By Dr. Jenna Dye, Naturopathic Physician
Fatigue is a common discussion in my practice. Patients report fatigue upon waking in the morning or they feel an afternoon slump around 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. Many also crave sugar or find themselves needing caffeinated beverages to get them through the day. There are many factors that may contribute to fatigue, but it does not have to be a daily struggle. As a naturopathic physician, my job is to investigate the root cause of a patient’s underlying fatigue.
This may seem like a no brainer; however, many patients do not get quality sleep. Sleep is often sacrificed in high stress situations, but it is crucial in our underlying health. I recommend good sleep hygiene routines. Eliminating screens 30-60 minutes before bed can help those who have trouble falling asleep. Chamomile tea, yoga and a simple quick meditation prior to sleep can also be very supportive.
The thyroid gland can affect our energy levels and it is an important screen when there is fatigue present. It plays a role in metabolism, temperature regulation, and digestion. Many factors can affect the thyroid, including stress and nutrient deficiencies. I always recommend a full thyroid panel, which can be tested via blood. Supportive therapies can vary but include herbal supplementation, nutritional support, and medication if indicated.
The adrenal glands are small glands that produce cortisol. Cortisol is released in response to stress; the more stress we have, the more cortisol is needed. After long periods of chronic stress, the response to stress gets weaker and cortisol levels can drop. This is called adrenal fatigue. It is important to know what your levels are in order to support the adrenal glands correctly. This can be obtained by a simple blood test. Treatment varies depending on the severity of adrenal fatigue. Diet, lifestyle, and stress reduction are great starting points along with nutrient and herbal support.
Nutrient deficiencies can be a common cause of fatigue. Deficiencies can be determined by a blood test, which is important to ensure proper supplementation, if needed. Diet changes can also be a great way to improve nutrient absorption. Vitamin D, Vitamin B12 and iron are just a few common nutrients that can affect our energy levels.
Our digestive system is the key player for nutrient absorption and elimination of waste products. If there is digestive disruption it will affect our overall well-being and lead to fatigue. It is important to find out the root cause of any digestive issues. Food sensitivities, imbalanced gut flora, and chronic constipation are just few things to investigate with fatigue.
Consult a Naturopathic Physician
When you are tired it can be hard to focus or even know where to start to improve your health. Fatigue does not need to be your “normal” and you can be supported. A naturopathic physician will work with you to find the root cause of your fatigue and, with proper support, improve your energy level.
Dr. Jenna Dye is a licensed naturopathic physician. Her role is to support the body’s foundation to restore and maintain optimal health. Together with her patients, this is achieved by identifying and removing barriers that may be impacting health while creating a healing environment. For more information visit drjennadye.com.