Office workers plagued by metabolism, fatigue issues

By Wu Liang-yi and Sherry Hsiao  /  Staff reporter, with staff writer

Sat, May 26, 2018 - Page 3

Forty-three percent of office workers simultaneously experience gastrointestinal distress and chronic fatigue syndrome, a study conducted by the Taiwan Association for Lactic Acid Bacteria showed.

The study, which interviewed 1,068 office workers between the ages of 25 and 49, also showed that the proportion of people with chronic fatigue syndrome was 29.4 percent higher among people with gastrointestinal distress than among those without gastrointestinal distress.

Many people think that fatigue is only associated with stress and physical labor, association honorary chairman Tsai Ying-chieh (蔡英傑) said on Thursday.

However, gut microbiota disturbance and prolonged gut microbiota imbalance could create a negative chain reaction, leading to chronic fatigue syndrome, he said.

The study showed that 53.8 percent of respondents who have fewer than four bowel movements per week experience symptoms of gastrointestinal distress, as well as chronic fatigue syndrome, said Hsu Ping-i (許秉毅), a doctor at Kaohsiung Veterans General Hospital’s Gastroenterology and Hepatology Department.

The number is more than 75 percent for those with less than one bowel movement per week, Hsu said, adding that the gastrointestinal tract and the brain are like a two-way highway.

The nervous, metabolic and immune systems transmit information between each other and maintain a balance, Hsu said.

Gut microbiota play a key role in the communication process, he said, adding that when they are destroyed, it could affect the gastrointestinal tract, as well as the brain.

Sleeping habits, diet and stress could all lead to an imbalance in the gut microbiota, Tsai said.

He suggested eating yogurt to increase the intake of good bacteria, reduce harmful substances in the gastrointestinal tract and lower the risk of gastrointestinal inflammation.