inflammation health issues exhaustion

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Flat-Out Exhaustion

The health issue: Chronic fatigue syndrome

What inflammation has to do with it: People suffering from chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) have higher levels of inflammation in their blood, found a recent study in Microbiome. There was also evidence that some gut bacteria might have migrated into their bloodstreams, which could explain the inflammation, because their bodies may have been mounting an immune attack against the wayward bacteria, explains study author Maureen Hanson, PhD, a professor of molecular biology and genetics at Cornell University. On top of that, not only did subjects with CFS (now technically known as myalgic encephalomyelitis) have less diversity in their gut bacteria, they had more species known to be pro-inflammatory and fewer species that are known to decrease inflammation. This makes sense, says Hanson, because "a lot of the symptoms of the disease are inflammatory symptoms," like headaches, muscle aches and tiredness. "Most people feel like they have a never-ending case of the flu."

What you can do: Although this is another case where it's not clear whether the inflammation causes the disease or vice versa, Hanson notes that people could still benefit from treating their inflammatory symptoms. Ask your doctor about what they'd recommend.