Fatigue can signal anemia, diabetes, hypothyroidism or hepatitis C. But once your doctor rules out major medical causes of fatigue, it’s time to consider hidden ones. Hidden causes include:
1. A Junk Food Diet
Diets that are high in trans fats, saturated fats, processed foods and added sugars can sap your energy. Switch to a diet high in good sources of protein – mainly fish, nuts, seeds and beans –with eight to 10 services of fruits and vegetables per day. Watch out for grains, though. These complex carbs affect insulin. Insulin is the storage hormone that makes us heavier. The heavier we are, the higher our blood sugar becomes, and the more insulin resistance (pre-diabetes) we develop.
2. Lost Nutrients
Today’s industrial farming practices rob the soil of key fatigue-fighting mineral. It is recommending taking a multivitamin and mineral supplement. Supplements contain minerals rarely found in foods, such as:
Selenium - important for thyroid function and metabolism
Iodine – present in the iodized salt that many people with heart disease and high blood pressure avoid. Low iodine states can result in fatigue.
3. Not Enough Omega – 3
Fish are rich in omega-3 fatty acids but most of us don’t eat enough. It is recommended about 1,000 mg of an omega-3 supplement with a preference for fish oil because it is the long-chain form that our body needs.
4. Vitamin D Deficiency
Vitamin D gives us energy. Low levels of this vitamin can cause low energy and depression. Vitamin D and omega-3 are necessary for every single cell in the body – including brain cells – to work properly. If blood tests reveal low vitamin D levels, then take a supplement.
5. Low Magnesium
We are born with a finite amount of magnesium – also needed for energy production – in our bones and muscles. The vast majority of Americans get less than half the required amount of this mineral from their diet. Magnesium is still leaching out of our bones and muscles in our 40s and 50s. Magnesium replacements for those with symptoms of a total body deficit; insomnia, fatigues, constipations, muscle cramps and pain, joint pain, anxiety and elevated blood pressure.
6. Poor Sleep
When it comes to sleep difficulties, “we’ve got the perfect storm happening in our 40s and 50s. Reasons for lost sleep included increased work responsibilities, living with teens, aging parents and falling magnesium levels. For women, menopause and perimenopause are also factors. Falling levels of progesterone (a female hormone that helps with sleep) and hot flashes can cause insomnia. A change in caffeine metabolism doesn’t help. Women who have had two cups of coffee a day since age 20 suddenly can’t metabolize it as fast at age 50. Caffeine can take eight to 10 instead of five hours to clear the system. For these women, it is recommended scaling back to one cup of coffee before 10 am.
7. A Sedentary Life
Ironically, not getting enough exercise can make you feel tired. Regular exercise will boost your energy as well as your mood and fitness level. If healthy changes in diet , sleep and exercise don’t improve fatigue after a couple of months, then the following is recommended;
B complex vitamins – these help our bodies make energy, especially in times of stress
Coenzyme Q10 - this cofactor, which helps enzymes produce energy in our cells, is often blocked by statins (common heart disease drugs).
In addition, “acupuncture can be huge for fatigues, sleep, pain and hot flashes.