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Dr. Peter Osborne Discusses Solutions for Fatigue

Sick and Tired of Being Sick and Tired?

Listen to this audio interview with Dr. Osborne as he discusses some of the major lifestyle factors that can cause, contribute to, and perpetuate fatigue in your life…
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Are you tired of feeling tired? Are you unable to tap into a reservoir of energy when needed? Fatigue can be the culprit,and for millions of people, its effects can be debilitating. The cause of fatigue is multi factorial. Lack of exercise and improper diet play the largest role for most;1 however, there can be underlying contributing issues as well. Simple laboratory testing can discover a number of potential causes for fatigue:

But what do you do when your doctor runs all of these tests and they come back normal?

This is too often the case for fatigue sufferers. Many doctors cite depression and try to prescribe medication despite adequate proof to do so. Many doctors simply refer the patient out to a psychiatrist. The bottom line is that fatigue sufferers are often left with unacceptable choices that don’t address the root of the problem. To determine the cause and best treatment for fatigue, all of the factors causing the fatigue must be identified.2 Underlying factors that contribute to fatigue should be evaluated and treated when possible. Common contributing factors include: anemia, stress, eating an improper diet, poor sleep habits, excessive caffeine and sugar intake, chronic pain, dehydration, side effects from medications, nutritional deficiencies, lack of exercise, and abusive relationships. Nearly 20% of all patients who seek a physician’s assistance in treating a health concern include fatigue as a symptom relative to their affliction.5 As with most physical and emotional conditions, medications are commonly prescribed by doctors to treat symptoms of a condition rather than addressing the underlying cause. Many prescription and over the counter medications can have side effects that contribute to fatigue. Some medicines deplete vitamins and minerals necessary for the body to make energy. Some medications affect the liver and kidneys and indirectly contribute to fatigue. One of the most common side effects of medication use is fatigue. This is a big problem because according to an Associated Press Report from May of 2008, half of all Americans are taking prescription medications. To maintain functional health, the body requires essential nutrients, sun light, clean air, exercise, and emotional stability and support. Most doctors do not take the time to assess these areas of essentiality and rely on tools like the Food Guide Pyramid to generalize their recommendations to patients. Unfortunately, general broad spectrum recommendations do not account for individual variability and can actually make the situation worse. For example, eating 8-10 servings of whole grains can cause severe illness in an individual who is gluten intolerant. Another example is sun avoidance to reduce the risk of skin cancer: Some individuals have genetic variations that do not allow them to metabolize vitamin D as well as others. Sun light avoidance in these individual can actually increase the risk for cancer. Finding a doctor who practices functional medicine is critical if you want to address the underlying causes of fatigue. The doctor should be willing to spend enough time with you to adequately assess your problems. Less than 40 minutes of face time with the doctor is inadequate to perform a complete history and physical examination. Laboratory testing should focus on identifying genetic variability and functional parameters based on the uniqueness or the individual not just the condition. Additionally, the doctor should practice what they preach. How can you expect someone in poor health to give good health advice?

Quick & Easy Solutions

Sleep – your body needs rest. Take time to slow down and get adequate rest. Our body’s are designed to go to bed when it gets dark and to wake at first light. The closer you can stick to this simple guideline, the more energy you will have. Water – drink plenty of it. Dehydration can bog down your metabolism. Remember that fruits and vegetables are also loaded with water, so increasing the intake of these foods will help keep you well hydrated. Exercise – contrary to popular belief, exercise will not make you more tired. It will help your body release chemical hormones that give you a boost of energy as well as a natural high. Sunshine – Don’t avoid the sun, just use common sense and avoid burning in the sun. Sunshine helps us produce vitamin D, but also helps us produce the hormone melatonin. Melatonin helps regulate our sleep patterns. Regular sunshine can give a BIG boost in overall energy. Avoid Sugar and Caffeine- Sugar and caffeine can give a quick jolt of energy, but typically end with a crash. These two substances rob B-vitamins from your body and in the long term cause energy deficit and chronic fatigue. Identify Vitamin & Mineral Deficiencies – Specific lab testing can be performed to help do this. Ask your doctor to order a Spectracell nutritional analysis. Don’t rely of faulty serum lab tests. They are very misleading. Make sure that you also check your supplements for hidden gluten as this can contribute to persistent fatigue. Identify Food Allergies – Also possible with appropriate lab testing. Often times eating the wrong foods will hinder your body’s ability to produce adequate energy. Got other tips? Leave your comments below! References:
  1. Eur J Neurosci. 2008 Jul;28(2):379-88. The top-down influence of ergogenic placebos on muscle work and fatigue. Pollo A, Carlino E,Benedetti F
  2. Rheumatology (Oxford). 2008 Aug 13. A systematic comparison of fatigue levels in systemic sclerosis with general population, cancerand rheumatic disease samples.
  3. BMC Health Serv Res. 2008 Aug 13;8(1):175. Implementing cognitive behavior therapy for chronic fatigue syndrome in mental health care:a costs and outcomes analysis.
  4. Heart Advis. 2008 Apr;11(4):3 Exercise strengthens muscles weakened by heart failure. Increase your stamina and reduce fatigue with a customized program of aerobic exercise and strength training.
  5. Sangyo Eiseigaku Zasshi. 2008 Aug 8. Characteristic Patterns of Fatigue Feelings on four Simulated Consecutive Night Shifts by “Jikaku-sho shirabe”
  6. J Clin Oncol. 2008 Aug 10;26(23):3886-95. Evidence-based recommendations for cancer fatigue, anorexia, depression, and dyspnea. Dy SM, Lorenz KA, Naeim A, Sanati H, Walling A, Asch SM

