• Johnny Roberts

Combatting fatigue & stress


Stress and fatigue are closely related - meaning they often co-occur and can influence each other. Stressful life events can cause not only PTSD, but also chronic fatigue syndrome. Below I have compiled a list of method, supplement and nutrition points that will inviably help to combat the symptoms and under lying issues of stress and fatigue. For your benefit I have also highlighted my favourite ways in red.


Ways to combat


Improving Sleep Quality


Sleep is essential for optimal health. Failing to get enough quality sleep is associated with fatigue among many other health issues. People who perform shift or night work (such as healthcare professionals) are at increased risk of sleep disturbances and fatigue

Sleep disturbances are frequent in people with chronic fatigue syndrome and can further worsen fatigue associated with these conditions.


Exercise


A sedentary lifestyle is a common cause of persistent fatigue. Several studies have reported that practicing more exercise may reduce fatigue in healthy people. Ironically, being ‘too tired’ was the most common excuse for not exercising in a study on middle-aged and elderly people.

People with chronic fatigue syndrome are at especially high risk of not meeting physical activity requirements. In people with this condition, engaging in regular physical exercise may help reduce fatigue.


Staying Hydrated


Dehydration, even mild, has been associated with increased mental fatigue in healthy people and reduced physical and cognitive performance in athletes.

In line with this, several clinical trials report that rehydration helps revert this increased fatigue while staying hydrated prevents it.


Yoga


Yoga has been shown to reduce fatigue in a few clinical trials on healthy adolescents, adults, and seniors.


Massage


A handful of clinical trials found massage effective at reducing post-exercise localized muscle fatigue and soreness.

Many studies have concluded that massage, especially myofascial release, may reduce fatigue from fibromyalgia.


Cold Exposure


Multiple studies found cold water immersion prior to exercise effective at increasing performance. During exercise, only external cooling (e.g., by wearing cooling garments) may reduce fatigue from anaerobic exercise, while both external and internal cooling (e.g., by ingesting cold beverages) seem to improve aerobic performance.


Sun Exposure


Many studies have associated vitamin D deficiency with fatigue and muscle weakness, although not all people with this deficiency experience these symptoms.

A healthy exposure to sunlight, which provides 50-90% of our vitamin D requirements, is the best way of replenishing this vitamin. In addition, you can eat food sources of this vitamin (such as fatty fish, liver, egg yolks, and dairy) or take supplements.


Sufficient Calorie Intake


Calories measure the amount of energy supplied by food, which the body uses to sustain its functions. Multiple studies show that severe calorie restriction may result in not only weight loss, but also mental and physical fatigue. Importantly, a very reduced food intake increases the risk of nutrient deficiencies.


Coffee


A comprehensive clinical study concluded that caffeine improves exercise performance in a broad range of exercise tasks, in part through its anti-fatigue effects.

When caffeine delays fatigue, the body’s muscles can contract more forcefully and allow people to exercise longer. Aerobic exercise such as running, jogging, cardio workout, swimming, and biking can benefit the most from increased training volume.

Caffeine may also improve alertness while reducing mental fatigue, especially in sleep-deprived people. Several studies report reduced fatigue from mentally-demanding tasks after taking caffeine-containing beverages. However, frequent users seem to develop tolerance to the effects of caffeine.


Cutting Down on Refined Carbohydrates


The digestion of dietary carbohydrates causes a spike in blood glucose, followed by a drastic fall due to insulin production. This effect is particularly high and fast when eating foods such as sugar-sweetened drinks, baked goods, candy, white bread, and rice. Several studies have associated their frequent consumption with mental and physical fatigue. Trying to cut down will inevitably be a great solution to combat the fatigue associated with them.


Sufficient Vitamin B12/Cobalamin Intake


Vitamin B12 is needed to make red blood cells, making it a crucial nutrient for energy production. Its deficiency causes anaemia, a condition characterized by fewer and larger blood cells and whose main symptom is fatigue.

Vitamin B12 deficiency often takes years to develop, as the body is able to store large amounts in the liver. However, vegans, pregnant women, elderly people, and those with gut issues are at a higher risk.

Common sources of this vitamin include animal products such as red meat, fish, poultry, yogurt, and milk. If you don't eat any of these sources then it might be wise to invest in a B12 supplement.


Dark Chocolate


Flavanol-rich cocoa and dark chocolate have been shown to reduce physical and mental fatigue in people with sustained mental effort, chronic fatigue syndrome, and multiple sclerosis.


Creatine


Creatine is a substance naturally produced in the body and stored in the muscles. During physical activity, creatine is released to produce the energy that will help sustain it.

Several trials show that creatine supplementation can improve athletic performance and reduce muscle fatigue by up to 14.5%.

Creatine may also improve cognitive function and reduce mental fatigue. It had these effects in people challenged with mentally-fatiguing tasks and sleep deprivation, as well as in vegetarians (whose diet lacks the main food sources of this compound). In a study on elderly people, supplementation with creatine helped revert cognitive decline.


Coenzyme Q10


In 2 clinical trials on healthy people, oral administration of coenzyme Q10 reduced fatigue and improved performance during physical exercise.

Daily supplementation with coenzyme Q10 has also been reported to improve fatigue and other symptoms in people suffering from fibromyalgia, multiple sclerosis, muscle wasting, and bipolar disorder.


Vitamin D


Many studies have associated vitamin D deficiency with fatigue and muscle weakness, although not all people with this deficiency experience these symptoms.


Ginseng


Ginseng extract treatment decreased fatigue severity in several studies of both healthy volunteers and people diagnosed with chronic fatigue syndrome.

Ginseng has also been reported to reduce fatigue from cancer.


Guarana


Guarana has been used as a stimulant for centuries by indigenous people of the Amazon and is often included in high-energy drinks for its potential energy-boosting effects and high levels of caffeine.


Rhodiola


A handful of studies suggest that different standardized rhodiola extracts may reduce fatigue and cognitive impairment caused by stress and burnout.


Melatonin


Melatonin, usually taken at bedtime, is widely used to improve jet lag symptoms such as tiredness and disrupted sleeping patterns.


5-HTP


In a small clinical trial of people suffering from fibromyalgia, supplementation with 5-hydroxytryptophan (5-HTP) improved fatigue and other symptoms of the condition in half of the patients.


Ashwagandha


Ashwagandha improved fatigue and quality of life in a clinical trial of cancer patients receiving chemotherapy.


Curcumin


In a clinical trial of people with occupational stress-related anxiety and fatigue, a highly bioavailable curcumin supplement improved the symptoms of stress and fatigue.







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