Those who are suffering from Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) know what it feels like to just not have any energy to be able to do anything. But what often makes it frustrating is that other people are quick to tell them that it’s all in their head and they only need to get more sleep or merely snap themselves out of it. However, a study was conducted recently reveals that there is a definite biological part to CFS.
This study, which was published in PLOS Research News, looked at the white blood cells of people who have CFS and those who do not. These cells showed that they were incapable of producing nearly as much energy as immune cells taken from healthy people, making it evident to researchers that although more studies are needed, there is a definite difference in these people at the cellular level.
This disease has been debated for half a century now, with some claiming the condition is purely psychological while others believed there was a physical or biological component. Those who suffered most because of this ongoing debate were those who were suffering from CFS as the treatment recommendations varied so considerably and rarely actually addressed the problem.
As scientists have now begun to agree that CFS is, in fact, a biological disease, there has been more learned about the mechanics of the disease.
Researchers have now identified several clear distinctions in people who are suffering from CFS in their gut bacteria, immune cells, and blood biomarkers. This new study which only confirms these findings took a closer look at peripheral blood mononuclear cells which are a part of the immune system, focusing on glycolysis and oxidative phosphorylation, two metabolic processes of cells.
What they found was that under normal conditions, when there was low oxygen present, the cells of the participants with CFS weren’t able to perform as well as the cells of ordinary people. Study participants then underwent stressful conditions in low oxygen, and the difference between the energy output of normal cells versus those with CFS became blatantly obvious.
Under stress, healthy cells were able to nearly double their energy output to keep up with the additional pressure on the body. The CFS cells, however, were only able to produce an extra 50% of energy. This proves that someone with CFS is not physically capable of doing as much as a healthy person because their cells cannot make the power they need to deal with stressful situations.
There is still a lot more research that needs to be done on CFS as many of the studies done so far have been fairly small and only involved a small number of participants. However, every bit of research that proves the biological aspect of CFS is a step in the right direction for being able to find a solution that will help those with CFS get the treatment they need.
It is estimated that CFS currently affects around 2.6% of the world’s population, but many of these cases could still be undiagnosed because of the stigma surrounding the disease and some lingering belief that it’s a psychological disorder. However, as more people are diagnosed, then there will be more research done and more treatment options will become available to those individuals that need it.
About the Author: Originally from Michigan, Melody now enjoys working as a freelance writer from her home in Nicaragua, which she shares with her amazing husband and their crazy cat that was raised on goat’s milk from the time her mother abandoned her at just ten days old. They’re excited to be expecting their first baby, who they thought was a girl, were told was a boy, and then was told was a girl. She also recently finished her first novel and is working on making a cat coloring book.
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