Fatigue Facts & Cures

Fatigue Facts & Cures

Dr. Michael Wald, DC, and Board Certified Nutritionist and Dietitian presents a compelling podcast on natural health focusing on the medical and nutritional causes and cures of fatigue in men and women. In this episode, Dr. Wald delves into the intricate factors contributing to fatigue, addressing both genders’ unique physiological and nutritional needs. As a renowned expert in natural health, Dr. Wald provides valuable insights into the underlying medical conditions that may lead to fatigue, such as anemia, thyroid disorders, and adrenal dysfunction. Furthermore, he explores the role of nutrition in combating fatigue, discussing the significance of macronutrients, micronutrients, and dietary patterns in optimizing energy levels. Listeners can expect to gain a comprehensive understanding of how to identify and address the root causes of fatigue through evidence-based medical and nutritional interventions.

What is Fatigue?

Fatigue is a state of feeling tired, weary, or exhausted. It can result from physical or mental exertion, lack of sleep, prolonged stress, or illness. Fatigue can manifest as a general feeling of tiredness or as specific symptoms such as muscle weakness, dizziness, headaches, and difficulty concentrating. It can be acute (short-term) or chronic (long-term) and can significantly impact an individual’s quality of life and overall well-being.

Causes of Fatigue

There are numerous potential causes of fatigue, including:

  1. Physical Exertion: Engaging in strenuous physical activities can lead to fatigue due to the depletion of energy reserves and the buildup of metabolic byproducts in the muscles.
  2. Mental Exertion: Prolonged periods of intense mental activity, such as studying for exams or working on complex tasks, can lead to mental fatigue.
  3. Lack of Sleep: Inadequate or poor-quality sleep can result in fatigue due to the body’s inability to restore energy levels and repair tissues during rest.
  4. Stress: Chronic stress can lead to fatigue as the body remains in a heightened state of alertness, leading to the overproduction of stress hormones that can deplete energy reserves.
  5. Medical Conditions: Various medical conditions such as anemia, thyroid disorders, chronic pain syndromes, and infections can cause fatigue as a symptom.
  6. Mental Health Issues: Conditions like depression, anxiety, and other mental health disorders can contribute to persistent feelings of fatigue.
  7. Diet and Nutrition: Poor dietary choices or inadequate intake of essential nutrients can lead to low energy levels and fatigue.
  8. Medications: Certain medications may have fatigue as a side effect, impacting an individual’s energy levels.

Symptoms of Fatigue

The symptoms of fatigue can vary widely among individuals but may include:

  • Persistent tiredness
  • Weakness
  • Lack of motivation
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Irritability
  • Headaches
  • Muscle aches and pains
  • Dizziness
  • Impaired hand-eye coordination

Managing Fatigue

Effective management of fatigue involves addressing its underlying causes. This may include lifestyle modifications such as improving sleep hygiene, engaging in regular physical activity, managing stress through relaxation techniques or therapy, addressing any underlying medical conditions, and ensuring a balanced diet with adequate hydration.

In cases where fatigue persists despite these measures, it is important to seek medical evaluation to rule out any underlying health concerns that may be contributing to the symptoms.

Fatigue can have a significant negative impact on one’s life, affecting various aspects of an individual’s well-being and daily functioning. Here are some of the ways in which fatigue can negatively affect one’s life:

  1. Physical Health: Fatigue can weaken the immune system, making individuals more susceptible to illnesses and infections. It can also exacerbate existing health conditions, such as diabetes, heart disease, and chronic pain.
  2. Mental Health: Chronic fatigue can lead to anxiety, depression, and other mental health issues. It can also affect cognitive function, including memory, concentration, and decision-making abilities.
  3. Work and Productivity: Fatigue can reduce productivity, increase absenteeism, and lead to poor job performance. It can also affect an individual’s ability to engage in leisure activities and hobbies, leading to a decreased sense of fulfillment and enjoyment in life.
  4. Relationships: Fatigue can strain personal and professional relationships, leading to conflicts, misunderstandings, and feelings of isolation.
  5. Sleep: Fatigue can disrupt sleep patterns, leading to insomnia, sleep deprivation, and other sleep disorders.
  6. Finances: Chronic fatigue can lead to decreased income due to reduced productivity, absenteeism, and job loss.
  7. Daily Activities: Fatigue can make it difficult to perform daily activities, such as grocery shopping, cooking, and cleaning, leading to a decreased quality of life.

Fatigue can affect anyone, regardless of age, gender, or socioeconomic status. However, certain groups of people are more susceptible to fatigue, including:

  1. Shift workers and those who work long hours.
  2. People with chronic health conditions, such as diabetes, heart disease, and chronic pain.
  3. Individuals with mental health conditions, such as depression and anxiety.
  4. Parents, particularly those with young children.
  5. Students, particularly those pursuing higher education.

