Contrary to popular belief, fatigue is not just an inevitable product of age. Instead it is a telltale sign of hormonal imbalances for both men and women. Fatigue is not simply the feeling of being tired. It is much deeper and includes a state of lethargy over an extended period of time. Chronic fatigue fosters a range of additional symptoms often typified by hormonal imbalance such as mood swings, insomnia, depression, anxiety and even hinders adrenal function.
As an aside, many of the most important hormones are actually made from cholesterol. It is the mother of all fat molecules in the body: a cornerstone of normal cell function and mood regulation. It is needed to maintain neurotransmitter and brain function, build brain and nerve tissue, and nourish the immune system. It provides the crucial insulation around nerves that transmit electrical impulses and helps to digest fat-soluble vitamins like A, D, E and K. Indeed, it’s no wonder that fatigue, lethargy, a waning capability for work and everyday activities, brain fog, and so on, go hand in hand with hormone imbalances.
Cholesterol is often a feared term, and in my opinion, unnecessarily so. We rarely hear about why it is so crucial to our wellness and how it can be instrumental to hormonal balance and the production of vitamin D. In its natural, unstressed state, the liver makes 75% of the cholesterol needed. (However, because of alcohol, pharmaceuticals, environmental and food toxins and unprocessed anger, the liver is among the most overstressed organs in the body.) By depriving the body of cholesterol (and eating carbs and sugar instead), metabolism goes into famine mode causing the liver to overproduce cholesterol in order to make up the difference.
For men, fatigue is indicative of the male counterpart to menopause, known as andropause, and usually occurring between the ages of 45 and 55. Andropausal males not only exhibit low levels of testosterone overall, they will often become estrogen dominant. And since testosterone plays an important role in energy production, diminished levels are a major cause behind insomnia or sleep apnea, both of which contribute to fatigue in men.
For women, fatigue is especially prevalent during perimenopause and menopause. Obviously this leads to the belief that fatigue is an inevitable by-product of age. Instead, low estrogen levels (relative to the production of progesterone), many times found in menopause, can result in insomnia and night sweats, which contribute to fatigue. Diminished estrogen also causes irritability and mood swings in women which furthers exhaustion. Too little progesterone is also a problem. Low progesterone not only decreases sex drive, but contributes to a proliferative, estrogen dominant status.
Balancing hormones does not have to be an elusive scientific procedure filled with bio-identical replacements. We always recommend starting with root causes, such as environmental toxins, liver congestion, neurotransmitters in the brain, and reduction of the stress hormone cortisol, which, because of its survival component, will trump the production of all other hormones. This is the most natural and effective, lasting approach. When hormones are balanced, many things fall into place. Symptoms begin to lessen and disappear, energy levels increase and mood improves, thereby effectively reducing or eliminating the fatigue you have been experiencing.