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Fatigue

Overview

Temporary loss of strength and energy resulting from hard physical or mental work. 

That’s the dictionary definition of fatigue – a normal tiredness resulting from exercise, work or using your brain.  It’s expected, and generally all that’s needed to recover from fatigue is rest, especially sleep.

 

But what if, like many of us in this modern world, you feel tired much of the time, regardless of physical or mental exertion?  For many, feeling tired is so commonplace that they accept it as natural.  There are, in fact, many reasons that the body may be fatigued – some of them medical, some emotional, and many nutritional.  Feeling tired all the time is not normal. It may be an indicator of another underlying illness, depression, stress, burnout at work or a basic deficiency of some nutrient (or combination of nutrients) that your body needs to fuel its activities.

 

What Fatigue Does:

Fatigue is the natural result of depleting your body’s stores of energy producing nutrients.  Think of a car’s engine and all the various fluids and processes required to make it go.  Most people think only of gasoline – but consider what happens if your automobile runs low on oil. Because the motor has to work harder, it begins to overheat.  Because the car is running hot, none of the systems that make your car go work quite right. If you run your car low on oil for too long, you’ll completely burn out the engine.

 

Your body is a million times more complex than an automobile. It requires a precise combination of nutrients in the right proportions to run at optimum condition.  While the body’s tolerances for deficiencies of any one of those nutrients are wide, if you try to run it too long with low levels of any of them, it will begin to show signs of wear. Fatigue is one of the symptoms of depleted nutrients.  Like your car, if you try to keep running without meeting your body’s nutritional needs, you’ll wind up feeling tired, fatigued and generally run down.

 

And like your car, when your body is working overtime just to meet its minimum requirements, there’s nothing left to help it deal with illness or stress.  The most severe form of fatigue is known as Chronic Fatigue Syndrome – a disorder that is characterized by chronic, overwhelming fatigue, frequent illnesses and unexplained pain. Fatigue may also be caused by depression or other psychological disorders – many of which have now been definitively linked to nutritional causes.

 

Symptoms of Fatigue:

Fatigue is characterized by a lack of energy and motivation. Unlike drowsiness, which is your body’s signal that you need sleep, fatigue is often accompanied by a general feeling of ‘heaviness’ or muscle aches and pains.  Apathy, lethargy and general feelings of being rundown are all common symptoms of fatigue.

 

What Causes Fatigue:

Anything that depletes the body’s supply of nutrients has the capacity to cause fatigue.  The list of diseases and disorders that include fatigue as a symptom include:

  • Anemia

  • Sleep disorders (sleep apnea, insomnia and other sleep disorders)

  • Anorexia or other eating disorders

  • Hay fever or asthma

  • Ongoing pain

  • Autoimmune diseases such as lupus

  • Hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid)

  • Use of alcohol

  • Depression

  • Malnutrition

  • Infection

  • Congestive heart failure

  • Diabetes

  • Chronic liver or kidney disease

  • Arthritis

  • Cancer

 

Treatments for Fatigue:

Obviously, the most effective treatment for fatigue is treating the root cause. However, there are a number of nutritional strategies, lifestyle changes and supplements that have proven effective in reviving energy and combating fatigue even in situations where the cause is chronic and can’t be immediately alleviated.

  • Because proper nutrition is so important to your body’s functioning, particularly when essential nutrients are being depleted by an illness, many doctors recommend a nutritional supplement that contains a full complement of B-complex vitamins (including folic acid, niacin and thiamine) to help your body deal with the added stresses.

  • Drink plenty of water.  Marginal dehydration can cause fatigue as your body doesn’t have enough of one of its most essential nutrients.

  • Your body uses iron to create hemoglobin, needed to transport oxygen to all of your muscles and organs.  Subclinical deficiencies of iron can result in nagging fatigue even when anemia has not been diagnosed. Many doctors recommend an iron supplement to combat and prevent fatigue.

  • Manganese is necessary for your body to properly use the iron you take in. In many cases of fatigue, there’s plenty of iron in the diet, but a manganese deficiency prevents the body from using it as needed.

  • Siberian ginseng is the one of the most commonly prescribed herbal supplements for increasing energy.  Siberian ginseng stimulates the adrenal glands, resulting in an increase of stress-fighting and energizing hormones.

  • Bee Pollen and royal jelly, two bee products, have been used for centuries to boost energy and combat fatigue.  Chemical analyses of bee pollen show that bee pollen contains all the essential nutrients to sustain human life.

Doctors often recommend a change in diet and lifestyle to help boost energy and combat fatigue.  The sun, fresh air and a nutritionally sound diet can go a long way in alleviating fatigue, whether it is due to illness, treatment for another condition or depression.

The latest fad in combating daily fatigue is the co-called ‘high energy’ drinks that contain ginseng, B complex vitamins, green tea – and a lot of sugar.  The practice is akin to grabbing a cup of coffee or a couple of caffeine tablets to get you through the mid-afternoon slump.  While the short-term effect is a noticeable increase in energy levels, in the long term, the energy drinks will play havoc with your body’s natural response to fatigue.  Instead, we recommend taking a daily supplement like Xtend-Life's Natural Energy with NZ Bee Pollen to help maintain your levels of important hormones and enzymes consistently and stop fatigue before it starts rather than ‘boosting’ your body out of a fatigued state once those nutrients are depleted.

 

 

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