Low energy levels in women is a common issue that we help solve here at EcoHealth Wellness Center & Detox Spa. When I sit down with a patient, I run a mental checklist in my head of seven top areas to investigate. In our paperwork, we check off all the boxes and make sure we are looking at the full picture of a patient’s health and the source of her symptoms. Detecting or eliminating these seven factors is the first step when fatigue is the major complaint.
The #1 Reason for Fatigue – Low Thyroid Function
The thyroid is the first area we evaluate when a patient suffers from low energy. Your thyroid sits at the base of your throat and controls metabolism. Your metabolism controls your energy levels.
If you have hypothyroid, you have an underfunctioning thyroid. This can cause a major imbalance in your body, manifesting in low energy, weight gain, hair loss, dry skin and constipation. Everything slows down. If you have these symptoms, your thyroid should be fully evaluated.
You need a comprehensive thyroid panel completed, including TSH, free T3, free T4 and thyroid antibodies. Your practitioner needs to be somebody who will look at a comprehensive picture and know what the lab results mean. Just because your numbers are in a very wide “normal” range, doesn’t mean your thyroid is functioning optimally. I tell my patients, if your TSH is over 2.0 (which is usually considered “normal”) but you have many hypothyroid symptoms, we need to support your thyroid.
Sometimes, when the thyroid underperforms, I supplement with iodine. Depending on your thyroid levels, you may need thyroid medication. I like to look at the whole picture, and then we can decide what to do. After all, there are six more areas to consider!
Do Hormones Cause Low Energy Levels in Females?
Yes! Hormonal balance is essential to a woman’s health! Women, especially those in perimenopause, can experience a decline in estrogen and progesterone—and even testosterone. This can cause fatigue. Perimenopause can last for up to 10 years and can start in your 40s or mid-40s, going into your 50s. Having your sex hormones evaluated is important, especially if you’re exhibiting other symptoms that may indicate a hormonal imbalance.
Are You Waking Up Tired with No Energy? Check Your Adrenals.
Your adrenals are little glands that sit right above each of your kidneys. They produce cortisol. Your cortisol naturally increases as the sun comes up in the morning. Cortisol wakes you up and gets you out of bed. It sustains your energy and then it dips in the evening.
You may have heard of the “fight or flight” response of the body. Under stress, your adrenals push extra cortisol through your body, which narrows your focus, activates your muscles and prepares your body for fight or flight. This came in handy when we were being chased by tigers. But your adrenals don’t know the difference between the stress caused by a snarling tiger and the stress caused by a snarling boss. Over long periods of stress, the adrenals get burned out and your natural cortisol rhythms don’t happen in the waves they’re supposed to.
If you wake up tired with no energy, that’s a first sign of adrenal fatigue. Especially if you must drink coffee all day long, or if you’re fatigued all day, but then you start to get energy at night. In that case your cortisol may be “flipped” and increasing at night. We can begin to assess adrenal health through saliva testing if we suspect adrenal fatigue and if you are low, there are some great herbs that help reboot the adrenals.
Mitochondria – Low Energy at the Cellular Level
The next health aspect we consider is the health of your mitochondria. Think WAY back to your cell biology class in school. The mitochondria are the powerhouses of your cells. We’re down at the functional level of cellular health. This is where we ask: What’s going on with the cells? We must fuel our body and nourish our cells with the right balance of vitamins and minerals so the mitochondria can work optimally. If we don’t get the right nutrition in our diet, we become nutrient deficient, and the mitochondria won’t produce enough energy.
Many nutrients are required to support the mitochondria, including: CoQ10, magnesium, l-carnitine, zinc and B vitamins. These are all considered co-factors, meaning they work in biochemical pathways in your cells to make energy. When you’re deficient in some of these nutrients you feel tired. Then when you start fueling your body with them, you’ll start feeling an upswing, especially in energy and focus.
Can Foods Make Me Tired?
Food sensitivities are a huge contributor to low energy levels. You may not necessarily know you’re eating foods your body is sensitive to because there’s not always an immediate, detectable effect.
The most common food sensitivities are wheat, dairy and eggs. These underlying reactions cause inflammation in the body. At EcoHealth we do a blood test to determine if you are sensitive to foods.
Sometimes, candida in the gut or another bacterial infection can worsen when you eat foods you’re sensitive to. When you eliminate foods you are sensitive to, you allow your gut to heal.
Hypoglycemia (Low Blood Sugar) as a Cause of Low Energy Levels in Women
If you are hypoglycemic, your blood sugar is unstable, which can cause massive energy swings. The usual culprit is a very carb-heavy meal that spikes your blood sugar, which then dips again. Then, you’re tired and ravenously hungry. Many people snack on fruit, thinking they’re being healthier, but fruit contains fructose. Fructose is natural sugar, but it is still sugar! And the body doesn’t need a ton of fruit all the time. Your body needs more protein and more healthy fats.
In this case, it’s important to make sure you are eating a balance of protein, carbs and fats in every meal. This stabilizes your blood sugar levels when you eat. Often, you’ll know if your blood sugar is not balanced, because you’re hungry all the time. If you eat a meal and then you’re hungry an hour later, this usually means that you did not get enough fat or protein.
You’ll know when you have a perfectly balanced meal because you’ll be satiated. You feel full for about two and a half or three hours.
Iron Deficiencies Cause Fatigue in Women
Iron deficiency is a big factor, especially for women. If you’re menstruating, you’re losing blood every month. Many women find that they are anemic. Therefore, we want to rule out low iron and ferritin levels as a possible contributing factor to fatigue. If you are anemic, we can suggest supplements to help boost your iron levels without causing toxicity.
Consult with Tiffany Jackson ND, an Expert Who Helps Solve Low Energy in Females
If you don’t want to explore all these possibilities on your own, I am here for you. Whether you are over 30, 40, 50, 0r 60 years old, our program includes getting all your blood work to detect hormone imbalances, adrenal fatigue, low iron, and food sensitivity testing done up front. Then, you sit down with me and undergo a comprehensive evaluation to review your labs, diet and blood sugar balance. We’ll put together an individualized plan for you, so you can start feeling more energetic again. It’s possible! We’ve helped hundreds of women feel like their old selves again. Check out our testimonials here.