If you constantly feel tired, you are not alone. Many health practitioners report tiredness as one of the most common patient complaints, with around 45% of people in North America experiencing constant fatigue.

Getting to the root cause of fatigue can be tricky – it is usually not enough to simply “get more sleep.” We are here to help you understand three possible conditions that could be contributing to your fatigue, and what you can do about them.


Three Hidden Health Conditions That Are Making You Tired


1 – Adrenal Fatigue

Adrenal fatigue describes a condition in which chronic stress levels have overstimulated the adrenal glands, causing them to produce inconsistent levels of cortisol (the stress hormone). Although adrenal fatigue is not a medical diagnosis, we can all agree that chronic stress can take its toll on your body and that’s really what this term is referring to.

When the adrenals are working properly, we should have a slow increase of cortisol throughout the day that then declines in the evening. However, if we are continually feeling stressed every day, our adrenals aren’t able to produce stress hormones effectively.

This causes energy levels to spike at the wrong times. If you are dealing with chronic stress, you may experience lethargy in the mornings and full alertness at night.

Other symptoms of adrenal fatigue include

      Extreme fatigue that doesn’t go away with sleep

      Brain fog

      Hair loss

      Difficulty sleeping


      Loss of appetite

      Decreased sex drive/libido

      Moodiness and irritability

      Sweet/salty food cravings

      Low blood pressure

      Unexplained weight gain

The adrenals influence many parts of the body, and their function has significant effects on your overall health. For instance, when the body produces cortisol in high amounts, other hormones are released that put important bodily functions– like digestion and immunity – on hold so that we can respond to the danger or stress.

If you are under a great deal of stress in your life, you may be at risk of developing adrenal fatigue. Adrenal fatigue is often seen in mothers, single parents, university students, and shift workers. It can also develop during periods of financial hardship or after the loss of a loved one.

We will all deal with multiple stressors throughout our lives, so it is important to promote healthy adrenal function so that your body is equipped to handle them when they show up. These tips will help you support an energized, vital life. As always, consult with a trusted naturopath or physician before implementing any new dietary or supplementation regimes.

      Reduce stress on your mind & body. Adding a meditation practice to your day may be useful if you find that you feel tired physically, but your brain is still active with stressful thoughts. And don’t forget to laugh and do something fun whenever possible! Whatever you can do to support a positive mindset will help.

      Adaptogenic support. Certain herbs, such as ashwagandha and schisandra, have been shown to reduce cortisol and improve our body’s stress response. Using these herbs in recipes or in supplement form may help relieve your adrenal strain.

      Avoid or eliminate foods that tax the adrenals. This includes coffee, white flour, processed sugars, artificial sweeteners, processed meats, and inflammatory oils.

If you are dealing with symptoms of adrenal fatigue, or chronic stress in general, it can have a significant impact on your health. Thankfully, you can improve the issue naturally by prioritizing a low-stress lifestyle and a healthy diet.


2 – Gut Imbalance

The source of your constant fatigue could also be inside your belly. Recent research has found a strong link between gut health and energy levels.

Your gut is a complex system made up of millions of microbes that help you break down food, absorb nutrients, and generally keep your whole body healthy. When the balance of these microbes is off, it can have a huge impact on your energy and daily life.

You may know that serotonin, a neurotransmitter associated with sleep and mood, is produced within your gut. So, microbiome imbalances can directly impact your ability to sleep as well as your day-to-day energy, mood and motivation.

Gut imbalance can be caused by a number of things, from poor diet to heavy alcohol consumption, to antibiotic use and poor oral hygiene. Look out for these symptoms of gut imbalance that might just be the source of your sluggishness:

      Frequently upset stomach (gas, bloating, cramping, constipation, heartburn, etc.)

      Unintentional weight gain/loss

      Skin irritation, like psoriasis or acne

      Food intolerances, or difficulty digesting certain foods, are linked to poor quality of gut bacteria

The health of your gut microbiome begins with your diet. If you want to support your gut health and your energy levels, it is important to eat a variety of colorful, whole foods and lean proteins. Here are a few foods that will help your microbiome flourish:

      Fermented foods. Unsweetened yogurt or kefir, kimchi, sauerkraut, and miso, contain beneficial bacteria that your gut may be lacking.

