The Real Reason For Your Chronic Fatigue

by | Apr 14, 2020 | Adrenal Fatigue, Naturopathy, Nutrition

It’s normal to feel tired and unmotivated sometimes.

Listening to the signs you need rest and recovery can be difficult; listening to the subtle cues of our bodies takes time and skill. 

If your low energy level feels overwhelming, or especially long lasting, or if everyday feels difficult, read on to learn why and what you can do about it.

There can be many reasons people feel tired:

  • Anemia
  • Under-active thyroid
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Iron deficiency
  • Vitamin B12 deficiency
  • Parasite infection
  • Adrenal insufficiency, or adrenal fatigue
  • Inadequate nutritional intake

Naturopathic Doctor, Dr. Kristin Spark, clinically investigates these possible causes of fatigue, by discussing accompanying symptoms such as weight gain, difficulty sleeping, dietary choices, and other signs and symptoms. Dr. Kristin also uses blood work to assist in finding the root cause of your fatigue.

Often patients seek out Dr. Kristin’s help after discussing their energy levels with their family doctor. It’s not uncommon to be told “that’s normal”, when it definitely isn’t.

Stress is a common root cause of fatigue. 

If you have experienced intense periods of stress, chronic daily low-grade stress, trauma or are a busy, go-getter, entrepreneur or athlete you need to know about adrenal fatigue. 

You may have adrenal fatigue


The organs involved in responding to stress are the adrenal glands. They chemically communicate with the brain (hypothalamus) via the pituitary gland. 

The adrenal glands produce hormones and neurotransmitters called cortisol, adrenaline and noradrenaline. They also produce aldosterone, sex hormones and DHEA.  These organs are located on top of your kidneys and you have two of them. 

Cortisol is your chronic stress hormone, and it’s involved in most of the negative health consequences of adrenal fatigue.

So, how do you know if you have an adrenal gland problem, such as adrenal fatigue? 

Signs and Symptoms of Adrenal Insufficiency:

  1. Fatigue, low energy level 
  2. Caffeine dependence – more than 2 cups of coffee or 400mg of caffeine /day
  3. Energy dips at 2-3pm in the afternoon
  4. Sleep problems and insomnia
  5. Frequently waking between 2-5am
  6. Anxiety / Feeling overwhelmed
  7. Weight gain
  8. Abdominal adiposity (belly fat)
  9. Prediabetes, hypoglycemia
  10. High cholesterol

Dr. Kristin Spark sees a lot of patients with adrenal fatigue – it’s so common in our society due to our lack of work-life balance.

Kristin encourages patients to set boundaries and include time for rest and self care as well as stress management. 

She also works with patients using supplements, lifestyle and nutrition to support the adrenal glands and boost energy naturally. Cortisol, the stress hormone, is way out of whack in people with adrenal fatigue. Caffeine stimulates the adrenal glands producing even more cortisol which adds fuel to the fire.

Lifestyle Changes to Assist in Recovery:


  • Limit alcohol use
  • Limit cigarette smoking
  • Limit caffeine consumption to 1 cup of coffee (250mL) per day
  • Limit consumption of refined carbohydrates and sugary foods – 0 servings if possible
  • Increase protein intake and eat frequently throughout the day to address glucose sugar dips/swings
  • Practise relaxation techniques, such as meditation, yoga, breathing exercises, or artistic expression
  • Include some gentle exercise a couple times per week 


Are deficiencies causing your fatigue?


Iron and B12 deficiencies are common, especially in women as we lose iron during menstruation every month. Regular blood donors are also at risk. 

If you’re struggling with chronic fatigue it’s worth getting periodic blood work with a naturopath to look at underlying deficiencies.

Why would you do blood work with a naturopath versus a your family doctor?

When reviewing blood work, doctors stick strictly within the reference ranges and may not offer treatments until a patient is outside of “normal’. 

Dr. Kristin believes that lab values are only a part of the story, and she also believes in a preventative approach. Patients often exhibit symptoms even when their blood tests are within the normal range. If you’re near the cut off of being low and you have symptoms, a naturopath would treat you because your level is obviously not optimal if you’re having symptoms. What’s optimal is different for everyone.

Hormone Changes 

Hormone changes including thyroid and sex hormones can have a huge impact on your energy levels. If you’re a woman and your energy changes are cyclical it could be due to hormonal shifts. Progesterone naturally increases as you near your period, and while it has many beneficial effects such as reducing pain and anxiety, it can also increase fatigue. While this is a normal shift and some fatigue is expected, if it’s impacting your ability to do your daily activities and commitments there may be something else going on. 

Poor sleep

Are you sleeping well? Even if you’re getting enough hours, are you waking up feeling refreshed? If not, you may not be getting the deep sleep you need to fully rejuvenate. 

Dr. Spark can help you manage sleep issues with lifestyle changes and supplements specific to your needs.

Mental health

If you struggle with depression, odds are you’re also chronically fatigued. It’s important to seek treatment for your depression in order to improve your quality of life, including your energy levels. Dr. Kristin Spark has a BSc in Major in Psychology, as well as training in CBT and health psychology. She helps clients with mental health issues as there is can often be an underlying root cause.

At Verdure Wellness Clinic we also offer clinical counselling sessions.

There’s so many causes of fatigue it can difficult to try to figure it out on your own.

When you work with Dr. Kristin Spark she does the work for you with her clinical expertise and testing then she designs a comprehensive plan to help you heal so you can have more energy and get back to living your life.

Verdure Wellness Clinic in Waterloo, ON offers naturopathic medicine, acupuncture, nutrition consulting, massage therapy and chiropractic care. Our team of health practitioners offer a variety of services with your best health and wellness in mind.

305-55 Erb Street E, Waterloo, Ontario   •    519.742.0691

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