Fatigue is something that we can all relate to. Most of us live lives that can be stressful and fast-paced. I am exhausted after a long day of trying to meet deadlines, taking the kids to all their extra murals, working my regular 9-5 job, and still trying to maintain some sort of a family and social life in between. Then, of course, trying to fit in the gym session, which is certainly lacking now. It is exhausting and just a little too much to handle sometimes. This is when fatigue sets in and my body no longer wants to function. If we don’t take time out to rest and nourish our mind and body, that everyday fatigue will lead to extreme fatigue and that can lead to a whole world of other detrimental problems. Trust me, this working mom knows!
You may be familiar with fatigue but what is extreme fatigue? In a nutshell, it is when your body is filled with inflammation and cannot handle the stress that it is constantly placed under. This causes extreme fatigue, better known as chronic fatigue syndrome.
Symptoms of Extreme Fatigue
While you would think that the obvious symptom of this condition is extreme fatigue or tiredness, various symptoms are related to extreme fatigue. It is a lot more than just feeling tired! The symptoms include:
● Flu-like symptoms that never quite leave
● Joint pain that moves from one spot to another
● Muscle pain
● Night sweats
● Loss of memory
● Poor concentration
● Enlarged lymph nodes
● Digestive disorders like irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
Those suffering from this condition also experience depression, anxiety, frequent changes in their mood, and irritability.
A published study in Family Practice showed that 36% of people with chronic fatigue experience severe depression.
Causes of Extreme Fatigue
Unfortunately, there has not been a great deal of research on chronic fatigue, and the causes are not known. Researchers are still conducting studies to get to the root of this disorder but there have been certain findings that suggest that hormonal imbalances, poor immune system response, chronic low blood pressure, viral infections, and poor nutrition are all contributors to extreme fatigue.
Ways to Overcome Extreme Fatigue
People experiencing chronic fatigue symptoms are often put onto anti-depressants and sleeping pills which may alleviate the symptoms, but it won’t fix the problem. The best way to deal with chronic fatigue is to take a natural holistic approach.
According to a study in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, meditation, acupuncture, magnesium, l-carnitine, and SAM-e (S-Adenosyl methionine) is extremely effective in treating chronic fatigue syndrome.
Let’s take a more in-depth look at the steps you can take to holistically treat your chronic fatigue.
Eliminate Foods and Allergens
A study published in the Scandinavian Journal of Gastroenterology showed that Fibromyalgia, IBS, and chronic fatigue are all closely linked. Researchers believe that the common denominator is poor digestion and food sensitivities.
As we all know, gluten is one of the most common food allergies today, with dairy coming in as a close second. There are allergy tests available for you to take which allows you to see the specific foods you are sensitive to instead of doing an elimination diet which may take longer. When you eliminate your allergens, symptoms of IBS, ADHD, cystic fibrosis, rheumatoid arthritis, and chronic fatigue can potentially be relieved.
Be sure to get tested for the bacteria called H.Pylori which is a bacteria that attacks the lining of your gut resulting in many health issues. Researchers believe that once this bacterium is eliminated from your body, your symptoms of chronic fatigue will be alleviated.
Take Your Daily Vitamins
A study was published in the Journal of Royal Society of Medicine, where researchers found a direct link between low Vitamin B levels and chronic fatigue syndrome. Vitamin B-6, riboflavin, and thiamine are believed to be the most beneficial for treating extreme fatigue because it helps support the immune system and helps to prevent and relieve fatigue. Vitamin B6 rich foods include grass-fed beef, wild-caught salmon and tuna, bananas, sweet potatoes, turkey, hazelnuts, garlic, and cooked spinach.
Vitamin B12 is another great one to include in your diet because it boosts energy, reduces depression, and protects against neurological degeneration. Vitamin B12 rich foods include beef liver from grass-fed cows, sardines, tuna, raw cheese, cottage cheese, lamb, raw milk, eggs, and wild salmon. To effectively treat extreme fatigue, B vitamins are essential. B vitamins work together to support healthy metabolic functioning, hormone production, and vitality.
Research shows that both magnesium and potassium can effectively combat extreme fatigue. Magnesium is essential for healthy nerve function and helps to regulate your blood sugar levels while potassium helps to keep the right electrolyte balance in your body. These can be found in foods such as dark leafy greens, avocados, almonds, bananas, yoghurt, pumpkin seeds, and sweet potato.
It is important to note that there are good quality multi-vitamin and mineral supplements that you can take if you aren’t getting enough of these nutrients in your diet, but always ensure you are buying from a reputable brand that is NON-GMO
and doesn’t contain unnecessary fillers and preservatives.
