Fatigue is a feeling of being weary, tired, or with a lack of energy that does not go away even if you rest. Fatigue can also be described as lethargy, exhaustion or apathy and can be felt in your body or in your mind. With physical fatigue, your muscles cannot do things as easily as they normally do, for example climbing stairs or carrying bags of groceries. With psychological fatigue, you may find it more difficult to concentrate for as long as usual or to memorize things as to start or complete a task.
Fatigue can be a normal response to physical and mental activity. It is then more or less quickly relieved - depending on the intensity of the activity - by reducing that activity.
On the other hand, chronic fatigue (CFS, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome) lasts longer and is more profound. It is not relieved by rest and may even be worsened by physical or mental activity. With this condition, you experience a nearly constant state of weariness, a persistent fatigue that develops over time and diminishes both your energy and mental capacity, impacting your emotional and psychological well-being.
CFS is diagnosed when these 3 criteria are met :
- The individual has severe chronic fatigue for 6 or more consecutive months and the fatigue is not due to ongoing exertion or other medical conditions generally associated with fatigue.
- The fatigue significantly interferes with daily activities and work.
- The individual has 4 or more of the following 8 symptoms:
• post-exertion malaise lasting more than 24 hours
• unrefreshing sleep
• significant impairment of short-term memory or concentration
• muscle pain
• pain in the joints without swelling or redness
• headaches of a new type, pattern, or severity
• tender lymph nodes in the neck or armpit
• a sore throat that is frequent or recurring
What causes fatigue
In general, most cases of fatigue may be attributed to lifestyle factors, medical conditions or psychological problems.
• Medical causes
- Exhaustion may be a sign of an underlying illness, such as a thyroid disorder, heart disease, anemia, diabetes, fibromalgyia or infectious diseases such as mononucleosis or hepatitis.
• Lifestyle-related causes
- Lack of or too much sleep or sleep disturbances (sleep apnea, jet lag)
- Alcohol and drugs: alcohol disturbs normal sleep patterns and other drugs (such as cigarettes and caffeine) stimulate the nervous system and can cause insomnia.
- Lack of regular exercise and sedentary lifestyle or excessive physical activity
- Poor diet: foods that are nutritionally poor don’t provide the body with enough fuel or nutrients to function at its best.
- Poor workplace practices: long work hours, hard physical labour, irregular working hours, stressful work environment, and fixed concentration on a repetitive task.
- Medications, such as antihistamines, cough medicines and cold remedies
• Psychological causes
- Fatigue is a common symptom of mental health problems, such as depression, stress and grief.
What causes chronic fatigue
Scientists have not yet identified what causes CFS. Some of its possible causes might be:
• Immune system problems
• Hormonal imbalances
• Nutritional deficiency
Symptoms & Health complications
Fatigue can cause a vast range of physical, mental and emotional symptoms including:
• Chronic tiredness or sleepiness
• Headache or dizziness
• Sore or aching muscles or muscle weakness
• Slowed reflexes and responses
• Impaired decision-making and judgement and short-term memory problems
• Moodiness, such as irritability
• Appetite loss
• Low motivation
Possible complications of chronic fatigue syndrome include:
• Social isolation
• Lifestyle restrictions
• Increased work absences
Treatment & Prevention
Fatigue treatment & prevention
Since fatigue is a symptom of an underlying condition, the treatment depends upon the condition that is causing the fatigue. Therefore, prevention of the underlying cause will prevent the symptom of fatigue in almost every situation:
- Learn better ways to manage stress: try yoga or meditation and practice relaxation techniques
- Get exercise and develop a habit of exercise
- Check your medications with a health care practitioner to see if some of them could be responsible for fatigue
- Improve your diet, adding more fruits and vegetables and drinking plenty of water
- Stop smoking
- Get enough sleep and have a good and consistent sleep routine (go to bed at the same time every night)
- Avoid coffee, tea, or caffeinated drinks after 6 pm
- Do not drink alcohol after dinner, and decrease the total amount of alcohol consumed
- Maintain a reasonable work and personal schedule and change or reduce your stressors, if possible.
Management of Chronic fatigue
The most effective treatment for chronic fatigue syndrome may be an approach that combines psychological counseling with a gentle exercise program:
- Managing Activities and Exercise: avoiding extremes and developping an adapted activity program
- Improving Health and Quality of Life : Cognitive behavioral therapy, support groups, professional counseling…
Treating fatigue with herbs
Jiaogulan is used to strengthen the mind, calm the nerves and overcome fatigue. Because of its adaptogenic influence on the central nervous system, it strengthens the adaptive capacity of the person at every level of his life : it is calming when one is overexcited and stimulating when one is depressed.
Its adaptogenic properties enhance physiological functions, aiding the body to recover from illness, stress and fatigue, improving stamina and endurance. It is particularly recommended for those who want to improve their energy levels and have a bright and clear mind.
Moringa is an excellent source of vitamin B6, calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, riboflavin (B2) and a source of thiamine (B1), niacin (B3), and potassium…all essential vitamins and minerals that contribute to normal energy-yielding metabolism.
Moringa is especially high in vitamin A, which supports the reduction of tiredness and fatigue. Because of its high iron content, it is ideal for fighting fatigue and iron-deficiencies.
Potassium is an essential nutrient that keeps your kidneys functioning properly and helps maintaining healthy muscle tissues. When you’re not getting enough potassium in your diet, you’re likely to experience fatigue and muscle weakness. This can make it difficult to complete daily tasks or exercise.
Spirulina is a natural “algae” incredibly high in protein and a good source of antioxidants, B-vitamins and other nutrients. It is the best whole food source of gamma linolineic acid (GLA), an omega 6 fatty acid known for regulating blood sugar, and restoring the body to a state of high energy. It also helps alleviate fatigue by producing antioxidants which reduces contraction of muscles. The B12, various other B complex vitamins, vitamin E, and beta carotene found in spirulina are known for helping to fight against fatigue by naturally increasing energy levels.
This formula - carefully selected by us – contains germinated black rice, Jiaogulan, Moringa, Spirulina and Matcha green tea. It brings the necessary daily protein intake and gives a feeling of increased energy.
Black rice is rich in fiber and contains a full range of amino acids, B and E Vitamins, magnesium, iron, phosphorus, zinc and niacin. Thanks to their low caffeine content, matcha green tea leaves stimulate smoothly your energy.