Fatigue is the number one complaint I see in my patients. Often times, people just accept it as normal and keep going about their daily lives. The truth is, you don’t have to. In actuality, fatigue is a sign of a greater issue and here are my top things to consider when your energy isn’t as good as you would like.
The expectations we put upon ourselves and the way in which we live can be incredibly stressful on the body. When we push to be productive all the time, the body is adversely affected because it is constantly trying to cope and adapt to protect itself from the chronic insult of stress hormones. Your body produces more adrenalin, cortisol and DHEA in response to stress. In time, the body’s ability to keep up with the demands you put on the adrenals cannot keep up with the production of these hormones. You may experience symptoms, such as weight gain, brain fog, fatigue, changes in sleep, sugar or salt cravings.
Food intolerance or food sensitivities are another form of an allergic reaction to food. These immune responses are slower and can come on hours to days later. There are a host of symptoms associated with food intolerances, including digestive problems, autoimmune disease, asthma, eczema and other skin reactions, chronic infection, fatigue, low mood and brain fog. Food sensitivity testing is a simple blood test that can help identify problem foods. Once you identify the intolerance, symptoms improve rapidly. It is then imperative that you focus on healing the gut to prevent any further issues.
An underactive thyroid often goes undiagnosed. Many people suffer from subclinical hypothyroidism long before thyroid disease is diagnosed. Difficulty losing weight, fatigue, hair loss, dry skin, constipation, depression and feeling cold all the time are all symptoms of hypothyroidism. Medical doctors often only test TSH to assess thyroid function, but a proper assessment should also include free T3, free T4, thyroid autoantibodies, reverse T3 and basal body temperature testing.
Low Iron Levels
Anemia associated with low iron levels is common in women because of monthly menstruation and blood loss, especially with heavy periods. A vegetarian diet or low intake of iron-rich foods can also result in iron deficiency anemia. Low iron can cause fatigue, hair loss, dry and pale skin and feeling cold. Bloodwork to assess optimal iron levels is required to assess iron status.
Low Vitamin B12 Levels
Anemia can also be caused by low B12 levels. B12 deficiency can also result in fatigue, coldness, numbness and tingling in the extremities. Vegetarians and people with digestive problems, such as celiac disease or gluten intolerances, need to be aware of monitoring their B12 levels. A simple blood test can assess B12 levels.
Blood Sugar Imbalances
Some people’s energy is highly influenced by food. They can experience fatigue before or after eating. Low energy that requires you to eat something to feel better or that comes on after a period of time with no food is caused by hypoglycaemia or low blood sugar. Sleepiness after a meal may be the result of insulin resistance and blood sugar levels that are difficult to maintain. In both cases, a simple fasting blood sugar and insulin level can help identify a problem.
Recurrent yeast infections are only one of the signs of yeast overgrowth in the body. Yeast is also found in the intestines and overgrowth of yeast can create symptoms of fatigue, bloating, gassiness, foggy head, sugar cravings and mood swings. Yeast overgrowth can be the result of oral contraceptive use, hormonal imbalances, high sugar intake, antibiotic use or weak immune function. Treatment includes dietary and supplement protocols to restore a healthy balance of flora in the body.
Sleep problems are more common in people who experience chronic stress and, typically, sleep quality and quantities declines with age. Most men require seven hours of sleep, while women generally work best with eight hours of sleep. Because your body heals, repairs itself and performs most of its digestive functions while you sleep, creating healthy sleep habits and identifying sleep issues is imperative to improving your energy and function.
Depression is associated with excessive sleeping, feeling overwhelmed or emotional, either under- or over-eating and not receiving pleasure or enjoyment. It is important that you find healthy means to treat and manage depression. Speaking to a professional is imperative. Naturopathic treatments can include counselling, dietary changes, supplements, herbal medicine, acupuncture and lifestyle changes to improve mood and overall function.
If your body needs caffeine to get started in the morning, you may not realize that it may be doing more harm than good. Caffeine can give you more energy in the short term, but it is associated with a big energy crash a few short hours later. It also impacts sleep quality making you feel less rested. Most people find that when they actually stop drinking coffee, after one to two weeks, their energy is much higher without it!
If you find you are often complaining of feeling tired, you don’t have to put up with it. Consider investigating why. Please share this article with anyone in your life who is also too tired. You deserve to feel amazing and have an abundance of energy!