Tired all the time? This may be why…

education wednesday 9-24

I think it’s a fair statement that most of us have had days where we felt like we were “the walking dead” and could barely keep our eyes open.

Whether it was because of a cold or flu, not sleeping enough the night before, a long plane ride or doing something physically exhausting, most people have felt fatigued now and then.

And when it’s only now and then and the cause is clear-cut, that’s one thing.  A good night’s rest is usually all you need to feel good again.

But the problem arises when the fatigue becomes constant, severe and affects your everyday functioning–otherwise known as chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS).

Let’s look at this mysterious debilitating condition that affects over half a million people in the US alone, see what may be behind it and explore ways to help overcome it if you’ve got it.

Chronic fatigue–more than just yawning

Chronic fatigue syndrome is characterized by frequent bouts of incapacitating, flat-on-your-back fatigue and extreme exhaustion.

In addition to fatigue, other symptoms can include:

  • Loss of memory or concentration
  • Sore throat
  • Enlarged lymph nodes in your neck or armpits
  • Muscle pain
  • Joint pain
  • Headaches
  • Feeling exhausted even after a full night’s sleep
  • Extreme exhaustion lasting more than 24 hours after physical or mental exertion

When that is your reality, it’s no wonder that people with CFS also often have depression.  And since the symptoms can be so debilitating, frequent absences from work or school are common too.

Note that CFS also has several aliases too—including CFIDS (chronic fatigue and immune dysfunction syndrome); myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME); chronic Epstein-Barr virus (CEBV) and “yuppie flu.”

How will I know?

Diagnosing CFS can be tricky because there’s not a simple lab test that a doctor can do.

By definition, people with CFS have been extremely tired for at least six months with no obvious reason.  In addition, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has established the following criteria for diagnosing CFIDS:

1-      Your fatigue is not eliminated by rest and it substantially reduces your ability to function normally.

2-      You have suffered from at least four of the following symptoms for the last six months: 

  • Loss in ability to concentrate or short-term memory function
  • Sore throat
  • Swollen and tender lymph nodes
  • Muscle pain
  • Multiple-joint pain without swelling or redness
  • Headaches of a new type, pattern or severity
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Exercise-related fatigue that lasts more than 24 hours

So what’s the deal?

CFS is largely a mystery to the medical community because there’s not one distinct cause that has been clearly pinpointed.

So that means treatment is simply aimed at symptomatic relief–typically antidepressants and sleeping pills.

But considering the potential dangers of these medications and their growing list of side effects, it’s no wonder that many people may feel even WORSE under treatment–not better!

However, the ray of hope here is that there are certain factors which have been shown to go hand in hand with CFS that are unmistakable.

In addition, there are other conditions that can “masquerade” as or be mistakenly diagnosed as CFS.

And once you know about these other factors and conditions and do something about them, you can take giant steps toward prevention of this nasty condition or help feel better if you’re battling it.

Here are seven things to consider–see how many may be affecting you:

(1) The health of your immune system

CFS is frequently seen along with or immediately following a viral infection.  The Epstein-Barr virus and the human herpes virus 6 have been common suspects.

So it only follows that the stronger your immune system is overall, the better able it will be to fight infections and viruses of all kinds.

(2) Gluten intolerance

Gluten intolerance can wear many “hats” and one way it can manifest itself inside of you is to mimic chronic fatigue syndrome.

(3) Dysbiosis and/or Leaky gut

People with CFIDS almost always have dysbiosis (harmful bacterial overgrowth) and many have Leaky gut.

In addition, candidiasis (Candida overgrowth) is another common visitor in people with chronic fatigue.

(4) Chronic stress

People who have chronic fatigue syndrome also sometimes experience abnormal blood levels of hormones produced in the adrenal glands.

Your adrenal hormones are your stress hormones–specifically adrenaline and cortisol.  They control your “fight or flight” reactions when you experience physical or mental stress.

If your stressors are temporary and short-lived, these hormones rise and fall as needed and your body is restored to a calm state.

But the problem arises when you have chronic stress–then your adrenal hormones are in a constant state of elevation which can tax your adrenal glands and cause you to stress-eat.

