Do you feel tired often but not sure why?
You go to bed early, sleep for long enough and still feel fatigued when you wake up.
It sucks because there’s so much you want to do, so much you want to achieve but can’t find the energy to do it without feeling like you’re burnt out.
If you get enough rest (at least 7–8 hours per night), eat healthily, exercise daily and still feel tired, it might be a sign of a vitamin or mineral deficiency.
Grab a cup of tea or coffee, sit back and read on as we dive into the details of what Chronic Fatigue is, how Vitamin D and Chronic Fatigue are related and what to do if you have it.
What is Chronic Fatigue?
Chronic Fatigue or Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) is a type of extreme tiredness that lasts for at least six months.
It’s a condition where you feel tired all the time, any mental or physical activity makes it worse and you don’t feel refreshed by sleep.
In the scientific community, this is also known as Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (ME).
Chronic Fatigue can affect anyone, even children but it most commonly affects women in their mid-20s and mid-40s.
According to an Institute of Medicine (IOM) report, an estimated 836,000 to 2.5 million Americans suffer from Chronic Fatigue Syndrome or ME.
Do I have Chronic Fatigue?
Now that you know what Chronic Fatigue is, how to know if you have it?
Some symptoms observed and studied by the medical community include
- Feeling sick or dizzy
- Problems thinking, remembering or concentrating
- Sleep that doesn’t feel refreshing
- Insomnia and Sleep Problems
- Sore Throat
- Unexplained Muscle or Joint Pain
If you have one or more of the above symptoms for a long time (chronic) it’s best to speak to a doctor for the best and correct diagnosis.
Vitamin D and Chronic Fatigue
Now you’re probably thinking, what causes Chronic Fatigue and is there a relation between Vitamin D and Chronic Fatigue?
Yes, there is a relationship between Vitamin D and Chronic Fatigue.
In a study done by the Cooper Research Institute in 2014 with 174 adult patients, it was found that 77.2% of the patients had low Vitamin D levels.
Furthermore, a correction of Vitamin D levels significantly improved their fatigue symptoms.
What The Experts Say
Dr Akash Sinha from Newcastle Upon Tyne Hospital’s NHS Foundation Trust says.
“Examining this small group of patients with vitamin D deficiency who experienced symptoms of muscle fatigue, we found that those with very low vitamin D levels improved their muscle efficiency significantly when their vitamin D levels were improved.”
Registered Nutritionist Elizabeth Stewart (at Vitl) says about Vitamin D
“Studies have shown the positive effect of physical activity on energy levels, making it one of the best ways to deal with tiredness,”
In other words, there is a direct link between low Vitamin D levels and chronic fatigue.
Real Life Symptoms and Experiences
We decided to go one step deeper into Facebook Groups to find out what fatigue symptoms people have reported due to a Vitamin D deficiency.
It’s quite evident from the above post that a majority of people have experienced extreme fatigue due to Vitamin D deficiencies.
Let’s take a look at another real case
You can see from the comments that after taking Vitamin D daily with the cofactors (Magnesium, Vitamin K) this person felt a lot better.
Let’s look at another
This lady shares her experience of how her chronic fatigue symptoms began to go away after she was treated for a Vitamin D deficiency.
Another example below
In this case, the GP recommended the patient take 1,000 IU Vitamin D to improve the “insufficient” levels.
The last case
This patient shares her story of fatigue following a Vitamin D deficiency. This is just one of several posts and you can see there is a strong relationship between fatigue and a Vitamin D deficiency.
Testing For Chronic Fatigue
Unfortunately, there is no single test for Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.
Chronic Fatigue Syndrome is a complex condition and overlaps with a lot of other illnesses so it’s tough to say for sure.
Yet, there are guidelines and checks doctors can do to isolate the symptoms and rule out other conditions.
Blood and Kidney Tests help identify and rule out anaemia (iron deficiency), vitamin deficiencies, liver or kidney problems.
Overcoming Chronic Fatigue
Now that you know more about Chronic Fatigue and its relationship with Vitamin D, here are some steps you can take to improve the symptoms.
Boost Vitamin D Levels
Studies have shown low Vitamin D levels to have a direct impact on Chronic Fatigue.
If you’re experiencing Chronic Fatigue, take a Vitamin D level test as soon as possible to find out your levels.
If low or you’re thinking can vitamin d supplements cause insomnia, speak to a GP or haematologist who can prescribe the correct Vitamin D supplements to help boost your levels.
Also consume foods like oily fish, eggs, fortified milk and cereal to get some Vitamin D from your diet.
How Quickly Does Vitamin D Work For Fatigue?
A Vitamin D deficiency typically takes 3–4 months for levels to improve. Assuming no other health condition, you may see a reduction in fatigue within 6 months.
What Vitamins Should I Take For Chronic Fatigue?
Besides Vitamin D deficiency, there is little evidence to show that supplements reduce the symptoms of Chronic Fatigue.
If you still decide to take it — Folic Acid, Iron, Omega-3 and Magnesium have good health benefits.
It’s recommended to check with your doctor before starting any supplement treatment.
A natural and easy way to improve your chances of overcoming Chronic Fatigue is by adopting healthy lifestyle habits.
Eating whole food and a healthy diet is a great way to start. Your body uses less energy to digest the food and hence less chance of making the fatigue worse.
Try small amounts of exercise like walking, yoga or pilates and take lots of rest. This will not only help you stay active but also make you feel better.
Put in place good sleeping habits like
– no blue light at least 1 hour before bed
– setting a regular time for sleeping
– limiting heavy food and alcohol consumption during dinner time
– avoiding caffeine in the afternoon and late evenings
All help and contribute towards reducing fatigue.
Other practices to consider include deep breathing and mindfulness to stay calm and relax your mind.
While there is no one-stop-shop solution to Chronic Fatigue, there are a few things you can do to ease some of the symptoms.
Checking for Vitamin D deficiency and adopting a healthy lifestyle can help reduce Chronic Fatigue symptoms.
Unfortunately, there is no magic cure but if you focus on eliminating the potential causes you’ll be in a better position to overcome them and live a healthy happy life.
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