Each year, around 1.5 million Australians see their doctor about fatigue, making it the most common unexplained complaint presented to General Practitioners. Low energy and fatigue can significantly affect daily life and overall wellbeing. Various factors contribute to fatigue, ranging from lifestyle choices, anxiety, stress and sleep problems to more serious underlying health conditions.
We often ask ourselves - why am I so tired? And yet, we do not often stop for long enough to consider why. Well, much of our modern lives are to blame for feeling low in energy and fatigued. It’s not just you!
Here is a classic scenario; your office job requires you to be sedentary 8 hours a day, 5 days a week. To get through it, you are likely over-caffeinated and under-hydrated, then using alcohol in order to self-soothe. Being indoors the majority of the week also leads to a deficiency in vitamin D. You have stressors from multiple aspects of your life at any given time.
As you can see, a lack of energy and the feeling of constant fatigue can be due to multiple aspects. The quick fix you were hoping for is likely, not realistic. The answer can lie in addressing multiple areas of your life.
Understanding the main causes of low energy and fatigue is an essential step to being able to regain it. Below we have outlined the common causes of low energy and fatigue. Knowing the source of your tiredness can help you adjust your lifestyle and reclaim your energy. The key tactic is to focus on achievable changes and gradually address the habits responsible for your energy drain.
If any of the causes above apply to you, you may have your starting point already. In the following section, we have outlined some action points in order to get started.
A biomarker is a biological indicator of your body's internal condition. Biomarkers play an essential role in health because they are objective, quantifiable characteristics of biological processes. Each biomarker helps you to track and understand certain aspects of your health, such as sleep, nutrition, energy & fatigue, stress, inflammation and many others. The WellBeing Test uses finger-prick blood samples you can easily collect at home and a lifestyle survey to assess and track how your energy levels, sleep, stress, inflammation, fitness and body fat composition vary over time. Here are the biomarkers we test for energy:
CRP is a marker of inflammation and also an important regulator of inflammatory processes in the body. Low-grade inflammation and high CRP levels are strongly associated with fatigue. Inflammation can be caused by infections, autoimmune conditions, or organ damage.
Inflammation is a common cause for tiredness, and addressing inflammation through nutrition, stress reduction techniques, exercise and other lifestyle changes can be key to getting your energy back.
Cortisol is a stress hormone produced by the adrenal gland. It plays a vital role in several body functions, including the sleep-to-wake cycle, triggering the flight or fight response and giving us bursts of energy when it reaches peak levels.
However, when your cortisol levels are low, your energy levels will take a hit, and you will feel overcome by tiredness. Your cortisol levels peak around one hour after waking in the morning, giving you a burst of energy, and usually drop to their lowest point in the middle of the night.
You can naturally increase your cortisol levels by eating a protein-rich diet (eggs, fish, chicken, soy products, nuts and seeds) and including sources of vitamin B in your meals (beans, lentils, asparagus, broccoli, clams, and spinach).
Progesterone is a hormone essential for regulating the menstrual cycle and pregnancy in women and producing testosterone in men. It can have a positive effect on brain health and support the regulation of the body’s stress response.
When progesterone is high, you may notice an increase in your energy levels as this hormone stimulates the thyroid and speeds up metabolism. Progesterone is responsible for stimulating your brain to produce a neurotransmitter called gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), which can make you feel drowsier and may help you sleep better.
You can increase your progesterone levels naturally by:
T3 is one of the most powerful hormones in the body. It supports brain and heart function, also playing a role in your metabolic rate and bone health.
Multiple studies have demonstrated a strong correlation between fatigue and an under-active thyroid gland, especially low T3. Knowing your T3 levels could pave the way for understanding the underlying cause of low energy and help you find a treatment.
Abnormally low levels of T3 may indicate hypothyroidism, poor nutrition or a long-term illness. Eating a healthier diet, developing a regular exercise routine and proactively managing stress are natural ways to increase your T3 levels.
T4 is the main hormone produced by the thyroid gland and is certainly a major player affecting energy levels. Together with T3, this hormone regulates weight, energy levels, internal temperature, metabolism and skin, hair and nail growth.
Low levels may indicate an under-active thyroid and may cause fatigue, lethargy, low mood and brain fog. Just as T3, knowing your T4 levels could pave the way for understanding the underlying cause of low energy and help you find a treatment.
Multiple studies indicate T3 and T4 levels increase with exercise. Improving your diet and making sure it includes iodine-rich foods such as eggs, milk, cheese and yogurt as well as at least one portion of essential fats such as virgin olive oil, raw unsalted seeds, avocado, and oily fish will also support thyroid function naturally.
Testosterone is a hormone involved in libido, immunity and protection against osteoporosis. Most importantly, it contributes to having healthy levels of energy and an overall feeling of vitality. If you have low testosterone levels, you can experience unwelcome symptoms of tiredness and fatigue.
You can increase or balance testosterone levels by eating a balanced diet, getting a healthy amount of sleep, and staying active.
By understanding the causes of low energy and fatigue and by implementing the lifestyle changes which are specifically recommended and personalised for you in your health report, you can take proactive steps to boost your energy levels and improve your overall wellbeing.
Learn more about how our at-home private blood test, The WellBeing Test can be used to improve your energy and lower fatigue from the comfort of your home.