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Adrienne Dellwo

Giardia Linked to Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, IBS

By September 30, 2011

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Research Brief

A recent study suggests that the intestinal parasite giardia may be linked to chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS) and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).

Researchers in Norway used mailed questionnaires to follow up with more than 800 people who'd been infected with giardia 3 years earlier. About 46% of respondents reported having ME/CFS, compared to 12% of healthy controls. IBS was also reported in about 46%, compared to 14% of healthy controls.

Researchers concluded that risk of these illnesses was significantly higher in people who'd been exposed to giardia and that the consequences of infection may be higher than previously believed.

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September 30, 2011 at 9:16 am
(1) Rachael says:

One of the reasons many CFS patients suffer from IBS may be related to serotonin levels in the gut (the second brain). IBS patients have extra sensitive pain receptors in the gastrointestinal tract, which may be related to an abnormal level of serotonin, a neurotransmitter involved in regulating digestion and mood.
The second brain, technically known as the enteric nervous system contains some 100 million neurons, more than in either the spinal cord or the peripheral nervous system. The enteric nervous system uses more than 30 neurotransmitters, just like the brain, and in fact 95 percent of the body’s serotonin is found in the bowels. Because antidepressant medications called SSRIs increase serotonin levels, it’s little wonder that meds meant to cause chemical changes in the mind often provoke GI issues as a side effect, such as irritable bowel syndrome. This is probably one of the reasons SSRI’s affect “some” CFS sufferers so badly; those who already suffer from irritable bowel and nausea and not in need of a serotonin boost.


September 30, 2011 at 3:56 pm
(2) AIDAN WALSH says:

Numerous patients had this type of parasite infection and when completely treated cfids illness still there and the same goes for lyme disease…Since the immune systems are out of wack we are prone to any and all secondary infections…Besides it is called immune dysfunction….

September 30, 2011 at 4:28 pm
(3) AIDAN WALSH says:

This year or last year a California doctor wrote in the Huffington Post about this parasite after a C.F.S. cluster of new cases and said there were 200 new cases in same area after a C.F.S. epidemic but i have not heard anyone within the community jumping for joy or out running Marathons…He to this date has not published anything further that I am aware of seeing…I do not think people who have C.F.S. and recovered or cured themselves would be just leaving us all behind to suffer, I think our community is more close than people could imagine and we would of heard about these sudden get well methods…Remember also funding across the globe is at an all time low and Scientists will do anything to secure funding and the truth is they will take funds they get for C.F.S. and apply it to other methods exactly what the N.I.H. did with $10 million allocated for C.F.S. it might look great here in black/white that they are pursuing a parasite but they could also be looking to meet their next mortgage payments and that is the truth…I do not trust the lot of them one bit because there has been to much evil towards this illness and i do not want to come across as being negative but the b.s. has happened and continues to happen and they will never change…it is up to all of us to support private funded research and avoid the liars and these idiot clowns…A total C.F.I.D.S. circus….

September 30, 2011 at 6:25 pm
(4) Beverly says:

Is it the Giardia or the mulitple vaccines that many people get that later cause auto-immune problems? Could be both or either one. There is evidence that giving people multiple vaccines all at once does cause auto immune issues later.

September 30, 2011 at 9:54 pm
(5) Rebecca Fouts says:

I don’t know about people — but it is commonly believed now that dogs are becoming more prone to develop immune disorders and/or other illnesses (such as cancer) later in life because of over vaccination.

For instance, did you know that the actual propolactic ‘shelf-life’ of the rabies vaccine is believed to be 5-7 years? Yet some counties still demand their residents have their dog given a rabies vaccine yearly!!! In addition, the use of combo shots is believed to also play a part, over whelming the immune system all at once.

Vaccinosis is becoming a real problem in the pet community. It’s where a otherwise perfectly healthy pet suddenly becomes seriously and chronically ill right after vaccination.

Some vigilant breeders are now refusing to vaccinate their pets all together. I personally am more of a middle of the road girl. I don’t give combo shots, and fortunately I live in a county that allows 3-year rabies vaccination.

But I could certainly see where there would be a similar problem in people.

September 30, 2011 at 9:58 pm
(6) Rebecca Fouts says:

1) follow your vet’s schedule for worming your pets and have a yearly parasite check to make sure it’s working and any parasites haven’t developed immunity to the wormer

2) wash your hands after cleaning the litter box, feces/vomit

3) pregnant women – you don’t need to get rid of your cat, but you should not clean the litter box. Taxoplasmosis is another type of parasite that can infect cats (who may or may not show symptoms) which can cause birth defects in pregnant women

September 30, 2011 at 11:38 pm
(7) Lisa Petrison, Ph.D. says:

I don’t see anything in that article (at the link) about Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. They only mention chronic fatigue, which has nothing to do with CFS.

Lots of illnesses have chronic fatigue. It doesn’t surprise me that a chronic intestinal parasitical infection could cause that.

But there is no evidence here that this infection kicked off Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, which has a range of specific symptoms and specific underlying abnormalities.

Best, Lisa

October 3, 2011 at 7:10 am
(8) Gwendolyn K says:

Is there a test for Giardia? What does one do to be rid of the parasite?

October 30, 2011 at 6:12 am
(9) Tony Mach says:

“12% of healthy controls” had ME/CFS? No, they asked for “chronic fatigue” not ME and not even CFS. You are giving the wrong impression about this research in the article here. “Chronic Fatigue” is not “Chronic Fatigue Syndrome”!!!

That a (lasting?) parasitic infection causes persistent fatigue is good to know, but it is something different than CFS or ME. And it shows that we need better differential diagnostic tools.

You need to correct or update this article here!!!

March 26, 2012 at 5:19 pm
(10) Eli says:

In the past it was believed that the giardisis was an acute disease and rarely chronic, confirmed by unfounded research, and based on less specific tests. Unfortunately we still believe these studies which have underestimated the disease.

The last reliable searches indicate that the giardisis becomes chronic easily without treatment, according to which the parasite alters the proteins of its surface to evade the immune system, called antigenic variation. And above all, have discovered a mechanism of RNA interference, which helps the parasite to switch VSPs () to avoid the immune response.
It does not surprise me that giardia can cause persistent fatigue, but no chronic fatigue syndrome. We can only say that giardiasis is often not diagnosed as such, but confused with other diseases, for example, with chronic fatigue syndrome, because it is difficult to find the parasite.

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