Chronic Fatigue? Probiotics Can Help
Does checking basic tasks off your to-do list leave you exhausted? Do you find yourself regularly struggling to get out of bed? You may find yourself doubting that these symptoms are anything serious, but millions of people are dealing with a debilitating condition called chronic fatigue syndrome, which makes your normal day-to-day activities extremely difficult.
So, what are the symptoms?
The number one symptom is, of course, an ongoing feeling of exhaustion that no amount of sleep can conquer. Other symptoms of chronic fatigue include:
- Decreased ability to do things that weren’t difficult before illness
- A feeling of ‘crashing’ after engaging in normal physical or mental activity
- Sleep problems, like falling or staying asleep
- Impaired cognition, including memory problems, trouble concentrating and ‘brain fog’
- Muscle and joint pain
- Frequent sore throats
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What causes chronic fatigue?
This is an elusive illness with no exact cause. Many sufferers feel their condition started after a flu-like illness, so some experts believe that a viral infection is to blame, while others think it may be triggered by a bacterial infection like pneumonia. Problems with the immune system are also considered a potential cause, since chronic fatigue syndrome and autoimmune disorders share characteristics like increased inflammation. Stress and genetics are other possible triggers of chronic fatigue syndrome.
How your gut health comes into play
A quick study
We already know our gut plays a huge role in many (possibly all) functions in the body. Now, researchers have begun to explore the link between chronic fatigue syndrome and imbalanced gut bacteria. In a 2017 study:
- Scientists identified abnormal levels of certain gut bacteria in patients with chronic fatigue syndrome.
- Specific strains of gut bacteria were strongly associated with chronic fatigue syndrome, and the severity of chronic fatigue symptoms correlated with the relative abundance of these bacterial types.
- Researchers concluded that chronic fatigue syndrome may involve a breakdown in communication between the brain and the gut.
What's a microbiome, you ask? It's the community of microorganisms living in our bodies - almost entirely in the gut. And since growing evidence highlights the importance of a healthy microbiome for overall well-being, it’s not surprising that chronic fatigue syndrome has been associated with the gut.
The microbiome is made up of many different types of bacteria, both helpful and harmful. When we’re healthy, these good and bad bacteria are balanced. But when something happens to upset this balance (like illness or a course of antibiotics) the microbiome can’t function optimally. If our levels of beneficial bacteria dip too low, harmful microbes may take over and lead to a microbiome that’s overrun with bad bacteria. And this imbalance is not good for our overall wellness.
The microflora in our gut promote healthy digestion, produce vitamins and support our immune system, among other things. Our microbiome also affects our mental health, with some research pointing to a connection between gut bacteria and mood. Other conditions linked to the microbiome include irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), diabetes and even obesity.
A healthy microbiome is important for everyone, but it’s especially critical for those with chronic fatigue, since an imbalance of gut bacteria could be contributing to their condition.
Probiotic supplements may help to support the microbiome and reduce symptoms of chronic fatigue. Here's how:
- Probiotics help repopulate the microbiome with beneficial microbes, restoring the balance between harmful and helpful.
- Sickness-causing pathogens are kept at bay, digestive processes are optimised and the immune system is able to function properly.
Our Beauty Greens® include LactoSpore® probiotics, which survive their journey down the digestive tract into the intestine (where many probiotics may be broken down before they reach their destination). They then settle in the digestive tract and produce enough lactic acid and other antagonistic substances to inhibit the growth of bad bacteria.
The beauty of probiotics
Plenty of studies have explored and proven the benefits of probiotics, concluding that these supplements can help with a myriad of health problems. Here are some of the many conditions probiotics have been shown to treat and/or prevent:
- Vaginal infections
- Irritable bowel syndrome
- Urinary tract infections
- Ulcerative colitis
- Crohn’s disease
Taking a probiotic to bring the microbiome back into balance may be a powerful way to reduce symptoms of chronic fatigue. Probiotics can be a safe, natural and gentle addition to any chronic fatigue treatment plan.
Gut health can also be promoted with the right diet: increase fibre intake to foster the good bacteria and include fermented foods like probiotic yoghurts, sauerkraut and kombucha.