Probiotics May Ease Symptoms of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
I recently read a news story about a study conducted at the University of Toronto. It has shown that taking a probiotic supplement every day has apparently improved symptoms of anxiety disorders in people who suffer from CFS (Chronic Fatigue Syndrome). This research came out of a team led by A. Venket Rao, based on a two month study which showed a significant decrease in the subjects anxiety symptoms.
Those who are not usually interested in natural health products are probably wondering. "What is a probiotic?" Very simply, it is a natural dietary supplement that contains live bacteria – for example Lactobacillus or Bifidobacteria. This good bacteria in the digestive system, boosts the immune system and helps to fight off harmful bacteria. RGarden's L. Salivarius is one such product that helps maintain the natural "good 'bacteria living in each person.
But what the U of T. researchers were most excited to discover was that after two months of daily probiotics supplementation, the subjects in the study also showed positive results in managing disorders such as anxiety and depression. They have published their findings in the journal BioMed Central.
Their study was conducted on subjects suffering from CFS – Chronic fatigue syndrome which exhibits many symptoms including persistent fatigue- and for nearly half of those affected – sleep disorders, depression and anxiety. If the indications from this study hold up under further research and probiotic supplements do turn out to be viable option it will be good news for sufferers because unlike medicines, which can bring about a host of unwanted side effects, probiotics could be a safe and easy alternative.
Perhaps what led them to look at probiotics in the first place was that patients with CFS are also often afflicted with digestive disorders frequently associated with the decreased presence of good bacteria in the body. This is something that natural health products advocates have long used probiotics to improve. Because the good bacteria present in the probiotic supplements is able to help the body crow out the bad bacteria in the gut and this bad bacteria has already been linked with an increase in depression and other mood disorders, the researchers feel that bacteria levels may influence our behavior.
The group given probiotics on a daily basis showed higher levels of Lactobacillus and Bifidobacteria and this correlated with a significant decrease in anxiety symptoms in the group. These patients also demonstrated digestive improvements such as a decrease in inflammation, bloating and gas.
"The finds are huge," said study co-author Alison C. Bested, who went on to say the study subjects made calmer and better able to cope with their illness, slept better and showed fewer symptoms of anxiety.