Hello to All,
I had a good deal of physical and emotional stress this past winter/spring and it led to a major crash in May. I had to revisit some of my strategies for energy improvement and I thought this would be a good choice for a blog entry.
Although many of my debilitating symptoms are gone (joint pain, muscle pain, dizziness, vertigo, panic attacks, night sweats, severe migraines), I still deal with chronic fatigue symptoms. I find that I have to deal with fatigue from four angles:
- Adrenal function
- Thyroid function
- Mitochondrial function
- Neurotransmitter deficiency
First off, my cortisol is chronically low. The adrenal glands are taxed by chronic illness or stress of all kinds. During times of emotional or physical stress I have to take prescription hydrocortisone 10mg twice a day before 2PM. This is considered a physiological dose that replaces the cortisol that my body cannot produce on its own. This helps my energy, anxiety, and pain. I am far less fragile when I take it. When the stress ends, I can switch back to an adaptogen. Maca and eleuthero are my favorites.
The second thing that helps me is thyroid support. My recent thyroid test came back slightly low (both T3 and T4, but normal TSH), so my doctor started me on thyroid hormone. An important note: I do not have autoimmune hypothyroid. It’s important for your doctor to test you for thyroid antibodies and TSH level before treating you. Autoimmune thyroid disease requires a more comprehensive treatment.
The third thing needed is mitochondrial support. Mitochondria are the body’s energy production centers inside our cells. Often they are damaged by chronic illness. I take 200mg of CoQ10 and 2,000mg of l-carnitine per day. I use a specific brand of CoQ10: Thorne Q-Best. This one actually works for me, unlike the other ones I’ve tried. I use regular l-carnitine because acetyl-l-carnitine (ALC) gives me a headache. However, ALC is supposed to cross the blood-brain barrier and is said to be better for people with chronic fatigue. Another helpful supplement for energy is d-ribose, but I avoid all sugars because of chronic yeast. Eating good fats (nuts, avocado, olive and coconut oil, etc) is also helpful to rebuild our mitochondria.
The fourth strategy that helps me is taking amino acids such as dl-phenylalanine and l-tyrosine. These aminos are the building blocks of stimulating catecholamines in the brain. L-phenylalanine is stimulating, but d-phenylalanine has anti-depressant and analgesic properties. This strategy is from The Mood Cure book by Julia Ross. I cannot recommend this book enough! I currently take 1 gram of tyrosine 2x per day. Some people report side effects, but for me it works well.
Since implementing these strategies in May, my energy has improved noticeably. I can usually make it through a day without a nap, and I can exercise or do physical work such as gardening (though I still have my down days, especially when detoxing). My ultimate goal is to repair my body so as not to need all these supports. But for now, I’m grateful to have them.