Links between the Gut Microbiome and Chronic Fatigue Disorder

Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) is a burden on healthcare and remains a poorly understood disorder that affects millions of people worldwide. 


While the exact cause of CFS remains unknown, recent research has suggested that the gut microbiome may have a role in the development and progression of the disease. 


In this guide, we will discuss this recent study in more depth, touching on the background of the research, the findings of the research and any potential conclusions that can be taken from this particular study.


A recent article published in the Scientist highlighted a new study published in Cell that has shed further light on the connection by comparing the gut microbiomes of CFS patients to those of healthy individuals. 


While previous studies have found differences between the gut microbiomes of CFS patients and healthy individuals, this new study is the first to analyze the specific species present in the microbiome.

What were the findings?

The researchers illustrated that CFS patients had less diverse and less stable gut microbiomes, as well as a greater abundance of certain types of bacteria.


A clear finding was the presence of a bacterium called Faecalibacterium prausnitzii, which was found at lower levels in CFS patients than in healthy controls. 


This bacterium is known for its anti-inflammatory properties, and its depletion has been linked to a number of inflammatory and autoimmune disorders. 


The researchers also found that CFS patients had higher levels of a group of bacteria called Enterobacteriaceae associated with inflammation and linked to a range of diseases, including inflammatory bowel disease and colorectal cancer.


These findings suggest that the gut microbiome may be involved in the pathogenesis of CFS and could provide a target for future treatments. However, it is important to note that the study only shows an association between the gut microbiome and CFS and does not prove causation. 


The gut microbiome has been linked to a range of conditions, including obesity, depression, and autism spectrum disorder, and researchers are increasingly exploring the potential of targeting the microbiome as a therapeutic strategy.


In the case of CFS, the findings suggested that interventions aimed at restoring a healthy and diverse gut microbiome may be beneficial. 


This could include dietary changes, probiotics, or fecal microbiota transplantation, a procedure in which healthy gut bacteria from a donor are transplanted into the patient’s gut.


Overall, the study highlights the potential of the gut microbiome as a key player in human health and disease and underscores the need for further research in this area. 

As our understanding of the gut-brain axis deepens, it is likely that we will uncover new insights into the underlying causes of a range of disorders, including CFS.

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Barış Özdinç

Barış Özdinç analyzes microbiome research with his educational background in genetics and evolution. As a research analyst for CosmosID, he combines metagenomics and data analyses to identify microbial biomarkers in disease cohorts and evaluate microbiome research tools. His work involves curating microbiome data and creating interesting microbiome content for newsletters and blog posts. Barış Özdinç received his bachelor’s degree in genetics and master’s degree in biodiversity, evolution, and conservation from University College London (UCL). Currently, he lives in Istanbul, Turkey, where he lives with his cat, Delight, and mentors female students in their STEM career pursuits.