The Battle With Fatigue
Many people battle with fatigue for different reasons. Whatever the reason, when fatigue sets in, it is often times a game changer for a person's lifestyle. Finding the source and understanding ways to get your energy back are not only possible, but obtainable when you understand what is causing the problem. If you are experiencing any of the following physical issues: lagging energy, insomnia, difficulty concentrating, slowed focus and alertness, mid-afternoon slump, crazy late night and afternoon cravings, aching muscles, headaches; your body is giving you an SOS signal. Now is the time to respond.
In the United States, we suffer from "20th Century Disease". What I mean here is that we have become a multi-tasking, fast food eating, technology driven society that continually strives for more information, worries about keeping up and has over extended our expectations of self and others. Top it all off with increasing toxic load on our bodies, continual exposure to known and unknown environmental hazards and complex family dynamics; and we have a recipe for high stress, mutating disease and currently a lower life expectancy than our grandparents. The complexity of our lives has led to a complexity of sorting out what lifestyle and environmental factors are negatively affecting our health and how to make viable changes. Fatigue is a major symptom of something wrong and your body saying it needs attention. Don't just have another cup of coffee or 5 Hour shot; do something now before it gets worse.
That said, you may need professional help that can help you sort through the additional symptoms and information about your lifestyle that are contributing or complicating the situation. Everyone is unique and lifestyle/family dynamics different. There is not just one fix for fatigue. Remember, it took months and maybe years for the accumulation of things that led to fatigue, you will need to take the time to unravel the layers and undo the cause.
Remember the Foundational Principles
There are some basic principles of health that are important to remember here. When fighting back against fatigue, it is important to maintain your current level of health so that it doesn't get worse as you address the root cause of the fatigue.
Drop back to clean eating - food, water, (don't let depression send you on a comfort food binge). And check out the Environmental Working Group (EWG) to keep up on the "Dirty Dozen" fruits & veggies containing the most toxins and the "Clean Fifteen" fruits & veggies that contain a minimal amount; as well as other environmental crises to watch out for. See Cellular Healing Food Pyramid.
Watch your environment - stay away from toxic chemicals, pesticides & fertilizers. Walk in natural areas, barefoot when able, beach sand or water
Hydration - drink plenty of clean water, teas, coconut water without sugar additives; eat high water content veggies like watermelon, cucumbers, celery, tomatoes, zucchini are 90% water
Heal the Gut - Alkaline eating, L-glutamine, aloe or coconut water, multi species probiotics, good fiber in form of veggies, fermented foods
Keep bowels moving - 2 to 3 movements per day, fiber rich foods, a salad a day, avocados
Support the liver and kidneys - NAC, Dandelion and other bitter herbs & teas, milk thistle
Lose the bad fats - stay away from chips, pastries and breads made with inflammatory canola, rapeseed and soy; cook with avocado or coconut oils, use organic cold pressed olive and walnut oils for dressings and marinades
Vits/mins/supps - I have always been a proponent of a chelated multi-mineral even before a multi-vitamin. Multi-vitamins in one pill will counteract some of each other as well as not getting enough of any particular one you might need. Better to determine what vitamins are deficient and only supplement for those.
Medications - every pharmaceutical prescription that you are taking, because of it's chemical makeup, deprives the body of vitamins and minerals specific to each individual drug. Find out what those are and supplement to replace them.
Stress - Take a serious look at the stressors in your life and do something about them sooner than later. The effect on your adrenal system is accumulated over time. Stress that is not addressed, will slowly cause fatigue to set in and leads to adrenal exhaustion. Once that happens, recovery is a long process back from debilitation.
Pain - Pain is a stressor when you have to tolerate it daily. There are natural ways to find pain relief and neuro specialist functional medicine physicians that work with the many facets of pain. New findings like infrared sauna, stem cell and oxygen therapy are helping relieve pain the some have had to tolerate for years. Sources of pain are different; like connective tissue, vs muscle, vs brain misfire, etc. Though you may not want to get hooked on opioids or over the counter pain killers; if you have daily pain, it is good to take a "day off" from pain once a week, even if you have to use an over the counter to achieve this. One day of no pain will help your adrenals to maintain & recover.
Infections - low grade or underlying infections & inflammations cause continual deprivation of the adrenals. An inflamed bowel from IBS, fungal issues, rashes, yeast, etc. need to be addressed. Any unknown infections need to be uncovered.
