This time of year, many people complain about increased levels of fatigue. Interest in the terms adrenal fatigue and so on increase massively. Here’s a few simple reasons why this might happen and also things you can do straight away to fix fatigue and feel better.
#1 Blood Glucose Balance
Easy to over look. Keeping slower release mixed meals allows for steady energy after eating.
Avoiding high carb meals at lunch prevents afternoon rebound hypoglycaemia.
Lowering carbs generally and eating more good fats, fibrous vegetables and some protein switches you from sugar burning into fat burning. Then you tend to not need so many instant carbs for energy and can skip meals if necessary without massive drops in energy.
#2 Lack of Vitamin D / Sunlight.
Low light and sunlight can cause vitamin D deficiency which can make you feel tired, lower immune system function and wellness.
Take some Vitamin D throughout the winter to keep your levels high. Do a test if you suspect low levels.
Get outside more. Being outside increases energy and hormone levels from training. Train outside as often as possible.
Other deficiencies can also contribute to fatigue. In particular the B-vitamin family including B12 can become depleted with dietary restrictions and in the elderly. Magnesium and zinc deficiencies are also a problem for normal metabolism and fatigue. Make sure you cover these bases with a good quality multi vitamin and mineral complex.
Poor sleep. This is super common with 25% of the population having a sleep based disorder at any given time. Read more about sleep fixes here.
My simplest fix for this is R5 Aminos a high dosed amino acids and mineral formula. Of course sleep hygiene needs to be attended too and a sleep routine is also key
#5 Lack of Drive
This is interesting as lower hormone levels including testosterone for both men and women can make life feel less interesting.
You can lack motivation to get things done as testosterone helps dopamine a ‘get things done’ brain hormone. Low T = low dopamine.
Dopamine can be increase by using tyrosine an amino acid. Also by increasing T levels. You can read my modern man supplementation article here on more ways to increase T levels.
Lowers T levels and increases cortisol levels. This is fine in the short term. Long term stress can deplete the bodies ability to make cortisol.
Then you can feel tired because cortisol raises blood glucose and helps get you out of bed in the morning. Low cortisol symptoms include:
Waking between 3-5am with a rapid heart rate.
Thyroid disorders are not that common but if you have a low functioning thyroid you will for sure feel tired and depressed. You’ll also gain weight easily.
Testing your thyroid function rules this out as a possible cause of fatigue.
Herbs such as ashwaganda are great for thyroid function along with tyrosine, iodine, and selenium. Kelp is a great source of iodine. My Alpha Greens is loaded with organic kelp.
#8 Gut Function
Your gut houses bacteria and neurotransmitters like serotonin (a feel good sleepy hormone). Poor gut health means this vital source of neurotransmitter production can be limited.
Look after your gut with pre-biotic fibre such as inulin and probiotics like symprove and VSL.
#9 Excessive Stimulants
When we get tired it’s easy to use coffee and other stimulants to get energy. Whilst some caffeine intake is fine if you go over 400mg of caffeine per day you tend to need it too much and become dependent on caffeine for energy.
Like a nasty bank manager you pay back more interest from this borrowed energy supply.
#10 Energy Balance
Dieting is common as many; many people are over fat.
Cutting calories by various methods is the standard route to dropping fat combined with exercise.
Cut too hard for too long and you risk lowering metabolism and thyroid function. The solution find a sustainable way to maintain a steady deficit and throw in some faster periods of more strict deficit for 3-5 days before either re-feeding or increasing calories a little bit.
#11 Over Training
This ties in with energy balance as restricting energy whilst training hard and intensively can cause over training and fatigue.
Similarly restricting adequate carbs for higher intensity exercise is another common pitfall. Especially with keto / paleo type diets which tend towards lower starches and higher calories from fat.
Whilst these are fine for lower intensity of exercise or steady state endurance type activities – higher intensity weights, cross fit and so on require adequate refuelling between bouts.
Paleo and keto can maintain energy fine they just don’t replenish carbs as fast as eating higher starches and sugars can do.
It’s all about balance though. I prefer lower carb intakes in general for general population. If you have a day between gym sessions you can replenish quite well on lower carbs. If you train every day or twice per day = fuelling is necessary to prevent fatigue and over training.