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Why does irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) cause fatigue?

One reason that irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) causes fatigue has to do with something called glutamic acid, an excitatory neurotransmitter that increases the firing of neurons in the central nervous system. It is converted into either glutamine or gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), two other amino acids that help pass messages to the brain. GABA is a natural calming agent in the brain that is manufactured from amino acids and glucose. It is sometimes called "nature's Valium" because when there are too many excitatory neurotransmitters firing in the brain, GABA will be sent out to try to calm things down. Many sedative and tranquilizing drugs act by enhancing the effects of GABA. When the gut becomes irritated and inflamed, there is less glutamic acid available, which means there is less GABA produced, which leads to food cravings, and insomnia, as well as feeling stressed, emotional, restless, hungry and fatigued.

The Fatigue Solution: Increase Your Energy in Eight Easy Steps

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The Fatigue Solution: Increase Your Energy in Eight Easy Steps

Every day, all over the world, millions of women are grappling with many of the same mind and body issues: low sex drive, weight gain, sexual dissatisfaction, chronic stress, anxiety,...

A theory of why irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) causes fatigue has to do with low levels of serotonin in these people.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.