Updated: Jun 26, 2020
Fatigue is one of the more common problems experienced by individuals in our modern society. It is a loss of energy, strength, or endurance that creates a state of exhaustion which impairs an individual's ability to carry out daily activities. There may often be no evidence of any other illness. Fatigue can leave an individual feeling drained and depressed. It can contribute to mental sluggishness, lethargy, inability to concentrate and maintain attention, memory impairment, muscle weakness, and diminished work capacity. Fatigue may be constant throughout the day or can get worse as the day progresses. Our assessment of fatigue begins with an in-office urinalysis to evaluate mechanisms involved with adrenal functioning and hydration status. Routine blood labs may be necessary to rule out underlying anemias or thyroid imbalances. Often there may be a gastrointestinal dysbiosis present, affecting digestion and absorption of nutrients needed by the body to produce energy. Liver detoxification pathways may need support as well.
If a Complete Blood Count (CBC) indicates an anemia may be present, Individual nutritional support may be recommended. Nutritional support may include: vitamin B6, folic acid, vitamin B12, iron, copper, zinc, vitamin A, and/or vitamin C. The Mean Corpuscular Volume (MCV) is an example of one of the markers a CBC utilizes to determine anemia. If MCV is high, then folic acid or Vitamin B12 would be appropriate; if it is low, then iron, copper, zinc, B6, A and/or C may be deficient. If a thyroid hormone panel shows imbalance then nutritional support and dietary counseling may be necessary to improve thyroid health. For example: If an individual has plenty of free T4 but their blood tests reveals low free T3, this may be a simple conversion issue. T4 converts to T3, but the body has to have the necessary nutrients to make this conversion. For some individuals ensuring adequate daily selenium requirements are being met can support this conversion issue.
Mitochondrial stress is another cause of fatigue. The process of oxidative phosphorylation that occurs within the mitochondria turns the transformed glucose molecules in the foods we eat into electrons used to build energy molecules called ATP (Adenosine triphosphate). Once inside the mitochondria, these electrons are shuttled through a series of complexes during aerobic respiration with the net result being the production of ATP. There are many necessary nutrients that serve as co-enzymes and co-factors needed for the many steps it takes to transform food into energy. A large majority of these needed nutrients are B Vitamins (Thiamine, Riboflavin, Niacin, and Pantothenic Acid are primary). Other nutrients that are needed included Alpha Lipoic Acid, Coenzyme Q 10, Iron, Manganese, and Magnesium. A deficiency of even one will impair your ability to make energy and result in a tired feeling.
Adrenal gland stress can also cause a feeling of fatigue, exhaustion, wired and tired, or some other manifestation of low energy as a result of abnormal production (either excess or not enough) of the hormone cortisol. Sometimes just supporting the adrenal glands will help normalize energy, but often you have to address stressors, such as belief systems, self talk, stimulants, food additives, and/or low grade infections. Any stress, repeated over and over can stress, fatigue, and exhaust your adrenal gland function resulting in problems with energy.
Are you tired or toxic? Perhaps your liver detoxification pathways are compromised. The liver has to metabolize all the hormones you make and chemicals you eat and breathe. Medications can also affect detoxification ability. Tylenol has a dramatic effect on the liver, slowing the processing of all chemicals through your liver. Liver detoxification involves adequate protein, sulfur, and many other nutrients that the liver uses to process and eliminate the variety of chemicals we make and are exposed to.
Digestive issues can also contribute to fatigue. These include poor digestion or assimilation of nutrients, dysbiosis/bacterial overgrowth, food allergies/sensitivities, and blood sugar regulation issues. Other considerations include heavy metal exposure, infections, cigarette smoking, etc.
For a complete evaluation, along with recommendations to improve your energy, call our office today.