New clues in chronic fatigue syndrome

If you have chron­ic fatigue syn­drome, you con­front a para­dox: phys­i­cal activ­i­ty is help­ful, but exer­cise can also back­fire and leave you total­ly exhaust­ed. You might feel burn­ing or aching in your mus­cles as if you’ve run a marathon even when you’ve only walked around the block.

This hall­mark of chron­ic fatigue has a sci­en­tif­ic name: “post-exer­tion­al malaise.” Post-exer­tion­al malaise is con­sid­ered one of the symp­toms that offi­cial­ly defines the diag­no­sis of chron­ic fatigue syn­drome.

Now sci­en­tists have dis­cov­ered a clue about the ener­gy metab­o­lism of peo­ple suf­fer­ing from chron­ic fatigue syn­drome that might account for post-exer­tion­al malaise.

Patients with chron­ic fatigue syn­drome have a dif­fer­ent mix of amino acids in their blood stream as com­pared to healthy sub­jects.

Sci­en­tists spec­u­late that in chron­ic fatigue syn­drome there’s a flaw in the enzyme sys­tem that con­verts car­bo­hy­drates into usable fuel for the body’s machin­ery. As a back-up plan, those with chron­ic fatigue break down pro­tein as an ener­gy source instead of carbs.

This would account for the shift of amino acids in the blood, and would also mean that your body can’t tap into nor­mal ener­gy cycles when you exer­cise.

What this means for you

  • Reg­u­lar exer­cise is still good for you. You just have to fig­ure out the fre­quen­cy and dura­tion that works best. Over time your exer­cise capac­i­ty will increase.
  • Main­tain­ing a healthy gut with diverse colonies of bac­te­ria is cru­cial. That’s because the microor­gan­isms that share your intesti­nal tract bring with them their own genes and meta­bol­ic capa­bil­i­ties.   Your gut bac­te­ria can often accom­plish for you some of the inter­nal process­es you can’t accom­plish for your­self.


Deepen Your Body of Knowledge

Five steps to healthy gut bac­te­ria

Gen­tle move­ment and chron­ic pain


About Ronald Lavine, D.C.

Dr. Lavine has more than thirty years' experience helping patients alleviate pain and restore health using diverse, scientifically-based manual therapy and therapeutic exercise and alignment methods.

His website,, provides more information about his approach.

Please contact him at or at 212-400-9663.

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