As a collective we’re experiencing unparalleled levels of fatigue, but why? Simply put, our bodies are trying to function in a world they just weren’t designed to live in.
A far cry from the simpler hunter-gatherer world our genes evolved in, each day we are exposed to an increasing amount of stressors.
When you’re always tired, everything in life takes more effort, which can eventually keep you from doing the things you love. Often, it can be difficult to pin down the exact cause of your tiredness, because so many factors can affect your energy. To help, here is a list of common causes of fatigue, with practical solutions to re-energise you.
In order to rest and recharge, your body needs seven to eight hours of uninterrupted sleep. If you are struggling to get to sleep, or stay asleep, audit your bedtime routine. Are you engaging in stimulating activities before bed, such as heavy exercise, or working on your laptop? Do you consume caffeine (e.g. tea, coffee, cola or chocolate) too close to bedtime? If, despite having healthy habits, you are still not sleeping well, there are effective, natural options to help.
Fatigue is a common symptom of dehydration, which can be caused by simply not drinking enough water (less than two litres per day), fluid loss (from exercise, hot weather or diurectics) or a combination of the three. One way to tell if you are dehydrated is by the colour of your urine; if it is darker than a just-ripe banana, you are probably dehydrated. Drink two or three glasses of water immediately, and make sure you stay hydrated throughout the day.
Chronic stress, due to unstable finances, relationships, work or health issues, can also take its toll on your energy levels. By triggering the hormone adrenaline, stress can leave you feeling overstimulated, and eventually wipe you out. Improving your stress management through meditation, exercise or speaking to a counselor, may increase your energy. Magnesium, which is vital for energy production, is also depleted by stress, so making sure you get enough of this important mineral can help improve your energy levels.
When fighting an infection, your body forces you to prioritize rest by making you feel tired. However, fatigue can persist for weeks or months following certain infections, hampering your return to full health. If you haven’t bounced back from a recent illness, immune-boosting herbal medicines including astragalus and medical mushrooms (such as reishi, shiitake and coriolus), alongside nutrients such as zinc and vitamin C can make a massive difference to your energy, putting pesky post-viral fatigue to rest!
Exposure to mould from water-damaged or damp buildings can trigger your immune system and cause fatigue in a similar way to viruses. If you have noticed water damage in your home, I can help you get on top of mould-related illness by supporting your immune system.
Low magnesium, iodine and B vitamins
Getting these nutrients in your diet can be tricky, but consuming a variety of whole foods including fish, wholegrains, nuts, seeds and dark green, leafy vegetables can help to boost your intake. In the meantime, addressing nutrient deficiencies with a supplement may improve your energy. It is important to keep in mind that the quality and effectiveness of supplements can vary, so it's always a good idea to ask.
Low iron levels
If you follow a strict vegetarian or vegan diet, have a history of poor absorption (for example, due to a digestive condition), or experience heavy periods, you may have an iron deficiency, which has been associated with fatigue. If this sounds like you, a visit to your GP for a blood test is highly recommended to assess your iron status.
Mental health issues
The topic of mental health is important to understand, as individuals experiencing depression may not immediately recognize symptoms such as fatigue, poor appetite, constant frustration, and profound feelings of indifference as part of a mental health diagnosis. If these symptoms sound familiar to you or a family member, seeking support and reaching out to qualified healthcare Practitioner is the first step in addressing mental health issues. Eventually, managing mental well-being can help resolve symptoms such as fatigue, and support overall health.
Luckily there are several key nutrients that help support and protect your mitochondria against the brunt of daily stressors, which include:
Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10):
A vital nutrient used by your mitochondria to produce energy, with research showing low CoQ10 stores are linked with increased susceptibility to fatigue states and chronic disease.
In addition to fatigue, stress is another cause of oxidative stress and inflammation in the body. CoQ10 carry’s strong antioxidant actions, helping to protect your mitochondria, and overall body, from the cellular damage that can occur from stress.*I recommend MitoQ, which is an excellent quality of CoQ10, (get 10% off at Gee's pharmacy by saying you're my client).
This essential mineral is needed by your body to help convert the food you eat into energy.
Also, a magnesium deficiency makes you more susceptible to stress, whilst stress depletes your magnesium levels – resulting in a vicious cycle. *Also note that caffeine depletes magnesium, so the deadly duo of stress and caffeine are certain to deplete your magnesium stores. Supplement with 500 mg of elemental magnesium in the evenings, with a glass of water.
Vitamins B2 and B3 are particularly required by the mitochondria to create molecules of energy, but can become depleted in states of stress. However, other B vitamins like B6 and B12 also work to blunt the impact of stress on your body, and modulate the production of stress hormones (e.g. cortisol).
Say goodbye to fatigue and hello to finding your flow
There are many reasons for fatigue, some more complex than others. Finding the underlying cause of your tiredness can help orchestrate your body back into rhythm, giving you back your groove! With all of that in mind, if you are experiencing ongoing fatigue, consider a consultation with someone like myself who can help you get to the root of your poor energy levels.