Fatigue in Menopause

energy Jul 30, 2019

 

The cause of fatigue is so multifactorial and will be different for every woman. Some of the common causes are easy to rule out with blood tests. These include:

* Iron/ferritin levels

* Vitamin D

* Vitamin B12

* Blood sugar imbalances

* Thyroid dysfunction

* ANA: Auto-immune conditions 

* Cortisol levels - adrenal dysfunction

* Liver dysfunction

Other tests include sleep apnea to see if your fatigue is sleep-related.

HTMA (hair tissue mineral analysis) to investigate for toxic metal contamination or a GPL tox test to investigate for chemical exposure. The problem we have with toxins is that a lot of them get stored in your bones and as your bone turnover is increasing as you age more old toxins are being re-released into your bloodstream making you feel tired as your liver tries to process them again.

 

One of the biggest causes of fatigue is mitochondrial dysfunction. Think of your mitochondria as the batteries in your cells that provide your power. If they are out of charge, so are you! Technically they produce energy by the process of oxidative phosphorylation where nutrients are converted into adenosine triphosphate (ATP). Unfortunately, the DNA in your mitochondria is very prone to damage. This damage results from external mechanisms such as environmental or pharmacological toxins and internal mechanisms such as being exposed to reactive oxygen species. Common signs of mitochondrial damage include fatigue, pain, weakness, and depression. Mitochondrial fatigue is not relieved by rest. Heads up, this is one the rare times I don't test, as the best way to test for mitochondrial dysfunction is with a muscle biopsy. I find clinical signs are just as useful and less painful. 

My favourite mitochondrial kickstart nutrients include:

  • Acetyl l carnitine, this is a fat transporter, it transports the fuel into the mitochondria to be burnt as energy.
  • Alpha-lipoic acid, especially if there are blood sugar issues alongside the fatigue. 
  • Antioxidants like Vitamin E and Manganese. Manganese is the primary anti-oxidant found in the mitochondria. It is essential for the protection against and removal of reactive oxygen species.
  • B vitamins - especially B2 and B3
  • COQ10 - but I prefer the ubiquinol form
  • Glutathione or glutathione building blocks like selenium and N Acetyl Cysteine (NAC)
  • Magnesium - as low intercellular magnesium is linked with mitochondrial damage

 

If you have a history of Epstein Barr Virus (EBV) it is also worth considering supplements such as L-lysine to reduce your viral load. EBV is a well known mitochondrial damager and is linked with the development of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.

 

Depression, stress and prolonged anxiety are also causes of fatigue, Click here for more details on moods.

 

Respiratory and cardiovascular disease both cause fatigue. Correctly the underlying disease will help improve your energy level.

 

Lifestyle considerations to improve your energy include:

  • Optimising your Mindset. Low moods cause low energy levels. Start making changes in your outlook on life. Women with positive attitudes, who live with passion and purpose live longer, happier and more energetic lives.
  • Think about what is dragging you down. What is taking your energy? Is it a bad relationship? Is it a toxic job? Stop giving your energy away. Making hard choices in the short term will provide you with a new lease on life and abundant energy in the long term.
  • Being in a space of gratitude, will help renew your energy levels. 
  • Meditation, breathing exercises and mindfulness are essential habits you must cultivate in order to restore your vitality.
  • Exercise is a non-negiotable factor. You need to move, this stimulates blood and lymphatic flow, and gets your oxygen and nutrients moving into your cells. It's the amount of exercise that can be a problem. If you are very fatigued it may just be a walk around your home, I would prefer a walk outside in nature but you need to start where you are, and build as you are ready, as overdoing it can be very fatigue producing indeed.

 

Consider your environment. Fatigue is the #1 symptom of a toxic environment. Is your home filled with mould? How many toxic substances are in your kitchen, bathroom or garage? It's time to ditch them and find chemical-free alternatives. Have you ever tested your electromagnetic field (EMF)? Is your WIFI on 24/7? Are you zapping yourself and your cells? There is scary research linking EMF to mitochondria damage. 

 

Nutrition for energy

  • Ditch the sugar and stimulants. I understand that you might be currently using these as a crutch to get through the day but ultimately they have to go!
  • Add to this list the removal of processed, deep-fried, food-like substances.
  • Its time for a fresh approach. Lots of vegetables and salads, some fruit, good quality animal protein, and beneficial fats. It goes without saying that I recommend that these are all organic. For more details on diet click here.

 

Herbal medicine can be a powerful addition to help overcome fatigue. Some of my favourite energy restorative herbs include:

  • Rhodiola, especially in the case of high stress
  • Withania, also known as Ashwagandha or Indian ginseng is good for nervous exhaustion
  • Ginseng family - Korean, Siberian, or American 
  • Rehmannia combines well with licorice to help restore the adrenal glands
  • Echinacea, great if you are run down, tired and prone to catching infections

 

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