LOW ENERGY – FATIGUE – HypoTHYROID
Many patients are complaining to their doctors that they have no energy and even after a decent night sleep they feel fatigued. It is reported that over 50% of women inAmericacomplain of chronic fatigue. There are several possible explanations for this issue. Traditionally anemia, or low levels of iron or B12 levels are a good reason for fatigue. Then also viral syndromes such as Epstein-barr or CMV etc. are also implicated in chronic fatigue. Of late, and somewhat controversial, is the yeast-fungal connection. Last but not least, is the syndrome of hypo(sluggish) thyroid. In this article I will address these conditions. Whether the cause or result most experts agree that there is a depressed level of immune function in all these cases.
Anemia affects millions of Americans. It is defined as a reduction of either the red blood cells or the amount of hemoglobin in the blood. This results in a decrease in the amount of oxygen available to the cells of the body. Then there is a slowdown of muscular activity, cell function and brain function. Dietary deficiencies of iron, folic acid, vitamins B6 or B12 are common causes of anemia. Genetics, hormone imbalances, chronic inflammation, excessive bleeding (such as menstrual), liver damage and thyroid conditions are also possible causes of anemia.
Though often unrecognized some symptoms of anemia are loss of appetite, constipation, headaches, irritability and ADD like behavior. Then weakness and chronic fatigue with depression may set in. Of note here is that many of these symptoms overlap with low-thyroid.
Several viruses have been implicated in chronic fatigue. The herpes family which includes Epstein_Barr which causes mononucleosis is at the top of the list. But as mentioned it is not one virus that should be attacked but a general boost of the immune system focusing on the eradication of a host of possible viruses that attack fatigued patients.
Nutritional deficiencies in general cause fatigue in people. It is said that we Americans are over-eaters and under nourished. There are several chronic and epidemic deficiencies caused by poor diets and also due to the low mineral and vitamin content in the foods that are produced and that we consume. Folic acid, B12, magnesium and iodine are but to name a few; and are extremely important for our health. Also food allergies or sensitivities are a cause of tiredness and lack of energy. Top of this list is sugar and dairy products (containing the sugar lactose). Caffeine, alcohol and refined carbohydrates (white flour) should be completely avoided.
Next, and in my practice, most often diagnosed, is a hypo-thyroid condition. This is a low functioning or sluggish thyroid. The thyroid gland is located in the neck and is produces hormones that regulate metabolism. In other words, proper production of these hormones-good energy; low production- poor energy. Particularly in women, low thyroid hormone production is common. It is noted that about 1/3 of women develop hypo-thyroidism after child birth. Dr. Brownstien,M.D. wrote several books on this subject. He feels that blood testing for hypo-thyroid is not the best way to accurately determine this condition. Other medical doctors such as Dr. Ron Hoffman, Dr. Pavel Yutsis, Dr. Jacob Tietelbaum, the late Dr. Robert Atkins and many others agree with this observation. Dr. Broda Barnes, M.D. wrote many years ago that a good way to determine low thyroid function is to measure basal body temperature. In other words, low temperature-low thyroid. Normal temperature is 98.6 degrees F. Many of our patients who have been told by their doctors that based on their blood test results their thyroid is normal have low temperature, like 96 or 97 degrees F. Also, a doctor must listen to the patient and not rely on only blood results. If women tell me that she cannot lose weight, she is cold, constipated etc. then along with the low temperature this is a definite diagnosis of hypothyroidism. There are various reasons for this condition. We believe that the primary reason is deficiency of the mineral iodine. Of the first 5000 people tested by Drs. Brownstien and Flechas using a specialized urine load test, about 90% were low in iodine. Iodine is found in our food supply in fish and sea-weed. It is essential for a multitude of functions in our bodies not just the manufacturing of thyroid hormones. Every cell in our bodies needs iodine. I have found in my practice that patients do much better once they are taking iodine regularly and in the proper dosages. I will review iodine and other essential minerals in future articles.Right now there is only one company that seal an iodine product equal to lugol solution and that has been extensively tested. I take iodine daily and recommend it to all my patients. (Iodine might be the number one nutrient that can prevent breast cancer, and can reverse PCOS and breast cysts).
So, chronic fatigue (and fibromyalgia) presents as a complex condition. It takes some effort and consistency by both the doctor and patient to overcome. Other factors such as parasites and heavy metal toxicity can also be ruled pot.