Fatigue is a word that probably 100% of those reading this can relate to. It can be defined as a loss of energy caused by physical or mental exertion. Fatigue has a myriad of causes from simple exertion and overwork to debilitating illnesses such as Chronic Fatigue Immune Dysfunction Syndrome (CFIDS) and auto-immune diseases. While it is impossible to address every cause of fatigue in one article, there are some causes of fatigue that may surprise you and many of these are easily corrected.
* Stress: Stress isn’t always bad and there are actually two types: eustress (healthy) and distress (unhealthy). Eustress results when you are doing something that enhances function and pleasure, such as exercise or getting excited about a party. Distress results from persistent stress that is not resolved through coping and adaptation. The problem with distress is that it causes long term chemical and hormonal changes resulting in fatigue. One of the best ways to counter distress is to routinely do activities that you enjoy. While being a couch potato only increases the feeling of fatigue, engaging in a pleasant activity can banish it.
* Electronics: Using a cell phone, computer, watching TV or using an electronic reader before bedtime can lead to fatigue. Studies show that use of electronics less than an hour before bedtime can interfere with sleep patterns resulting in lack of deep, restorative sleep. Keep electronics out of the bedroom.
* Dehydration: Dehydration doesn’t necessarily mean medically dehydrated with low blood pressure, weakness and dizziness, but simply that your body doesn’t have an ideal amount of fluid present in the blood stream. Some alternative practitioners recommend drinking as much as 500cc (about a pint) of water for every 50lbs of body weight. If you are eating a healthy diet, about 20% of this liquid comes from your food. Just being slightly dehydrated can lead to less blood getting to your brain which in turn can lead to fatigue.
* Body out of balance: When the skeletal system is not aligned, stress is placed on the organs including liver, kidneys, heart and lungs. This imbalance leads to fatigue. Chiropractors, physiotherapists and osteopaths can evaluate and correct skeletal imbalances.
* Sluggish liver: The liver is the major detoxifying organ in the body. If it is not working properly or is overwhelmed with toxins, you will feel sluggish and lethargic. It is extremely important to detoxify your liver with Liver Cleanse and eat pure, clean foods.
* Vitamin C deficiency: Vitamin C is an essential nutrient required for growth and repair of all tissues in the body. It is also a major antioxidant. Not taking enough vitamin C can leave you feeling fatigued from build up of oxidation products in the body and from lack of tissue repair. It is impossible to get adequate Vitamin C from food and a good supplement is almost always necessary.
* Magnesium deficiency: Low magnesium is almost universally overlooked as a cause of symptoms such as fatigue, generalized weakness, muscle cramps and cardiac arrhythmias. Magnesium is an essential electrolyte responsible for activating all muscles in the body including the heart. It is also critical to energy production. While other electrolytes such as sodium, chloride, potassium and calcium are routinely checked, magnesium is almost always overlooked. In fact, it is not even included on a comprehensive metabolic profile but must be requested separately. Like Vitamin C, almost everyone needs a high quality magnesium supplement. Most conventional medical practitioners will tell you magnesium deficiency is rare but they are wrong. It is almost universal but missed even when checked because, once below the bottom of the range, deficiency is so bad that significant illness is present. If your result is much below the midpoint of the normal range, you are most likely deficient.
* Variable wake up time: The time you wake up in the morning is more important than when you go to bed. Failure to maintain a consistent wake up schedule can result in a jet lag feeling.
* Hypothyroidism: The thyroid gland is responsible for setting the metabolic rate of the body. Ask for thyroid testing but follow the guidelines for interpretation and testing found in the first source below. It is essential to get a full thyroid work up including free T3, free T4 and reverse T3. Don’t accept being told your thyroid function is normal when you have symptoms of hypothyroidism.
* Exercise: Exercise releases key endorphins and neurotransmitters that help regulate the sleep cycle. Not enough exercise results in not enough being produced and impairs restorative sleep. However too much exercise, especially at night, results in setting the stress cascade in motion; including elevated adrenalin and cortisol which leave the body aroused and also impairs restorative sleep.
Most of the causes of fatigue outlined here are easily self-diagnosed and treated. If you are experiencing fatigue, work on correcting each problem outlined with the suggested actions and appropriate supplements. Within a few weeks, you should be noticing marked improvement in your energy level.