Clinical Nutrition Discovers the True Cause of Fatigue
Fatigue is one of the most common symptoms reported by patients to their doctors. Clinical nutrition provides answers to correcting the cause of fatigue when many doctors can offer no help.
Fatigue has many forms:
• not feeling rested upon arising in the morning
• energy levels going up and down throughout the day
• barely making it through the workday and then unable to do anything at night
• feeling exhausted much of the time
The first and most important thing to know about fatigue is that it is not normal to be fatigued at any age. What I mean by that is that you shouldn’t feel tired as a result of doing your daily activities.
While everyone may at times have a demanding schedule, I treat many patients who have intense work and family schedules yet who no longer experience fatigue upon completion of our program. I use clinical nutrition with my patients to get to the root cause of the fatigue.
Are You Fatigued but No One is Helping You?
Unfortunately, many doctors ignore their patients’ complaints of fatigue as it has become so common as to almost seem ‘normal’. When a patient continues to complain hard enough or long enough, then their doctor will order a few standard blood tests to rule out such things as anemia (low iron in the blood), or thyroid problems.
It certainly is important to discover if a disease or condition exists that is creating your fatigue, however, all too often I see patients who are frustrated after having had such tests done, often multiple times, only to be told that there is nothing wrong because all the tests were negative.
Another common and equally frustrating scenario is when a fatigued patient’s tests are negative yet they continue to complain of fatigue, the next diagnosis given to them is frequently depression. Turning to such a diagnosis with its attendant dangerous drugs is a serious problem within our current medical model. When standard lab tests show nothing physically wrong, doctors rush to assume that it’s a “mental” problem.
Dangerous antidepressants are then often prescribed with no true help to the patient. More often than not as patients are relating such an experience to me they are clear that they are not depressed. They are exhausted perhaps but not depressed.
Unfortunately others, upon receiving a diagnosis, begin to believe that they may be, which only serves to worsen the problem. This is a perfect example of where clinical nutrition can provide answers not found by other methods.
Clinical Nutrition Asks “Why are You Fatigued?”
As a clinical nutritionist, I operate with the basic premise that there is a root cause underlying every symptom. Whether the symptom is fatigue or something else, it is important to realize that not only is it not normal, but a symptom is created as a result of something in the body unable to function normally. There may be no disease (yet!) but that does not mean something isn’t malfunctioning within the body.
When uncovering the root cause of fatigue in my patients I ask two main questions:
1. What organ system is malfunctioning?
2. What stress was put on the body to cause that system to malfunction?
Typically when those questions are answered and a program is implemented to handle them, the problem with fatigue is resolved.
The Five Most Commonly Overlooked Causes of Fatigue
1. Adrenal Exhaustion– the adrenal glands are the main organs in the body that respond to the stress of all types such as mental-emotional stress, biochemical stress, and physical stress. When there is prolonged or excessive stress on the body from any of these sources the adrenals become exhausted and the result can be overall body fatigue and exhaustion.
I perform a lab test with my patients that routinely find the presence of this common but rarely diagnosed health problem. Clinical nutrition is one of the few professions that recognizes and treats adrenal exhaustion.
2. Nutrient Deficiency– the standard American diet (SAD) is severely deficient in many critical nutrients for normal health. In addition to that, many people cannot digest and absorb the nutrients that they do consume because of the digestive tract is so dysfunctional – more on that in a moment. In any case, whether it be deficient intake or poor absorption, a nutrient deficiency can lead to severe fatigue simply as a result of poor fuel for the body.
3. Insomnia– over 30% of the U.S. population suffers from insomnia such that they are not able to fall asleep, they awaken in the middle of the night and have trouble getting back to sleep, they are light sleepers and awaken easily due to noises they hear, or they awaken early not fully rested.
Anyone of these of course leads to fatigue later in the day. In our clinic insomnia is treated successfully by identifying the organs that should be, but are not, properly managing the sleep cycle. Most commonly these are found to be the adrenal glands and the brain. Adrenal exhaustion and/or brain inflammation can be identified utilizing clinical nutrition.
4. Infections– undiagnosed infections can be a common source of fatigue. A commonplace that we search for infections is in the digestive tract because 70% of all of the immune cells in the body are located there. There are simple lab tests that can be done to rule out infections in the stomach or intestines and it is interesting to note that such infections are often called ‘hidden infections’ as they can be present with no obvious outward digestive symptoms.
5. Food sensitivities– food allergies and sensitivities can directly create fatigue. A good example is gluten sensitivity – a negative reaction to the grains wheat, rye, and barley. Damage to the intestinal tract occurring due to a gluten sensitivity may result in deficiencies such as vitamin B12 and iron. Low B12 and iron can directly cause fatigue and exhaustion. Simple lab tests used in our office can identify the deficiencies as well as the food sensitivities that may have caused them. In addition to deficiencies, having a major food sensitivity or allergy is enough to cause fatigue due to the burden it places on the body.
I am proud to be a clinical nutritionist. I feel that I am truly making a difference in my patients’ lives because I am able to identify the root cause of the health problems they have. Fatigue is such a common complaint and it is usually able to be treated in my office with very simple solutions – our program involves no drugs or surgery. If you are tired of being tired then I invite you to contact our clinic. We are a destination clinic that treats patients from all over the U.S. as well as internationally. I feel confident in our ability to use clinical nutrition to find the root cause of your fatigue.
Do you need help with your health?
We have the tools to discover why you may be having trouble with a weakened immune system. It’s not difficult as long as you’re ready to make some dietary and lifestyle changes. If that sounds daunting, don’t worry. We will hold your hand through the changes and make each step of change an easy one.
Dr. Vikki Petersen DC. CCN
Founder of Root Cause Medical Clinic
Certified Functional Medicine Practitioner
Dr Vikki Petersen is a public speaker, author of two books, several eBooks and creates cutting edge content for her YouTube community. Dr Vikki is committed to bringing Root Cause Medicine and its unique approach to restoring health naturally to the world.