One of the top concerns I hear about daily is fatigue. It can be all consuming and suck the life out of a person! Really affecting your quality of life!
Fatigue usually makes people feel tired but did you know anxiety and nervous can also be a sign of fatigue? It’s your body’s natural mechanism for trying to boost you.
Many increase caffeine or stimulants in an effort to push themselves through the day. But that’ll just ruin you long-term!
Let’s break it down – there’s more to it than “just being tired” – defining whether it’s physically tired or mentally/emotionally tired is crucial.
So, how do I address fatigue for my clients? The key is in trying to better understand where it’s coming from! Testing, Testing, Testing!
WHAT ARE MY TOP TEN FATIGUE CAUSES?
- Thyroid Disorder
- Poor Sleep
- Dietary/Food Reactions
- Poor Nutrient Absorption
- Poor Cortisol/Stress Management
- Sex Hormone Imbalance
- Depression/Mood Issues
- Infections (Lyme, Epstein Barr Virus, Long Covid)
- Chronic Health Issues (Cancer, Autoimmune, Heart/Lung Issues, Inflammation, Bio-Toxin/Mold Illness)
- Low Vitamin Status (like B12, Iron)
Thyroid disorders are often misdiagnosed or mis-treated. I have seen some missed completely – especially if it’s autoimmune thyroiditis (Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis). But I can’t tell you how many times I see a client improperly medicated for hypothyroidism – that includes under and OVER-medicated! Did you know being over-medicated in thyroid meds (especially Armour/Nature Throid) can cause dramatic fatigue? So, it’s important to get blood tests at the appropriate time in the day while CONTINUING your thyroid medication! Most physicians ask their patients to fast from medication on day of blood draw! Nope! We need to see what your levels are ON medication at specific timing – particularly if you are on a “natural” thyroid medication that contains T3 like Armour! Testing is important in deciphering where your body stands, medication needs and if you have an autoimmune thyroid process.
You can’t expect to have good energy if you toss and turn all night! Sometimes correcting daily fatigue is by correcting sleep issues. Now this is not always easy as sleep can be an elusive health issue as well but understanding melatonin and nighttime cortisol are a good start! But also improving your nighttime regimen and improving sleep hygiene (no phones/tablets, TV, adding calming routines, etc) makes a huge difference!
Did you know gluten and sugar are two of the most fatiguing “foods”? Yep – for sure! Also, over-caffeinating/stimulating with things like coffee and tea can zap your energy for the entire day and negatively impact sleep quality causing a poor energy cycle the next day – and so on and so on! Until you eliminate these foods/drinks it’s challenging to see the issues clearly!
POOR NUTRIENT ABSORPTION
Now we are in the gut – if you don’t absorb your nutrients properly your cells cannot be “fed” and you will not have good energy. Better understanding your gut microbiome function and inflammation is really important here to address poor nutrient absorption!
POOR CORTISOL/STRESS MANAGEMENT
If you’re constantly pushing yourself and your adrenal (stress) glands are not functioning properly (over or under-functioning) then you can be fatigued. I wish this was as easy as just recommending a supplement – it’s not! You simply cannot just supplement your way out of adrenal fatigue! There must be mindset adjustments and awareness around what you allow yourself to stress about. Yes, you DO have control over this! But understanding your personal stress response is key as well!
SEX HORMONE IMBALANCE
Hormone balance plays a huge role in energy – particularly motivational energy – if you over-convert your testosterone into estrogen or simply have low testosterone you can feel a significant lack of motivation or desire to do things – maybe not a physical fatigue but a lack of wanting to do things. But this scenario can also lead to weakness in muscles as well. Better understanding your own hormone levels and balance is an important aspect to resolving this cause.
I often ask clients who are diagnosed with depression this question: “If you had more energy would you still feel depressed?”. About 80% say “NO”. Then I know their “depression” is actually a fatigue issue vs. a mental health issue (although we all now know depression is a gut disorder and must also look there:)
Fatigue is a #1 symptom of underlying infections such as Epstein Barr Virus, Lyme, Long Covid and others. That’s why I run bloodwork to look for underlying infection and inflammation. Once I get those more generalized results back it can point towards more specialized testing to get a clearer picture of causes.
CHRONIC HEALTH ISSUES
The #1 symptom of many “bigger” underlying, chronic health issues is fatigue – cancer, autoimmune disease and biotoxin/mold illness to be more specific. Once again, running more generalized inflammatory markers can help us better understand causes and provide direction but getting a health history of risk factors helps as well!
VITAMIN AND MINERAL DEFICIENCY
Some vitamins and mineral deficiencies are known to cause fatigue – namely vitamin B12 and iron. Just supplementing these vitamins without testing does have its dangers and downside – both, when elevated, can cause significant health problems. You never just want to assume you’re deficient – you MUST test!
Bottom line here is one single symptom of “fatigue” can have TONS of reasons/causes. If any practitioner promises fixes for your fatigue without testing – run away!!! They are just trying to sell you endless supplements!! 😊😊 You need to understand where that symptom is coming from if you expect to address it properly!
Happy almost Summer!
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