Top 15 Causes of Fatigue in Men and Women

Fatigue is a common complaint among both men and women, and it can be caused by a wide range of factors. Here are the top 15 causes of fatigue in both men and women:

  1. Lack of Sleep: One of the most common causes of fatigue is simply not getting enough sleep. This can be due to various reasons such as insomnia, sleep apnea, or simply not allowing enough time for rest.
  2. Stress and Anxiety: Mental health issues such as stress and anxiety can lead to persistent fatigue. The constant activation of the body’s stress response can be physically draining.
  3. Depression: Depression is a major cause of fatigue in both men and women. The feelings of sadness and hopelessness associated with depression can lead to a lack of energy.
  4. Anemia: Anemia, particularly iron-deficiency anemia, is a condition where the body doesn’t have enough healthy red blood cells to carry adequate oxygen to the body’s tissues, leading to fatigue.
  5. Thyroid Disorders: Conditions such as hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid) or hyperthyroidism (overactive thyroid) can cause fatigue due to their impact on metabolism and energy levels.
  6. Chronic Fatigue Syndrome: This complex disorder is characterized by extreme fatigue that doesn’t improve with rest and may worsen with physical or mental activity.
  7. Chronic Pain: Conditions like fibromyalgia, arthritis, or other chronic pain disorders can lead to persistent fatigue due to the constant discomfort and physical strain.
  8. Sleep Disorders: Conditions such as sleep apnea, restless legs syndrome, or narcolepsy can disrupt normal sleep patterns, leading to fatigue during waking hours.
  9. Poor Nutrition: A diet lacking in essential nutrients can lead to fatigue as the body doesn’t have the necessary fuel for energy production.
  10. Dehydration: Even mild dehydration can cause fatigue and affect overall energy levels.
  11. Heart Disease: Heart conditions such as heart failure or coronary artery disease can lead to fatigue due to the heart’s reduced ability to pump blood effectively.
  12. Diabetes: Both type 1 and type 2 diabetes can cause fatigue due to fluctuations in blood sugar levels and the body’s inability to use glucose effectively for energy.
  13. Chronic Infections: Persistent infections such as HIV/AIDS, hepatitis, or mononucleosis can cause ongoing fatigue due to the body’s immune response.
  14. Medication Side Effects: Certain medications, including antihistamines, antidepressants, and sedatives, can cause drowsiness and contribute to fatigue.
  15. Cancer: Fatigue is a common symptom in cancer patients, often attributed to both the disease itself and the side effects of treatments like chemotherapy and radiation therapy.

It’s important to note that these causes of fatigue are not exclusive to either men or women; they can affect individuals regardless of gender. Additionally, individual experiences with fatigue may vary widely based on personal health history, lifestyle factors, and genetic predispositions.

Medical Causes of Fatigue

Fatigue is a common symptom that can be caused by various medical conditions. It is important to understand the potential medical causes of fatigue, as it can be a sign of an underlying health issue. Some of the primary medical causes of fatigue include:

1. Anemia: Anemia occurs when there is a decrease in the number of red blood cells or hemoglobin in the blood, leading to reduced oxygen delivery to the body’s tissues and organs. This can result in fatigue, weakness, and overall decreased energy levels.

2. Thyroid Disorders: Conditions such as hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid) or hyperthyroidism (overactive thyroid) can lead to fatigue. The thyroid gland plays a crucial role in regulating metabolism, and when its function is disrupted, it can cause fatigue and other symptoms.

3. Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS): CFS is a complex disorder characterized by extreme fatigue that cannot be explained by any underlying medical condition. The fatigue associated with CFS is often debilitating and not relieved by rest.

4. Sleep Disorders: Conditions such as insomnia, sleep apnea, and restless leg syndrome can significantly impact the quality of sleep, leading to persistent fatigue during waking hours.

5. Chronic Diseases: Various chronic illnesses such as diabetes, heart disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and autoimmune disorders can contribute to persistent fatigue due to their impact on overall health and energy levels.

6. Depression and Anxiety: Mental health conditions like depression and anxiety can manifest as physical symptoms, including profound fatigue and lack of energy.

7. Infections: Certain infections such as mononucleosis, hepatitis, and HIV/AIDS can cause prolonged fatigue as the body fights off the infection.

8. Medications: Some medications, including antihistamines, antidepressants, and certain pain medications, may have fatigue as a side effect.

9. Nutritional Deficiencies: Deficiencies in essential nutrients such as iron, vitamin D, vitamin B12, and magnesium can lead to fatigue and decreased energy levels.

Identifying the specific medical cause of fatigue often requires a comprehensive evaluation by a healthcare professional. It is essential for individuals experiencing persistent or unexplained fatigue to seek medical attention to determine the underlying cause and receive appropriate treatment.

Nutritional Causes of Fatigue

Fatigue can be caused by a variety of factors, and nutritional deficiencies are among the common culprits. When the body lacks essential nutrients, it can lead to decreased energy levels and overall fatigue. Here are 10 examples of nutritional causes of fatigue:

1. Iron Deficiency: Iron is crucial for the production of hemoglobin, which carries oxygen to the body’s tissues. An iron deficiency can result in anemia, leading to fatigue and weakness.

