Fatigue & Low Energy:
Understanding the Causes and Solutions
Fatigue and low energy levels can significantly impact your quality of life. At Gut Philosophy, we are dedicated to providing you with the information and tools you need to improve your energy levels and overall well-being. In this informational page, we are covering common root causes of fatigue and low energy, and ways to improve your energy levels.
Understanding Fatigue and Low Energy
Fatigue is a feeling of exhaustion or tiredness that can be physical, mental, or both. Low energy levels can be accompanied by a lack of motivation, difficulty concentrating, “brain fog” and decreased productivity. Fatigue and low energy can be caused by various factors, including nutrient deficiencies, hormonal imbalances (adrenal, thyroid, insulin, sex hormones), poor diet, lack of sleep, chronic stress, medical conditions, underlying gut health issues.
Fatigue and low energy are often symptoms of an underlying ongoing health issue. If you are experiencing persistent fatigue and low energy levels, it is important to speak with a healthcare professional to determine and address the underlying cause.
Common Causes of Fatigue and Low Energy
In order to support your energy levels, it is important to understand all the factors contributing to your fatigue symptoms. Some common causes of fatigue and low energy include:
- Nutrient deficiencies: certain nutrients, such as folate, vitamin B6, vitamin B12, magnesium, iron, CoQ10, copper, zinc, vitamin D are crucial for energy production. There are a few reasons for nutrient deficiencies, including diet low in nutrients, issues with digestion and absorption of nutrients, gut dysbiosis, certain medications depleting key nutrients, certain medical conditions, chronic stress and inflammation requiring higher demand for certain nutrients, genetic variants causing suboptimal function in certain energy-producing enzymes, etc. Identifying the root causes of nutrient deficiencies are crucial in order to address them.
- Low thyroid function: hypothyroidism (or low thyroid function) is one of common causes of low energy and fatigue. Completing a comprehensive thyroid panel (and not just testing for TSH) is important to rule out thyroid dysregulation.
- Sex hormone imbalances: imbalances in oestrogen, testosterone and progesterone have a high impact on your energy levels. Perimenopausal and menopausal women often experience low energy levels due to hormonal fluctuations or deficiencies.
- Blood sugar imbalance: being able to effectively using and managing glucose is crucial for energy levels. Any metabolic issues, including insulin resistance, PCOS, pre-diabetes would affect your energy production.
- Chronic inflammatory processes: there are a number of factors that may contribute to overall inflammatory load, such as chronic bacterial or viral infections, autoimmune conditions, high oxidative stress caused by poor diet, environmental toxins, stress, sedentary lifestyle, poor sleep, psychological traumas. Adopting an anti-inflammatory diet and lifestyle is important to support your energy levels.
- Suboptimal breathing: mouth breathing, sleep apnoea, issues with nasal obstructions (i.e. sinusitis, deviated septum, etc) would contribute to poor oxygenation, causing low energy and fatigue.
- Suboptimal sleep: sufficient and uninterrupted sleep is essential for restoring energy levels and cognitive function. Poor sleep quality or quantity can leave you feeling tired and sluggish.
- Chronic stress: both physical stress (due to over-training, chronic infections, environmental toxins, under-eating or over-eating) and psychosocial stress (due to childhood traumas, financial worries, health concerns, family arguments, work related pressures) are major contributors to low energy and fatigue through a number of biochemical mechanisms.
- Suboptimal gut health: digestive issues such as bloating, constipation, IBS, reflux may have a dramatic impact on your energy levels for a number of reasons, from nutrient deficiencies due to malabsorption and chronic inflammation caused by gut dysbiosis (i.e. loss of gut microbial balance) to gut-brain dysregulation affecting mood and motivation.
Tips for Improving Energy Levels
Improving your energy levels starts with making healthier lifestyle choices. Here are some tips to help you boost your energy levels:
- Eat a balanced diet: A nutrient dense diet may help improve your energy levels. Focus on eating regular meals combining protein, high fibre and healthy fats. Try eating predominantly whole foods, while limiting processed foods, foods high in sugar, alcohol. Dark leafy vegetables are rich in B vitamins and magnesium which may support your energy production.
- Stay hydrated: excess caffeine and low water intake may be contributing factors to fatigue symptoms. Ensure that you are drinking 6-8 glasses of filtered or mineral water throughout the day. This requirement increases if you sweat regular. You may also benefit from adding electrolytes to your water bottle.
- Get sufficient and high quality sleep: Aim for 7-9 hours of uninterrupted sleep per night to support your energy levels. Creating an optimal sleep routine and improving your sleep hygiene habits would be a great step towards optimal health and well-being.
- Exercise regularly: Regular exercise and movement regime have anti-inflammatory and anti-ageing effect, they may improve your mood, reduce stress, and boost your energy levels. Ensuring 8,000-10,000 steps daily and incorporating your own exercise regime including cardio and weights training could be helpful for your energy levels and overall health.
- Reduce stress: Certain relaxation techniques like meditation, yoga, or deep breathing exercises are effective in downregulating your nervous system and reducing stress levels and promoting stable energy levels throughout the day. Regularly making time for hobbies and activities that you enjoy, seeing your friends or family, spending time in nature or with animals are linked to increased stress resilience and stable energy levels.
- Address gut health issues: addressing any known issues with your gut health will not only support digestion and absorption of key nutrients required for energy production, it would also have a beneficial impact on your metabolic and hormonal health – both are important for energy regulation.
How Gut Philosophy Can Help
If you are experiencing low or inconsistent energy and fatigue, the best place to start would be with a comprehensive blood and urine test. Gut Philosophy offers a Functional Blood test covering over 100 blood (and urine) biomarkers testing for key nutrient deficiencies implicated in fatigue, comprehensive metabolic markers, full thyroid panel, key inflammatory markers, liver panel and much more.
Following your blood and urine test, our functional medicine practitioners will interpret your results based on optimal levels (not “normal” levels), outline the key imbalances contributing to your low energy and fatigue symptoms and will provide you with a personalised dietary and lifestyle interventions looking to address these imbalances.
- You can read more about the Functional Blood Test here.
- If you have questions about our approach or testing options, you could schedule a complimentary discovery call here.
Expert Answers to Your Fatigue and Low Energy Questions
Contact us today to book a free discovery call with one of our functional medicine practitioners and learn how we can help you support your energy levels and overall well-being.