What is it?
Fatigue, characterized as physical and/or mental weariness, occur either as a symptom of illness or as a side effect of medication. Normal fatigue occurs as a result of exertion, stress, or dealing with illness (e.g., fighting off a cold).
What causes it?
Common, reversible causes of fatigue are sleep disorder, depression, cardiac disease, anemia, and hypothyroidism. High blood pressure, depression, antihistamine, sleeping, and anti-anxiety medications may also cause fatigue related side effects.
What role might cytokines play?
Cytokines most likely impact fatigue via disturbances in brain function with resultant sleep disturbances, such as sleep apnea. Additional fatigue occurs when there is a malfunction in the cardiopulmonary system that results in restless sleep due to poor breathing. Finally, fatigue may be due to stress hormones (adrenalin and cortisone) induced by excess cytokine production in fat and liver cells. Improvement in symptoms is clearly related to improvement in toxic cytokine levels (TNF, IL-1 and IL-6, CRP, and others).
What results could I expect with MNT?
Fatigue often responds to the MNT Plan, regardless of cause. It is also one of the symptoms to return quickly with overeating/ weight gain.
Fatigue is an important symptom to follow with each progressive Phase, typically responding to the first two Food Phases of the Plan.
How can I measure symptom change on the plan?
First, you need to be clear about what may be causing your fatigue. Your physician may need to evaluate you for cardiac illness, hypothyroidism, anemia, or major depressive disorder.
Because many medications associated with fatigue side effects are prescribed for other conditions that respond to MNT, you and your doctor may find over time that your need for these medications will diminish. Take a baseline measurement of your fatigue and re-measure after each Food Phase or every four weeks.
Most importantly, you (and your doctor) need a way to measure progress over time. Talk with your doctor at each regular visit about your symptoms and how they have changed using the Plan. As with any medical condition, treatment traditionally means taking medications to reduce symptoms. With MNT, you may find that you will need to take less medication OR perhaps discontinue your medications entirely. If you are taking prescription medicines, talk to your doctor about when and how to cut down on what you take BEFORE you make any changes.