Everyone experiences tiredness and fatigue at some point. As a Nutritionist, I have patients frequently being fatigued and commenting, “This is normal right?” I find that people just put up with their ongoing feeling of lethargy because we live such busy lifestyles. One thing is certain, people are becoming more tired and without proper treatment, this exhaustive cycle becomes more vicious!
What is fatigue?
Fatigue is a term used to describe the general overall feeling of tiredness and/or a lack of energy. Other words that are sometimes used in place of fatigue include exhaustion, weariness, and lethargy. People may feel fatigued – in body or mind (physical fatigue or psychological fatigue).
Causes of fatigue
Fatigue may be due to many factors caused from a few different aspects. These can be obvious, but in some cases, you may not know what is actually going on, this is when seeing a Natural health care practitioner like a Nutritionist can help.
Other causes of fatigue may include:
- Emotional stress, depression, and anxiety
- Physical stress- excessive exercise or strenuous work
- Digestive problems- this can affect your absorption of nutrients
- Food intolerances
- Poor diet and lifestyle choices
- Inflammatory conditions like arthritis and allergies
- Hormone imbalances
- Blood sugar problems
- Injury and muscle pain
- Adrenal dysfunction
It is important to find the underlying cause of your fatigue to know how to properly fix the problem. In order to do this, we need to explore the possible cause/s and at the same time support and heal the bodies cellular energy production, the mitochondria.
Nutritional approach to treating fatigue
- The first step I would take is to do some functional tests, which could include an Adrenal hormone profile test, food intolerance testing, a complete digestive stool analysis (to see how well the body’s digestive system is working), blood sugar and other hormone profile testing.
- Sleep quality- Typically adults need about eight hours of sleep each night. Some people try to get by on fewer hours of sleep. But also making sure you do not get too much sleep, adults sleeping more than 11 hours per day can lead to excessive daytime sleepiness.
- Are you drinking alcohol or taking drugs? Alcohol is a depressant drug that slows the nervous system and disturbs normal sleep patterns. Other drugs, such as cigarettes and caffeine, stimulate the nervous system and can cause insomnia.
- Exercise- what type of exercise are you doing? Are you doing any at all? Physical activity is known to improve fitness, health, wellbeing, reduce stress, and boost energy levels.
- Diet- Consuming a whole food eating plan with lots of fresh produce, lean animal meats, oily fish, nuts, seeds, whole grains, and lots of water. It is best to stay clear of low-kilojoule diets, really low carbohydrate diets or high energy foods, these are nutritionally poor and don’t provide the body with enough fuel or nutrients to function at its best.
- Detoxification- Completing a nutritional detox program can help to clear out any toxicity they may be causing low energy and fatigue
- Reducing quick fix foods- these include chocolate bars, coffee, caffeinated drinks. These only offer a temporary energy boost that quickly wears off and worsens fatigue.
- Managing individual factors- Changing work schedule/reducing hours, diagnosing depression, grief, and anxiety, as these all can cause fatigue