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“Why Am I So Tired?” How Prolonged Stress, Vitamin Deficiency, and Poor Diet Contribute to Low Energy

High-stress-can-cause-chronic-fatigue

Feeling tired now and again is normal. But feeling tired constantly while also feeling unmotivated and unable to concentrate could indicate fatigue. When someone feels low energy for a prolonged amount of time, or “tired all the time,” they are most likely fatigued. When symptoms of fatigue last for six months or longer, this is referred to as chronic fatigue. It is estimated that one in eight adults aged 18 and older has chronic fatigue. 

Fatigue can be caused by certain medical conditions. But what causes fatigue when a medical condition is not to blame?

Prolonged Stress

Perceived stress (the level of stress an individual feels) is associated with fatigue. More specifically, higher stress levels correlate with a greater sense of fatigue. Stress associated with fatigue can be emotional, psychological, or physical. Adrenal fatigue is a common explanation for fatigue caused by chronic stress. However, there is some controversy among the medical field as to whether adrenal fatigue is a legitimate diagnosis.

Managing stress is an important part of managing fatigue. Exercise, relaxation techniques, and participating in fun activities can help relieve stress. 

Vitamin and/or Mineral Deficiency

When the body is deficient in vitamins or minerals, it’s unable to properly perform all of its functions. Deficiencies occur when the body is unable to absorb or breakdown certain vitamins or minerals. Vitamin and mineral deficiencies associated with fatigue include:

-Iron

-Vitamin B12

-Potassium

-Magnesium

-Omega-3

-Folic Acid

-Vitamin D

Long-term vitamin and mineral deficiency can lead to health complications more serious than fatigue, like bone brittleness and neurological disorders, if left untreated. If you’ve been experiencing low energy or fatigue, make an appointment to see your doctor.

Poor Diet

Diets high in trans-fat and saturated fat could contribute to low energy. A study published in 2016 in the journal Nutrients shows that a high-fat diet is associated with daytime sleepiness. Moreover, processed foods and foods high in added sugars can lead to a sudden drop in blood sugar and therefore energy levels. This is because, at first these foods provide a boost of energy due to a rapid rise in blood sugar. But they can also lead to a rapid decline in blood sugar just as quickly.

A well-balanced diet that includes protein, fruits, vegetables, and whole grains can help maintain consistent energy levels. Avoid trend diets that offer health benefits by cutting out an entire food group. Individuals considering a diet to lose weight should consider working with a registered dietician to avoid vitamin and/or mineral deficiency.

Have You Been Feeling Tired Lately?

Many factors can contribute to fatigue. If you’ve been feeling excessively tired, unmotivated, and have noticed a change in your general mood, make an appointment to see your doctor. It’s important to diagnose the cause of fatigue as soon as possible. Fatigue can be caused by an undiagnosed medical condition. In this case, an early diagnosis can help prevent further health complications from developing.


Sources:

https://www.health.harvard.edu/mind-and-mood/could-a-vitamin-or-mineral-deficiency-be-behind-your-fatigue
https://health.clevelandclinic.org/always-tired-7-hidden-causes-for-your-fatigue/
https://health.usnews.com/health-news/health-wellness/articles/2015/09/08/is-a-vitamin-or-mineral-deficiency-making-you-tired#targetText=Some%20of%20the%20most%20common,vitamin%20B12%20and%20folic%20acid.&targetText=Even%20the%20mundane%20can%20become,untreated%20anemia%20from%20iron%20deficiency.
https://www.health.harvard.edu/mind-and-mood/could-a-vitamin-or-mineral-deficiency-be-behind-your-fatigue
https://www.mdpi.com/2072-6643/8/4/207/htm
https://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2016/04/21/a-high-fat-diet-may-lead-to-daytime-sleepiness/#targetText=A%20High%2DFat%20Diet%20May%20Lead%20to%20Daytime%20Sleepiness&targetText=Eating%20a%20high%2Dfat%20diet,they%20felt%20during%20the%20day.
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21774803
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4158648/
https://www.health.harvard.edu/a_to_z/chronic-fatigue-syndrome-a-to-z
https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/stress-management/in-depth/stress-symptoms/art-20050987
https://health.usnews.com/health-news/health-wellness/articles/2015/09/08/is-a-vitamin-or-mineral-deficiency-making-you-tired
https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/is-adrenal-fatigue-real-2018022813344#targetText=The%20adrenal%20fatigue%20theory%20suggests,lightheadedness%2C%20and%20other%20vague%20symptoms.