Adv Clin Chem 2014 ;66:121-72
Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) is a poorly understood condition that presents as long-term physical and mental fatigue with associated symptoms of pain and sensitivity across a broad range of systems in the body. The poor understanding of the disorder comes from the varying clinical diagnostic definitions as well as the broad array of body systems from which its symptoms present. Studies on metabolism and CFS suggest irregularities in energy metabolism, amino acid metabolism, nucleotide metabolism, nitrogen metabolism, hormone metabolism, and oxidative stress metabolism. The overwhelming body of evidence suggests an oxidative environment with the minimal utilization of mitochondria for efficient energy production. This is coupled with a reduced excretion of amino acids and nitrogen in general. Metabolomics is a developing field that studies metabolism within a living system under varying conditions of stimuli. Through its development, there has been the optimisation of techniques to do large-scale hypothesis-generating untargeted studies as well as hypothesis-testing targeted studies. These techniques are introduced and show an important future direction for research into complex illnesses such as CFS.