Everyone has experienced days where they are tired. Maybe you stayed up too late burning the midnight oil or a friend’s birthday party kept you out past your bedtime on a week night. Going to work the next day can be challenging when all you really want to do is curl up and sleep for a few more hours. Tiredness is one thing but fatigue is something entirely different.
Fatigue, on the other hand, is the body’s way of saying it simply can’t keep up. No amount of sleep will replenish the energy banks for someone suffering from fatigue. In fact, people who are experiencing fatigue may feel absolutely exhausted and drained of energy but sleeplessness haunts them so there appears to be no relief in sight. It is often caused by another condition such as cancer or fibromyalgia and can lead to long-term problems, additional pain, and depression or anxiety.
The conflation of the two conditions can lead to inaccurate diagnoses and a failure to treat the fatigue as a serious problem.
How does fatigue really affect the body?
There are so many ways to describe fatigue and even reputable medical sites will interchange it with words such as tiredness and weakness. But fatigue is more than that. If you are experiencing physical fatigue your muscles may be incapable of moving in the ways that had been normal. Activities such as climbing stairs or carrying heavy items may be difficult or impossible. When a doctor is determining if someone has physical fatigue they will conduct a strength test. Mental fatigue, on the other hand, affects our ability to think and function. Concentrating becomes difficult and it may be impossible to get out of bed even if sleep is elusive. Performing daily tasks becomes a mental obstacle course. Mental and physical fatigue often go together, but they don’t have to.
Fatigue and chronic pain conditions often go hand in hand, but which comes first is generally a chicken or the egg question. Fibromyalgia, for instance, is a difficult to explain and diagnose condition that causes intense nerve pain. Many patients diagnosed with fibromyalgia also report extreme fatigue. This can lead to depression if the underlying problems remain untreated.
Many types of fatigue require more in-depth intervention. Speaking with a holistic health professional or your medical specialist may be the best way to determine why you’re feeling fatigue and what you can do about it. However, there are some supplements that can help you stay healthy and happy and fatigue free, especially as the stress of the holiday season begins to rear its ugly head.
Supplements for fatigue
Some common supplements that may help with fatigue include:
- Iron and magnesium: While both of these nutrients can be found in healthy, whole foods you may not be getting enough of them. Iron and magnesium also help regulate our blood pressure, ensure proper muscle function, and help to boost energy.
- Melatonin: Are you one of those people who can’t sleep when there is any light in your bedroom? This is because of the sleep hormone melatonin that is extremely light sensitive. Simply avoiding light before bedtime can help regulate this hormone, but you can also add a melatonin supplement to your daily routine to get your sleep cycle back on track.
- Glycine: An amino acid that helps you fall asleep sounds like a great magic bullet. As with any supplement it shouldn’t be considered an instant fix, but it can help. Glycine also helps with cognitive function so you feel more refreshed and mentally active when you wake in the morning.
- Theanine: There is another amino acid that works similarly to glycine but rather than acting as a sedative, this one improves overall sleep quality. Theanine can be found in tea so it is pretty easy to ingest it, but watch out for teas with high caffeine content. White tea may be a better choice than black tea.
- L-Tyrosine: Stress absolutely contributes to feelings of fatigue so why not head it off at the pass? This amino acid can actually stop stress from occurring before it starts. When facing a stressful situation take this supplement to prevent your body from reacting negatively.
- Creatine: This supplement has a somewhat negative reputation as something used by body builders to increase muscle size, but it does have practical applications. It can help to increase molecules in the body that affect our energy levels. This, in turns, fights off the feelings of fatigue.
- Acetyl-L-Carnitine (ALCAR): This is frequently used to prevent fatigue while exercising intensely. It helps regulate how oxygen is transported in the muscles and reduces the buildup of lactic acid that can cause soreness.
- Glucose: Our body already needs glucose to function normally. Your blood sugar provides energy to your entire body so not enough glucose is just as bad as too much. Adding additional glucose if it is safe can give you an energy boost.
All supplements carry risks as well as benefits. Some may have interactions with other medications that could cause long-term problems. Others shouldn’t be taken by individuals with certain medical conditions, such as diabetes. The single most important thing to keep in mind with all of these supplements is to use them only as directed by a professional. Taking these things into your own hands can result in more problems rather than solving the issues of fatigue.
Not all supplements are created equal so make sure that they are purchased from a reputable source. If you can, try to add more of these nutrients in your diet by consuming foods that contain them naturally. Your specialist can help you determine where you can make changes in your eating habits.
Always consult a holistic specialist before adding any of these to your routine to find out how much is appropriate for you. With the right supervision and using these supplements properly, you may find that you have more physical and mental energy to face your daily activities and beat the challenges you face from fatigue.
Have you used supplements to fight fatigue? What was your experience?
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