The Canadian Naturopathic Foundation

Fatigue

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 Article Details:
Author:  Dr. 

Alyson Munkley, ND

Thornbury ON
 
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Fatigue
 

Have you been feeling like your energy is zapped? One of the following five factors may be affecting your stamina throughout the day.  These common conditions leading to fatigue can be easily diagnosed and treated with safe, natural therapies. 

 

Insomnia and Lack of Sleep:  It seems obvious, but if you aren't getting enough sleep, you will definitely be struggling to get through the day.  Stress, hormonal imbalances, and lifestyle habits may all contribute to sleeplessness.   Try not to eat at least three hours before bed, and especially avoid sugar and caffeine. Sip on some chamomile or peppermint tea instead.  Keep alcohol down to a maximum of one beverage/evening.  Another tip is to turn off the TV and internet at least an hour before bed.  Try a warm bath with lavender oil and Epsom salts to relax tired muscles and prepare your body for sleep.  Many herbs, minerals and homeopathic remedies are great for calming the nervous system.  Always check with an ND first if you are on any prescription medications.  Acupuncture can also help to calm the mind.  A good night's sleep leads to more energy to do the activities you enjoy during the day.

 

Adrenal Fatigue:  The adrenal glands sit on top of the kidneys and produce a number or hormones, including the stress hormone cortisol.  People can adapt easily to brief periods of stress, but long term mental, emotional, or physical strain can send your stress hormone production into overdrive, and leave you feeling burnt out and exhausted.  Symptoms of adrenal fatigue may include chronic allergies, fatigue, insomnia, and feeling nervous and agitated.  The immune system is also greatly affected by adrenal fatigue.  Naturopathic doctors often use saliva hormone testing, adrenal questionnaires, and physical exams to determine the extent of adrenal fatigue that you may be experiencing.  A number of naturopathic therapies can be used to support your body and mind during times of stress and help you to feel more energetic.

 

Deficiency of Iron and Other Nutrients:  Iron deficiency anemia is a common cause of energy depletion.  Iron is needed to transport oxygen through the blood, helping with energy levels.  Women during the childbearing years and vegetarians are most likely to be iron deficient.  Another common cause of iron deficiency is a lack of absorption of this crucial nutrient.  If you suffer from digestive problems and experience symptoms such a bloating or heartburn, you may not be absorbing enough iron from your diet.  A physical exam and blood work can help to confirm a diagnosis of iron deficiency.  Although heme iron from red meat is the best dietary source of iron, dark leafy greens, whole grains, lentils, beans, and blackstrap molasses are all good sources of this mineral.  Do you drink a lot of coffee or black tea?  These beverages are common culprits for interfering with iron absorption.  Patients often respond quickly to a good quality natural iron supplement, dietary and digestive support to help increase iron stores and energy levels.  


Other nutrient deficiencies that commonly contribute to low energy levels include diminished B vitamin stores, especially vitamin B12, or low levels of the nutrient coenzyme Q10, which can become depleted with certain medications.

 

Hypothyroidism:  The thyroid gland is primarily responsible for supporting your body's metabolic rate and cellular energy levels.  Thyroid hormones can get out of whack during periods of stress, times of hormonal transition, if the liver is sluggish, or if certain nutrient deficiencies or food sensitivities are present.  Because high estrogen levels suppress thyroid function, women on the birth control pill or hormone replacement therapy are particularly susceptible to developing hypothyroidism.  Nutrients such as zinc, selenium, iodine, and B vitamins help to support thyroid function, but a thorough naturopathic work-up including blood work and a physical exam, is essential for determining what factors could be suppressing the activity of your thyroid gland.  When the cause of hypothyroidism is determined, it can often be treated naturally.  Restoring thyroid hormone balance is essential for maximizing energy levels.

 

Dehydration:  Most people don't realize just how much of an effect that adequate hydration has on their health.  Drinking water is especially important in the winter, when a dry climate contributes even further to the depletion of this vital substance.  Health problems associated with dehydration can include eczema and skin conditions, constipation, weight gain, problems with healthy blood pressure regulation, urinary tract infections, and a feeling of mental fogginess.  Water is needed for energy processes in our cells, and if we don't have enough, we can feel exhausted.  Drinking a sufficient amount of water is essential for feeling your best!

How much water should you be drinking?  Everyone has different requirements.  If you are well hydrated, your urine should be a clear to pale yellow colour.  Most people require a minimum of 6 cups/day.

Try increasing the amount of water that you drink over the next month by an extra cup daily each week and notice how much better you feel!

For more information about Dr. Alyson Munkley ND visit: www.alysonmunkley.com

20 Holly Street, Suite 200, Toronto, ON M4S 3B1
Tel: (416) 496-8633   Toll Free: 1-800-551-4381
info@ExploreYourHealth.ca