Commonly Overlooked Causes of Chronic Exhaustion

by Dr. Julian Whitaker
Filed Under: Mood & Memory, General Health
Last Reviewed 03/26/2014

Commonly Overlooked Causes of Chronic Exhaustion

The holidays are a busy time of year that can leave you feeling run down. But if you are constantly fatigued throughout the year, your chronic exhaustion may be a result of underlying conditions that can be easily remedied.

What Causes Chronic Fatigue?

  • Low thyroid function: Your metabolic rate is controlled by thyroid hormones, the most important being triiodothyronine (T3) and thyroxine (T4). Suboptimal levels of thyroid hormones are extremely common, particularly among older women.

    Blood test and thyroid replacement drug
     – If blood tests indicate your thyroid function is low, chances are your doctor will prescribe Synthroid, the most popular thyroid replacement drug, which is a synthetic version of T4. As we get older, we become less efficient at converting T4 into T3—which may explain the age-related rise in hypothyroidism and why Synthroid fails to work in some older patients.

    Natural thyroid replacement
     – I recommend going natural for this chronic fatigue treatment. Natural thyroid (the brand I usually prescribe is Armor) contains T3, T4 and the entire gamut of thyroid hormones. It often perks up energy and alleviates other symptoms of low thyroid function, even when Synthroid has failed to help.

  • B12 deficiency: Vitamin B12 is required for the production of red blood cells and optimal functioning of the nervous system. Deficiencies in this important vitamin could be what causes your chronic fatigue and depression

    Abundance in diet
     – Make sure you’re getting enough vitamin B12 by eating a healthy diet, which is especially abundant in animal products such as meat, shellfish, cottage cheese, yogurt, milk and eggs. 

    Don’t overlook the importance of supplements
     – The body’s ability to absorb this vitamin from food declines with age. As a result, nearly a quarter of 60- to 69-year-olds and more than a third of those older than 80 are B12-deficient. Make sure your multivitamin contains a minimum of 150 mcg, and take up to 2,000 mcg if you’re deficient. You may also consider vitamin B12 injections or IV Nutrient therapy for an extra boost.

Alicia Re-Energized With Thyroid and B12

When Alicia came to our clinic, she had no energy. Even though she averaged eight hours of sleep a night, she woke up tired and had to rev herself up on caffeine to get through the day. At night she fell into bed completely exhausted. She was busy and active, but she had always led a hectic life. This debilitating chronic exhaustion was new, and it was making her cranky, frustrated and depressed.

We started Alicia on a low dose of natural thyroid replacement and B12 injections. When she checked back with us a month later, she could hardly contain her excitement. Not only had she returned to her former high level of energy, but she also lost six pounds without even trying!

We see patients like Alicia at the Whitaker Wellness Institute almost daily. If you’re suffering from persistent fatigue, talk to your doctor about having your vitamin B12 and thyroid levels checked, or consider a visit to the Whitaker Wellness Institute

Now it’s your turn: Do you have any other natural chronic exhaustion solutions that work for you?

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