Fatigue is one of the most common health complaints that we treat here at Trio Natural Medicine and it’s no wonder that so many people complain of being tired given that there are so many causes of fatigue. One of the obvious contributors to fatigue is stress. We all deal with stress on a daily basis whether it’s commuting to work in rush-hour traffic, working long hours at the office, juggling work with being a parent, not getting enough sleep, worrying about finances, eating a poor diet, etc.
Stress comes in many different forms and our bodies are not well-equipped to handle the chronic daily stress of modern life. When we are stressed we don’t sleep well and when we’re not getting adequate sleep our hormones and brain chemicals get out of balance leading to changes in mood and behavior. Stress slows down digestive function and metabolism which then leads to poor breakdown and absorption of food resulting in nutrient deficiencies. Nutrients essential for energy production (such as B vitamins, iron, minerals and amino acids) become depleted ultimately resulting in fatigue. And when we’re tired and stressed we don’t always make the best choices when it comes to our diet. We reach for convenience in packaged and processed foods and fast food which offer very little nutritional value.
Stress is cumulative and over time can lead to chronic health conditions. You can see how the effects of stress have a domino effect on all your body systems with fatigue being one of the main indicators of imbalance.
Restoring energy levels should start with the basics:
1. Whole Foods Diet:
fresh fruits and vegetables balanced with whole grains are rich in vitamins and minerals necessary for carrying out our daily functions. Pick a multitude of colors when buying fresh produce to ensure that you’re getting a variety of nutrients. When possible, it is best to buy organic fruits and vegetables, which are free of harmful pesticides and have higher nutrient content.
Rule of Thumb:
- Keep your plate colorful
- 2-3 servings of fruit per day
- Unlimited vegetables
How to know if you’re eating an adequate amount of fruits and vegetables? For each meal, ½ your plate should consist of vegetables, and the other half should be divided equally between whole grains and protein.
2. Protein: Protein is the building block for every cell in our body from our skin to our immune cells, so it’s important to get an adequate amount so your body can fight infection, build and repair tissues such as hair, skin and nails and make enzymes, hormones and other body chemicals.
Daily Protein Requirement: 0.8-1 g protein/kg body weight *note: 2.2lbs = 1 kg (example: 150lb person should get 55-68 grams of protein per day)
3. Water: Almost 2/3rds of our body weight is composed of water. Water is lost daily from our bodies through sweat, urine, breathing and digestion. To replace depleted water stores you should drink at least 1/2 of your body weight in fluid ounces per day with the addition of electrolytes (sodium, potassium, calcium, magnesium).
Did you know: a 5% reduction in hydration results in a 25% reduction in energy!
In addition to your daily required water intake, you should drink 2 cups of water for every cup of alcohol or caffeinated beverage consumed and for every hour of exercise.
4. Exercise: The benefits of exercise extend beyond just burning calories and include:
- Facilitate weight loss
- Improve immune function
- Enhance sleep
- Reduce stress and anxiety
- Improve mood
- Reduce risk factors for cardiovascular disease
The minimum amount of exercise required for cardiovascular benefits according to the Surgeon General’s Report on exercise is the following:
- Frequency: 5-6 days per week
- Duration: 30 min at target heart rate Sleep: sleep is important for growth, development and restoration and repair
5. Sleep. A good night’s sleep = falling asleep within 20 min of lying down and sleeping uninterrupted for 7-8 hrs
Tips for a good night’s sleep:
- Create a comfortable, relaxed sleep environment by keeping your bedroom as dark and quiet as possible
- Perform a relaxing ritual 20-30 min before bedtime to help you wind down and prepare for sleep, such as a warm bath, meditation, breathing exercises, sipping a cup of warm herbal tea, etc.
- Try to go to bed and wake up at the same time everyday, even on weekends—keeping a regular schedule will help your body expect sleep at the same time each day
- Avoid drinking caffeinated beverages for several hours before bedtime
- Help your body recognize that the bedroom is the primary place for rest and intimacy and not a space for paying bills, working, watching television, etc.
- Try to exercise in the morning or afternoon, since exercise is stimulating to the body.
- 6. Nutritional Support: Optimizing nutrient levels is absolutely necessary to restore and maintain adequate energy production so your body can carry out it’s many functions and keep you feeling your best. Even if you eat a perfect diet it’s nearly impossible to get all the nutrients your body requires just from your food alone. Why you ask? Because our soils are depleted and the fruits and vegetables grown today have less vitamins and minerals compared to 100 years ago. Also, we are exposed to more toxins in our environment through our food, air and water and our bodies require more of the nutrients needed to eliminate these toxins from our system.
The three supplements that I recommend for every single patient are a good quality multivitamin, fish oil and vitamin D.
Trio Daily Essentials multivitamin: provides the essential vitamins and minerals that are lacking in the vast majority of our diets
Omega 820 fish oil: an essential fatty acid that is vital for proper cellular function, reduces inflammation and promotes healthy skin and hair.
Vitamin D3 5000 with K2: vitamin D and K2 work synergistically to promote bone health, heart health, and a strong immune system. 99% of my patients have low serum vitamin D levels despite living in sunny California so it is important to supplement with vitamin D to maintain optimal levels.