Are You Always Tired? Root Causes of Fatigue
Posted on December 21st, 2017
Many people wish they had more energy.
Chronic fatigue and generalized low energy are common concerns that naturopathic doctors excel in treating.
People feel “tired” in different ways. Some people feel sluggish and lethargic in their body, while others may feel mentally fatigued.
Identifying and addressing the root causes of fatigue and implementing targeted treatment enables people to have a significantly better quality of life.
Here are some reasons you may be tired:
1. Nutritional Deficiencies
Iron is the component of red blood cells that brings oxygen to all parts of your body.
Low iron can leave you tired, pale and irritable.
Many women have low iron because they menstruate (bleed) monthly.
Vitamin B12 is a nutrient primarily found in animal products.
B12 plays a role in energy production, nerve health and red blood cell synthesis.
Vegan diets (purely plant based) are very low in B12 and require supplementation.
Additionally, people who have digestive concerns or take certain medications may not be able to properly absorb B12 and can become deficient.
Low Vitamin D
Most Canadians have insufficient amounts of circulating vitamin D.
Vitamin D is necessary for many different processes in the body, one of which is its role in bone and muscle health.
People who are vitamin D deficient may have weakening of the muscles which can make someone feel tired and heavy in their body.
Some people may not be getting enough protein, fat or carbohydrates (also known as macro-nutrients) to meet their energy requirements throughout the day.
When there is insufficient calorie intake, the body will not be able to burn fuel and produce energy effectively.
2. Thyroid Problems
The thyroid regulates metabolism and energy production. When our thyroid is “under-active” or “hypo-functioning” fatigue is the hallmark symptom.
Certain factors can adversely affect the thyroid:
When someone is under chronic stress, cortisol increases and it signals to the thyroid to decrease thyroid hormone production.
Further more, when our body is persistently under stress, our body begins to convert “T4” (the abundant, yet inactive thyroid hormone) into “Reverse T3” instead of the active “T3” hormone.
When the immune system becomes dysregulated due to inflammation present in the body- often because of irritation in the gut, obesity, poor diet, stress and infections- autoimmunity against the thyroid can occur.
This is referred to as Hashimoto's Thyroiditis which can cause the thyroid to stop producing adequate amounts of hormone.
The thyroid depends on certain nutrients to produce hormone.
Tyrosine, an amino acid found in protein sources, serves as the backbone of T3 and T4.
Iodine is the other essential component. Adequate amounts of zinc and selenium are also needed for the transport and production thyroid hormones.
3. Adrenal Fatigue
Amongst other functions, our adrenal glands release cortisol and adrenaline into the bloodstream in response to stress and energy requirements.
Cortisol has many functions.
When the adrenal glands are overworked, inadequate and inconsistent production of cortisol can lead to adrenal fatigue, and thus, low energy.
These are the major contributing factors:
Chronic or repetitive stress will result in prolonged elevation of cortisol that ultimately exhausts the adrenal glands.
This leads to overall low cortisol production which can result in chronic fatigue and extreme difficulty getting out of bed in the morning.
Our bodies rely on a diurnal (daily) rhythm including sleep pattern that remains relatively consistent.
This ensures that our cortisol rises in the morning, reaching its peak midday, and drops slowly, reaching its lowest point at night.
People who work night shifts, or go to bed and wake up at inconsistent times, dysregulate their diurnal pattern and cortisol pattern.
If you’re feeling tired- there is likely a reason.
The Naturopathic Doctors at Annex Naturopathic are experienced at treating the root causes of low energy.
Our NDs complete a compressive assessment and routine and specialized testing to identify thyroid and dysfunction, as well as nutrient deficiencies.
Yours in Health,
Dr. Marnie Luck, N.D
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