The Fatigue Solution

By Jen Landa, MD, Chief Medical Officer of BodyLogicMD

The Fatigue Solution

Advances in technology keep millions of Americans “plugged in” to work around the clock leading to chronic stress, endless fatigue and poor health. And, odds are, you are among these tired, overworked members of the population. The good news is, there are solutions to the most common sources of energy deficiency and thanks to new research, these are solutions that get to the root of the issue with simple, all-natural, at-home remedies.

Fatigue Solutions

Reduce Interference of Gluten With Iron

More than 25% of the population suffers from gluten sensitivities, but less than 1% is aware of the problem. If you feel bloated, gassy or constipated after a meal rather than energized, you may be gluten sensitive.

In general, undiagnosed food sensitivities, like gluten, can cause inflammation in the intestinal lining of the gut, inhibiting absorption of vital nutrients, including iron. Iron is responsible for delivering oxygen to all your tissues; without enough, fatigue is imminent.

The best remedy is to remove gluten from your diet and develop a meal plan that optimizes iron consumption and absorption. Consuming iron-rich foods with sources of vitamin C, like strawberries, oranges, broccoli and Brussels sprouts, is an easy way to improve iron absorption.

Increase Iodine

Iodine is fuel for your thyroid. If your thyroid doesn’t have the fuel it needs, you will experience low energy levels and you may also struggle with healthy weight management or hair loss. There are two simple solutions to thyroid-related fatigue.

First, get more iodine in your diet – it is as simple as switching up the contents of your salt shaker. Many aspiring chefs have switched to sea salt, causing a sharp increase in iodine deficiencies in America. You don’t need to increase your salt intake, but just make sure your salt shaker is filled with iodized salt, which is easily found on your local grocer’s shelves.

If you find that your health struggles go beyond fatigue, get your thyroid levels tested with an expert that specializes in hormones and hormone therapy.

Physicians trained in this field of functional medicine can offer more comprehensive testing for thyroid hormones. The defined range of normal in traditional medicine is much broader than the functional range observed by a hormone specialist.

Recharge Your Liver

The liver is the metabolic powerhouse that manages your body’s energy levels. Junk foods, sugar-sweetened beverages and even tobacco use affect this vital organ making elimination of toxins more difficult, resulting in sluggishness and fatigue.

The most simple, effective method for detoxifying your liver daily is drinking dandelion tea two times per day. Dandelion tea stimulates the liver to optimally transport toxins away from the liver and induce excretion from the body. 

Boost Testosterone

Testosterone is commonly understood to be associated with the male species, but when it comes to energy, it is crucial for both men and women.Women have approximately one-tenth the amount of testosterone that men have – and even for such a small quantity, testosterone plays a big role. Testosterone increases neurotransmitters, like dopamine, aiding energy production and also acts as an emotional shield, controlling mood swings and inducing desire in the bedroom. With low levels, your energy, mood and sex drive can suffer – in both men and women.

Foggy thinking, low libido, fatigue and uncontrollable emotions are signs that your testosterone levels may be out of balance. Erratic levels of cortisol, caused by stress, often inhibit production of testosterone, tanking levels well beyond a healthy threshold.

Yoga offers a simple solution that can help you set aside stress in just five minutes a day. Pranayama yoga is the practice of deep breathing from the diaphragm. Spending at least five minutes a day in breathing and meditation can help reduce stress; stress reduction can help bring your testosterone and cortisol levels back to manageable levels.

Other Common Sources of Fatigue

Prescription Medications

You may be surprised to learn that what is helping you, may also be hurting you. Certain prescription medications could be stealing your daily vitality.

Statins: A new study, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, found that statins not only lower your cholesterol, they lower your energy levels too. Statins block an integral energy cycle that converts food sugars into energy; without this vital conversion, your body becomes depleted of essential energy for even the most basic functions.

Statins are essential to the maintenance of health for millions of Americans, therefore stopping your medication is not an option, but you can add 100 milligrams of coenzyme Q10 to your supplement regimen to help offset the side effects of this medication.

Proton pump inhibitors (PPIs):Patients who take heartburn medications, such as Nexium, Prevacid and Prilosec, for as little as three months, are at risk of low blood levels of magnesium, which can cause loss of appetite, fatigue and weakness, among other symptoms.

Much like statins, PPIs are essential to optimizing the health and wellbeing of many people. Therefore the solution is to supplement 400 milligrams of magnesium with your medication. If your condition is mild, you may also consider discussing using the natural alternative to PPIs - deglycyrrhizinated licorice (DGL). Chewing two DGL tablets before a meal has been shown to soothe irritation of the esophagus. But, talk to your doctor before making any changes to your medication.

Birth control pills: Birth control pills rob women of free testosterone, robbing you of energy, mood, memory and even your libido. Birth control pills are also comprised of progestin, the synthetic hormone form of progesterone, which has been shown to contribute to multiple women’s health issues. Instead of oral birth control, consider an IUD or the patch. The patch uses micronized (bioidentical) progesterone and has been linked in a 2012 preliminary study to improved libido among healthy women aged 42 to 58.

The Sugar Rush

Energy from sugary foods and drinks only lasts about 30 minutes, which isn’t enough to get you through the day. Your body burns through sugar quickly, giving you an initial energy boost, succinctly followed by a mega crash. If you love sugar in your tea or coffee, there is a new super healthy, all-natural solution – monk fruit.

There is a lot of controversy over artificial sweeteners, but the use of this fruit dates back centuries with uses in traditional Chinese medicine to treat diabetes and obesity. This sweetener has a low glycemic index and, in recent lab studies, was found to stimulate insulin secretion.

This new line of artificial sweeteners is available at health food stores across the country and is less than three calories per serving and useful for cooking, as well as sweetening beverages. Just be sure to look for pure monk fruit without sugar alcohols, which can negatively impact blood sugar levels.

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