National Fatigue Syndrome Day

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National Fatigue Syndrome Day

Chronic fatigue symptoms are slowly becoming an epidemic in clinical practice, which is why I felt that today, National Fatigue Syndrome day, was a perfect day to address it.

Fatigue is a very broad, and at times, vague description of symptoms that can range from a mild decrease in normal energy levels all the way down to life altering exhaustion, and even, in some cases, depression-like levels of energy.

Although most of us are aware of the more aggressive causes of fatigue, such as certain lifestyle factors (e.g. use of alcohol or drugs, excess physical activity, Jet lag, lack of physical activity, lack of sleep, medications, and unhealthy eating habits) in addition to certain chronic conditions such as:

It is actually a much harder task to discern and understand sources of fatigue in an otherwise “healthy” non-diseased individual. Or is it?

You see the experience of energy and endurance comes from very essential yet complex physiological functions, among the most important:

1) Mitochondrial Function:

Most everyone knows that all cells have a small power-generating factory called mitochondria. These little power plants convert nutrients into the Molecule of Life ATP. Without enough mitochondria pumping out ATP, you bet your bottom dollar you will experience fatigue and this also places you at high risk of chronic illnesses like Diabesity, inflammation, heart disease etc.

How to Find Out:

  • Carnitine (free and total)
  • Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10)
  • Glucose
  • Lactate Dehydrogenase

2) Dysglycemia and Insulin Resistance:

Most people think that having problems with their blood sugar control means that they are diabetic. Apocryphal! As a matter of fact diabetes is diagnosed YEARS after a person has already been (inadvertently) struggling with dysglycemia; whose only symptoms might be tiredness, or mild weight gain or maybe elevated cholesterol or triglycerides, and sometimes even worse: no symptoms at all!

How to Find Out:

  • Run an A1C or Blood Sugar Average index for 90 days
  • Do a fasting Insulin Test
  • Perform a Glucose Tolerance Test
  • Lactate Dehydrogenase
  • Run a Glycomark

3) Adrenal Hypofunction

Cortisol is a life-sustaining adrenal hormone essential to the maintenance of homeostasis. Called “the stress hormone,” cortisol influences, regulates or modulates many of the changes that occur in the body in response to stress including, but not limited to: Blood sugar (glucose) levels.” Source Link: AdrenalFatigue.org 

We secrete this hormone every time we are stressed, sleep deprived, any time we skip meals when there is chronic anxiety, systemic inflammation or an infection. Secrete the hormone long and hard enough it will deplete our DHEA stores and results in what is commonly called Adrenal Fatigue Syndrome.

Adrenal Fatigue Syndrome includes a plethora of unpleasant experiences, many of which people might not be aware of such as afternoon crashes with mid-morning or late night bursts of energy. They might also experience cravings for sweet and/or salty foods, especially in the evening. Not to mention, irregular sleep cycles among many others symptoms.

How to Find Out:

  • Saliva Panel for Adrenal Stress Index

These are just a few ideas to get your thinking geared into a deeper probable root cause for fatigue symptoms. Although these are some of the most common metabolic reasons for fatigue, they are by no means all-inclusive.

There are many, many more symptoms and it would be foolish to draw any conclusions without the skillful hand of an able clinician. The list is actually quite extensive, yet I have tried to assemble some of the ones we see most commonly in daily practice.

In Service and Gratitude,

Dr. Ruben Valdes, DC

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