Probiotics may help with chronic fatigue

Dr Birgitta Evengard and colleagues of the Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm observed 10 female and five male chronic fatigue syndrome patients for two weeks before giving them two decilitres of Cultura Dofilus Natural Yogurt, twice daily, for four weeks. They then followed them for an additional four weeks.

Six of the patients reported improvements in their symptoms, for one the symptoms got worse. Four of the women reported improvements in their physical health and two in their mental health. One man reported improvement in physical health and one other man reported improved mental health.

‘For some patients this was a dramatic difference,’ Dr Evengard said. She recommends that her patients with chronic fatigue syndrome try taking the probiotics tested in her study, and stop if they start feeling worse, but stick with it for three weeks if they feel better or if they don't notice an immediate effect.

Given that there is a close connection between the gut and the immune system, as well as the central nervous system, it seems reasonable that probiotics – which can restore the normal balance of bacteria in the digestive system – might help patients with chronic fatigue syndrome. Dr Evengard was not surprised by the wide range of responses because of the complexity of chronic fatigue syndrome.

The maker of Cultura Dofilus Natural Yogurt, Arla Foods, helped fund the study.

Nutrition Journal, online January 26, 2009.
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First Published in May 2005

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