Chronic Fatigue...Why Don't I Feel Well? From: Drrind.com 2009
Are you often tired or worn down? Do you have trouble sleeping? Do you have problems with your weight? Do you feel as though you’re cold all the time, and can’t warm up? Do you have dry skin? Do you sometimes have difficulty remembering things? If the answer is 'yes' to any of the above and you’re thinking it’s just something you have to live with, think again.
While all of the above seem like nothing more than day-to-day annoyances, in reality all are symptoms of low metabolic energy. The best way to eliminate these symptoms – and restore metabolic energy – is to correct the underlying problem.
What causes low metabolic energy? The most common cause is poor thyroid and/or adrenal function. Another very common cause is hormonal imbalance – especially low progesterone or estrogen dominance in women or low testosterone in men. Restoring metabolic energy helps the body help itself, letting the self repair mechanisms function well again and restore health.
What Causes Low Metabolic Energy?
Every process that goes on inside our bodies requires energy – specifically, metabolic energy. When the body doesn’t have enough energy to function properly, each component of the body will malfunction in its own unique way. For example, if the brain has too little energy, thought processes such as memory and focus become impaired.
The body needs energy to keep itself warm – a low body temperature, therefore, usually accompanies low metabolic energy. (For more examples see the above symptoms list.) In our cells, ready to use energy is in the form of ATP (adenosine triphosphate) molecules. The body converts fats, sugars, etc. into ATP that is then used for energy. However, there are other factors involved that can affect how well our body can make this conversion from those fats and sugars into the ATP molecules.
The thyroid gland, located at the base of the neck, makes the hormone T4 (thyroxine). T4 converts to T3 (triiodothyronine) and RT3 (reverse T3). The T3 turns on the ATP (energy) making machinery inside each living cell while the RT3 slows it down. Production of these thyroid hormones is controlled by TSH (Thyroid Stimulating Hormone), which is released by the pituitary gland in the brain. The pituitary takes its orders from the hypothalamus (also part of the brain). The adrenal glands, located on top of each kidney, help the body deal with stress.
If the metabolic activity is excessive, the adrenals perceive this as a stress. In response to this stress, the hypothalamus will signal the pituitary to produce less TSH, thus producing decreased T4 and thyroid activity.
Based on the above explanation, some of the contributors to low metabolic energy are:
* The thyroid gland can not make enough T4 (hypothyroidism). * The adrenal glands are too weak to handle the stress of the body’s normal metabolic energy and force a down-regulation of energy production. * The enzymes (cellular machinery) which make ATP may be held back due to chemical interference such as toxins, lack of needed ingredients (vitamins or minerals), or breakdown due to auto-immune disease or old viral damage. * Hormonal imbalance such as growth hormone, testosterone, estrogen, or progesterone. * Severe caloric restriction.
When one or a combination of these factors is in place the symptoms of low metabolic energy – such as fatigue, weight issues, memory loss, cold hands, dry skin – may start to appear.
Diagnosing Metabolic Energy Problems
To restore energy to a healthy level, the causative problem(s) must be corrected. Toxic exposure, nutritional deficiencies, food allergies (e.g., to wheat), viral, and auto- immune damage are all, to some degree, universal. If severe enough, any one of these (or a combination of several lesser ones) can overwhelm the body’s metabolic mechanisms and become the cause of the problem. However, these are not as common as the low metabolism caused by adrenal and/or thyroid dysfunction.
How do I know if it is low adrenal or thyroid?
If poor thyroid function is the only cause, we typically see a reddish complexion, thinning of the outer eyebrows, easy weight gain, depression, sluggishness, excessive sleep, high blood pressure, and a decreased ability to fight infection.
Conversely, if poor adrenal function is the only cause, we typically see pallor, full eyebrows, difficulty gaining weight (if the problem is severe), difficulty losing weight (if the problem is moderate), anxiety, exaggerated startle reflex, insomnia and un- refreshing sleep, low blood pressure, allergies and auto-immune problems. Most people have a mixture of poor thyroid and poor adrenal function rather than purely one or the other, and therefore a mixture of symptoms.
They are very useful feedback tools for proper diagnosis and treatment of low metabolic energy. (taken from drrind.com)
* Metabolic Scorecard™: A method for looking at symptoms to provide guidance on whether there are adrenal, thyroid, or a mixture of problems.
* Metabolic Temperature Graph™: A method for measuring and interpreting daily temperatures to gain insight into metabolic energy issues associated with both adrenal and thyroid function.
A great thyroid test that you can do at home is a temperature test. Keep a thermometer beside your bed. When you awaken in the morning, before moving around (yes, even before you make a trip to the bathroom), tuck the thermometer snugly in your armpit and keep it in place for 15 minutes. Keep as still as possible. Then, remove the thermometer, take a reading, and write down the results.
Follow this procedure for three days, then determine an average reading by adding all three readings together and dividing by three. If you're average temperature is below 97.5 degrees F., in all probability you are suffering from subclinical hypothyroidism.
* Thyroid Scale™: A method of evaluating thyroid lab data (TSH, Free T4, and Free T3) relating them to optimal values as well as each other. This provides a clearer picture of what is going on as opposed to the old, 'your lab values are all normal', answer. Then look at the Thyroid Scale Matrix
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