Thyroid : Figuring Out What's Causing Fatigue

DR KOMOROFF Universal Uclick

Dear Doctor K: I'm in good health and I've been sleeping well. But I'm tired all the time. Could my food choices be causing this lethargy?

Dear Reader: Most of us experience some mid-afternoon drowsiness. But if you feel groggy throughout the day, that could be reason for concern.

Many diseases cause fatigue; among the more common are anemia and underactive thyroid.

The impact of food on your energy level is usually minor. Still, nutritional factors can contribute to fatigue.

Not eating often enough. Eating small meals and snacks throughout the day maintains your energy level better than eating one or two large meals. Eating frequently creates a steadier level of sugar in the blood, with less pronounced peaks and valleys. For most people, the ideal eating pattern is breakfast, lunch and dinner, with light snacks in between.

Overeating. A big meal floods your blood with sugar, giving you a temporary energy lift. But this is followed by an inevitable crash and feeling of lethargy.

Lack of fluids. Fatigue is one of the first signs of dehydration. Drink when you're thirsty. Drink extra water if you've consumed a caffeinated beverage or alcohol. And drink plenty of water before and during exercise.

Vitamin and mineral deficiencies. Being deficient in some vitamins and minerals can cause fatigue. The most common deficiencies are of iron, magnesium, dietary calcium, vitamin B-12 and vitamin D. For most people, deficiencies are easy to remedy with supplements.

Fatigue-inducing foods. Milk, poultry, corn, brown rice, chickpeas, pumpkin seeds, peanuts, bananas, dates and chocolate all contain a nutrient (called L-tryptophan) that helps you feel relaxed and possibly fatigued.

We have more information in our Special Health Report, "Boosting Your Energy." (Learn more about this report at, or call 877-649-9457 toll-free to order it.)

Write Dr. K at or c/o Universal Uclick, 1130 Walnut, Kansas City, MO 64106
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