Here are 7 common causes of fatigue commonly found in seniors
By Dr. Michelle Willis ND
1. Low Iron: Many people have suboptimal levels of iron: Ferritin (your storage iron) should be 65 or above. If it is lower than this then fatigue, breath hunger, heavy legs &/or hair loss can all occur. Low iron is common in seniors, partly because to absorb iron we need optimal levels of stomach acid. As we age our stomach acid levels can drop. Or sometimes people have heartburn so are put on acid lowering drugs – which can then lead to lower iron levels.
2. Low Hormones: For women Estrogen, DHEA and Testosterone provide us with energy! If your hormones are low your energy can be negatively impacted. For men it is mostly Testosterone & DHEA that impacts the energy. As men age they tend to shunt their testosterone to estrogen which can also impact the energy negatively and increase the size of the breast tissue.
3. Low Thyroid: Sometimes people do not convert their storage Thyroid (T4) to their active form of thyroid (T3). We need zinc, selenium, iodine, progesterone and iron in order to do this effectively. Synthroid is a form of T4.
4. Adrenal Fatigue: Chronic stress & malnutrition can lead to lower levels of cortisol. If you get dizzy when you stand, get sick often or can’t clear flus very fast – low cortisol may be the issue. Sometimes adrenal fatigue will present as low energy all day followed by feeling better after 8 pm. The adrenals thrive with vitamin C, B5 and herbs called Adaptogens – along with stress management techniques.
5. Insomnia: This is basic – but most people need 8 hours of sleep & if you are not sleeping through the night due to low magnesium, low melatonin, adrenal fatigue or low hormones for example – then your energy will often be very low.
6. Blood Sugar Problems: Type 2 Diabetes can also cause fatigue: A meal that has sugar in it or not enough protein can cause a big lull in energy for the day. So focus on really high fiber food, lots of protein, lots of vegetables, nuts and seeds & healthy fats. Skip the refined foods that are processed & avoid sugar and sweets. Try having fresh fruit as a treat instead.
7. Vitamin & Mineral deficiencies: A whole foods diet is amazing for the body. That means eat everything in its whole form: ie, meat, vegetables, fruit, nuts, seeds, whole grains (like brown rice, quinoa, millet). Take you time to chew your food & you can always add in a basic digestive enzyme too. A basic Multi Vitamin/ Mineral supplement can really help also.
You can live super optimally in all decades of your life. Finding the cause of your fatigue is the first step to living your best life. Ever step you take toward your health will have a huge impact on your life. You are worth it.
For more information on addressing fatigue call Dr. Michelle Willis ND at 604-888-8325