Do you find yourself making excuses to not workout because you’re too tired on a daily basis? You are not alone! Fatigue is actually very common and it’s not always because you are a bit lazy.
There is a medical and physiological reason why. And by understanding what’s going on inside your body, you can climb your way out of the tired pit and back to feeling like your youthful vibrant self!
*Disclaimer: there are MANY causes of fatigue. I am going to discuss several common causes, which can be addressed through diet and exercise. More serious causes of fatigue are possible and it is always best to consult with your healthcare practitioner. This article is for education purposes only, not to diagnose yourself.
Anaemia – What is it?
The main side effect of anaemia is fatigue. What happens in anaemia is the red blood cells do not have the capacity to carry as much oxygen as they are supposed to. Your cells needs oxygen to function. If they don’t get enough, they slow down and begin functioning poorly. Hence you get slower and don’t function as well. Anaemia also comes with the side effect of poor healing. If you cannot get oxygen to your cells, they cannot heal.
The most common cause of anaemia is iron deficiency. Iron is an essential mineral that we get from our diet. The body absorbs iron from the food we eat and forms a molecule called ‘heme’ that attaches to your red blood cells. This heme is actually what carries the oxygen molecules.
So as you can see, without iron you cannot carry enough oxygen to where you need it (which is everywhere). Foods high in iron include: red meat, other meats, beans and spinach.
There are other causes of anaemia, such as B12 deficiency, folate deficiency, excessive bleeding and conditions which inhibit the production of red blood cells. A simple blood test can help determine if you have anaemia and what type.
It is important to know that if you have anaemia it needs to be resolved before any other health problem can be helped/solved.
Blood sugar imbalances
Imbalances in blood sugar regulation are another concern with fatigue. There are two main issues to talk about, hypoglycemia and/or insulin resistance.
If you feel that you get tired in between meals and that fatigue is relieved once you eat, hypoglycemia could be the culprit. Other possible symptoms (you do not have to experience all of them) include: craving sweets, irritability when meals are missed, agitation, easily upset, nervousness, poor memory, and being forgetful.
When one is hypoglycemic, the amount of glucose (sugar) in the blood dips too low. The body has trouble keeping it at a constant level, which it is normally supposed to do. In order to treat this it is important to eat a high protein breakfast within 30 minutes of waking and have high protein snacks handy to eat regularly.
Protein helps to keep one full and reduce sugar cravings.
With insulin resistance, one will feel fatigued after meals, have cravings for sweets, have sweets after meals, frequent urination and difficulty losing weight. Insulin resistance can develop into Type 2 Diabetes.
In order to treat insulin resistance, it is important to reduce the amount of sugars and carbohydrates you eat, especially processed sugars/flours and begin exercising cardiovascularly. Cardiovascular exercise has been shown to help increase the sensitivity for insulin in the cells.
You can be both hypoglycemia and insulin resistant at the same time. Addressing these issues can help solve problematic fatigue and can help prevent other worse conditions from developing.
Blood tests are usually performed and looking at symptoms is very important in determining what’s happening with your blood sugar.
In Part 2 tomorrow Expert Kristin Shay looks into Leaky Gut Syndrome and Adrenal Fatigue
Connect here with WatchFit expert Kristin Shay