Merolla Chiropractic

100 Bedford Street
New Bedford, MA 02740
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Posts for tag: Fatigue

By Dr. Mike Merolla
January 28, 2013
Category: diet
Tags: cortisol   Fatigue   tired   energy   diet  

Fatigue: tracking down the cause is never tiresome!

Fatigue which is also called tiredness, listlessness, lethargy, or exhaustion can be either physical, mental, or both.  Being tired and weak in the body or mind are different problems, but are often found hand in hand.  So if you are physically tired for a long enough time, you become mentally or emotionally tired.

Some of the most common causes of fatigue are sensitivities to food, blood sugar handing problems, infections in the digestive tract, and hormonal imbalances.

For example, having long-term undetected low-grade infections in your digestive tract can weaken the functioning of your immune system.  Because the body is constantly fighting an infection, your cortisol levels can drop which leads to the feeling of fatigue.

Or if you have a food sensitivity / allergy, your immune system is constantly fighting a food that it believes is an infection.  Over time the lining of your intestinal tract can become irritated and worn, leading to inflammation.  This again lowers cortisol levels and leads to feelings of fatigue.

Difficulties with blood sugar control also contribute to fatigue.  The body requires a nice steady level of blood sugar.  If blood sugar rises, the pancreas secretes insulin to use the sugar and lower the level.  If blood sugar drops, the adrenal glands and the pancreas produce hormones that raise blood sugar.  If your diet spikes and drops your blood sugar, it is like a roller coaster to the hormones of the body.  All of these back and forth changes to deal with poor food choices and poor timing when you eat can lead to feelings of fatigue.

Worst of all, these problems can gang up on an individual.  If you eat a carbohydrate that produces a low-grade allergic reaction in your body and you do not have any protein with that meal, you will spike your blood sugar and set off the immune system.  And if this is repeated over and over again, you will bring on inflammation.  A triple whammy!

So with time, any or all of these issues can lead hormonal imbalances primarily due to the stress your body is placed under.  Initially your adrenal glands can handle the stress by raising cortisol and DHEA levels in your body.  But with time, adrenal exhaustion sets in and despite your bodies best efforts; cortisol and DHEA levels drop and stay low.  This causes problems with many of the other hormones needed to be healthy and what began as fatigue leads to other health issues.

In order to regain real energy these body systems must be addressed.  Luckily, this is not hard to do.  For difficult cases, lab tests can map cortisol levels for correction and detect infections in the GI tract for treatment.  Nutritional and lifestyle coaching can be brought into play.  It does not take a lot of detective work to listen to an individual as they explain there eating habits.  The clues are usually obvious when you know what to look for.    Once found, correcting something as simple as breakfast and snack time can have a huge impact on a person’s well being.