Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), also known as myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME), is a complex and debilitating condition characterized by extreme fatigue that persists for an extended period. (*) While chronic fatigue syndrome can have many causes, research has shown that a yeast overgrowth, specifically Candida overgrowth, may contribute to the development and persistence of chronic fatigue symptoms (*).
Transcript of Video
Is a Hidden Candida Overgrowth in Your Gut Causing Chronic Fatigue
If you recently went to the doctor because you are chronically fatigued and run down and you experience problems with brain fog or depression, your doctor most likely ran some blood tests. Often things like Thyroid disease, B12 deficiency and anemia need to be ruled out. But what if all these tests are normal? Does that mean there is no cause for your symptoms? Not at all! while your primary care doctor may have come up empty handed into why you have these symptoms, in functional medicine, we know that there are many causes for fatigue besides the thyroid, Iron and B12 levels.
While your doctor might tell you that you are just stressed out, you need to eat better, or you need to take a vacation. None of these things will improve your Chronic fatigue, Brain fog and depression if the cause is hidden deep in your gut. There is another reason you could be experiencing these symptoms, and it could be due to overgrowth of yeast or Candida in your gut. Often it’s these hidden tucked away yeast infections in the gut microbiome that not only cause fatigue, but also brain fog and depression and they are often overlooked.
I’m Dr Hagmeyer and I’m the clinic director here at Dr Hagmeyer.com and today I’m going to explain how chronic fatigue syndrome may be caused by an overgrowth of bacteria or yeast/Candida hiding in your gut microbiome.
You see, ongoing, persistent, chronic fatigue, brain fog, trouble focusing and concentrating, depression is NOT normal and is often a sign that there is some sort of underlying health problem-despite what your doctor may be telling you. Every days I hear from patients that there test are normal and that their doctor “tested everything.”
While there can be a number of health issue causing fatigue, one problem I believe certainly worth investigating and something I see in many of my patients that struggle with advanced fatigue and brain fog is hidden yeast infection in the gut or some other kind of gut problem.
Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) is a clinical condition characterized by persistent and unexplained relapsing fatigue that is worsened by physical and mental exertion. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Chronic fatigue syndrome affects about 1 million Americans every single year and usually affects more women than men. (*)
For many with CFS it’s also very common to suffer with muscle and joint pain, trouble sleeping and chronic pain. If this is you, I want you to strongly consider the possibility that your fatigue is rooted in either a bacterial gut infection or a fungal/yeast infection hidden in your gut microbiome. (*)
When it comes to the gut- fatigue connection, multiple studies have already found distinct differences in the gut microbiome in patients who suffer with chronic fatigue syndrome and those who don’t. In fact, patients with CFS are more likely to report a diagnosis of irritable bowel syndrome. (*)
And more recently, studies have proven that there are interactions between gut bacterial, your mucosal barrier function, and your immune system and when this happens, we get an inflammatory response leading to Chronic fatigue.(*)
Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Caused by Yeast and Bacterial Overgrowth
So about know, you may we wondering, How do I know if My Chronic Fatigue Syndrome is caused by Yeast Overgrowth or Some other Gut Problem. So, here’s a bit of a checklist that makes me think about an underlying yeast infection causing fatigue, brain fog.
- Has your diet in the past or currently been, a diet high in sugar and carbohydrates?
- Have you had a recent bout of Food Poisoning in the past 1-3 years ?
- Do you have Hypothyroidism or take thyroid medication ?
- Do you take Antidepressants, Antibiotics, or Antacids ?
- In the last 1-3 years have you been under high levels of stress. Have you experienced something traumatic?
- Do you experience Pain on a regular basis?
- In the last 1-3 years have you had any blood testing that shows you have chronic inflammation?
- Last question does your gas, bloating, constipation, diarrhea get worse when you eat fruit, fiber, sugars or starches ?
Now if you can relate to many of these questions and you have chronic fatigue, I would almost guarantee that your chronic fatigue Syndrome is rooted in some kind of hidden gut/Yeast infection.
Usually, it’s a combination of these factors that set the stage for bacteria and yeast to hijack your microbiome. Our microbiome is a delicate balance in which a community of bacteria, yeast and even viruses living on and in your body and they influence everything from how we feel, how our immune system responds to our environment and our body’s ability to resist disease. There’s not a whole lot that the microbiome is not involved in.
How Yeast or Bacterial Overgrowth Causes Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
Yeast overgrowth, particularly Candida overgrowth, may contribute to the development of chronic fatigue syndrome through a variety of mechanisms. Firstly, the excessive growth of yeast and Candida can lead to a condition known as gut dysbiosis, which is an imbalance in the gut microbiota. This dysbiosis can result in impaired digestion and nutrient absorption, leading to deficiencies in essential nutrients needed for energy production. Additionally, the overgrowth of Candida can cause increased intestinal permeability, commonly referred to as “leaky gut.” This leaky gut (*) allows toxins produced by the yeast to enter the bloodstream, triggering inflammation and leading to fatigue and other symptoms like brain fog, depression and chronic pain. (*)
Studies show that in patients with both IBS and CFS have well known pro-inflammatory cytokines, one of them is IL-1β and tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-α. (*) Other studies have shown things like mast cell activation, increased lymphocytes, which all suggest a state of low-grade inflammation or immune activation in the mucosa and lamina propria of the bowel (*)
Inflammation and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
Well… these inflammatory cytokines when elevated, activate your fight or flight system perhaps you have heard about your adrenal glands or your HPA axis. When your fight or flight system is stressed for a long enough period of time, you begin to show signs of low cortisol levels. (*). Low cortisol in turn causes not only chronic fatigue but it is also common to see
- Intestinal issues
- Weakened immune system and increased susceptibility to infection and sickness.
- Loss of resilience in stressful situations.
- Brain fog
- Hormonal imbalances
What Are My First Steps If I have Chronic Fatigue Syndrome?
First and foremost, the root cause of your fatigue, brain fog and other symptoms needs to be identified. We talked about hidden gut infections but there are other problems that cause fatigue. The first step always requires the right kind of testing. If you suffer with fatigue, brain fog, depression, and you haven’t already checked things like Iron Levels, Ferritin levels, B12 levels, Thyroid hormones, Adrenal Hormones, Blood sugar, Insulin, Sex hormones, Inflammatory markers, I suggest this panel of bloodwork. This is a panel of biomarkers that go far beyond what is ever tested by most doctors. This is a panel I specifically put together for patients who struggle with chronic fatigue, brain fog. If all of these tests are normal, it’s time to dig a bit deeper into the health of the gut and evaluate the gut microbiome especially if you went through the above check list and can relate to those red flags.
Testing Your Gut When You Have Chronic Fatigue
Research overwhelmingly indicates that gut health impacts overall health. The gut microbiome, in particular, plays a critical role in mediating the effects of diet and other factors on health, including digestive, immune, metabolic and neuroendocrine functions. Assessing GI health is an important part of getting to the root cause of chronic illness.
Conditions that warrant a GI Map Test
Some conditions that warrant testing are:
- Chronic Fatigue Syndrome/ME
- Autoimmune diseases
- Digestive complaints, diarrhea or constipation
- Brain fog
- Skin problems, like acne and psoriasis
- Mood disorders, depression, and anxiety
- Diabetes and weight loss issues
The GI-MAP evaluates gut pathogens, bacterial infections, yeast overgrowth, viruses, and parasites. Antibiotic resistance genes and virulence factors are also included on the test for unparalleled insight into H. pylori. Learn more about the GI Map and why I use it here