5 Overlooked Causes of Chronic Fatigue

“You’re over-stressed.”

“You’re working too hard.”

“Everyone experiences abnormal fatigue from time to time.”

These are the things people often hear when they speak to a doctor about persistent fatigue.

Although people do experience fatigue from time to time, chronic fatigue that you cannot shake is NOT normal. We understand that if you suffer from chronic fatigue, we must seek out and uncover the underlying cause of it.

Here are 5 often undiagnosed or overlooked causes of debilitating fatigue:

Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth (SIBO): An overgrowth of the amount of bacteria in the small intestine leads to all kinds of health problems, including chronic fatigue. Approaching SIBO from a functional medicine perspective involves identifying the reasons for overgrowth, elimination of the imbalanced bacteria and diet modifications to restore health to the digestive system.

Adrenal Fatigue: This health complication arises when our adrenal glands are fatigued and functioning at a lower capacity than they should be. Adrenals regulate our body’s response to stress. Keep in mind stress is not only mental and emotional, but also from things like an unhealthy diet, poor sleep, and even child birth. When we have been overly stressed for extended periods of time the glands begin to function poorly. One of the most prominent symptoms of adrenal fatigue is extreme exhaustion, which can be so debilitating that one is barely able to make it through the day and it is difficult to wake up in the mornings even after a full night of sleep. Adrenal fatigue is a syndrome that is not often recognized by modern doctors, but functional medicine recognizes this as a common cause of chronic fatigue.

Thyroid Disorders: Since the thyroid plays an important role in regulating energy levels, when thyroid hormones are not being adequately produced, chronic fatigue can ensue. Chronic fatigue is commonly known as a symptom of Hypothyroidism (an underactive thyroid), along with others such as brain fog, weight gain and dry skin.

Toxins: If you are suffering from chronic fatigue and have a history of spending time in old buildings or buildings with water damage, mycotoxins might be to blame. Another toxic culprit may be heavy metal toxicity. This happens after an exposure to dangerous amounts of heavy metals, including eating mercury-laden fish, mercury fillings in teeth, or occupational hazards. If testing shows the presence of mycotoxins or heavy metals, treatment is geared towards removing toxins from your body and treating any issues that have arisen due to the exposure.

Food Sensitivities: Unlike allergies, which have sudden and potentially fatal reactions, food sensitivities lead to inflammation throughout the body over the course of hours or even days. Gluten, dairy, soy and corn are the most common foods for people to have sensitivities to which can lead to a leaky gut. Functional medicine reveals these sensitivities through blood tests and/or elimination diets to determine which foods need to be eliminated from your diet, so that your body can repair and improve energy production.