When we are fatigued we struggle to function properly, our reactions are impaired, we are irritated easily, it effects our thinking, our mood, motivation and our passion for life which are negatively impacted. Fatigue has become a common problem and chronic fatigue a more debilitation one.
It’s normal to feel tired at times, if you have worked hard physically or mentally for long hours, if you haven’t had a good nights sleep, it’s expected that you might feel tired. These causes of fatigue are short lived and should pass with rest and recovery. But what happens when a lack of energy is the norm, when it’s not relieved by sleep or rest?
What To Do & Where To Start?
Fatigue can be quite straight forward in the way we investigate and tackle it and for many improvements can be felt within weeks. The first steps must be with detailed information around sleep habits and whilst this sounds obvious, unless you have insomnia or apparent wakefulness its easy to miss the less obvious signs. Sleep apnea, mouth breathing, lack of complete darkness, compromised digestion, electromagnetic fields can and do impact the quality of your sleep and are important areas to consider.
Testing for nutrient insufficiencies is an absolute MUST these include:
- iron, vitamin B12, folate, vitamin D
Testing for anything that might be effecting the way your organs are functioning is another MUST and some of these include;
- thyroid functions (please note a TSH is not a sufficient way to understand how your thyroid is working), antinuclear antibodies, cortisol, insulin, glucose, liver & kidney function, inflammatory markers, oxidative stress markers, infections such as virus and bacteria, immunoglobulins
Food Intolerances A Cause Of Fatigue!
One area that is easy to miss is the area of food intolerances & allergies (these do differ) it is the easiest area to rule in or out, and the hardest for most to recognise as being an issue. A clear strategy to identify if this is an issue can provide amazing results. Everyone is different and while some have issues with groups of foods others may only have issues with one food, knowing this is useful not just in terms of fatigue but can also resolve other symptoms. Food intolerances are not necessarily a “forever” problem and restoring gut function goes a long way in resolution.
Causes Of FATIGUE
- food intolerances
- excessive exercise
- lack of exercise
- ongoing emotional and mental stress
- sleep apnea
- blood glucose or insulin resistance
- anemia’s – iron, vitamin B12 or folate
- vitamin D deficiency
- high or low cortsiol
- thyroid issues
- electromagnetic influences
- additives and chemicals environmental and in our food
Conditions Associated With Fatigue
- sleep apnea
- joint and muscle pain
- liver dysfunction
- pancreatic dysfunction
- kidney dysfunction
- blood sugar disturbances
- cardiovascular disease
- poor mental function
- poor physical performance
- behavioural disturbances
- mitochondiral dysfunction
What About Mitochondrial Issues?
Mitochondria are the powerhouse of each cell, responsible for 90% of the energy produced in each cell. Issues in the function of the mitochondria can be a major cause of fatigue. Mitochondria use protein, fats, carbohydrates as fuel and need various nutrients such as N- acetyl carnitine, lipoic acid, coenzymes Q10 and magnesium. Oxidative damage to DNA interfere with function of the mitrochondria. Oxidative damage can be caused by any of the following:
- environmental toxin exposure
- ionizing radiation such as x rays, ultra violet
- tabacco smoke (first or second hand)
- air pollutants
- excessive or inadequate exercise
- inadequate sleep, wake rhythms and cycles
- chronic infections
- gut issues
Isn’t It Normal For Me To Be Tired?
Have you been told that you just need to exercise more? or that you’r a mum its normal to feel tired? or that at your age – what do you expect? Of course there may be times when its normal and the fatigue is explained but we often see people where their fatigue should have been investigated long before it was and it kept getting pushed aside with one excuse or another from various practitioners or a clients very own beliefs. But lets consider that us humans have been designed to move physically for most of our waking hours!
FATIGUE tells us something is wrong, the body isn’t getting its needs me, be that a nutrient deficiency, a food issue, environmental, stress issue or a sleep issue, but more importantly it can be a symptom of a serious health issue and should be taken seriously when the cause is not obvious.
Metagenics practitioner support – Fatigue key clinical concepts