The Dangerous Health Effects of Fatigue
Feeling fatigued and a general lack of energy are common manifestations of chronic stress. Using natural herbal medicines can allow you address this problem before it ruins your health.
Why Do We Experience Fatigue?
Being fatigued is not the same thing as being tired. In fact, there are many differences between being tired and being fatigued. When you are tired, you may lack energy and feel forgetful and physically weak. However, simple tiredness can be alleviated by rest. On the other hand, when you are fatigued your symptoms are more severe and have more of an impact on your ability to function well in daily life. A fatigued person may have trouble concentrating and lose interest in social activities. Being fatigued does not go away with simple rest because it is a chronic condition with a chronic cause.
If you find yourself constantly feeling "burned out," tired all the time and disinterested in high-energy activities you used to enjoy, but these feelings don't go away with a good night's sleep and a relaxing weekend, you are probably deeply fatigued. But, why would this be?
When you are seriously fatigued, rather than simply tired, it's due to enduring too much stress for extended periods of time. This stress can be any combination of physical, mental and emotional stress. When your body can't keep up with this stress, it "shuts down." Additionally, chronic stress produces dangerously high levels of cortisol, the stress hormone.
What Fatigue Does to Your Life
Being fatigued can seriously impact your quality of life. The mental, physical and emotional sluggishness it creates puts a dent in many areas of your life, ranging from your relationships to your career to your physical health. Being fatigued due to stress has negative health effects like decreased immunity, muscle weakness and lack of physical endurance, chronic sleepiness and inflammation.
If you are chronically fatigued, this is due to stress and therefore it's more than likely that you'll experience other negative health effects from stress itself, in addition to the negative health effects caused by being fatigued. So, it's common for many people who find themselves fatigued on a regular basis to also experience medical problems like digestion issues, headache, heart disease, sleep problems and weight gain in addition to mental health issues such as anxiety and depression.
Being fatigued can adversely affect your job performance, social life, physical health, mental health and possibly much more. Naturally, it's in everyone's best interest to avoid being fatigued. The best way to do this is to address the root cause, which is stress. If you find yourself deeply fatigued, try to cut out as much stress from your life as possible.
However, not all stress can reasonably be removed from your life. After all, not many of us are in a position to simply quit our stressful jobs, or just run away from our stressful families! When stress is unavoidable, that's where scientifically proven dietary supplements that relieve stress are useful.
Nutrition for Fatigue
Many people fall into the trap of using stimulants like caffeine to counteract the effects of being fatigued. This only works in the short term. In the long term, using caffeine to mask the effects of stress will make it worse, as caffeine increases cortisol levels. Instead, help your body deal with stress and get more energy through diet.
- B vitamins are great for boosting energy. After all, these are the vitamins your body uses to convert food into energy that your cells can use. Take a B-complex supplement, or eat plenty of whole grains, legumes, eggs, nuts, seafood and green leafy vegetables.
- Iron is necessary for your body to carry oxygen to your cells. Plus, being deficient in iron often causes fatigue. Get iron from seafood, meat, lentils, beans and spinach.
- Magnesium is another nutrient that helps your body use oxygen efficiently. Most Americans don't get enough magnesium. Good sources include legumes, seeds, nuts, green leafy vegetables and whole grains.
- Omega-3 fatty acids have tons of health benefits. Boosting energy is only one benefit. Omega-3 fatty acids are found in walnuts, seeds and fatty fish.
Effective Herbal Medicines
Although nutrition is paramount to relieving stress and feelings of fatigue, don't underestimate how effective medicinal herbs can be. The botanical supplements used to help the body better deal with stress are known as adaptogens. Adaptogens contain beneficial chemicals and compounds that help your body recover from stress quickly and efficiently.
Such herbs have been used by native peoples and traditional medicine systems like Ayurveda for thousands of years. Modern science has discovered that they work by optimizing your hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis. Adaptogens work on both an organ level and cellular level.
Some of the most well-known and effective adaptogenic herbs include:
- Panax ginseng
- eleuthero, or Siberian ginseng
- maca root
- Rhodiola rosea
Some others are American ginseng, schizandra, licorice rhizome and cordyceps mushroom. However, there are dozens more that have been used in traditional folk medicines.
Keep in mind that both the essential nutrients and herbs that are great for fatigued people are also general stress-reducers. You don't have to be severely and chronically fatigued to benefit from them. So, feel free to take advantage of supplements containing these herbs if you experience stress and daily tiredness without being chronically, deeply fatigued. Doing so can help prevent becoming fatigued in the future.