Fatigue can be common in people with medical conditions like low thyroid, anemia, fibromyalgia, mood disorders like depression and anxiety, and even in people who are otherwise “healthy”, as proclaimed by the medical doctors. Despite how widespread it is, medical researchers still do not completely know what happens in the body to cause fatigue with the exception that fatigue typically results from a multiple factors, rather than one single cause. Let’s take a look at five of the most common causes of fatigue.
- Chronic stress is like walking around all day with a backpack full of rocks.
- And we wonder why we’re tired and de-motivated. Hormonally, we see poor regulation of the body’s stress systems. This include the popular diagnosis “Adrenal Fatigue”, often used to describe an unhealthy reaction to chronic stress. However, “Adrenal Fatigue” does not factor in the complex system of interconnected events involved in the stress response. The brain, nervous system, endocrine (hormonal system), and immune system are all key components, in addition to the adrenal glands. In particular, the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis is the primary regulatory center. Fatigue is just the consequence of excessive, prolonged or inadequate regulation of this stress response system.
- Depression and anxiety.
- Mood disorders such as depression and anxiety, the most common mental health disorders in the US, either cause or are strongly associated with fatigue. The majority of people with depression report fatigue to their healthcare providers. And people with major depression can still report severe fatigue even when already taking antidepressant medications. Fatigue related to depression is often associated with feeling irritable, having trouble concentrating, and being productive.
- Hormone imbalances.
- Imbalanced levels of common hormones such as thyroid, testosterone, estrogen, and progesterone can also produce fatigue. Low thyroid hormone level is one of the most common hormone-related disorders, and fatigue is the MAIN symptom of hypothyroidism. In women, menopause is notorious for causing fatigue, while men with testosterone deficiency experience major fatigue, which we should all know with the low T commercials on TV every 2 seconds!
- Poor nutrition.
- Nutritional deficiencies, food allergies, and blood sugar crashes can all cause fatigue too. What’s common in many people suffering from fatigue are eating a low-nutrient diet (low in fruits and vegetables, deficient in vitamins, minerals, and plant nutrients, excessive in high-sugar, high-fat, high-inflammation foods). Interestingly, some people with fatigue report digestive symptoms that could be connected to unhealthy intestinal bacteria and abnormal function of their intestinal lining (ie, “leaky gut”). Some intriguing twists have emerged from the research setting that are now showing those healthy bacteria (probiotics) can actually act therapeutically, and when they do, they increasingly being referred to as “psychobiotics”.
- Sedentary lifestyle.
- Being inactive increases the risk of feeling fatigue for sure. Not getting enough exercise and physical activity weakens the body’s muscles and blood pumping systems which then leads to depressed mood, ultimately leading to exhaustion. We know the more regular physical activity you get, the more likely you are to feel energetic. Even 10 minutes a day is becoming recognized as enough to burn calories, elevate mood and improve fitness and performance. Yes, 10 min!
You may need to find a properly educated and qualified naturopathic physician to help you sort through these various causes of your fatigue, so they can run the necessary tests and develop a personalized strategy that deals with the root cause of YOUR persistent energy drain.
Tolle causem….identify and treat the cause. It’s the first step to regaining your vitality. This is OUR expertise. Give us a shout!
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