Why am I tired all the time?
People often ask me why they are tired all the time. The simple answer is that they are using all the energy they are producing, so it is a matter of using less energy or making more.
If you work too hard or exercise too hard, you may be able to reduce that energy expenditure. However, life often forces you to do things even when you are tired out. You may not be able to escape long commutes, an unreasonable employer, or care for a sick relative. Bereavement may be exhausting you. Severe illness may have depleted your energy reserves. An unhappy relationship may be wearing you down. You may be exhausted by worries that are very genuine. Perhaps you live in a polluted place. You may be taking drugs, which reduce your nutritional status. Detoxifying chemicals uses a lot of energy. Life never is easy.
So, you reduce unnecessary energy expenditure, have enough exercise, but not an excessive amount, try to avoid pollution, have a relaxed night-in rather than going out to a harrowing film, go to bed at a reasonable time, and learn to say no when you really can’t take on any more.
Is there a way to reduce the energy that is wasted on worrying? Yes, there is.
Both magnesium and inositol are safe ways of making you more relaxed. Modern diets are often magnesium deficient, as people grab sweet convenience food rather than eating green vegetables, pulses, nuts and seeds. Chlorophyll is a magnesium compound, and it is green. Inositol is part of the vitamin B complex, but the amount in B complex supplements is too low to relax you. It can be bought on its own as capsules, or as a sweet powder to be put on food or in drinks. These substances make you relaxed and serene, but not dopey.
Natural ways to boost your energy
So, you have tried to cut down unnecessary energy expenditure, but still, don’t have enough energy for what you just have to do? The only solution is to produce more energy. Part of the answer is to eat a good old-fashioned diet, like your great grandparents might have done, assuming they could afford it.
- Have variety.
- Prepare your food at home from basic ingredients.
- Have some salad.
- Eat savoury rather than sweet.
- Eat vegetables rather than fruit, as fructose in fruit messes up your blood sugar.
- Eat starch rather than sugar. Starch breaks down to glucose, which our bodies are designed to process. Cane and beet sugar contain fructose.
- Eat hard cheese rather than milk, because of the sugar in milk called galactose, which is associated with artery disease, and is removed when you make hard cheese. Cheese, unlike milk, also contains vitamin K2, for the bones and arteries.
- Use saturated fats like coconut oil, goose or duck fat, or butter for frying and roasting, as unsaturated fats are badly damaged by heat. Avoid hydrogenated oil and highly processed bottled oil.
- Have plenty of omega three fats, and not much omega six. Ideally, eat fish for the long chain omega three anti-inflammatory fats, but avoid tuna, as it is more likely to be contaminated than smaller fish.
- Avoid whole grains and whole pulses, as the skins contain lectins, which bind to specific sugars in the body, interfering with how the body should work.
- Eat sourdough bread rather than fast produced bread, as the wheat has been partially digested for you by the souring process. The Chorleywood industrial bread making process has made standard bread much harder to tolerate.
- Only have one-course meals, except on special occasions.
- If you don't understand the label, don't eat the food.
- If you are vegetarian, make sure you have enough omega three fat from flax, and enough zinc, which protects you from infection. You need B vitamins, magnesium, zinc, calcium and vitamin C to process flax oil into the long chain fats that fish provides.
- If you are vegan, make sure you have enough omega 3 fat, zinc, iron, calcium, vitamin D and vitamin B12.
- Ideally eat some meat, as the anserine and carnosine in it have long been found useful in convalescence, for example in chicken soup, chicken essence and beef tea.
- Bath in Epsom salts, which provide sulphate, to detoxify harmful chemicals and maintain the integrity of the gut.
Having done what you can to sort out lifestyle and diet, the next things to consider are the nutrients needed in the complex process of extracting energy from food. Key nutrients for this are the vitamins B1, B2, B3, B5, B12 and C, magnesium, iron and coenzyme Q10. Without any one of these, you will die due to a lack of energy. Without enough of them, you will be short of energy.
Supplements to help with tiredness
Careful supplementing of them can be very useful. Boron is harmful, as it causes you to excrete vitamin B2, so never take supplements containing it. Coenzyme Q10 is much more effective in the ubiquinol form, rather than the ubiquinone form. It is often cheaper and more effective to use a smaller amount of ubiquinol than a larger amount of ubiquinone. Prescribing supplements is a skilled task - nutritionists see many people who have wasted their money on the wrong supplements.
The answer to fatigue is to reduce unnecessary energy expenditure and also improve energy production using food and supplements.
The worse your situation is, the more important good food and supplements are.
Please consult your GP before taking any supplements or making drastic lifestyle or diet changes. Health looks different on everyone, and what may work for one person, may not work for you.
Find a nutritionist dealing with tiredness
or try our advanced search