Fatigue refers to a feeling of tiredness or weariness. It can be temporary or chronic. Almost every person has to work overtime on certain occasions, sacrificing rest and sleep, which may cause temporary fatigue. This condition can be remedied by adequate rest. Chronic or continuous fatigue is, however, a serious problem that requires a comprehensive plan of treatment.
Chronic fatigue can result from a variety of factors. A specific character trait, compulsiveness, can lead to continuous fatigue. Many people constantly feel that they cannot take a rest until they finish everything that needs to be done at one time. These persons are usually perfectionists, tense, and cannot relax unless they complete the whole job, no matter how tired they may be.
Causes of Fatigue
The chief cause of fatigue is lowered vitality or lack of energy due to wrong feeding habits. Fatigue is an indication that the cells of the body are not getting sufficient live atoms in the food to furnish them with a constant flow of needed energy.
The habitual use of refined foods such as white sugar, refined cereals, and white four products as well as processed, tinned, and preserved foods have a very bad effect on the system in general. Foods ‘denatured’ in this way are deprived, to a very great extent, of their invaluable vitamins and minerals. Such foods lead to nervousness, tiredness, obesity, and a host of other complaints prevalent today.
Certain physical conditions can cause fatigue. Anemia is a very common ailment leading to tiredness. It is known as a ‘tired blood’ disturbance. In anemia, very little oxygen reaches the tissues as the resulting energy cannot be produced normally. This causes constant tiredness and mental depression. Anemia usually results from deficiencies in iron and vitamin B12.
Sometimes deficiencies of vitamin B6 and folic acid are also involved.
Insomnia or lack of sleep can be a cause of torturing fatigue. Sleep induced by sleeping pills and other drugs does not banish fatigue. Intestinal parasites can also lead to fatigue as they rob the body of good nourishment and gorge themselves on rich red blood. Other ailments which can cause fatigue are low blood pressure, low blood sugar, any kind of infection in the body, liver damage, a sluggish thyroid, and allergy to foods and drugs caused by additives including artificial flavors, colors, and preservatives.
Mental tension is one of the major causes of fatigue. A person who is tense and cannot relax has all the muscles of his body more or less contracted. This leads to needless waste of unusually large amounts of energy. Food is continuously burnt, and lactic acid accumulates more rapidly than it can be carried to the liver for conversion to body starch. Persons who are high-strung, nervous, and irritable usually suffer from this type of fatigue.
Natural Treatment of Fatigue
Nutritional measures are most vital in the treatment of fatigue. Studies reveal that people who eat small mid-meals suffer less from fatigue and nervousness, think more clearly, and are more efficient than those who eat only three meals daily. These mid-meals should consist of fresh or dried fruits, fresh fruit or vegetable juices, raw vegetables, or a small sandwich of whole grain bread.
The mid-meal should be small and less food should be consumed at regular meals. They should be taken at a specified time such as 11 a.m., or 4 p.m., and before retiring to bed.
The patient should eat healthy foods that supply energy to the body.
Charles De Coti Marsh of London in his book ‘Prescription for Energy’ prescribes foods to relieve fatigue and gain energy.
He says, ” Regenerating must begin with foods….. They must be taken in their natural state.
These cereals are corn seeds, wheat seeds, rye seeds, maize seeds, barley seeds, and oat seeds. They must be freshly milled. In uncooked cereals, we do have one perfect food for perfect health which contains essential vitamins and energy creators.” In addition to cereal seeds, Marsh recommends fresh raw nuts taken directly from the shell and root vegetables. He says, “Any seed or root vegetable that will grow again will renew human vitality.”
The patient should take an optimum diet made up of (i) seeds, nuts, and grains, (ii) vegetables, and (iii) fruits. Roughly, each food group should supply the bulk of one of the three meals.
Sprouting is an excellent way to eat seeds, beans, and grains in raw form. Sprouting increases the nutritional value of foods and many new vitamins are created or multiplied in seeds during sprouting. The patient should supplement the three health-building food groups with special protective foods such as milk, high-quality cold-pressed unrefined vegetable oil, and honey.
The patient should also take natural vitamin and mineral supplements as an effective assurance against nutritional deficiencies, as such deficiencies have been found to be a factor in fatigue.
Lack of pantothenic acid, a B vitamin, in particular, leads to extreme fatigue as deficiency of this vitamin is associated with exhaustion of the adrenal glands.
In fact, the entire B-complex protects nerves and increases energy by helping to nourish and regulate glands. The vegetarian foods rich in vitamin B are wheat and other whole grain cereals, green leafy vegetables, rice polishing, milk, nuts, banana, yeast, pulses, and peas.
Minerals are also important. Potassium is especially needed for protection against fatigue. Raw green vegetables are rich in this mineral. Calcium is essential for relaxation and is beneficial in cases of insomnia and tension both of which can lead to fatigue. Sodium and zinc are also beneficial in the treatment of fatigue.
Raw vegetable juices, especially carrot juice, taken separately or in combination with juices of beets and cucumbers, are highly valuable in overcoming fatigue. The formula proportions considered helpful in the combination juice of 500 ml. are carrot 300 ml. and beet and cucumber 100 ml. each.
The patient should avoid depending on an energy lift, on crutches such as taking aspirin, tranquilizers, and other drugs, drinking coffee or alcohol, smoking, and eating some sugar or sweets. They give only a temporary boost and this is soon followed by a downward plunge of energy, leaving a person worse than before.