Lack of energy and vitality, loss of tone, tiredness, asthenia, exhaustion …
There is a great deal of terms and expressions to describe this unpleasant feeling that compromises good mood, annihilates enthusiasm and transforms activities into heavy obligations of daily life. A real evil of the century – together with the stress that often accompanies it -, fatigue is one of the most frequent reasons for consulting health professionals and affects everyone, from children to the elderly, from managers to housewives.
types of fatigue
Even if there are as many types of tiredness … as tired people, it is possible to distinguish four main categories:
- Muscle fatigue, which occurs after considerable physical exertion (intense physical work, sports activity)
- Nervous fatigue, linked to persistent psychic tensions (family problems, professional difficulties, intellectual overload, etc.)
- Pathological fatigue, which can be associated with certain acute or chronic diseases (flu, anemia, diabetes, asthma, etc.) or be part of the side effects of certain drugs (diuretics, antihypertensors, psychotropics, etc.)
- Psychosocial fatigue, which has its origins in our way of life (young children, moving away, unemployment, etc.)
Regardless of the type of fatigue that oppresses us, we should always start with an analysis of what we put on our plate (and in our glass) and … what we don’t put in it.
Water. It constitutes 2/3 of our body and 3/4 of our muscles. The first symptom of dehydration is always fatigue, accompanied by a decrease in psychic and physical performance which can be spectacular in athletes.
Complex carbohydrates (bread, pasta, cereals, potatoes, legumes). They are the main source of energy not only for our muscles, but also for our brain and nervous system. It is not possible to do without it: all the regimes that impose their suppression endanger our form and our morale.
Amino acids (protein foods of animal origin, soy). Their main function lies in the processing and repair of body tissues whose cells are constantly renewed. This process requires a large amount of energy. In addition, amino acids intervene in the synthesis of hormones, antibodies and enzymes, thus indirectly participating in multiple body functions. Finally, these substances play a very important role in the elimination of metabolic waste and toxins. However, an intoxicated organism cannot be tonic or efficient. For example, arginine and glutamine increase intellectual performance and nerve resistance, promoting the elimination of a slag from the brain metabolism, ammonia. Lysine, for its part, improves physical abilities and shortens recovery time, accelerating the evacuation of lactic acid, produced by sustained muscle effort.
Vitamin C (fresh, undercooked or undercooked fruit and vegetables). The anti-fatigue vitamin par excellence, it strongly stimulates the immune system and participates in the synthesis of stress hormones.
Vitamins B. They are necessary for the proper functioning of the nervous system. The most effective are:
- B1 (beer yeast, wheat germ, whole grains, oil fruits, liver, egg yolk), participates in the transformation of glucose into energy
- B5 (same sources as B1), has a role in the transformation of carbohydrates and lipids into energy
- B12 (animal protein foods, spirulina lake algae), participates in the metabolism of sugars, fats and proteins, while facilitating intracellular energy exchanges
- Magnesium (whole grains, oil fruits, brewer’s yeast, wheat germ, legumes). It is implicated in muscle and nervous functions.
- Potassium (raw or undercooked vegetables, fresh, dried and oil fruits, beer yeast, wheat germ). It is involved in muscle activity and carbohydrate metabolism.
The causes of fatigue
The shortcomings relating to the aforementioned substances can be due both to an insufficient dietary intake (especially in the case of unbalanced nutrition and a strict low-calorie regime) and to a greater need. Among the main antagonists of anti-fatigue nutrients, we must mention:
- The stress that increases the need for vitamins B and C, magnesium and amino acids
- The smoking effect that destroys vitamin C as well as, to a lesser extent, those of group B
- The excess of caffeine which causes a loss through the kidneys of vitamins B and C and of potassium and a bad intestinal assimilation of iron
- The excess of alcohol which depletes the body of these same vitamins as well as magnesium and potassium.
Other risk situations are growth (amino acids, iron), pregnancy and lactation (amino acids, iron, magnesium), strict vegetarianism (amino acids, iron, B12) and sports training at competitive levels (vitamins B and C , iron, magnesium, potassium, amino acids).
Other common causes of fatigue are obesity that fatigues the heart and muscles, sedentary lifestyle that loads the body with waste, insufficient sleep that prevents you from recovering, and boredom that affects morale and reduces natural defenses.
Numerous complementary medicines offer remedies against fatigue. Phytotherapy recommends ginseng, eleutherococcus, kawa-kawa, garlic, etc., oligotherapy, Copper-Gold-Silver, Manganese-Copper and Cobalt. In homeopathy, Arnica fights physical and intellectual fatigue, Phosphoric acid, nervous and mental fatigue, Avena sativa, nervous breakdown and sleep disturbances, etc.
Just like fever and acute pain, fatigue is an alarm signal for our body. If occasional and short-lived, following, for example, a night of insufficient sleep or physical and mental effort, of course, it is normal. Instead, a state of chronic asthenia must be absolutely cured, on the one hand by improving food and life hygiene and on the other by taking a “restorative”. Finally, in case of apparently unexplained tiredness or that does not react to the above mentioned measures, a medical check-up is necessary. In fact, it could conceal a disease, an infection or be the first symptom of a latent depressive state.
Since 2016 I have been working as a private nutritionist. The preparation of the optimal diet is always personalized in order to allow obtaining the best possible result with the minimum variation of your eating habits.
In my work I firmly believe in professional / patient collaboration and for this reason I immediately want to establish a relationship of mutual trust and sincerity.