is no single test that can confirm a diagnosis of chronic fatigue syndrome.

Here is a video from the CDC "Beyond the Data – Chronic Fatigue Syndrome: Advancing Research and Clinical Education"


How can symptoms be alleviated?


Presently, chronic fatigue syndrome has no known cure or treatment. Some symptoms, however, can be relieved and managed, which may include:


  • Healthy diet: A well-balanced diet can provide the body with the nutrients it needs.

  • Talk to a specialized physician: Doctors may run different tests to identify whether patients are deficient in any essential nutrients and may recommend appropriate supplements to try.

  • Professional counseling: A licensed therapist can help with processing and developing effective coping skills for the illness and its influence on daily life and relationships.

  • Relaxation activities: Gentle massages, meditation, and deep breathing exercises may help relax the body by stimulating the vagus nerve, which reduces the "fight or flight" mode.

  • Patients should discuss all potential remedies with their doctors to determine if they are suitable for their specific condition.


Presently, chronic fatigue syndrome has no known cure or treatment.

Here are some online thoughts 💭 from a Board-Certified 🥼 Gastroenterologist.


"Balance. Portion control. Keep nutrition simple. Eat Smart. Eat Healthy. 🌱 🌾 🌿"

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Reference:

The American Institute of Stress. (2019). What is stress? https://www.stress.org/daily-life

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