Probiotics for Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

woman with chronic fatigue

Can Probiotics Help Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS)?

Probiotic (good bacteria) supplements can help some people with chronic fatigue syndrome feel better report Swedish researchers who conducted a small study. Evidence is increasingly pointing toward the need for individualized treatment for chronic fatigue syndrome. The cause of this condition, characterized by debilitating fatigue that doesn’t get better with rest and may be worsened by physical or mental activity, remains unclear, although there is evidence that dysfunction in the neuro-hormonal system or the immune system could be involved.

Why Would Probiotics Help CFS?

Given that there is a close connection between the gut and the immune system, as well as the central nervous system it’s not surprising that probiotics can help relieve chronic fatigue syndrome.  I would particularly expect this type of treatment to be helpful in patients who have required antibiotic treatment, who have digestive issues as well and/or who suffer from recurring yeast infections.

3 Ways to Help Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

  1. Reduce your stress level.  Stress negatively influences the immune system, and depletes the adrenal glands.
  2. Restore healthy levels of vitamin C, B5, B6, Magnesium and Zinc. These vitamins and minerals are in high demand under stress, become depleted, negatively affecting the function of the adrenals, the production of neurotransmitters and muscle function.
  3. Support healthy gut bacteria with the right probiotics. The benefits in CFS were seen with a specific strain known as Bifidobacter infantis.  Good quality probiotics will guarantee the bacteria count until the time of expiry (not the time of manufacture).  FOS in probiotics will often cause an aggravation and I would recommend avoiding supplements that contain FOS.

By Dr. Pamela Frank, BSc(Hons), ND

Probiotics and Chronic Fatigue References:

Galland L. The gut microbiome and the brain. J Med Food. 2014 Dec;17(12):1261-72. doi: 10.1089/jmf.2014.7000.

Groeger D, O’Mahony L, Murphy EF, Bourke JF, Dinan TG, Kiely B, Shanahan F, Quigley EM. Bifidobacterium infantis 35624 modulates host inflammatory processes beyond the gut. Gut Microbes. 2013 Jul-Aug;4(4):325-39. doi: 10.4161/gmic.25487.


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