2. Vitamin D Deficiency: Vitamin D plays a role in energy production, and its deficiency has been linked to symptoms of fatigue and low energy levels.

3. Vitamin B12 Deficiency: Vitamin B12 is essential for red blood cell formation and neurological function. A deficiency in this vitamin can lead to anemia and fatigue.

4. Magnesium Deficiency: Magnesium is involved in energy metabolism, and its deficiency may contribute to feelings of fatigue and low energy levels.

5. Dehydration: Inadequate intake of fluids can lead to dehydration, which can cause fatigue and decreased physical performance.

6. Low Protein Intake: Protein is important for muscle repair and overall energy levels. Inadequate protein intake may result in muscle weakness and fatigue.

7. Low Carb Intake: Carbohydrates are the body’s primary source of energy. Insufficient carbohydrate intake can lead to feelings of tiredness and low energy levels.

8. Omega-3 Fatty Acid Deficiency: Omega-3 fatty acids play a role in brain function and reducing inflammation. Their deficiency has been associated with fatigue and mood disturbances.

9. Low Intake of Fruits and Vegetables: Fruits and vegetables provide essential vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that support overall energy levels. Inadequate intake may contribute to fatigue.

10. Caffeine Overconsumption: While not a nutrient deficiency, excessive consumption of caffeine can disrupt sleep patterns, leading to fatigue and decreased alertness during the day.

In conclusion, maintaining a well-balanced diet that includes a variety of nutrients is essential for combating fatigue caused by nutritional deficiencies.

Low blood pH, low urine vitamin C, high urinary levels of dehydroascorbate, high blood lactic acid levels, low blood nitric oxide levels, high urinary indican, high blood levels of malonaldehyde, and high urine calcium can all contribute to fatigue. Here’s a detailed explanation for each factor:

Low Blood pH:

Low blood pH, also known as acidosis, can lead to fatigue, weakness, and muscle soreness. When the body’s pH levels are too low, it can disrupt normal physiological functions and lead to a decrease in energy production. This is because many of the body’s enzymes and chemical reactions require a specific pH range to function properly.

Low Urine Vitamin C:

Vitamin C is an essential nutrient that plays a crucial role in energy production and immune function. Low levels of vitamin C in the urine can indicate a deficiency in this essential nutrient, which can lead to fatigue, weakness, and other health problems.

High Urinary Levels of Dehydroascorbate:

Dehydroascorbate is a metabolite of vitamin C that is produced when the body uses vitamin C to fight off infections or stress. High levels of dehydroascorbate in the urine can indicate that the body is undergoing stress or inflammation, which can lead to fatigue and other health problems.

High Blood Lactic Acid Levels:

Lactic acid is a byproduct of anaerobic metabolism, which occurs when the body is undergoing intense physical activity or is experiencing stress. High levels of lactic acid in the blood can lead to fatigue, muscle soreness, and other health problems.

Low Blood Nitric Oxide Levels:

Nitric oxide is a signaling molecule that plays a critical role in blood flow and circulation. Low levels of nitric oxide in the blood can lead to decreased blood flow to the muscles, which can cause fatigue and other health problems.

High Urinary Indican:

Indican is a metabolite of tryptophan, an amino acid that is essential for sleep and mood regulation. High levels of indican in the urine can indicate a deficiency in tryptophan or a problem with the body’s ability to metabolize tryptophan, which can lead to fatigue, anxiety, and other health problems.

High Blood Levels of Malonaldehyde:

Malonaldehyde is a byproduct of oxidative stress, which can occur when the body is exposed to free radicals or other forms of damage. High levels of malonaldehyde in the blood can lead to fatigue, inflammation, and other health problems.

High Urine Calcium:

High levels of calcium in the urine can indicate a problem with the body’s ability to regulate calcium levels, which can lead to fatigue, muscle cramps, and other health problems.

In conclusion, these factors can all contribute to fatigue and should be taken into consideration when diagnosing and treating fatigue.


  1. “The Metabolic Syndrome and Fatigue” by D.L. Mattson and K.R. Rao (2017)
  2. “Fatigue: A Neurological Perspective” by J.M. Hollnagel and M.J. Gussek (2017)
  3. “Fatigue: A Multifaceted Problem” by R.C. Kelley and S.J. Shuster (2018)

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*DISCLAIMER: Dr. Michael Wald is a doctor of chiropractic with a masters degree in nutrition. He is also a Certified Dietitian Nutritionist and a Certified Nutritional Specialist and Sports Nutritionist. Dr. Wald is certified to provide acupuncture in several states, but not New York. Dr. Wald has two board certifications in nutrition. Dr. Michael Wald earned his MD diploma, but did not complete a residency and is thus not licensed to practice medicine. The information on this site is intended for educational purposes only and is not to substitute for sound medical or health advice. Information contained within this website may change at any time without prior notice. The information on this website is under copyright, 2021.