For many people, it’s a struggle getting through the day. They may find that they are tired at lunchtime, that they crash in the evening or that they are just absolutely exhausted all day! This impacts work and productivity as well as a person’s social life, mood, and feelings of self-worth.
Modern life has caused a metabolic ‘energy crisis’ for many of us. A lot of people have a dysfunctional metabolism resulting in persistent fatigue, high-stress levels, weight gain, and insomnia.
‘Unexplained’ fatigue is commonplace, comprising 5-7% of doctor visits and is occurring in younger and younger people too.
Yet your doctor may struggle to find solutions and is restricted to looking at a limited range of blood tests to identify obvious culprits, such as anemia.
In fact, often the symptoms of fatigue are sub-clinical and wrapped up in the complexities of energy balance and the wider picture of stress and environmental demand.
Fatigue is the result of the bodies failure to adapt to the demands of stress. When the load becomes too much fatigue ensues.
This could be because of a lack of nutrients on a cellular level. It could be because poor food choices have caused your blood sugar to become unstable.
It could be because stress has upset the balance with your adrenal glands leading to poor sleep and fatigue during the day.
Toxins, liver function, personal habits, and other factors also play a role in your energy levels. Usually, there is a combination of factors all interplaying.
It’s hard to get a diagnosis for Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) but you’ll know if you have it. You’ll find that you have very limited energy during the day and that exercise exhausts you. You may be on your feet for only a few hours each day!
Ironically, the CFS sufferer doesn’t sleep very well and finds it hard to enter deep sleep. Insomnia plagues the sufferer which further adds to the fatigue.
The CFS sufferer may also find that they have a poor short-term memory, a sore throat, tender lymph nodes in the neck or underarms, muscle or joint pain or headaches.
It’s quite common for those with CFS to suffer from chronic digestive problems such as IBS as well as low mood and depression.
CFS is a mitochondrial issue. The mitochondria are the little powerhouses inside each cell that produce the energy we use for living.
ATP is the currency of energy which is produced in the mitochondria. ATP is not produced very well in the CFS sufferer which means there is a shortage of energy for use.
There are several biochemical pathways in the mitochondria that may malfunction. These need to be identified in the individual and supported with diet and a supplemental protocol. Often diagnostic testing can be very useful to ascertain the exact pathways that need support.
The reason the pathways stop working correctly in the first place is usually down to two reasons.
The first reason is due to an infectious disease such as Lyme disease, Epstein-Barr, Chlamydia and Yersinia (just to name a few). These diseases bring about a state of inflammation that damages cellular respiration.
The diseases must be cleared and a specific nutritional protocol needs to be adhered to for healing of the mitochondria to occur.
The second main cause of mitochondrial dysfunction is heavy metal or chemical toxicity. Various heavy metals such as mercury, cadmium and lead and various chemicals from industrial or even household products can block vital biochemical pathways in the mitochondria.
The substances need to be detoxified from the body along and again the dysfunctional biochemical pathways need to be supported. The bodies own natural detox pathways will also need to be supported during this process.
Fibromyalgia is characterized by non-local, body-wide, chronic pain and is often accompanied by fatigue. Although pain is the main defining characteristic of Fibromyalgia (FM) it is often confused with Chronic Fatigue as there are many overlapping issues such as constant fatigue, digestive discomfort, and insomnia.
Interestingly, it has been found by examining experts that two-thirds of fibromyalgia patients do not, in fact, have fibromyalgia and have been misdiagnosed. The pain may be a structural issue and the fatigue may be a functional issue such as a thyroid condition.
Fibromyalgia affects some 20 million people worldwide, according to a 2011 American National Institutes of Health found. That figure may actually be higher as Fibromyalgia is notoriously hard to diagnose and may be mistaken for other illnesses.
Unlike Chronic Fatigue, Fibromyalgia is not caused by mitochondrial dysfunction. Rather, it is a stress-related issue brought on by a traumatic event or series of events in life.
Pain stimulates receptors in the nervous system and it’s the job of the DANS system to switch these receptors off. DANS is sort of a circuit breaker in the spinal cord that stops pain receptors from reacting to every little thing.
If serotonin is low and Substance P is high, then the DANS system fails to work and the Pain Gate Receptors are left wide open.
The reason for this biochemical imbalance is that the patient is permanently in a high-stress state. At some point in their life, they were traumatized this has permanently altered the patient’s biochemistry.
Interestingly Fibromyalgia effects about ten times the amount of women as it does men. This may be because women tend to internalize their emotions as where men tend to act them out. A male child beaten by his father may grow up to be like his father while a female child may become develop a stress-related illness like FM.
Effective treatment of FM involves rebalancing neurotransmitter levels and resetting the stress levels. This will have the effect of both lowering pain and a rebalancing of energy levels, along with improving digestion issues, mood disorders, and insomnia.