Is Your Gut Making You Tired?
By Louise Belle BHSc (Nut Med)
One of the most common complaints that health practitioners hear from their patients is that they are constantly tired or fatigued. They wake unrefreshed even if they have slept well, they struggle to get out of bed, they hit a slump in the afternoon and crash by the evening. Tiredness or fatigue can really interfere with your day to day life. There are many different factors that come in when assessing the root cause of fatigue, and often there can be multiple causes. The gut (or the gastrointestinal tract) can commonly cause or contribute to fatigue. Here’s why:
– Leaky gut
Also known as intestinal permeability, a leaky gut is basically where little holes or gaps form between the cells of the digestive tract, as well as inflammation. This is problematic as large food particles and toxins which are usually contained in the gut, leak out into the blood stream causing the immune system to respond, and causing damage to cells. When your gut lining is inflamed and damaged, it is less able to absorb nutrients. Iron and B12 deficiencies are common in those with gut problems. Deficiencies of these nutrients are commonly associated with low energy or fatigue.
– Gut infection
When the balance of good and bad bacteria in your gut gets out of whack, it can cause a wealth of problems. Candida overgrowth, H.Pylori, a parasite infection or a general imbalance can affect nutrient absorption, cause inflammation in the gut, weaken the immune system and contribute to feelings of fatigue. A research team conducted a study where they analysed stool samples and blood samples and were accurately able to diagnose 83% of people with chronic fatigue syndrome. This says a lot for the involvement of gut bacteria in fatigue presence.
– Low stomach acid
Many people suffer from low stomach acid and don’t even realise. In fact, people willingly take medication to lower their stomach acid, thinking that it will help them. Low stomach acid (also known as hypochlorhydria) occurs when your body doesn’t produce enough hydrochloric acid (HCL) during digestion. Adequate stomach acid is vital for breaking down, digesting and absorbing vitamins, minerals and protein from our food. When stomach acid is low, it can lead to nutrient malabsorption and tiredness.
It makes a lot of sense that constipation can cause fatigue when you really think about it. Your poop is essentially waste. Its made up of toxic compounds, heavy metals and other waste products that your body wants to get rid of. If you aren’t having regular bowel motions, your body will reabsorb these toxins through the walls of the intestines, putting them back into circulation where they can damage your cells. You should be passing at least one bowel motion daily to get rid of this toxic waste. Fibretone powder encourages healthy bowel motions.
– Food intolerance
Unlike food allergies, food intolerances often go undetected as their symptoms can be subtle or common, such as tiredness or headaches. When you eat foods that you’re intolerant to, it causes inflammation in your gut lining and triggers an immune response. It’s a bit of a catch 22 because when your gut is inflamed, you are more likely to react to certain foods. Keeping a food and symptom diary could help to track down food intolerances you may have.