Are you tired?

If the answer is yes, you’re not alone. I see patients for all kinds of things, but the most common complaint is definitely fatigue. About 90% of the patients I see are tired, if not all day, every day, then every afternoon or evening.  Every wonder why “afternoon tea” came to be? Tea and biscuits? I’m guessing blood sugar disorders and insulin resistance aren’t far off. Almost everyone I ask gets tired in the afternoon. It’s when you’d go for a snack, or that second cup of coffee. 
Then there’s a smaller group of people, often women who have had children, who are TIRED ALL THE TIME. But it happens to men too, just not as often. 
Most people tell me they think it’s because they are getting older, that it’s a part of aging. If it were a part of aging then everyone would get tired as they got older and that isn’t the case. 
Out of necessity I have become an expert at treating fatigue. I fall into the category of women who got tired after having children. But my fatigue actually started before having children, when I was in high school, and it got worse after getting sick in too many foreign countries and not getting treated.  And even worse during medical school from too little rest. I could always handle it – but after having children it became so profound that taking care of myself was about all I could do. And forget watching children. I would count the hours until they went to bed. 
Thinking about this and how far I’ve come since experiencing such profound fatigue – and hearing this over and over from my patients – made me want to help people on a larger scale than just the people who come into my office. I am writing an e-book on fatigue that will be available in December. 


                Fatigue Nation: The top 10 reasons Americans are tired and what to do about it 
And if you are tired and looking for some direction, here are some of the most common reasons for fatigue:
  1. low B12
  2. low iron
  3. low magnesium
  4. low vitamin D
  5. hypothyroidism
  6. low serotonin
  7. food allergies
  8. GI infections
  9. adrenal fatigue
  10. blood sugar disorders
I’ll write in more detail about each of these in the book. Until then, here are some practical tips for improving your energy whether you’re exhausted all the time or usually need to take an afternoon nap.
Get your energy back with these simple tips:
  1. Get your vitamin D tested and make sure it measures between 75-85 nmol/l. This is the range I shoot for with my patients. Vitamin D is important for immune function. If yours is not ideal and you get sick often, this may be the reason. It is also important for energy, sleep and mood. 
  2. Eat lunch early. Eating lunch between 10-11:30am can eliminate the afternoon crash. It’s important to include healthy fat, protein and fiber. Also be sure to include the same things in your breakfast . This helps reduce the insulin release triggered by simple carbs that set you up to need your “afternoon tea”!
  3. Rule out hypothyroidism. Find a doctor who will do a full thyroid panel (I include nine things in mine, not just TSH and T4). There is a spectrum of thyroid function. Just because it’s not “out of range” does not mean it’s optimal. Many people who have normal numbers are suffering from subclinical hypothyroidism.
  4. Try MCT oil. MCT stands for medium chain triglyceride and comes from coconut oil. Your body takes the MCT and turns it directly into energy without needing to convert it into something else. It’s a very efficient fuel for our body. I like to take 1 Tbsp in the morning in my shake. Some people like to add it to their coffee. Either way, it’s a great way to help sustain energy and reduce the likelihood of the afternoon crash. We like Sports Research brand. ***If you would like to give MCT oil a try, start with 1 tsp and slowly work up to 1 Tbsp over a week. Too much too soon will give you loose stools.
Give some of these ideas a try and if they are not the problem, read my e-Book Fatigue Nation.
– – Dr. Samia McCully ND