Finally! A Clue to the Cause of Chronic Fatigue—and It Won’t Be Found on Regular Blood Tests

For millions affected around the world, this research is a major development.

For those who suffer from chronic fatigue syndrome, treatment isn’t as simple as trying to get more sleep or switching their mattress. (These are the 7 signs it’s time for a new mattress.) In fact, CFS’ treatment isn’t even complex, it’s non-existent. Up until this point, no one treatment has been found for the ailment which plagues millions of people worldwide, but there is hope. A new study seems to be on its way to finding a solution to the sapping syndrome. (These are the 8 signs of chronic fatigue you might be ignoring.)

This week, in a study published Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, researchers may have pinpointed precisely what in the human body is causing this illness.

The research compared the blood samples of 200 CFS sufferers and 400 participants without CFS and found that the CFS group shared the same immune system imbalance. These imbalances have previously slipped past prior research because the blood tests conducted by most doctors don’t look for this specific inflammation, according to NPR.


The levels of 17 different cytokines, small proteins used by immune systems for inter-cell communication, were found to correlate with the intensity of symptoms for CFS sufferers.

In the United States,  80% of those afflicted with CFS go undiagnosed. According to the Mayo Clinic, the primary symptoms of CFS are: “fatigue, loss of memory or concentration, sore throat, Enlarged lymph nodes in your neck or armpits, unexplained muscle pain, pain that moves from one joint to another without swelling or redness, headache of a new type, pattern or severity, unrefreshing sleep, [and] extreme exhaustion lasting more than 24 hours after physical or mental exercise.”

The researchers believe the research should help develop a definitive blood test for the illness and eventually an effective treatment. In the meantime, give these natural energy boosters next time you feel drained. 

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