Can Leaky Gut Cause Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS)?

A Personalised Approach To Chronic Fatigue

Welcome to my blog post ‘Can Leaky Gut Cause Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS)?’.

You may also be interested in the section of my blog dedicated to chronic fatigue syndrome, click here, in particular:

Can Leaky Gut Cause Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS)?

There is now evidence that chronic fatigue syndrome is associated with leaky gut, as demonstrated by increased prevalences for serum IgM and IgA against bacterial products from gram-negative bacteria (1).

I competed my MSc dissertation on cortisol resistance in chronic fatigue syndrome and that was when I became aware of the research of Michael Maes who has published a vast amount of research on this condition.

One paper he published detailed the case of a 13 year old girl with CFS who showed very high values of antibodies against bacterial. The authors also found signs of oxidative stress, and inflammation. Essentially she had leaky gut!

Upon treatment with specific antioxidants, a “leaky gut diet”, and intravenous immunoglobins, the leaky gut normalised. The key findings was that this was accompanied by a complete remission of the CFS symptoms (1).

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Inanother study, the authors also examined antibodies to bacteria (i.e leaky gut) in CFS patients both before and after treatment.

Treatment consisted of the intake of natural anti-inflammatory substances and antioxidants including:

Alongside a leaky gut diet. The treatment lasted for 10-14 months (2).

NAC ameliorates gut-derived inflammation through an increased gut barrier function

Up to 24 patients (from 41) showed a significant clinical improvement or remission within 10-14 months.

The other NAIOSs employed in this study were:

What Is The Leaky Gut Diet For Chronic Fatigue Syndrome?

The participants avoided milk, gluten and went and low-carb. That’s it!


So can leaky gut cause chronic fatigue syndrome? It seems so, but the key question to consider is why does the person have leaky gut in the first place.

  • Leaky gut is associated with chronic fatigue syndrome.
  • The utilisation of certain supplements and a low carb gluten-free and dairy-free diet helps a subset of participants.

It’s important to state I do not believe in generic one size fits all approaches to conditions – this is not functional medicine. But there is real hope, I hope(!), in knowing that even these basic approaches can help a good percentage of those suffering with chronic fatigue. As always we need to “treat the individual,  not the disease”.

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References of ‘Can Leaky Gut Cause Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS)?:

  1. Normalization of the increased translocation of endotoxin from gram negative enterobacteria (leaky gut) is accompanied by a remission of chronic fatigue syndrome: click here.
  2. Normalization of leaky gut in (CFS) is accompanied by a clinical improvement: effects of age, duration of illness and the translocation of LPS from gram-negative bacteria: click here.
  3. Recognizing the Leaky Gut as a Trans-diagnostic Target for Neuroimmune Disorders Using Clinical Chemistry and Molecular Immunology Assays: click here.
  4. Gut Microbiota, Bacterial Translocation, and Interactions with Diet: Pathophysiological Links between Major Depressive Disorder and Non-Communicable Medical Comorbidities: click here.
  5. Eukaryotes in the gut microbiota in myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome: click here.
  6. Changes in Gut and Plasma Microbiome following Exercise Challenge in Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (ME/CFS): click here.
  7. Reduced diversity and altered composition of the gut microbiome in individuals with myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome: click here.
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