What is the cause of your low energy?

April 24, 2017

Energy – we all want more of this right?? 

There are many different causes to having low energy, the main ones listed below.  Addressing the specific cause is key to getting the best results with your energy.  You may read through some of these and get that “AHA” moment and know that sounds like you, or there are many tests that can be run to find the determining factor. 

Adrenal Fatigue 

Unlike what the name suggests, your adrenal glands are not actually fatigued.  It is actually more a communication error between your brain and adrenals due to your signalling pathways being over used.  Much like a track in a bush that becomes boggy due to it being the most used path from A to B.  When this occurs, our reactions to stress change.  It may be that we are in the tired but wired stage where we are producing a lot of cortisol to keep us going, and sometimes this peak of energy at night time can stop us from sleeping.  Sometimes we have passed this point without noticing it and have gone straight to fatigue where as a protection mechanism our cortisol levels are very low and therefore feel like we are trying to drive a car without any fuel.  Typical symptoms may look like:

Slow recovery after training
Lack of stamina during training
Poor immune system – catching anything that goes around
A second wind around 9pm after being tired all day
Struggling to get up in the morning and needing that coffee hit
Lack of appetite
Lack of sleep wipes you out
Inability to cope with small stresses
Craves salty food
Easily crash after sugary foods

Sluggish Thyroid

This is generally linked with adrenal health as well as other hormonal issues as it comes from the same HPA axis from the brain.  Our thyroid is part of our bodies engine, and can also burn out. Typical thyroid symptoms include:

Low body temperature
Inability to lose weight
Thinning hair and eyebrows
Dry skin
Skin pigmentation
Brain fog

Blood sugar irregularities

This one tends to hit around the 2.30/3pm when total brain fog occurs, and the want to fall asleep under your desk is strong.   The cravings for sugar are high at this point and the cookie jar at work tends to call your name.  This is when you need to assess what you have eaten for the day and how balanced your meals have been.  For most people if you haven’t eaten sufficient protein or fats for the day your blood sugars will crash out and your energy systems are just not functioning at optimal.  If all you have consumed is processed foods you haven’t fed your body any nutrients and it is after energy with sugar being the fastest route.  

 Food intolerances

When we are consuming foods that for some reason don’t respond well in our body, it causes a low level of inflammation which will lead to fatigue.  This doesn’t just come from the common dairy and gluten.  It can be specific foods such as cashews, chicken, eggs, broccoli etc which we usually deem as healthy for us, and unfortunately with continual consumption can cause a constant low grade inflammatory response until a) the food is eliminated and b) the gut has been worked on to heal up and reduce this intolerance.  

 Gut dysbiosis

This is simply an imbalance with our microbiome.  This can mean too many of our pathogens such as funghi, yeast, bacteria, parasites or simply too many of specific types of “good” bacteria and not enough of the others.  Each different type of bacteria has a purpose and therefore without the correct balance can cause chaos.  Much like too many politicians and not enough doctors.  With any gut issues whether its dysbiosis or inflammation it is often likely that you won’t be absorbing your nutrients and driving up the inflammatory process even further so working on the gut and healing it up is crucial.  Symptoms of an unhappy gut are:

Bloating either directly after meals, or inbetween meals
Reflux or indigestion
Pain after eating
Foul smelling stools
Brain fog
Poor skin
Skin issues

 Nutrient deficiency

There are so many nutrients that are key to our energy and consuming them from our diet and through supplements will go a long way to alleviating fatigue.  Nutrients such as B vitamins, Magnesium, Vitamin D, Iodine,  Zinc, Co Q 10, carnitine, vitamin C, and Iron.  Be careful though on supplementing with products you are not sure about the sourcing of nutrients as many will be cheap products with very low bioavailability so always get advice on what is suitable for you personally.  Also taking supplements because you have read on google they should be good for you is never a good idea as your biochemistry is totally different to the next person and your need for different nutrients will differ.


This can be from so many different types of pathogens.  Chronic infection can linger in your system and often are so cunning that are buried so deeply within your matrix that won’t clear unless there is a very intensive specific protocol.  These tend to be the causes of the issues of the “I haven’t felt right since ….” whether it was a travel bug, whether it was glandular fever as a kid etc

 Mitochondrial dysfunction

Our mitochondria are the little energy systems in our cells. They are in highest number in our muscle tissue and are regenerated by exercise.  They are damaged by oxidative stress – environmental stress, mental stress, poor nutrient intake, lack of exercise etc.  These little guys are key to keeping our energy up and the foundation of boosting energy regardless of the other causes.  A great way to determine whether your fatigue is simply from mitochondrial dysfunction is by determining whether post exercise you feel good or not.  If you feel better after exercise it is likely that it is your mitochondria that need support, if you feel tired or worse then it is likely stress or one of the other causes listed above.

Work with your health care provider to get on top of your energy, every person is different and their needs and protocols are all going to differ.  If you have been suffering from fatigue and are “sick and tired” of it, I would love to see you and help you out.

If you want to make a booking click here to see me at either Mt Eden or Kumeu.

Tarryn x 

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