DR. JATISH KALER
One of the most common concerns heard in a doctor’s office is of a patients struggle with fatigue. Whether playing with your children, making a home cooked meal or meeting the demands of a fast-paced career, suffering with chronic low energy can have a major impact on you leading an enjoyable, productive and fulfilling life.
Here are 5 of the most common reasons for experiencing fatigue:
- Low Vitamin B12
Low levels of vitamin B12 are one of the most common nutrient deficiencies associated with chronic low energy. Because vitamin B12 is only present in animal products, those who consume low levels of meat are at highest risk of deficiency. Poor digestion and absorption of nutrients and acid-blocking medications for heartburn also increase your risk of vitamin B12 deficiency.
In order to increase your vitamin B12 levels, you want to identify the cause of the deficiency, whether it is a low intake of foods such as liver, eggs, fish and nutritional yeast or whether it is in fact poor absorption of vitamin B12 in the intestines.
If you suffer from low energy and suspect you may be low in B12, it is important to analyze your blood levels of B12 and to talk to your doctor about what blood levels are optimal for you. To more quickly and effectively increase your B12 levels, a supplement in the form of a lozenge, a muscular injection or an intravenous infusion can be prescribed.
- Chronic stress
While the human body is designed to survive and thrive on short durations of challenge and stress, prolonged stress overwhelms our adaptive mechanisms. Chronic stress is linked to insomnia, fatigue and depression and finding healthy ways to manage stress is key to leading a disease-free life. Diet, exercise and socialization are all ways to combat stressful periods in time and herbs such as Rhodiola and Ginseng enhance our resiliency to stress and can play an important role in fighting fatigue associated with stress.
- Hormone imbalance
Whether it be monthly fluctuations in female hormones, the abrupt decline in estrogen and progesterone at menopause, changes in testosterone metabolism or an insufficiency of the thyroid gland, hormonal imbalance may play a role in your low energy and low mood. Getting your hormone levels tested and corrected ensures there is no underlying imbalance contributing to fatigue.
- Physical inactivity
A vicious cycle exists between low energy and low physical activity; you are inactive because you are tired and you are tired because you are inactive. When you feel your energy is at its lowest, sometimes the very best medicine is to expend more energy through physical exercise. Regular physical exercise stimulates your metabolism and releases feel good chemicals into the body.
- Poor Sleep Hygiene
If when you awake each morning you do not feel rested and refreshed, you may want to reassess your sleep hygiene and habits. Black out curtains, white noise machines, air humidifiers, a new mattress or pillow and a cooler bedroom temperature are just a few components of sleep that can have a major impact on your nighttime slumber and your daytime vitality. Don’t forget to stick to a regular sleep routine (even on the weekends) and avoid caffeine, alcohol and screen time prior to bed.
When dealing with chronic, unexplained low energy, remember to talk to a licensed healthcare professional to explore all of your treatment options. And always talk to your naturopathic doctor or other trusted healthcare professional when starting, stopping or changing prescription medications and natural supplements.