What Drives Fatigue?
Did you know that only 3% of people demonstrate pathology as the cause of fatigue? Since it is not often the driver, natural health Practitioners can help to alleviate fatigue by looking at other possible functional causes – nutrition, mitochondrial health, detoxification, thyroid, stress and immune support. By targeting these causes, Natural Health Care Practitioners can often help optimise your energy levels and improve your quality of life.
Ninety per cent (90%) of cellular energy is generated in the mitochondria. Mitochondria are ‘cellular powerhouses’. These subunits within the cells are the major site of ATP (pure Energy!) production, via the metabolic pathways of the Krebs Cycle (also known as the Citric Acid Cycle), the Electron Transport Chain, and Oxidative Phosphorylation. All cell function and physiology depends on efficient production of ATP by these metabolic pathways.
Low dietary intake of iron, carnitine, lipoic acid, coenzyme Q10, magnesium and B vitamins can all contribute to reduced energy production.
The thyroid sets the pace for the body’s metabolic rate and is closely related to energy production. Supporting normal, healthy thyroid function is important in maintaining optimal health. There are many factors that can affect thyroid health and these should be identified and addressed individually.
Toxicity from the external environment and lifestyle factors can contribute to fatigue. For example, small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO) causes the ecology of the small intestine to be overrun with external ‘bad’ bacteria that can contribute to leaky gut and associated symptoms, including fatigue. Detoxification programs and antimicrobial formulas can help to improve this and improve energy levels. Increased oxidative stress caused by toxicity can also reduce mitochondrial function, impairing ATP production.
- Over-action of the Stress Response System (SRS) may result in fatigue and deplete magnesium levels.
- Stress management and magnesium supplementation play an important role in improving energy, since magnesium is required for cellular energy production.
- In people who are experiencing prolonged fatigue, it is important to assess and support immune function.
- Chronic or recurring infections can cause fatigue, possibly due to the inflammatory affects on the mitochondria.
Anna Boetto is a Qualified Nutritionist at Glenferrie Sports and Spinal Clinic inside Hawthorn Aquatic and Leisure Centre at the Health Suites, who can help guide specific Treatment Protocols and give you further advice on a range of conditions.