Top Tips for Overcoming Fatigue
Modern living has created a pandemic of fatigue and often it can be difficult to pinpoint one specific cause. Our bodies were not designed for the complex demands of the 21st century with chronic stressors both physical and psychological. As our bodies cannot differentiate between the two, the stress response is triggered by both, with fatigue being one of the major symptoms.
So what are some of the major causes of fatigue in this modern world:
Finances, relationships, work and health issues are all signals to the brain’s control centres such as the Amygdala and HPA axis (hypothalamic- pituitary-adrenal axis) that there is danger and these centres release a cascade of hormones such as adrenaline and cortisol to alert the body to action. Unfortunately, when this becomes chronic, our cells suffer and fatigue is the end product.
2. Poor Sleep
Poor sleep quality or quantity is becoming increasingly frequent on our modern world. High levels of stress, artificial light, sedentary life style and increasing time in front of screens are all adding to this burden.
3. Processed foods and poor nutrition
Not only does this present in obvious manifestations such as low iron or vitamin B12 levels, but with our greater demands from our highly stressed lives, our nutrient demand is in deficit. If we are not supplying our bodies with adequate nutritional support, then how can our bodies function optimally?
4. Viral Infections
When we have an acute viral infection, fatigue and the need to rest is part of our body’s defence mechanism. However sometimes fatigue can persist for weeks to months or we have episodic reactivations. In this case, the immune system needs extra support to maintain a health promoting environment.
There may be one initial trigger, however it’s easy to see how several factors often become involved in perpetuating the fatigue. An end result is that the mitochondria become overly taxed affecting their function. The mitochondria are microscopic organelles found within cells in our body and their main function is to produce a constant supply of energy. They are also sensors of the immediate environment and if there is cellular damage, inflammation, toxins or any of the above-mentioned stressors, their function is compromised leading to even more fatigue.
Sounds complex and it can be but starting with the foundational lifestyle factors that impact energy and support mitochondrial health can make a significant difference. Addressing stress levels and sleep hygiene can have a profound effect on energy and for many people, this is the main driver of their symptoms.
Fortunately, there are also several key nutrients that impact mitochondrial function and can support our increased energy demands:
• Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10)
This is a vital nutrient required by our mitochondria to produce energy and also prevent damage to the body as it is a strong anti-oxidant. It is important to use the right type of CoQ10, which is the ubiquinol form, as our body’s ability to convert ubiquinone to ubiquinol decreases as we age.
• B vitamins
Certain B vitamins such as vitamin B2 and B3 are required by the mitochondria to produce energy. However other B vitamins such as vitamin B12 and vitamin B6 have actions on other important enzymes involved in cell function.
Stress increases the use and elimination of magnesium and it is also directly required by the mitochondria for energy production. There is no doubt that our busy lives are contributing to unprecedented levels of fatigue, but with lifestyle modifications and the support of appropriate nutrients, you can say goodbye to fatigue and begin the journey to vitality.