Feeling Tired All the Time? Here are 6 Reasons Why
People have been stressed out way before this pandemic – stress with work, family, school and perhaps it has been piling up until one day you just realize that your body can’t keep up anymore. The thing is, adrenal fatigue and the symptoms that go along with it, do not happen overnight. Just like a chronic illness such as diabetes and cancer does not happen overnight. It builds up over the years with all kinds of stressors and causes.
When someone has been working overtime for multiple days or hasn’t been eating much for many hours, it makes sense that you’re feeling tired and low in energy. But sometimes feeling fatigue all the time may be an indicator that something else is going on.
According to the American Institute of Stress, there are around 33% of people feeling extreme stress. 77% experience stress that affects their physical health and 73% experience stress that affects their mental health.
Feeling fatigue all the time is not solved by merely sleeping more hours or taking more and longer leaves from work. When checking for root causes, it may signal a variety of imbalances in the body such as hormone disruption, mitochondrial dysfunction, thyroid issues, dysbiosis and nutrient deficiencies.
Here, we will look into the top 6 root causes of chronic fatigue.
1- Dysregulation of HPA Axis
The HPA Axis involves the three glands (Hypothalamus-Pituitary-Adrenal) that control the body’s stress response. Stress triggers the HPA axis, secreting the necessary hormones such as epinephrine and cortisol to help the body adapt to the situation. However, prolonged stress becomes a risk factor for HPA dysregulation leading to symptoms such as fatigue, brain fog, cravings and difficulty falling and/or staying asleep.
Normally, cortisol is highest in the morning, helping us stay focused during the day and it gradually tapers off through the afternoon and evening. So cortisol is not all that bad. We actually need it just as long as it is released at the right time at the right amount. Some people however can get their cortisol level high throughout the day, skyrocketing at night or worse, low and flat lined from morning till night.
2- Disruption in the Sleep/ Wake Cycle
It is part of life when we get those short-term disruptions of sleep from time to time such as getting jet lags, partying out late or finishing a big presentation until early waking hours. However, when the circadian cycle is disrupted regularly for many days and months, it can contribute to fatigue. It is important to identify and address them because the effect can be drastic. It is not just about sleep anymore, but about the timing of your meals. Eating at night can disrupt the body clock and your digestion.
Just as cortisol affects wakefulness, melatonin affects sleep. Cortisol level starts to increase 2-3 hours after sleep onset and continues to rise into the early morning and early waking hours. The peak of cortisol is around 9am and gradually declines at night. Melatonin starts to increase at 10pm and decreases after 2-3am. This is the reason why the best time to sleep would be around 10am because you would want to get as much melatonin as possible. Together, melatonin and cortisol, both work together within the HPA axis to regulate sleep and wakefulness.
3- Mitochondrial Dysfunction
If you keep on working, getting stressed with projects, intoxicated with people and exposing more toxins from the environment, more and more energy is being used up by the body so that it can adapt. Energy is like a currency that can be drained out if supply stops or lessens. If you are not resting, not sleeping properly, not staying hydrated and not eating properly, it just makes sense that you’ll eventually have an energy deficit.
Each of our cells has these little powerhouse called mitochondria. This is where energy is generated. Fatigue and any other symptoms that we experience are due to this imbalance of energy supply and demand. When the energy demand is more than the energy generated, then we cannot function very well. The more chronic and pervasive your fatigue and the longer the root cause is not addressed, the more dysfunctional the mitochondria that isn’t easily corrected by just getting more sleep or by taking a long break from work. Mitochondrial dysfunction is also linked with oxidative stress and inflammation, both of which can greatly affect your health negatively.
4- Leaky Gut
This is one of the major things that happen in the body when under prolonged stress. Chronic stress leads adrenal distress then leads to leaky gut. This is not a leakage out of the body rather it is a leakage of unwanted molecules and foreign bodies into the body. In a healthy gut, the walls of our intestines are permeable only to nutrients and water. But when bombarded with stressors, the gut lining loosens up allowing bacteria and undigested food to pass and go into the bloodstream. Your immune system does its job by attacking and destroying the foreign bodies. This leads to many symptoms such as headaches, joint pain, anxiety and skin problems.
Moreover, as digestive function decreases, the healthy bacteria in the colon are disrupted and imbalanced. This is called dysbiosis. You would want to increase the number of good bacteria and not the bad ones. Leaky gut, increased inflammatory signals and imbalanced gut microbiome creates another cycle of symptom build up.
5- Thyroid Issues
Because low adrenal function affects the production of thyroid hormones, many people experience a myriad of signs and symptoms such as fatigue, weight gain, depression, brain fog and infertility among others. Many hypothyroid symptoms are so similar to adrenal fatigue that these two are often confused or misdiagnosed. Thyroid is usually not the only organ of concern. This is why it is important to determine the root cause and address it holistically.
6- Nutrient Deficiencies
Many people desire for a quick fix to lose weight, boost energy and improve focus, but tend to ultimately forget the importance of nutrition and the discipline to consistently feed the body every day the right way. Without proper nutrition, the body can seriously suffer and be at risk for many diseases, including adrenal fatigue and the other related health issues that goes with it. The best way to make sure you’re getting the essential nutrients daily is by eating right. Of course, supplementation is another option. Supplements such as Vitamin C, B-complex, Vitamin E, Magnesium and Adaptogenic Herbs can help support the body.
What can you do now?
Chronic fatigue has so many causes and effects that it is ultimately difficult to address with just one area alone. Finding the root causes and dealing it as a whole, you will be able to start the path of healing and getting your energy and life back again.
If you want to know more about adrenal distress and need help in recovering, you may book a free 30 minute health assessment with us with this link https://calendly.com/nutriessencia/assessment .
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