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Natural Awakenings Rhode Island

Fatigue, Exhaustion and Low Energy

Diagnosing Underlying Causes Through Integrative Medicine

by Donna Zaken

There are many causes of fatigue, many of which do not show up on standard laboratory testing. The Mayo clinic suggests that Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) does not have a known cause, reporting that the best known treatment is sleep aids and/or antidepressants.

In the world of integrative health care, CFS is looked upon quite differently. Although anemia, hypothyroidism, infections (viral, fungal, parasitic, bacterial), depression and stress do need to be ruled out, there are several other underlying causes which, once discerned, can be easily treated, leading to a reversal of symptoms.

Undiagnosed Hypothyroidism

If laboratory work is negative, most doctors will tell patients there is nothing wrong with their thyroid, and they will not treat their symptoms. David Brownstein, M.D., has published several books about hypothyroidism and why it is important to treat the whole person rather than relying solely on the results of a blood test for diagnosis.

Mold biotoxin illness

Environmental illnesses such as mold exposure and heavy metal exposure are not typically taught to medical doctors in medical school; therefore they are not considered a cause for fatigue. People who have been exposed to mold can experience fatigue and may have additional symptoms such as brain fog, chemical sensitivity, and respiratory and gastrointestinal issues.

Mold can grow in as little as 48 hours as a result of water leakage that is either not identified or cleaned up soon enough. People who may have been exposed to mold in the home or work environment may not notice symptoms until years later, or may not correlate their symptoms with the exposure. Approximately 25 percent of the population has a genetic deficiency that prevents their bodies from being able to efficiently remove mold. This can be reversed by first remediating the environment, which may be all that is needed. Some home owner’s policies cover mold remediation. Some people will require supplements which kill the mold internally and bind it so it can be carried out via the colon. Far infrared sauna can be helpful, also.

Heavy metal exposure/toxicity

Heavy metal exposure and toxicity is a known cause of chronic fatigue, and only integratively trained practitioners know how to test, diagnose and treat it. Heavy metals such as cadmium, mercury and aluminum are airborne now, and contamination from the air, water and/or food is common.

Mercury fillings can also contribute to mercury toxicity. Some dentists continue to use mercury fillings in spite of the known dangers. Removing mercury fillings should be done by a biological dentist who takes proper precautions and is specially trained to avoid the vapors from being absorbed into the body during removal. The International Academy of Oral Medicine and Toxicology can direct individuals to a biological dentist.

Heavy metal toxicity can lead to chronic Lyme disease, immune compromise, cancer, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease and many other chronic and debilitating conditions. Fortunately, once toxicity is diagnosed, it can be remedied.

More than 100 biochemical detoxification reactions take place in the liver, any of which may not be functioning properly. People who are not good detoxifiers are more prone to heavy metal toxicity, frequent infections and connective tissue pain and/or stiffness. When the body is not able to detoxify, the adrenal glands and immune system become compromised, which can lead to fatigue, pain, infections, insomnia, headaches, cancer and many other chronic symptoms and illnesses.

Delayed Hypersensitivity Reactions to Food

It can take up to 72 hours after ingestion of a food to cause an inflammatory reaction in the body, making it extremely difficult to associate a food sensitivity with symptoms. Standard allergy testing may not reveal a delayed hypersensitivity reaction, and individuals may be told that they do not have food sensitivities. Luckily, several forms of kinesiology exist— autonomic response testing, nutritional response testing and neuro-emotional technique—that can help people discover which foods they may be sensitive to. If discovered, there are ways to desensitize a person, after removing the offending food and healing the gut.

For those suffering from fatigue, recovery exists by getting to the underlying causes of the problem. Treatment for chronic fatigue symptoms should be under the care of a skilled integrative practitioner who can help individuals regain the good health and quality of life they deserve.

Donna Zaken, is a registered nurse and adult health nurse practitioner at the Integrative Center for Chronic Diseases, located at 35 S. Angell St., Providence. For more information, call 401-585-7877, email [email protected] or visit See ad on page ??.