5 Reasons You’re Always Tired that You Might Not Expect

Are you sleeping seven hours but still do not feel fully rested? Do not fret, you are not alone! Fatigue is one of the most concomitantly reported complaints in doctor’s offices, and many times it is attributed to aging. However, here at CentreSpring MD, we believe you should feel spritely at any age, and the lethargy you are experiencing could have an explanation. I will explain a few of the most common culprits for fatigue.

Food Sensitivities
Most of us are familiar with a food allergy, and sometimes this term can be mistaken for a food sensitivity. However, these are very different types of reactions. A food allergy is when our bodies has created an immune response to a food perceived as an antigen, or a potential threat to our system. Therefore, when we ingest this food, an immune response is formed against this food and we can experience symptoms ranging from a rash to a full blown anaphylactic reaction. This response is known as an IgE mediated response, or an immunoglobulin E mediated response, which is the protein in the immune system responsible for fighting off allergic threats. Typically, IgE mediated responses are prompt, which is why it is usually easy to identify food allergies because the reaction will happen quickly after ingesting the allergen. This depends on how strong the allergy is though.

A food sensitivity is when the body prompts an IgG mediated response in the body. IgG, or immunoglobulin G, is another one of the 5 antibody proteins, and represents 75% of the antibodies in our bodies. IgG mediated responses can unfold slower and produce vaguer symptoms than IgE ones, and these reasons is what makes IgG responses harder to discover. For instance, you could be consuming foods daily that are causing this reaction, but the symptoms may not present for up to 72 hours after digesting.  These reactions occur at a gut level and could be causing chronic inflammation to the gut. Therefore, the symptoms that can present from these reactions range from fatigue and brain fog, to bloating and joint pain. The best way to figure out if you have any food sensitivities is to take a comprehensive IgG sensitivity test, or try the elimination diet.

Candida Albicans Overgrowth
Candida Albicans is a type of fungus or yeast that is naturally present in our gut microbiome. In normal microbiome settings, it will coexist with our other normal gut flora. The problem is when yeast overgrows and dominates our normal microbiome. This can result from any disruption to the normal gut flora; chronic stress, stomach virus, antibiotics, oral contraceptives, or a diet rich in refined sugars and carbohydrates. As Candida grows, it can release toxic byproducts that can cause damage to your body and gut. One may not be aware that they have Candida, but the typical symptoms that will be reported are fatigue, brain fog, bloating, nausea to name a few.

Candida overgrowth can be a difficult to control, but the baseline treatment is to take a good probiotic with at least 100 billion colony forming units to help replace the candida growth with normal bacteria, and limit your sugar and carbohydrate intake daily. The best way to test for yeast overgrowth is through a blood or comprehensive stool test.

Fat Malabsorption
Fats have received a bad reputation throughout the years. However, there are many different types of fats and they are not all going to make you gain weight! On the contrary, fats are vital for brain functioning and are also the first building block to many of our hormones. If we are not consuming healthy unsaturated fats, such as olive oil or avocados, our brains will not receive the optimal fuel for the day.

Sometimes, one may be suffering through a condition of intestinal permeability, also known as leaky gut. Intestinal permeability is when the mucosal membrane is no longer tightly sealed together, and our nutrients are seeping out. Therefore, one will not be able to absorb the foods ingested, and will begin to develop nutrient deficiencies including fats. The symptoms that can follow range from fatigue, brain fog, bloating, and other gastrointestinal complaints.  There are many tests that help a provider gravitate to the concept of leaky gut, but one can start by checking cholesterol and fat soluble vitamins to determine deficiencies.

Stress and Adrenal Dysfunction
I believe both conventional and integrative providers would vouch that extreme stress can exert damaging effects on the body. These effects can range from cardiovascular disease to inflammatory bowel disease. In regards to stress, the kidneys are very sensitive to pressure. If one has elevated blood pressure, the kidneys will be one of the first organs to be affected. The same applies for the adrenal glands, the endocrine glands that sit on top of your kidneys. The adrenal glands emit many hormones, and the hormone in the spotlight for this case is cortisol.

Cortisol is the hormone that is released in response to stress. Cortisol can help control blood sugar levels, regulate metabolism, help reduce inflammation, and assist with memory formulation. It has a controlling effect on salt and water balance and helps control blood pressure. A natural pattern of cortisol release would be for the most amount to be secreted in the morning, with a declining pattern throughout the day. The problem is if we are consistently stressed throughout the day, cortisol will be released at all times and will create an irregular pattern. If this pattern continues for a long period of time, the adrenals will give up and the cortisol emission will flat line. Therefore, we will have no motivation in the morning to get up, or continue throughout our day.  This is known as adrenal fatigue, and there are different stages of this condition. One can evaluate this condition by a salivary hormone test to compare the amount of cortisol secreted throughout the day.

Undiagnosed Medical Condition
If you are feeling extremely tired on at least 4 out of 7 days of the week, chances are you probably have one of the above mentioned conditions. However, there are many other medical conditions that could be contributing to your symptoms as well. Anemia, hypothyroidism, obstructive sleep apnea are only a handful of the potential conditions, so I would highly encourage coming in for a baseline exam to rule out any other potential health morbidities.

Whitney Weingarten, FNP-CWhitney Weingarten is a certified family nurse practitioner and a registered nurse. She is believes wellness comes from truly healing the whole patient, rather than provide a simple band-aid solution. She thrives on making her patients feel their most optimal self, and will not give up until they achieve their personal wellness goal.

Email appointments@centrespringmd.com to schedule a visit with Whitney Weingarten.

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Categories: Adrenal Fatigue & Cortisol