Oh, and play a part in chronic fatigue syndrome too.

(5) Hypothyroidism

One of the classic symptoms of hypothyroidism (low functioning thyroid) is extreme fatigue.

(6) Vitamin B12 deficiency

Vitamin B12 is a necessary “player” in your body’s ability to generate energy from the fats and carbohydrates that you ingest.

So when you are low in this nutrient, you can suffer chronic fatigue as a result.

(7) Hold on to your hat!

This one’s a biggie.

Chronic fatigue can also be the result of these 9 commonly prescribed medications:

1- Blood pressure drugs like lisinopril (Prinivil, Zestril) and furosemide (Lasix)

Blood pressure drugs can depress the entire nervous system and deplete your body of the vitamins and nutrients it needs to produce energy–which can be a major trigger of chronic fatigue.

2- Statins

Ah, yes, the list of health problems associated with statins continues to explode.  Add to that list their tendency to inhibit muscle growth and the production of energy in your cells.

Over time this can manifest as chronic fatigue.

3- Benzodiazepines (anxiety medications)

These drugs “work” by sedating or hypnotizing patients in order to treat conditions like anxiety, depression, insomnia and severe muscle spasms.

What that means is people taking them may be walking around in a constant state of drowsiness which can worsen as their tolerance for the drugs increases and they have to take higher and higher doses.

Hello chronic fatigue.

4- Proton pump inhibitors like lansoprazole (Prevacid) and omeprazole (Prilosec)

PPIs can deplete magnesium stores from your body. And magnesium deficiency can lead to a whole slew of severe illnesses, including extreme weakness and fatigue.

5- Antihistamines like loratadine (Claritin) and cetirizine (Zyrtec)

These histamine blockers often induce tiredness and drowsiness in people taking them, which over time can worsen and develop into chronic fatigue.

6- Antipsychotics like aripiprazole (Abilify) and risperidone (Risperdal)

These are the harshest of the harsh–drugs that are used to treat serious conditions like schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.

In addition to being powerful depressants, they can induce extreme fatigue and overall weakness in many patients.

7- Antidepressants like fluoxetine (Prozac) and sertraline (Zoloft)

Here’s a “depressing” statistic:  At least 30 million Americans now take some type of antidepressant drug to manage depression, as well as to treat chronic pain and a host of other “off label” conditions.

These drugs “work” by inhibiting the normal function of your brain neurotransmitters like serotonin and norepinephrine.  This can also interrupt other bodily hormone levels, which in turn can lead to chronic fatigue.

8- Antibiotics

The “medical miracle’s” dark side continues to darken.

In addition to obliterating your friendly gut flora (where 70% of your immune system resides), antibiotics also often cause extreme fatigue and tiredness.

9- Diuretics

These are often prescribed instead of, or in addition to, high blood pressure drugs for people with elevated blood pressure.

But in addition to drawing out excess water from the body, they also tend to draw out necessary electrolytes like sodium, potassium and chloride as well, which can lead to severe mineral deficiencies.

And it is these deficiencies that can bring about chronic fatigue, as your body struggles to produce enough energy due to a lack of proper nutrients.

Take control and stop the fatigue before it stops YOU!

If you saw yourself in any of the factors I mentioned above, then it’s time to take control of what may be causing fatigue in you.

And do something about it.

Here are some very effective strategies to help fight what may be causing occasional or chronic fatigue for you:

Intestinal flora balance and immune strength

When it comes to having a strong, resilient gut wall and pampering your immune system, in addition to having a healthy diet of real foods that nourish your friendly flora (especially vegetables and fruits), supplementation with a quality probiotic product can be extremely helpful.

And Super Shield multi-strain probiotic formula is your ticket here.

http://www.bluerockholistics.com/product/pross.asp

Super Shield’s 13 strains of potent, top-shelf probiotic bacteria strains are up to the challenge, ready to line your intestinal wall, help beef up your supply of beneficial bacteria, keep harmful bacteria in check, and also help keep your BMs more regular too!

Gluten got your goat?