Depression - If clinical, get help, if circumstantial use adaptogenic herbs and self-care techniques
Lack of sleep - Whether falling asleep or staying asleep; continual sleep deprivation of less than 7 hours of sleep at night is NOT normal. Stop using blue light computers & phones late into the night, cut your stress and multitasking ways before they become an addiction that cannot be controlled.
Food allergies/intolerances - Part of healing our gut issues; but also promoters of headaches, joint pain, fatigue; make note of foods that don't just cause immediate reactions, but those that result in symptoms of bloating, gas, indigestion, constipation, diarrhea and irritability within a 24 to 48 hour period. Keeping a food journal may be necessary to sort out patterns of intolerances that show up within that 2 day window.
Yeast or mold - Home environments that have mold issues can become chronic health issues. Clean up bacterial issues when necessary; or if out of control, serious consideration should be given to changing living quarters.
Environmental factors - Convert your home to cleaners that are non-toxic and do not off gas chemical & volatile organic compounds (VOCs). Hint: look under the kitchen sink, laundry room, basement, utility rooms and garage.
Adrenals/low Thyroid - These can be determined by blood testing and specialty consults. Low thyroid metabolism is much more prevalent than it used to be and presents multiple layers of health issues. Even a low thyroid result on a blood test that is within normal range is reason to seek specialty evaluation.
Lyme - Ticks are infiltrating natural areas and areas around your homes as an ever increasing problem. If you have experienced an infectious tick bite, marked by fever, rash or target rash, get it treated. There are multiple bacteria that have mutated through ticks that can cause debilitating circumstances and fatigue is a big one. Even if the initial symptoms go away, if not treated, they can lay dormant and return months later as fatigue, fever and other related symptoms. At this point you have a bigger problem as they have had time to multiply using you as the host.
Hypoglycemia - Low blood sugar and diabetic insulin resistance can cause numerous problems including fatigue. As it progresses so does weariness. Get evaluated and treated if blood testing shows potential problems.
Low blood pressure - contrary to opinions that low pressure is healthy; low blood pressures can set us up, especially as we age, for heart fibrilation and irregular heart rate. Easy to regulate with medication and even some herbal supplements, normal blood pressure is the goal of 120/80
Age - Keep moving in some fashion as you age, find a way to keep a positive outlook and companions that give you a young outlook on life. General healthy aging is possible as shown by some of our centagenarians at Lomalinda and other places on the earth. Just keep in mind that medications or even healthy foods take longer in most seniors to process because of a natural slowing metabolism. There is usually room for some supplementation to maintain good health and slowing down our super active lifestyles may take place, but there are plenty of examples of active, healthy lifestyles at a slower pace.
Long-term COVID - This is a recent occurrence resulting from the Covid pandemic and symptomatic of fatigue. Getting help to increase metabolism and get any Covid spike proteins out of your body is key to recovery.
Balance your time with technology - Computers, cellphones, sitting for long hours at a computer, etc. are part of our 20th Century Disease that disturb sleep, wreck posture, disturbs circadian rhythm, cause back pain & neurological problems. Standing desks, movement every half hour and quitting the blue light from tech tools 2 hours before bed will go a long way to help balance work, play and sleep.
Other Additional Solutions
Adaptogens - these are herbs and supplements that help your body adapt to stress and
Polyphenols - these are supplements that augment and help increase metabolism at a cellular level. The energy creators of our bodies are the mitochondria in our individual cells. These as well as certain foods help to 'feed' our mitochondria, make them strong and sustain our energy.
Autophagy - Fasting, intermittent fasting or 'small window' eating habits not only leave room for our bodies to clean out and heal, but they create an environment called autophagy whereby the body uses up leftover protein from defective cells and deposits them in the waste stream for elimination. The body is then triggered to produced brand new cells to replace them. This includes precancerous cells, autoimmune defects, insulin resistance and many others.
As you can see, our world has become a complex place; but it is our only hope for a healthy, happy lifestyle. Getting back to balance and a simpler way of doing things doesn't have to be a depressing, frustrating effort. Functional medicine doctors and practitioners are a gold mine of knowledge to move from sickness to well being; and they can help unravel the seeming complexity of multiple health issues to find the source of problems to bring healing to the whole body without a lot of pharmaceuticals and side effects. There are lists of Functional Medicine specialists online and if you need help finding someone in your area, we here at Healing Leaves Center are happy to help you find someone.
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Over 40 years of Herbal and nutritional experience.