16 Responses

  1. asthma may make a person’s life like nightmare. my sibling is an asthma attack sufferer and she has really a tough time whenever it strikes. there are a few all-natural supplements that may help decrease the actual symptoms of bronchial asthma. exercise and proper diet also assists a little bit in making asthma attacks lesser in intensity…

  2. Off all grains, eggs, corn, soy and dairy. Along with a clean eating regime, I’m juicing 2x a day and WOW what a kick start that was for energy and stamina. Inflammation going down rapidly and need less support from supplements now. I travel extensively…it’s not easy but not impossible. I have too much life to live to feel tired and sore all the time. Now I can up my exercise regime too!!! Thanks for all the encouraging tips Doc:))

  3. I got glutened about a month ago from taking Simply Organic Garlic Powder for 2 months. I thought this was safe to do but on the day I got real sick I used a lot of it in my basmati rice. I never had a problem with the rice before. That evening I thought I was going to die. I had the chills and sweating profusely and started vomiting many times. The pain in my upper abdomen between the ribs and going into the naval and below was excruciating even to breathe because it felt like a solid lump. I started getting a rash on my right hand that wouldn’t heal since I started the garlic powder but I never put two and two together until I got so sick that night. The next day I could hardly walk and had to bend over and I couldn’t eat any thing for a few days because the pain was so bad. I didn’t go to the hospital because it might have been worse with some of the meds. I just suffered and fasted the next day and it took about a week before I could really eat again. Last week I decided to see if it really was the garlic powder so I used it again and that night that horrible pain came back but I didn’t have the other symptoms. I was miserable and couldn’t eat for a couple of days. I new then this was the problem so I threw it down the toilet. I have been on a GF diet for 9 years and now I am becoming sensitive to GF foods if they are manufactured in a plant using wheat. Some times, even Amy’s GF Mac n Cheese bothers me which I love. I hate this but this is my way of life and I have avoided going out to eat for years. I have to cook every thing from scratch.

  4. @Jane. I have fraternal twin daughters who had chronic hives. One went through extensive antihistamine treatment for 2 years (before we were on the gluten path). The other started with the hives about 18 months ago. Couldn’t figure it out. Did an elimination diet. CORN is the culprit. Go totally grain free!

  5. This website has been an absolute miracle for me. I have learned SO much here. I had all the tests done Genetic, allergen, etc. I could barely walk 12 months ago, my days consisted of dragging my body around or sleeping. I went gluten free in October with some improvement. It wasn’t until I completely cut out all grains and dairy, corn and the other foods I react to, that I felt alive again. It didn’t happen overnight. But it did happen. Good luck everyone. The journey is worth it. I’ve been accidentally glutened twice since I started. Both times laid me out for 10 days. I just look at those moments as Confirmation.

  6. Thanks for bringing attention to the gluten-canker sore connection. Many people don’t put two-and-two together because they think celiac disease symptoms are only GI related. Going gluten-free can change a person’s life.

  7. Pingback: Anonymous
  8. Dr. Osborne,
    I’ve been gluten free for about 6 months, but just bought your book and realized I am still eating corn and rice which also have gluten. Now to incorporate those. When I told my doctor about eating f2f, he advised against it and said if im not celiac I will cause myself more food allergies in the long run by going gluten free. How can I respond to him? (Haven’t finished the book yet)

    1. Angie,
      You should ask your doctor how many years of nutritional education he has had in order to make intelligent commentary on the subject. There is absolutely no danger in avoiding grain to your health. I would also ask him for the research that shows that avoiding grain could actually cause an increase in food allergies.
      All the best,
      Dr. Osborne

  9. I have had debilitating vertigo recently and realised the culprit was gluten. Potatoes give me bad abdominal pain and cramps. Carbs generally do not sit well with me.

  10. Can we talk about covid related fatigue and brain fog. I have developed both since my first infection (infected twice in the same year) And these symptoms are pretty chronic. I have better days, but both usually comes back if I don’t watch my lifestyle (aka not thinking too much and not doing too much). I believe I’m suffering from “long covid”. My doctor dismissed me as my labs came normal and they don’t currently have a treatment for long covid. I have been doing my homework, but I think that without a basic doctoral understanding getting to the root cause will take me years.

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