If you suspect gluten may be a challenge for you the easiest way to tell is to eliminate it from your diet.  You’ll see a difference soon enough.

And if you have a KNOWN gluten challenge, well, it’s time to do what you need to do.

Now if eliminating gluten from your life seems like a daunting task, no worries.  Because Great Taste No Gluten will guide you all the way.

http://www.greattastenogluten.com/great.asp

Great Taste No Gluten teaches you the many “faces” of gluten intolerance and gives you easy guides on eliminating gluten from your life for good.

Plus you’ll get a book of scrumptious recipes that will make you love every delicious gluten free bite of your new eating lifestyle!

And as an added bonus, Great Taste No Gluten also guides you in how to construct meals that are not only gluten free but are also easier for your body to digest.

So that can lead to fewer tummy troubles and more regular BMs!

De-stress

If you find you’re frequently or constantly stressed, it’s time to do something about it.  The following have been shown to be extremely helpful:

  • Don’t over-commit yourself.  Learn to say no when your plate is already full, and make some “me-time” for yourself, even if it’s just a warm bath for 20 minutes.
  • If your job causes you stress and it doesn’t seem like it can or will get any better, consider looking for another job.
  • See a skilled therapist or counselor.  Note I used the word “skilled”—if you’ve been seeing a therapist and they’re either not helping you or all they want to do is push drugs on you, find another.
  • Exercise!  Exercise is one of the cheapest and most effective forms of stress reduction.  Find an exercise buddy to keep you motivated and keep it fun.  Just be sure to get your doctor’s OK, especially if you haven’t moved much in a while.
  • Reach into your inner spiritual side.  Deep breathing, meditation, prayer and yoga are all VERY effective stress reducers.

Get tested for thyroid problems

The key here is to get thoroughly tested.

You see, when assessing someone for thyroid problems, many doctors will typically do just one test–a TSH test. 

But know this: The TSH does NOT always detect a thyroid challenge.  That means many people with undiagnosed thyroid problems continue to suffer!

A better approach is to have a thorough battery of tests including:

  • TSH
  • Total T4
  • Free T4, T3
  • Thyroid peroxidase antibody
  • Thyroid binding globulin
  • TRH challenge test

If your doctor says these tests are not necessary and/or won’t do them, find another doctor who will.

Boost your B12

Vitamin B12 a very common deficiency–especially with vegetarians, people who use antacids, people who have had gastric surgery and the elderly.

Your doctor can do a simple test to see if you’re low in B12.  If you are and changes to your diet aren’t enough, supplementation may be wise.  But beware—because B12’s absorption in the GI tract may be inconsistent—especially if you are low in stomach acid or your system can’t produce the intrinsic factor needed for proper B12 absorption.

But Hydroxaden 2.5 can help with these challenges.

http://www.bluerockholistics.com/product/hydroxaden.asp

Hydroxaden 2.5 is a convenient vitamin B12 spray that gives you the 2.5 mg of B12 (in the form of hydroxocobalamin) suggested by many nutrition experts.  Just five quick sprays under your tongue each day is all it takes.

And since it’s absorbed through the mucus membranes in your mouth, stomach acid and intrinsic factor deficiencies are not a concern.

Medication mayhem

Last but not least, if you’re on any of the fatigue-inducing medications I listed above, it may behoove you to talk to your doctor about safer or natural alternatives.

And get this–if you change your diet to make it healthier and more easily digested like I explain in the Great Taste No Pain system

http://www.greattastenopain.com/great.asp

chances are good you may eventually help improve the underlying problem and hence not need those medications anymore (and can talk to your doctor about weaning off of them!).

Or at least maybe you and your doctor can discuss reducing your dose or using milder alternatives that don’t make you fatigued!

All it takes is just a few simple modifications to what foods you pair together, and of course incorporating more of the good stuff (meats, vegetables, fresh fruits and whole grains) into your meals.

 

Chronic fatigue continues to be a health nightmare and remains very much a mystery.

But once you look at what may be causing or contributing to any level of fatigue in YOU, then you can make a tremendous difference in how you feel!

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