If you ever experienced a sense of being run down and not yourself, you are not alone. One of the most common conditions that plague our society is fatigue or tiredness. According to the Canadian Community Health Survey, more than 1.4% of the adult population in Canada suffers from chronic fatigue.
In his best-selling book, “From Fatigued to Fantastic”, Dr. Jacob Teitelbaum introduced a method to diagnose and treat fatigue. This method is called the SHINE protocol. Dr. F. Hui, a family doctor based in Toronto uses a modified version of this protocol. This modified method addresses multiple issues that may lead to fatigue. Because all reasons are linked to one another, this protocol works best in identifying the cause and treatment for fatigue. When I worked with him as an assistant, I saw the effectiveness of his method to cure fatigue. So, I adopted his protocol.
The S stands for Sleep. Think about how you need to recharge a cell phone for it to work. Like that, our bodies need quality time to recharge. A night of good sleep is the body’s way of recharging. During sleep, our bodies release a neurotransmitter called Endorphin. Neurotransmitters are chemical messengers. Endorphin is specifically for sending feel-good vibes to your brain. So, if you are not getting enough sleep, endorphin release becomes low and you’ll feel tired the next day. So, sleep is an important factor that improves your health and lessens fatigue.
If you take medication at night, they won’t completely disappear from your body. Codeine, painkillers containing narcotics, antidepressant medications, and prescribed sleeping pills are some medications that would make you feel sleepy and fatigued even in the day time.
This sleepiness and fatigue cause a disruption in your sleep-wake cycle. When the day and night programming of your body is not working properly, you may develop chronic insomnia.
Normally, cortisol level is higher in the mornings and decreases throughout the day. When the cortisol level is high, you feel more energetic. But sometimes, the cortisol level can increase during the evening and night. Then you’ll start feeling more energetic and unable to sleep at night time. This will disrupt your natural sleep cycle.
A simple saliva cortisol test can measure the cortisol level of your body easily. This test measures cortisol levels of the body at 4 different times of the day. If the cortisol level drops around 6 AM to 8 AM, it’s the reason for your lack of energy in the mornings.
Hypoglycemia is low blood sugar during sleep. If you have diabetes, this is likely to happen. Consuming food high in starch and sugar in late evenings can cause hypoglycemia. These foods will increase insulin secretion. High insulin causes low blood sugar when you go to sleep.With hypoglycemia, you’ll be unable to get enough sleep in your body.
There are chemical messengers or neurotransmitters in the body to control your sleep-wake cycle. They help you to fall asleep and stay asleep. GABA and serotonin are two such neurotransmitters. When there is an imbalance of these messengers, you may experience trouble falling asleep.
Sleep apnea is when your breathing repeatedly stops while you are sleeping. This can decrease the oxygen supply to the brain. When the body is deoxygenated to a dangerous level, cortisol and adrenaline in the body trigger an alarm. So, you won’t be able to enjoy deep sleep. Some symptoms of sleep apnea are feeling fatigued in the day time, snoring, and insomnia.
H stands for hormones. Like neurotransmitters, a good balance of hormones is important to stay refreshed. If there is an imbalance in hormones, you may start feeling fatigued. An imbalance of thyroid or adrenaline hormones can make you feel under the weather.
Thyroid hormone -
Thyroid hormones are responsible for providing energy to cells. If there is a thyroid dysfunction in the body, an imbalance may occur causing a lack of energy or a feeling of fatigue and exhaustion.
Adrenal hormone -
If you are giving too much work to the adrenal gland, it can lead to exhaustion and burnout. Here are some things which can affect the functioning of your adrenal glands.
The‘I’stand for Infections. Fatigue can also be a result of a lingering bacterial, viral, fungal, or parasitic infection. If your body is trying to battle through an ongoing infection, you will have symptoms such as night sweating, chills, and low-grade fever. Most often, if you think back, you may have experienced the same symptoms during an infection or an invasive procedure in the past.
Some example instances where your body may show signs of lingering infections are,
N is for Nutrition. Nutrient deficiencies and food sensitivities can cause fatigue as well. Among nutrient deficiencies, vitamin B12 deficiencies, vitamin D deficiencies, and iron deficiencies will make you feel tired.
Accumulation of toxic nutrients like heavy metals can cause fatigue as well. These toxic substances enter the body through smoking, seafood, dental fillings, or occupational exposure. Here are some examples of toxic substances that enter the body through these means.
|Lead||Drinking water from old pipes, occupational exposure|
|Mercury||Seafood, Dental fillings|
Other heavy metals including aluminum, gadolinium, cesium, and so on too can accumulate in the body with time. Symptoms of being exposed to toxic nutrients are fatigue, brain fog, poor concentration, memory issues, and nerve damage. You can easily assess the levels of toxic nutrients and essential nutrients in your body using an inexpensive hair element analysis.
E is for Emotions or Mood. Emotions and moods play a vital role in how we feel about life. When our emotions change, it is because of an imbalance of the neurotransmitters responsible for handling moods. The balance of these neurotransmitters may change because of poor diet, chronic stressful conditions, overconsumption of stimulants, sedentary lifestyle, genetic predisposition, and seasonal changes.
Pain in non-specific areas of the body such as joints, muscles, and other soft tissues is called fibromyalgia. If you have this condition, you will experience fatigue, sleep issues, headaches, depression, and anxiety.
If you consult a conventional doctor, they would likely suggest tests for obvious causes of joint/ muscle pain and fatigue. These test results wouldn’t uncover the specific cause of your pain. And, being in constant pain would disrupt your social interactions, leading to depression. If you ignore the cause and start taking several antidepressant and pain killer medications, you may end up dependent on them. So, it’s important to identify if fibromyalgia is the reason behind your symptoms.
The first question I ask my patients is if they feel as if they are getting the flu. And many of them say yes. Most of the time, if you have fibromyalgia, you may experience symptoms of chronic flu. These symptoms are body aches, feeling tired, night sweating, chills, pain in joints, muscles, or soft tissues, and low-grade fever. Your body may also show chronic adrenal fatigue symptoms. Fibromyalgia is likely if you have a history of chronic infections, recently underwent an invasive procedure, or use antibiotics frequently.
If you have symptoms of fatigue, you need a comprehensive assessment to find the cause. By eliminating that root cause, you’ll start feeling energetic again. I use treatments like nutritional supplements, herbal medicine, and IV chronic fatigue drip to reduce fatigue and improve energy. All treatments are unique and individualized to treat your exact cause.
Don’t let fatigue ruin your days. Book a consultation to start getting healthier and more energetic.
Come in for a 20 minutes free consultation to explore how Naturopathic medicine can help your health concerns.