New Study Links Gut Bacteria and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

“Patients with chronic fatigue syndrome have a different profile of bacterial species in their gut microbiome than healthy individuals,” said the study’s senior author, Maureen Hanson.

She’s a professor of molecular biology and genetics at Cornell University, in Ithaca, N.Y. The new findings provide evidence to refute what Hanson calls “the ridiculous concept that the disease is psychological in origin.” For years, she said, some have suggested that chronic fatigue syndrome is simply psychological and can be helped by therapy. Not so, she said. Even so, “I would not say we found the cause,” Hanson said. Rather, her team has found “another biological abnormality.” More and more research on various health conditions has focused on what experts call the gut-brain axis. Other research has suggested the gut microbiome might be linked with anxiety, depression, autism and other conditions. It’s a promising avenue of research. If the research progresses and bears out for chronic fatigue syndrome, adjusting the diet might be one way to help symptoms. Remedies such as probiotics are often suggested to patients, Hanson said. Probiotics are foods or supplements with live “good” bacteria that may alter and improve the gut environment