The most common complaint I hear from patients when they first come in is, “Why am I so tired?” Fortunately, we can usually get their energy back up by targeting the four most common things that lead to unexplained fatigue:
- Hidden Infections
Your body may be tired because it’s fighting an infection you know nothing about. Whenever your immune system goes to work, you’ll feel tired. For example, if you get a cold or flu, you know it! One of the first symptoms is that you just want to lie down and rest. Once the cold or flu is gone, you bounce right back up with vitality again. But if you have a hidden infection, you want to lie down and rest, but you don’t know why – and you never bounce back. It could be a yeast infection, or the wrong bacteria in your gut, or an underlying internal infection that just hasn’t showed up on any other doctor’s radar. Once we find a hidden infection and resolve it through natural means like probiotics, immune boosters and natural anti-biotics like garlic and oregano oil, you’ll soon feel much better.
- Hidden Allergies or Sensitivities
Just like hidden infections can drain your energy, so can hidden allergies. Why? Once again, allergies activate your immune system. An allergen is recognized by the body as an enemy to fight, so your immune system gets to work. Again, when the immune system is turned on to fight, you just feel like you want to lie down and rest. Once you identify and remove the allergens, your immune system can calm down and not take so much of your energy. It will stop sending you that signal to rest so that you can feel awake and energetic again. That’s why it’s important to get tested for both food and environmental allergies and sensitivities – even if you don’t think you have any because there are no overt symptoms. Your fatigue is a symptom!
- Your Energy Production is Slowed Down at the Cellular Level
Energy in your body is primarily produced by mitochondria. Mitochondria are small organelles inside the cells that work like the cell’s digestive system. They take in nutrients and break them down into energy the cells can use. But for mitochondria to function properly, they need the right nutrients and hormonal signals. We can assess whether your fatigue is caused by weak mitochondria and fix it through the right supplements and lifestyle changes.
- You Aren’t Getting Energy From the Food You Eat
No matter how much you’re eating or how much fat you have stored, you may be unable to tap into the energy in your food or your stored fat due to an imbalance in your endocrine system. People who have eaten high carbohydrate or processed low-nutrient foods for a long time often have a faulty insulin and/or ghrelin/leptin levels. When these are out of whack, you’re hungry all the time because your body is stuck in “fat storage” mode. It takes every calorie you eat and stores it for the future in case there’s a famine. But once you start eating the right whole foods, these three hormones come back into balance. We can help your body start actually using the food you eat and start using the fat stores in your body for energy so you don’t feel so tired all the time.
These are the main energy culprits I’ve found in my practice, but there are other energy stealers out there! If you’re feeling tired all the time – come in! We’ll get you back on track!
This Month's Mineral-Mini: Potassium
Potassium is an essential mineral that’s critical for your body’s fluid balance, muscle contraction, and the nervous system.
In the last century, we discovered that potassium’s role in muscle contraction made it an important factor in heart health. The advice used to be to eat more bananas to protect against heart attacks and heart disease. However, there are many other foods with even more potassium, such as beet greens, clams, sweet potatoes or beans.
Symptoms of potassium deficiency include fatigue, muscle cramps, spasms or muscle weakness, digestive problems like constipation or bloating, irregular heartbeat or palpitations, and mood disorders.
Certain conditions can deplete your potassium levels such as diarrhea, vomiting, excess alcohol intake, and deficiencies in other nutrients like folic acid.
Potassium is one mineral that is tricky to supplement. Many supplements can cause adverse effects, and too much potassium in supplement form can damage your gut health and even cause heart arrythmias. So please don’t run out and purchase potassium supplements. It’s more important to eat correctly and take a high-quality multiple vitamin and mineral supplement. If you suspect you may have a potassium deficiency – come in! We can plan the best way to help your body get and hang onto the potassium it needs.