Twenty four percent of adults seeing a primary care physician “always feel tired”. There are multiple reasons for fatigue including anemia, infection, adrenal dysfunction (stress), lack of fuel or wrong fuel in the body, medications, thyroid disease, insomnia, allergies and over-exercise. The most common anemia causing chronic fatigue are iron deficiency and B-12. These levels should be checked and optimized if necessary.
Infections resulting in chronic fatigue include Epstein-Barr virus, Cytomegalovirus, Yeast infections, Lyme disease and intestinal parasites. Yeast infections are common in both men and women and have multiple characteristics. In women, they are common between the ages of 20 and 50. They can be of the recurrent vaginal yeast infections resulting in sexual dysfunction, PMS symptoms, cystitis, infertility and endometriosis.
In men, fatigue and digestive symptoms are common along with muscle and joint pains, sugar cravings, sexual dysfunction and depression. Stress or adrenal dysfunction has been discussed in this post several times and does eventually result in adrenal fatigue, decreased cortisol and depression and fatigue.
Proper fuel for our bodies require the B vitamins as cofactors in the mitochondria to produce ATP, our energy source. Also required are ribose, carnitine, coenzyme Q10 and Alpha lipoic acid. Carnitine is found in meat and avocados and is needed to initiate fatty acid oxidation for energy. It promotes weight loss, slows the aging process destroys free radicals and keeps the immune system strong. As we age, our bodies make less CoQ10. It is found in beef, chicken, lamb, turkey, eggs, spinach and alfalfa.
It is used to prevent and treat heart disease and neurological disease. Lipoic acid helps your body use fats and carbohydrates better for energy. If you are eating refined, high glycemic carbs or large amounts of saturated fat or omega 6 fatty acids, you are consuming the WRONG fuel and will have fatigue.
Medications that cause fatigue include anti- hypertensives, anti-depressants, antihistamines, some antibiotics and alcohol. Finally 50% of all Americans experience insomnia. Drowsiness due to a lack of a good night’s sleep interferes with the daily activities of 37% of all adults.
Factors contributing to insomnia include diet, illness, hormones, medications, shift work, nutritional deficiencies, sleep apnea, light and chemical exposure. Chronic fatigue is multifactorial. You must fit the pieces of the puzzle together as they apply to you so that you can eventually achieve peak energy levels!