      Sip on bone broth. Bone broth contains a nutrient called glutamine which helps to maintain the function of the intestinal wall. Other nutrients in bone broth such as glycine and arginine, are anti-inflammatory and can help soothe an upset stomach. Bone broth also contains collagen which can be helpful for strengthening the lining of the gut.

      Prebiotic foods. Prebiotics such as asparagus, garlic, onions, leeks and legumes are high-fibre foods which promote the growth of good bacteria in your gut.

Above all, avoiding ultra-processed foods and artificial sweeteners is crucial for optimal gut health and energy levels. It is also recommended to include healthy fats and protein at each meal. This helps to stabilize your blood sugar to prevent drops in energy.

Additionally, studies have shown that exercise can have a positive impact on your gut microbiome. While this may seem daunting if you are struggling with low energy levels, you do not have to do a high-intensity workout to see benefits. Even taking a light walk after dinner has been shown to enhance digestion.

If your gut is causing you significant discomfort and potentially affecting your energy levels, it may be beneficial to work with a practitioner who can customize a regimen based on your individual symptoms, lifestyle, and goals.


3 – Hormonal Imbalances

Finally, it is common for chronic fatigue to stem from a hormonal imbalance.

Hormones are your body’s chemical messenger system. Too much or too little of a certain hormone (even small changes!) can have noticeable effects throughout your whole body.

Some hormone levels are meant to fluctuate throughout your lifetime – this is just a part of aging. But other changes can occur due to lifestyle or dietary factors.

Fatigue is one of the most common symptoms of a hormonal imbalance. Having too much of the hormone progesterone can make you more tired, and if your thyroid creates too little thyroid hormone, this can also drain your energy.

Some signs of hormonal imbalance in women include:

      Heavy or irregular periods

      Acne on the face, chest, or upper back

      Hair loss or thinning

      Changes in appetite or weight gain/loss

      Dry skin

      Vaginal dryness

      Hirsutism, or excessive hair on the face, chin, or other areas of the body


      Night sweats

And while it isn’t as widely recognized, men can certainly have hormonal problems too. When a man is experiencing a hormonal imbalance, he will often experience fatigue. He may also experience diminished sexual interest or performance and have difficulty maintaining muscle mass. Other symptoms may include

      Gynecomastia, which is the development of breast tissue

      A decrease in beard growth or body hair

      Difficulty concentrating

      Hot flashes

A naturopathic doctor can recommend hormone testing to identify whether you have a hormonal imbalance, and offer personalized advice for you to optimize your hormonal health.

In the meantime, here are some of our tips for supporting hormonal balance to help you get back to your lively, energized self:

      Consume adequate protein at each meal. Your body needs it to produce peptide hormones, which play a role in growth, energy metabolism, appetite, stress, and reproduction.

      Exercise regularly. Physical activity can increase your hormone receptor sensitivity, meaning that it heightens the delivery of nutrients and hormone signals. Being physically active can also help boost levels of muscle-maintaining hormones that decline with age, such as testosterone, DHEA, and growth hormone.

      Reduce your sugar intake. This may be difficult if you are dealing with fatigue and are relying on sweetened foods for a quick energy boost. However, fructose often fails to stimulate the production of the fullness hormone leptin, which in turn leads to decreased calorie burn and increased weight gain.

      Consume healthy fats and vegetables. Essentially, consider following a Mediterranean style diet to support hormonal balance. A diet rich in quality healthy fats helps prevent insulin resistance and rising cortisol levels. This includes foods such as pure MCT oil, avocados, almonds, macadamia nuts, hazelnuts, fatty fish, and extra virgin olive oil.

Dealing with persistent fatigue can seriously impact your work performance, relationships, and overall satisfaction with life. If you are tired of feeling tired, there are many steps you can take to increase your energy levels naturally. 


If you’d like to learn more about the root cause of your fatigue – whether adrenal, gut-related, or hormonal – don’t hesitate to reach out. Together, we can create a plan to optimize your energy levels and get your vibrant life back!




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