Fatigue is probably the number one reason why people seek alternative care. Too often, when they say to their doctor “I am so tired!” the doctor hears “I am depressed” and puts them on antidepressants (most of which have a side effect of fatigue). Other physicians rightfully run a battery of tests, beginning with lab tests to try to find an answer. They are mostly looking for anemia, Vitamin D deficiency, B12 deficiency, or signs of disease. When these tests show “within reference range,” they too are either told they are just depressed, or “there is nothing wrong.”
When someone is tired, they don’t want to hear that they are normal and nothing is wrong. To be fatigued, incommensurate with activity level or amount of sleep, means that something is wrong!
If you are fatigued, try to ascertain a cause before running to the doctor. Are you getting enough sleep? There is a saying that 1 hour of sleep prior to midnight is worth 2 hours of sleep after midnight. Getting to bed early is vital for restoring health and energy. Are you exercising disproportionately to the amount of available energy that you have, or are you burning off your meager resources? While exercise can certainly be revitalizing, and is essential to your energy bank, too rigorous of exercise — too many withdrawals with inadequate deposits, will result in energy bankruptcy!
Are you eating garbage foods that are sucking the energy out of you? The foods that extract more energy resources to digest than the value you receive from them must go! Stick with fresh, whole foods and drinks that will give greater deposits than withdrawals.
This applies to supplements as well. The majority are nothing more than a laboratory creation, having a drug-like effect on the body. “Whipping a sick horse” with synthetic supplements is going to eventually cause a worsening effect on health. Then what? You turn to drugs. Street drugs, prescribed drugs, energy drinks — anything to stimulate some form of aliveness. What a mistake! Nutrient deficiencies can be a real cause of fatigue. Vitamin D, B Vitamins, or iron are tops on the list. Just make sure your supplements are made from whole foods (hint: the label should read like a list of foods).
Other lifestyle factors such as alcohol use, use of stimulants, smoking, drug use, etc., cannot be ignored when trying to identify causes of fatigue. Many medications, especially ones for allergies, depression, cholesterol lowering and blood pressure medications have side effects of fatigue. Many others do as well, so research the side effects of all medications — prescribed or OTC — that you are taking.
Don’t forget about stress. Stress is a big energy suck as well. If you are one of those people who say yes to every request, learn to say “no” more often. Delegate when needed. Consciously try to limit stress, or even more importantly learn techniques to help you manage stress better.
Chronic infection, illness and pain all deplete energy. See a practitioner that specializes in putting all your symptoms together to identify the whole picture your health, including why you are so tired, and find your energy again!
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Holly Carling is a Doctor of Oriental Medicine, Licensed Acupuncturist, Doctor of Naturopathy, Clinical Nutritionist and Master Herbologist with nearly four decades of experience. Carling is a “Health Detective,” she looks beyond your symptom picture and investigates WHY you are experiencing your symptoms in the first place. Carling is currently accepting new patients and offers natural health care services and whole food nutritional supplements in her Coeur d’Alene clinic. Visit Carling’s website at www.vitalhealthcda.com to learn more about Carling, view a list of upcoming health classes and read other informative articles. Carling can be reached at 208-765-1994 and would be happy to answer any questions regarding this topic.