Without any doubt, fatigue is today the most common complaint. The main symptom of chronic fatigue is a constant feeling of tiredness or exhaustion.
Fatigue is not a disease but a symptom pointing to other health problems such as: Any B vitamin deficiency (especially vitamin B12 and folate), hypoglycaemia (low blood sugar level, which is a common problem), iron deficiency (often caused by refined diet and heavy menstruation), candidiasis, depression, IBS, allergy, anaemia, poor blood circulation, hypothyroidism, fibromyalgia, Epstein Barr virus, cancer, diabetes, etc.
Chronic fatigue can be also caused by inadequate sleep, sedentary lifestyle, chronic inflammation, high-fat diet, malnutrition or malabsorption of nutrients, eating foods rich in sugar and refined carbohydrates (such as white flour products), high glucose / fructose syrup, prescribed medication, and use of stimulants such as caffeine products (coffee, black tea, cola drinks, etc.), chocolate (high in theobromine), drugs, or alcohol.
Dr Lawrence Wilson blames artificial sweeteners, MSG, caffeine, and other dangerous chemicals for causing fatigue: “Nutrasweet (also labelled as Equal, Canderel, Spoonful, aspartame, aspartic acid, neotame or phenylalanine) is notorious for causing brain fog, fatigue, dizziness, depression and panic attacks, to name just a few of its symptoms. It is found in over 5000 products and affects some 25% of Americans who use it. It is often hidden in prescription medication, vitamins, toothpaste, breath mints and all types of diet products. Everyone should avoid this food chemical. Other food chemicals that affect sensitive people include excitotoxins such as MSG (monosodium glutamate), caffeine, pesticide residues, bacterial and fungal toxins, fluoride, chlorine and hundreds of other substances that either contaminate or are added to drinking water and food. Caffeine and other stimulants can give one a boost, but eventually contribute to adrenal exhaustion.”
In the book Natural Way to Overcome Depression, Obesity, and Insomnia, Dr. Michael Murray says that serotonin deficiency should also be blamed for causing fatigue: “Bad diet, lack of exercise, use of harmful substances such as caffeine or alcohol can rob your brain of the ability to make enough serotonin. This produces a range of significant complications: depression, obesity, insomnia, migraine headache, chronic fatigue.”
EFFECTIVE WAYS TO COPE WITH TIREDNESS
- Make sure you provide your body with sufficient amounts of all vitamins and minerals as fatigue can be caused by deficiency of almost any single vitamin or mineral especially the following ones: Vitamin B complex, vitamin A, C, D, and E, iron, zinc, calcium, and magnesium. Usually all of them are included in multivitamin-mineral formulas, but B12, D3, and Magnesium should be taken additionally as they require higher doses.
- Good quality Multivitamin-mineral formula (must contain high strength B vitamins): One tablet after breakfast. Please do not buy cheap formulas as their potency is very low and they contain only short list of inorganic ingredients. It must be a good quality formula such as Healthy Mega.
- Methylcobalamin (form of vitamin B12) often helps increase levels of energy as deficiency of this vitamin is regarded as “rampant” today.
- Chlorella is a powerful detoxifier and energy booster as it is regarded as the highest source of chlorophyll. Start with a smaller dose such as 1 teaspoon or 3 tablets 30 minutes before breakfast and the same amount 30 minutes before lunch with 2 glasses of water, vegetable juice or smoothie. Then gradually increase the intake every day (by approximately 1 tablet) until reaching the maximum dose of one heaped tablespoons or 10 (500mg) 30 min before breakfast. While taking chlorella remember to increase your water intake to 3 times a day 2-3 glasses between meals. Keep in mind that there are many sources and types of Chlorella available so make sure you buy one with attestation and from a reliable local health food store.
- Instead of Chlorella, you can try other superfoods such as Spirulina, Moringa, and Barley grass or even better a mixture of various superfoods such as Super Greens (HealthAid).
- Other excellent energy boosters you can check include Ginsengs, Rhodiola, Ashwaganda, Beetroot powder, CoQ10, Alpha lipoic acid, L-cysteine, Brainvit (HealthAid), or Alfalfa.
LIFESTYLE AND DIET
In order to improve your effectiveness in coping with tiredness try to implement the following principles:
- Go to sleep as early as possible. Try to sleep at least seven or eight hours a day.
- Exercise every day for at least one hour trying to induce some perspiration. Fast walk outside is the best type of exercise. One of the key causes of fatigue is insufficient amount of mitochondria (energy producing power stations) in your cells. And the key cause of this shortage is lack of physical activity. Regular energetic exercise, therefore, is the best way to stimulate the body to make more mitochondria. No wonder marathon runners have the highest number of mitochondria in their cells!
- Increase consumption of plant-based unrefined foods (raw vegetable salads, fresh fruits, pulses, soaked overnight seeds and nuts, and whole grains).
- Every day 30 minutes before breakfast drink one or two glasses of green smoothies made of kale, spinach, broccoli (high in energy-boosting chlorophyll).
- Avoid eating foods rich in refined sugar and other refined carbohydrates such as white flour products (body turns white flour into blood sugar).
- Don’t use or at least reduce use of stimulants such as caffeine products or alcohol.
- Learn to control stress and think positive.
- If you are on a prescribed medication check whether fatigue is one of its side effects and discuss it with your doctor.
- Try to address underlying causes of fatigue such as hypoglycaemia, candidiasis, allergy, anaemia, hypothyroidism, Epstein Barr virus, cancer, or diabetes.
- Alternative hot and cold showers will improve circulation, elimination of toxins and will stimulate the nervous and immune system. Start with hot shower, and after about 5 minutes when your body is warm enough take a short (3 min) cold shower slowly reducing the temperature. Then alternate the flow of water from hot to cold, back and forth 5-7 times in a row. Before using this treatment consult your physician first if you have any chronic health conditions especially if they are associated with heart.
Any information or product suggested on this website is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any medical condition. Never disregard medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. Consult your primary healthcare physician before using any supplements or making any changes to your regime.
Written by Slawomir Gromadzki, MPH