Increased d-lactic Acid intestinal bacteria in patients with chronic fatigue syndrome

In Vivo. 2009 Jul-Aug;23(4):621-8.


Patients with chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) are affected by symptoms of cognitive dysfunction and neurological impairment, the cause of which has yet to be elucidated. However, these symptoms are strikingly similar to those of patients presented with D-lactic acidosis. A significant increase of Gram positive facultative anaerobic faecal microorganisms in 108 CFS patients as compared to 177 control subjects (p<0.01) is presented in this report. The viable count of D-lactic acid producing Enterococcus and Streptococcus spp. in the faecal samples from the CFS group (3.5 x 10(7) cfu/L and 9.8 x 10(7) cfu/L respectively) were significantly higher than those for the control group (5.0 x 10(6) cfu/L and 8.9 x 10(4) cfu/L respectively). Analysis of exometabolic profiles of Enterococcus faecalis and Streptococcus sanguinis, representatives of Enterococcus and Streptococcus spp. respectively, by NMR and HPLC showed that these organisms produced significantly more lactic acid (p<0.01) from (13)C-labeled glucose, than the Gram negative Escherichia coli. Further, both E. faecalis and S. sanguinis secrete more D-lactic acid than E. coli. This study suggests a probable link between intestinal colonization of Gram positive facultative anaerobic D-lactic acid bacteria and symptom expressions in a subgroup of patients with CFS. Given the fact that this might explain not only neurocognitive dysfunction in CFS patients but also mitochondrial dysfunction, these findings may have important clinical implications.

MeSH terms

  • Carbon Isotopes
  • Chromatography, High Pressure Liquid
  • Enterococcus faecalis / metabolism
  • Escherichia coli / metabolism
  • Fatigue Syndrome, Chronic / metabolism*
  • Fatigue Syndrome, Chronic / microbiology*
  • Feces / microbiology
  • Gram-Negative Anaerobic Bacteria / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Intestines / microbiology*
  • Lactic Acid / metabolism*
  • Nuclear Magnetic Resonance, Biomolecular
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Streptococcus sanguis / metabolism


  • Carbon Isotopes
  • Lactic Acid