Scientists have discovered “further evidence” that Chronic Fatigue Syndrome is not psychological and could actually be caused by bacteria in the gut.
Professor Maureen Hanson, said: “Our work demonstrates that the gut bacterial microbiome in chronic fatigue syndrome patients isn’t normal, perhaps leading to gastrointestinal and inflammatory symptoms in victims of the disease.”
“Furthermore our detection of a biological abnormality provides further evidence against the ridiculous concept that the disease is psychological in origin.”
In the medical community there has long been speculation and debate about whether CFS is a real illness, as there is no black and white test for diagnosis and it is often misdiagnosed as mental illness or dismissed altogether.
The NHS describes CFS, otherwise known as ME (myalgic encephalomyelitis), as a serious condition, which can cause long-term illness and disability.
Symptoms of CF mean that normal levels of exertion leads to debilitating fatigue that isn’t alleviated by rest.
Around 250,000 people in the UK have CF, which can range between moderate - meaning time off work - to severe, which inhibits patients from even doing menial tasks such as brushing their teeth.
The experiments used 48 people diagnosed with CF and 39 healthy controls and was able to find specific bacterial markers in the gastrointestinal system of those with the disease.
Researcher Ludovic Giloteaux said: “In the future we could see this technique as a complement to other noninvasive diagnoses, but if we have a better idea of what is going on with these gut microbes.”
Current treatment on the NHS is limited to cognitive behavioural therapy or exercise regimes but Giloteaux believes clinicians should consider changing patient’s diets.
“Maybe clinicians could consider changing diet, use prebiotics as dietary fibre or probiotics to help treat the disease.”
Previously triggers have been attributed to viral or bacterial infection, problems with the immune system, imbalances of hormones or psychiatric trauma.