Updated: Apr 14
Fatigue and low energy are two symptoms that can have a wide variety of causes. Simple blood testing can determine if your fatigue is caused by an issue with the thyroid gland, anemia or vitamin deficiency. In other individuals, low serotonin levels can be the cause of fatigue. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter found in the brain that impacts our overall mood, health and wellbeing. Our stress, diet and exposure to sunlight can impact natural serotonin levels. Low serotonin can create a variety of conditions ranging from depression, anxiety, insomnia, weight gain, fatigue or nausea. Unfortunately, serotonin blood testing is not readily available and diagnosis is usually made based on symptoms.
Luckily, there are simple lifestyle changes that can be made to support your serotonin levels. Start by checking your diet. Try to avoid simple sugars and processed foods. Increase fiber intake and consider the addition of a good probiotic to optimize gut health. Next, evaluate how much fluid you are taking in. The goal for proper hydration is to drink approximately half your body weight in ounces in beverages that are not caffeinated or alcoholic. Incorporate exercise into your daily routine. Work up to 45 minutes a day in a combination of strength and cardio training.
Supplements may also be beneficial in combating fatigue and low energy. Many people in the upper United States struggle to maintain their vitamin D levels. Vitamin D is created in our body through exposure to sunlight. During the winter months, it is extremely difficult for our bodies to keep up with demand for this vitamin D without additional supplementation. Contact your healthcare provider for personalized recommendations. The B vitamins are also important to overall health, wellbeing and optimal functioning and supplementation of these should also be considered.
If you are experiencing fatigue or low energy, contact your healthcare provider for further recommendations on testing and to develop a treatment plan that gets you feeling more like yourself again!
~Emily Roling, Family Nurse Practitioner