Fatigue While Taking Probiotics

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Daughter feeding her mother some yogurt (Image: szefei/iStock/Getty Images)

Your gut is filled with both friendly and unfriendly bacteria. Probiotics are supplements that help to increase the balance of friendly bacteria in your gut. Adding probiotics to your diet can improve immune health, help you synthesize vitamins and alleviate diarrhea. Probiotics can also help you to improve symptoms of some people suffering from chronic fatigue syndrome, but may not offer any help with fatigue, and may make some with the disorder feel worse.

Probiotics

Probiotics are live microorganisms found in some foods and supplements. Including probiotics as part of your diet or health plan may improve your immunity, decrease allergies, lower your risk of developing dental cavities and help to alleviate symptoms caused by inflammatory bowel diseases, such as ulcerative colitis and irritable bowel syndrome. Food sources of probiotics include yogurt, cottage cheese, kefir, miso, soy sauce, tempeh and sauerkraut.

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

Chronic fatigue syndrome is a condition that causes extreme fatigue that does not improve with rest. Additional symptoms include poor concentration, sore throat, enlarged lymph nodes, muscle pain, joint swelling or headaches. The exact cause of chronic fatigue syndrome is unknown, but some people may have a predisposition for it, which may be triggered by a viral infection, hormonal imbalance or poor immune health. Treatment includes medications that help to treat depression and sleeping aids, along with psychological therapy and gentle exercise.

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Probiotics

An imbalance in intestinal microorganisms has been implicated as a possible cause of chronic fatigue syndrome. A 2009 clinical study published in "Nutrition Journal" investigated the effects of probiotic supplementation on the symptoms of 15 individuals with chronic fatigue syndrome. The participants were observed without supplementation for two weeks, supplemented with a probiotic for four weeks, and then observed without supplementation for another four weeks. Fatigue did not improve in any of the participants, and one participant reported that the supplement made the fatigue worse. However, six of the 15 participants showed an improvement in neurocognitive functions.

Considerations

The scientists who conducted the 2009 study report that when it comes to fatigue, treatment should be individualized. Probiotics may help to improve fatigue in some individuals, but not others; more research is necessary before formal recommendations can be made. If you feel fatigued after taking probiotics, they may not be the right supplement for you. When considering adding supplements to your health routine, it is important that you first discuss it with your doctor.

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