Yesterday I was reading an article titled “Yawning? 6 surprising reasons why you are exhausted“, on the “Shine” section of Yahoo®. So now I’ll share my comments on it, and expand on some more ideas on why you may be exhausted. Before I get into the reasons mentioned in the article, I want to quickly share some of the biochemistry and physiology about energy production and fatigue in the body. I’ll keep it simple so don’t worry. By the way, I’ll use the words fatigue, tired(ness), and exhaustion interchangeably.

First, there are really only two basic reasons that a person will be exhausted or have low energy. These are a simply a deficiency in nutrients required to run the energy cycles, or a toxic reaction in the body. Both of these represent a “stress” to the system. And keep in mind that there can (and usually) will be a combination of both. Because a lack of sufficient nutrients will cause toxins to accumulate and toxins will cause a depletion of nutrients (required for detoxification). When I talk about toxins I am  referring to both chemicals internally produced and from environmental or food exposure. A “true”, so to speak exhaustion or fatigue can often be relived by rest, once the body gets the energy cycles up and running again. Of course you still need nutrients. However, you can be tired and feel exhausted because of temporarily burning through them (especially in reference to exercise). If you find that rest (or sleep) doesn’t relieve your fatigue, there is a good chance that you are toxic, especially after a sufficient amount of sleep. Generally, if you don’t feel rested after 9 hours of sleep, there is a good chance you are toxic to some degree.

When I think of biochemicals and the cycles run in the body that are necessary to produce energy I think of these four basic things: 1) ATP (adenosine triphosphate) – one main “energy” molecule; 2) the citric acid (or Kreb’s cycle); 3) the electron-transport chain; and 4) a process known as glycolysis. OK, that’s as technical as I’ll get, promise. The nutrients required to allow ATP to be produced and the three processes mentioned include: magnesium; manganese; phosphorus; lipoic acid; co-enzyme Q10; and vitamins B1, B2, B3, B5, and B6. There may be some more, but that’s a great start. Do you now see why many people say B-complex supplements give you energy? OK, now that we have that out of the way we can talk about the 6 reasons for exhaustion from article. They do say “6 surprising reasons”, so I am acknowledging that they are not claiming them to be the only reasons.

1) “A hidden UTI” (urinary tract infection) – the article states: “In some cases, fatigue may be the only sign of a urinary tract infection, reports WebMD. If you suspect something’s up (and you have pain and burning when you pee) talk to your doc.”    This is surprising isn’t it. I simply want to add that any hidden (or overt) infection can cause exhaustion including fungal, yeast (candida), bacterial, viral, parasitic, and protozoal. The main reason for this is that chemicals (mainly known as cytokines) produced from stress to the immune system can cause the Kreb’s cycle to malfunction. These organisms may also produce fatigue-inducing chemicals independent of the immune system.

2) “Your diet” – The article says that not eating enough calories (calories are “more or less” energy, measured in Joules) could cause fatigue. Do you think that’s most of the “developed” world’s problem though? Come on now, I believe the obesity rate in America is around 2/3’s of people, and something tells me it’s not from eating too little calories. Obesity is often associated with fatigue. According to a study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine, obesity accounts for a significant portion of fatigue symptoms. Try getting double the recommended calories you truly need from pasta, bread, soda, and sugary desserts and let me know how that goes. The foods I just mentioned are empty calories from processed foods. The key is to eat enough calories through a variety (to ensure a wide range of nutrient consumption) of whole-foods.

3) “Food allergies you didn’t know you had” – This will cause the some of the same problems as #1, because of the stress on your immune system. Please see my article titled “Food Allergies and Sensitivities.”

4) “Caffeine overload” – They say: “You probably reach for more coffee when you’re tired, but experts say that too much caffeine can sometimes backfire, causing you to feel more fatigued. Maybe skip the triple-venti today.” I agree, although 1 cup (normal-sized mug), which is not “overload”, should be fine (but not in all cases). Generally this will cause adrenal gland burn-out as it can affect the release of stress hormones. These hormones (and the caffeine) will burn through detoxification nutrients in order to clear them from the bloodstream. This will also tax your blood-sugar handling mechanisms which will always result in energy imbalances (later if not sooner). Everyone in modern society has some degree of adrenal gland stress – it just depends if it is eustress (beneficial – glad to wake up out of bed type of stress) or distress. It’s a huge topic I’ll discuss in-depth another time.

5) “Undetected thyroid problems” – Here the article notes: “Fatigue is one symptom of a thyroid condition called hypothyroidism. Fortunately, this is such a treatable thing (I have it, and just pop a pill each day–no biggie). Most health experts concur that every woman should have her thyroid levels tested every few years (just a simple blood test) to rule out any such conditions (they’re common in women).” You can read my two articles titled “Hypothyroidism” and “Potential causes of hypothyroidism“. And in case you weren’t sure, I’m not so keen on the “just pop a pill each day – no biggie” idea. No, definitely not thrilled they wrote that. And I’m not saying medication is “bad” and no one needs it. And… moving forward. Please read my two articles on the topic.

6) The sixth was added at the end and is “your snoring man”. Obviously sleep is a no-brainer, and please recall what I said above about sleeping, and then waking up feeling un-rested…

Briefly, remember that it’s any toxin – which includes toxic (heavy) metals, pesticides, fragrances, artificial sweeteners, etc.; and let’s even throw in radiation which is hopefully not the problem.

One last thing, the article states this in the beginning: “Sure, getting enough sleep is the biggest way to beat the 4:00 yawning session (I swear, there is something about this time–weirdly, I could fall asleep at 4 p.m. everyday!), but did you know that several other surprising things could be making you sleepy? Here are some unlikely yawn-inducers…”. It’s never a good idea to say 100% of the time. So, I’ll say 90%+ of the time, if you are sleepy at 4:00pm, it is a blood-sugar imbalance. This is an extremely common complaint. And reaching for the coffee, soda, or chocolate bar will simply exacerbate the problem unknowingly. The other give or take 10% of the time…check what you ate for lunch. By the way, yawning excessively without fatigue is an acid-alkaline imbalance usually; as the body is naturally “blowing off” a highly acidic build-up of carbon dioxide. For this you look to the diet, nutrient deficiencies, and the diaphragm (for better breathing capacity).

Good luck, and see if you can identify your source(s) of fatigue. By the way, I could probably add a few things to the list, but let’s rule those out first.

Sources include: Yahoo®, material published by Walter H. Schmitt, DC, DIBAK, DABCN and Chris Astill-Smith, DC, DIBAK.

Dr. Robert D’Aquila – NYC Chiropractor – Applied Kinesiology

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