People suffering from CFS, also known as ME, often also have irritable bowel syndrome. In the new study the researchers investigated the link between the two, showing that there were clear gut bacteria changes associated with CFS, a debilitating condition that leaves people extremely tired for much of their lives. Despite affecting an estimated 250,000 people in Britain, its causes and mechanism are poorly understood. Theories have ranged from its being a response to viral infection to its being purely psychiatric. Recent research found a chemical signature that seemed to show metabolic changes similar to hibernation.
In a new study published in the journal Microbiome, researchers showed that the bacteria in the guts of 50 people with CFS were different from those of people without CFS and that this was true whether or not they also had irritable bowel syndrome, a condition that causes digestive problems.
Ian Lipkin from Columbia University said that it was impossible to tell whether the changes were a cause or consequence of the illness but that it was not implausible that the actions of gut bacteria could make people feel more tired.