Chronic fatigue is one of the toughest and most frustrating symptoms to deal with. Unlike other symptoms which are unique to certain conditions, fatigue can be caused by many things. From nutrient deficiency to excess inflammation to poor diet to lack of sleep, the options never end.
If you find yourself exhausted, tired, and constantly fatigued, it’s vital that you take action to understand what is causing the problem and fix it immediately. Far too many doctors downplay the effects of this symptom which is a shame because it is one that can steal your quality of life.
Below are four hidden reasons for chronic fatigue that your doctor might not be checking for:
Iron Anemia or Iron Deficiency:
Iron is an essential mineral for our bodies that helps us to produce hemoglobin - a protein found in red blood cells that allows oxygen to get around our bodies. If our bodies don’t have enough iron, or if our diets aren’t high in iron-rich foods, we can develop an iron deficiency. This is a very common problem that I see in many of my client due to the fact that the standard American diet is low in essential nutrients, including iron.
What are the symptoms of an iron deficiency? Generally, the most common symptom is fatigue, but you may also experience headaches, pale skin, brittle nails, dizziness, cold hands and feet, an irregular heart rate, shortness of breath, and even a weakened immune system.
It’s important to note that an iron deficiency can eventually lead to iron-deficiency anemia, which is a condition that is caused by too little iron in the body. If left unchecked, this can have serious long-term consequences.
Your thyroid is a small, but important, organ in your neck that produces hormones that help control many of your body's functions. When the hormones produced by your thyroid become unbalanced due to either too high or too low levels, it can cause a wide range of health issues. This imbalance is often caused by thyroiditis, an inflammatory condition of the thyroid gland caused by the body's own immune system.
When the body's immune system mistakenly produces antibodies that attack the thyroid, it can cause a disorder known as autoimmune thyroiditis, Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, or Hashimoto’s disease. What causes this immune system malfunction is still unknown, although some speculate it could be caused by a genetic defect, a virus, or a combination of factors.
People with other autoimmune disorders such as lupus, type 1 diabetes, or rheumatoid arthritis, those with relatives who suffer from autoimmune thyroiditis, and those exposed to environmental factors such as high levels of radiation, are at higher risk for developing this condition. The symptoms of autoimmune thyroiditis can vary from person to person, but some of the most common are fatigue, depressed mood, unexplained weight gain or loss, difficulty concentrating, a puffy face, dry skin, brittle nails, and thinning hair.
Treatment for autoimmune thyroiditis will depend on the severity of the condition and the individual's needs, but can include the use of medications, dietary changes, and lifestyle modifications. It is also important to get a comprehensive thyroid test to monitor your hormone levels and check for other disorders of the thyroid gland in a variety of markers that are not often tested for in standard medical practices.
All in all, autoimmune thyroiditis can be a serious and debilitating condition, but with proper management, my clients have gone on to lead healthy, happy lives. If you think you may have this condition, I invite you to set up a free consultation where we can talk about getting you a proper diagnosis and treatment plan.
Adrenal fatigue is a term that has been used to describe a set of nonspecific symptoms, such as body aches, chronic fatigue, nervousness, sleep disturbances and digestive problems. While it is true that these symptoms can be caused by stress, it is important to note that there is no accepted medical diagnosis for adrenal fatigue. This is because it is a lay term and no specific cause is known.
Adrenal insufficiency is a medical diagnosis that can result from an underlying disease or surgery and is characterized by inadequate production of one or more adrenal hormones. It can be uncovered with specialty lab tests that show inadequate levels of adrenal hormones.
Many studies also show that chronic stress may lead to adrenal insufficiency. There are many medical conditions that can cause the same symptoms as adrenal fatigue, including sleep disorders, thyroid disorders, chronic infections, and certain medications. These conditions should be evaluated and treated through strategic lifestyle changes.
If you are experiencing the symptoms of adrenal fatigue, it is important to get a proper workup to make sure that a serious medical condition is not being overlooked.
The Gut-Brain Axis:
The gut-brain axis is an intricate bi-directional system, which connects neuroendocrine pathways, the autonomic nervous system and the gastrointestinal tract. Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is a chronic, recurring inflammatory disorder of the gastrointestinal tract, Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis being two of the most well known. IBD patients often find themselves suffering from some degree of depression and anxiety, in addition to the already existing physical gut pain and discomfort.
Depression, anxiety, brain fog, and constant fatigue are common among other chronic disorders such as diabetes mellitus, cancer, multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis and IBD. Despite the fact that IBD patients are more likely to suffer from psychological issues, they often go undiagnosed and untreated. The exact mechanisms of how depression, anxiety and cognitive dysfunction occur in these patients are still unknown, leaving researchers in the dark as to whether psychological disorders are the result of disease activity or not.
In addition, many studies have found that there is an association between IBD and various immune-mediated disorders, such as multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, and asthma. The exact mechanisms of this relationship are still unknown, but it appears that the gut-brain axis may be involved in this association. It is also possible that the gut-brain axis interacts with other physiological systems to create a complex network of inflammation, which can increase the risk of depression and anxiety.
More recently, the research into the gut-brain axis and its potential role in IBD has revealed some promising findings. It appears that this connection between the gastrointestinal tract and the brain has the potential to play a crucial role in the development of depression and anxiety in IBD patients. Although more research is needed to fully understand the potential role of the brain-gut axis, it appears that this connection could lead to improved diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of depression and anxiety.
If you are dealing with constant fatigue, here is the two-part solution that I’ve used with hundreds of patients that has proven to be life changing.
Take a comprehensive synergistic approach to your problem - one that is rooted in the latest medical research. There are now tests available that analyze all 10 Thyroid markers. This will provide you with far more conclusive and comprehensive answers than traditional medicine’s minimal testing that barely scratches the surface. Maybe it’s an iron anemia issue that’s leaving your cells starved for oxygen - que yawn. It could be that you’re chronically stressed and your cortisol levels are disrupted and contributing to inflammation. It’s also possible that there’s gut inflammation which contributes to brain inflammation. Gut on fire, brain on fire. It’s hard to have gut inflammation without experiencing brain inflammation as well.
Address your diet by removing common trigger foods for people dealing with Leaky Gut, Hashimotos, and other autoimmune conditions. Optimize your sleep, manage stress, and take an intuitive approach to physical activity. If you are exhibiting symptoms of an autoimmune condition and you have a gut feeling that you are dealing with one, go ahead and make lifestyle changes and care for yourself as if you do. The only side effects of getting on a natural treatment plan like the one I use with my clients is a longer life, better skin, slimmer waistline, more energy, increased sex drive and productivity, mental clarity, and much more. No downsides here.
I’m not saying don’t go to your traditional doctor. Please do. Run the labs, keep an eye on your thyroid, and stay under medical supervision. But also know your options. Know when it’s time to take your health into your own hands and get better testing and make lifestyle changes that will help you to get your quality of life back.
With strategic lifestyle interventions and taking a “root cause approach” to prevent the progression of the condition, you can minimize the damage and discomfort of the disease.
Contact me to set up a free consultation if you’re interested in having a deeper conversation about comprehensive testing or beginning my Diet and Lifestyle Program designed to help clients who have Leaky Gut, Hashimotos, and autoimmune conditions manage symptoms, gain back quality of life, and even bring the condition in remission.
Click here to start the conversation!