All of us feel fatigue at some time - we lead such busy lives, it's not surprising we feel the strain sometimes. GPs have said the most common thing written in patients' notes is TATT, which means Tired All The Time!
Occasional fatigue that has a reason behind it like extra physical work or stress is normal. At these times, we simply need to stop and calm down for a bit to recharge our batteries.
Fatigue can be a symptom of other health issues such as depression, allergy and arthritis as the body becomes drained with inflammation happening all the time. If you have a low mood and think you could be depressed, especially if you are feeling ‘flat' and tired first thing in the mornings, I would suggest you see you GP or health professional for a discussion about depression to rule it in or out.
Other factors to consider include:
Low adrenal output (see the additional factsheet on adrenal fatigue)
Allergy & Intolerance
Toxicity (especially bowel)
Poor time management/overwork
Too much exercise
Lack of nutrients/malabsorption
If someone contacts me with fatigue, I usually give them two options: either to change their diet and improve nutrient, stress and hydration levels for 3-4 months and/or to test any relevant issues if there are clues to warrant them.
The most common tests recommended are:
You can search through and read about all tests here.
Most of the time, I find fatigue is related to lack of nutrients, bowel toxicity (eg something like candida) and adrenal fatigue after a prolonged or acute period of stress. Once you've ruled out obvious stuff such as anaemia or insomnia, and assuming it's not a symptom of depression, you need to think a bit deeper about the causes and tackle them. You often need individual help, but here is an idea of what to do:
Go over your diet and improve its nutrient-content. Take a wellbeing-type nutrient prescription designed to increase levels of major nutrients like vitamins, minerals and fatty acids. Eat very often (every 2-3 hours) and avoid refined carbs like sugar and stimulants like coffee and alcohol.
Organise any tests needed, thinking especially of adrenal and thyroid checks.
Consider following the detox programme to clear the bowel and liver before re-nourishing.
Lower stress, organise your life better, get plenty of sleep and rest. Avoid people who drain you and spend time with people who make you feel joyous. Do lovely things and avoid stuff like dramas, thrillers and news.
Take some exercise. I know it sounds daft if you're tired, but a little really does help. Choose outdoor stuff like going for a simple walk around the block regularly, yoga or Qi Gong.
Siberian Ginseng. Known as an adaptogen which helps you deal with stress and gives you energy when you need it.
CoQ10. Talking of spark plugs, this helps oxygen release in the body and can indeed have an effect like a spark plug in the body.
Key to success is eating the right foods at the right time, getting the right exercise, taking the right supplements to boost your body's organs and systems, lowering toxicity levels and dealing with ‘body drainers' such as dehydration, constipation, reliance on stimulants, low blood sugar, chronic inflammation, allergies and on-going stress and worry.
When fatigue gets a lot more serious and debilitating as in ME, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Candidiasis and Fibromyalgia more work needs to be done and the naturopathic approach can be very successful. In these cases, a full consultation and programme of support is needed to get you slowly back to optimum functioning. Check here for my Chronic Fatigue Factsheet.
Remember - always check out with your health practitioner or GP before starting anything new especially if you are taking any other medicines, are pregnant or trying to conceive or have high blood pressure. See here for more advice on interactions with meds and general cautions.
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The information given is not meant to be a substitute for seeing a health professional. It is our opinion only, based on several years of natural medicine practice and research. We're sure you'll find it useful, but please use it wisely and always exercise common sense.