Herbs to Combat Extreme Fatigue
Some amazing adaptogenic herbs have been used for centuries that are growing in popularity today. The wonderful thing about herbs is that they have so many different benefits for your body and health. You can find most of these herbs in health food stores or at naturopaths. Why not try your hand at growing some herbs yourself? Herbs come in various forms, including tinctures, loose leaves which can be brewed as a tea, and capsules. Some herbs come in powder form that can be added to warm drinks, oatmeal, or smoothies. Let’s talk about the specific herbs and combinations you can take to fight chronic fatigue.
Immune Supporting Herbs
These herbs offer great antiviral and antibacterial properties that will help keep your immune system supported even when your body is feeling fatigued. Ashwagandha root powder, Cocoa powder, ground Ginger, ground Turmeric, Lemon Balm tea, and Mistletoe tea are all perfect for supporting the immune system and giving your body the boost that it needs.
Improved circulation can help with sending oxygen-rich red blood cells through your body more rapidly. This will increase your organ function and help your muscles to feel less fatigued. Cayenne pepper, Garlic powder, Ginkgo tea, and Horse Chestnut tincture can all be used to help boost your circulation.
Nervous System Support
When you suffer from extreme fatigue it is not uncommon that you may suffer from anxiety too. These herbs can help ease your anxiety and support your nervous system; Chamomile tea, Red Bush tea (Rooibos), Skullcap tea, St John’s Wart tea, and Valerian Root tea. The simple act of taking time out to drink a warming cup of tea will also help reduce your stress and anxiety, it certainly helps me!
Sleepy Herb Remedies
It is extremely important to take time out to rest and manage your stress. Without sufficient sleep and lowered stress levels, you cannot alleviate your chronic fatigue. Extreme fatigue can be physically, mentally, and emotionally debilitating and sleep is crucial. Long term stress control and rest is a sure way to combat this syndrome. Some great herbs are available that can improve your quality of sleep and lower your stress levels at the same time. Have a look below:
Natural herb drinks before bed offer support and encourages the mind and body’s processes before and during sleep; this helps us to get a more rested, peaceful night’s sleep. Drinking some chamomile flower tea will do just the trick and is my personal favourite! Chamomile flower calms the body’s sympathetic nervous system and helps improve our quality of sleep. This magic herb also contains an antioxidant called apigenin which calms an anxious mind. Drinking chamomile flowers as a tea blend will have you sleeping peacefully before you know it!
Valerian is a remarkably calming herb that offers comfort to those who battle with insomnia and anxiety. Valerian herb can often be found as an organic tea, sip on this warm herb tea before bed and you will surely have a rejuvenating sleep.
Lavender is a versatile herb that offers relaxing and calming effects for both the mind and body. It can be used as an inhalant, ingested, or applied topically. I love putting a few drops of lavender essential oil into my diffuser at night, the floral scent works wonders as it fills my bedroom and soothes me to sleep.
Ashwagandha is a tonic root that has been used for centuries to reduce stress and improve sleep quality. Ashwagandha relaxes the body’s neurotransmitter systems and protects brain cells from damage. It also helps decrease cortisol levels to keep stress levels at bay which is a huge contributing factor for boosting sleep quality.
Do not reach for another cup of coffee. Put the coffee down! There are some natural energy drinks that you can make and take on-the-go to help you fight your fatigue. Have a look at some ideas below:
1. Coconut Water and Lime:
Coconut water 1 cup
Honey 1 tbsp
Salt 1/8th tsp
Lime juice 1/8th cup
Mix the salt, honey, and lime juice and blend until all the honey is fully dissolved. Stir in the coconut water, and add a few ice cubes.
Organic coconut water contains electrolytes that will help keep you going for longer!
2. Banana Smoothie
Coconut water 1/2 cup
Orange juice 1/2 glass, freshly squeezed
Dahi 1/4 cup
Blend all together and add in a few ice cubes.
Bananas and coconut water are both loaded with potassium so you will certainly have a powerhouse energy drink to go with this smoothie!
Another wonderful and energizing idea is to add spirulina powder to your smoothies. Spirulina naturally boosts energy with its excellent nutritional composition. It contains B-Vitamins, detoxifying chlorophyll, and complete protein.
I love to add chia seeds to everything! Next time you drink or pack water or coconut water for your day ahead, add some chia seeds. These little wonders offer an incredible long-term source of energy and contain a high source of omega-3 fatty acids.
Rest does not only refer to sleep, rest is taking the time to refresh your mind and body by relaxing and having downtime that you enjoy. Reading a book, doing some restorative exercises like yoga or Pilates, going for a slow walk, and meditating are all forms of rest that your body needs daily when you have chronic fatigue.
Quality sleep of 8-9 hours a night is also imperative for healing. Try to establish a good bedtime routine for yourself, have a hot bath or shower, and limit screen time an hour before bed. Try to go to bed at the same time every night so that your body is trained to go into rest state at the same time every night. Make your bedroom a place of peace and tranquility, and do not forget a cup of warm herbal tea before bed!
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Until next time