Fatigue

What is Fatigue?

One of the most frequent complaints that brings a person to see the doctor is fatigue, under any of its names: weakness, tiredness, sluggishness, lack of energy. When doing normal activities just seems to exhaust you, you suffer from fatigue, but the fatigue can occur for a wide variety of reasons.
Fatigue Among these are: thyroid problems, both too much and too little thyroid hormone; heart problems, such as congestive heart failure; infections, both short-lived ones, like a cold or the flu, and those more serious viral infections that cause chronic fatigue syndrome; breathing problems, such as emphysema or sleep apnea (a condition in which people cannot breathe normally during sleep and consequently don't sleep very well); anemia; chronic diseases such as arthritis or cancer; alcoholism; and finally, psychological conditions, such as depression.

To truly treat the fatigue, you must direct your therapy at what's causing it, but there are a number of nutritional remedies that may help to relieve the symptoms while you're working on uncovering the cause. Let's look at the nutritional shelf to see what looks promising.

Fatigue Herbal remedies

• Fatigue can be fought using acacia, cayenne, ginkgo, guarana, and Siberian ginseng. Caution: Do not use this ginseng if you have high blood pressure, a heart disorder, or hypoglycemia.

Consult your qualified herbal practitioner before beginning any herbal remedies to get effective dosages.

What makes Fatigue worse?

• A diet high in refined and simple sugars can increase fatigue and sleepiness, especially in some people. The effect probably occurs because the high intake of sugar permits a flood of tryptophan (an essential amino acid) to enter the brain quickly. Sleepiness occurs when an abundance of tryptophan enters the brain. The same phenomenon occurs in certain complex starches, such as potato starch, wheat starch, and corn starch. If you wonder It'sugar and starch makes you sleepy and fatigued, you may want to conduct a simple experiment. Eat nothing after eight o'clock in the evening except water. The next morning, treat yourself to a breakfast of a large stack of pancakes or waffles with lots of syrup and butter and a big glass of orange juice. Don't eat any eggs, meat, or caffeinated coffee to blunt the response. Just the pancakes and syrup and butter. Wait about 30 minutes to an hour quietly—watch TV or read. If you become stuporous to the point of wanting to go to sleep, you'll know that carbohydrate has a fatiguing effect for you. Recommendation: Try to avoid simple sugars, such as table sugar, corn syrup, molasses, high-fructose corn syrup, and all foods made with these including sugared desserts, candy, cookies, cakes, pies, ice cream, cereals, soft drinks, and the like. Honey, although also a simple sugar, causes less of a fatigue problem because it is higher in glucose than sucrose (table sugar), but you should use even honey in small, infrequent amounts if you suffer from fatigue. Try to limit your intake of the fatiguing starches (potato, wheat, corn) and rely on the less-starchy vegetables (green leafy vegetables, green vegetables, and yellow and orange vegetables) along with oats and rice as your complex sources of carbohydrate. Reserve your intake of simple sugars for fruit and milk sugar. Eat solid fruits in quantities limited to 1/2 fruit per serving to reduce the absolute amount of fruit sugar taken in at a sitting. Drink milk, eat yogurt or cottage cheese in amounts providing no more than 8 to 10 grams of carbohydrate at a time, and eat hard cheeses in 1- to 2-ounce portions.

FatigueAlthough we think of caffeine in coffee as the "wake-us-up" chemical, chronic use of it may cause fatigue, headache, moodiness, and depression in some people. Because caffeine boosts energy through increasing the production of ATP, the basic unit of energy production in your body, one school of thought suggests that chronically stimulating this system may deplete it, sort of like overworking the soil in farmland. Recommendation: If you are a caffeine junkie (more than 3 cups of coffee a day) and can't get through the day without your coffee fix, you may be promoting your fatigue with caffeine and need a rest period. Go slowly with your reduction to zero caffeine to avoid developing overwhelming sleepiness and a bad headache. Begin by purchasing a tin of 50/50 caffeinated and decaffeinated blend coffee. Mix 3 parts of your regular full-strength brand with 1 part of the blend and drink that slightly weaker mixture for 1 week. Next, mix 2 parts of your regular brand with 1 part of the blend, and drink for a few days. Then mix them in equal parts for a few days. Drop down to 1 part regular and 2 parts blend for a few days. Then use 1 part regular and 3 parts blend for a few days. Now just drink the 50/50 blend. Purchase a tin of 100% decaffeinated coffee. Follow the same mixing ritual as above: 3 parts blend, 1 decaf; 2 parts blend, 1 decaf; 1 blend to 1 decaf; 1 blend to 2 decaf; 1 blend to 3 decaf. Finally you're ready to take the last plunge to a 100% decaffeinated life and should not have experienced any noticeable withdrawal from caffeine doing it this slowly. Remember that chocolate and many soft drinks also contain significant amounts of caffeine. It won't do any good to eliminate caffeine in coffee if you're getting it in other foods. Stay caffeine-free for at least 3 or 4 months before resuming drinking it. You might, however, elect to remain caffeine-free for good.

• Iron overload can also cause extreme and disabling fatigue, and hence the warning on page 321 not to supplement iron unless you are certain that you are deficient in it by blood testing. Recommendation: Supplement iron only for documented deficiency.

• Food sensitivities can cause fatigue. This problem is especially common in people who suffer allergies to the environment around them: pollens, weeds, flowers, animals, and dust. Recommendation: Begin to systematically avoid foods you think may cause the problem one at a time. If your symptoms disappear, you're home free. If they do not, however, continue your step-by-step search. Typical offenders are chocolate, strawberries, peanuts, wheat, various food dyes, and sugar, but any food is possible. You may want to seek help from an allergy specialist to help you narrow your search. You will have to undertake an elimination trial—totally abstaining from that food and anything made with it—for 3 to 4 weeks to assess your response. After the symptoms have cleared, you must prove the connection between the food and your symptoms by eating the food in a significant quantity and seeing the return of your fatigue. That may sound cruel, but you will not know with certainty that you've hit the culprit food otherwise.

 
 
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