Feeling tired all the time seems to have become a common modern-day complaint, so much so that it even has its own acronym, TATT (tired all the time). We all feel tired now and again when we go through a stressful period or are not getting enough rest. This type of fatigue is temporary, has an identifiable cause and can usually be resolved with some self-care, rest or change in diet or lifestyle and is very different from feeling TATT, which is constant and often felt for prolonged periods of time. Feeling TATT can significantly reduce motivation and concentration and impact an individual’s emotional and psychological wellbeing.
Feeling TATT can have huge consequences as it can affect someone’s quality of life, where they are unable to function as they should due to the tiredness being so overwhelming. This fatigue is often not relieved with rest. Therefore, it’s important to find and understand why you are feeling tired and take appropriate measures to heal the root cause.
Sometimes you have a sense of where the imbalance in the body is and what may bring you back into balance. Relatively simple measures such as diet or lifestyle changes may be all that are needed to correct the imbalance and bring your energy levels up again. This is especially evident when you have either been working too hard, are going through a stressful period or have been overindulging in not so healthy foods.
Causes can be wide ranging from prolonged stress, medical conditions, nutritional deficiencies, lack of movement, dehydration, lack of sleep, unhealthy lifestyle choices, side effects of medical treatments or drugs amongst other causes. It is important to understand the cause to determine the best action to resolve it.
If the tiredness comes on suddenly and you are not aware of what may have caused it, then it’s always wise to seek professional help so that the appropriate tests can be carried out and the correct diagnosis and treatment given.
A nutritionally deficient diet will over time lead to fatigue, as we lack the nutrients required to produce energy within the cells of the body. In addition to a poor diet, if you’re vegetarian or vegan, have heavy menstrual periods of take medication that deplete nutrients, this can also cause nutrient deficiency.
A diet high in processed foods, with high sugar and unhealthy oils and lacking in minimally processed foods can lead to nutrition deficiency and other health problems. A balanced, nutrient and phytochemical rich diet which contains a variety of rainbow coloured fruit and vegetables in abundance, healthy oils and good quality protein will help support and promote optimal health and energy production.
A Supplemental Approach
Although sudden or long-term fatigue should be investigated by your doctor or healthcare practitioner to determine any underlying causes. For short-term fatigue which has been brought on by a busy period or acute stressors, may respond well to certain supplements which can have a direct effect on energy levels.
It is still worthwhile working with a practitioner who will be able to advise which supplements you are most likely deficient in so you are not wasting money taking supplements you may not need.
A general multivitamin and mineral supplement may be beneficial to protect against nutritional deficiencies which can lead to fatigue. It can be particularly beneficial if your diet has not been as healthy as it could be, and you feel that you are not getting the required nutrients from food.
Iron is important to consider since it’s needed for the blood to carry oxygen around the body. It’s an important component of haemoglobin and when its deficient, the body can’t get enough oxygen, which can leave you feeling tired and exhausted. Those with heavy periods should request a blood test from their doctor to rule out anaemia.
Vitamin D is another supplement to consider if you are TATT. Vitamin D receptors are present in the central nervous system and the vitamin can affect neurotransmitters such as serotonin, which is linked to mood and energy. Vitamin D deficiency is more prominent during winter but can be present all year round.
Magnesium activates ATP, which is the main source of energy in cells. It does this by helping to break down and convert glucose into energy. It also plays an important role in maintaining normal nervous system activity.
Omega 3 essential fatty acids are also vital for energy production so can have a significant beneficial effect on those suffering from chronic fatigue. They’re key to the structure of every cell wall you have and may help alleviate oxidative stress, which may play a role in chronic fatigue.
Alpha-lipoic acid and Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) both help to speed up metabolic reactions involved in energy production in cells. They are powerful antioxidants which can be used to boost energy and overcome fatigue.
The B vitamins, which can be taken as a complex, so you are getting the full range of B vitamins, are essential for energy production within the body so help reduce fatigue and tiredness. Vitamin B12 helps to increase energy and convert food into energy within cells; this essential nutrient is needed for maturation of red blood cells, which transport oxygen throughout the body. A deficiency of vitamin B12 can manifest as fatigue and weakness as well as other issues associated with the nerves, balance, poor memory, depression, loss of appetite and constipation to name a few. Some health conditions and vegetarian and vegan diets may inadequately provide vitamin B12.
Lastly, we’ll touch on the important and perhaps more well-known vitamin C. Vitamin C is essential for energy production throughout the body and within cells. It supports the conversion of the amino acid lysine into carnitine, a key fuel for muscles. In addition, the adrenal glands can be under functioning in individuals suffering from chronic fatigue. Vitamin C helps synthesize the amino acid tyrosine into dopamine and then ultimately adrenaline which can support energy levels and mood.
In addition to vitamin C, minerals such as magnesium, iodine and copper also have similar effects to vitamin C in energy production.
Dietary changes or supplements are two of the easiest ways of correcting fatigue when the cause is from a poor nutritional intake. A nutritionist or functional medicine practitioner will be able to support you on your journey in identifying imbalances and the best ways to rectify them.
However, please do bear in mind that this could be just one cause and there may be another or even multiple causes if you are TATT and investigation is always key in finding out the root cause so that the appropriate treatment plan can be put into place.