Are you Fatigued and Exhausted all the Time?
Clients, in all but a few cases, come to see me when they experience a physical problem.
When I see a new client, or for that matter existing clients, I usually ask them if they feel stressed or if there is any area of their life where they are not coping particularly well. This could be things like work life balance, feeling overwhelmed by having too much to do in both areas. I get one of two responses; either the person says that some area of their life is causing them stress or worry or “No, I don’t really feel stressed, I’m coping OK”. This later response could be accurate but often it is not because their body is telling them a different story. This is because we have adapted to the stressors in our life and think that our lifestyle pace is “normal” usually because everyone around us seems to be the same. In other words we have developed coping mechanisms which help us adapt to the stress.
Stress and its Affect on Breathing and Blood pH
If the stress in our life is constant (for instance work stress) the body tends to be always in some level of a fight/flight response to our circumstances. When this occurs we not only have elevated levels of hormones such as cortisol (a stress mediator) and adrenaline (which increases heart rate and stimulates higher blood sugar levels among other things) but our breathing is affected. There is a tendency towards much shallower breathing mostly into the upper part of the chest. The upper third of the lungs has about 20% of the total blood supply to the lungs as opposed to the lower two thirds which have approximately 80% of the blood supply. Oxygen take up is therefore decreased and often carbon dioxide is expelled at a greater rate then is normal. You may think that this can only be a good thing. However in response to the loss of carbonic acid the body excretes bicarbonate in order to maintain a stable pH. The body also uses chloride, phosphorus, sodium, calcium and magnesium and potassium to maintain the acid/alkaline balance of the body. If our oxygen intake and carbon dioxide expulsion are out of balance then the blood can tend towards a more acid state and need to use more of our alkaline minerals. This is quite apart from other factors like the food we eat or the exercise we do which can have an affect on acid/alkaline blood balance.
Vitamin & Mineral Depletion
The body has mechanisms to ensure a proper blood pH is maintained. Hydrogen ions make the blood more acid whilst bicarbonate ions make it more alkaline as do the mineral mentioned above. Stress can have the effect of depleting minerals and vitamins from the body. One of the effects of the depletion of some vitamins and minerals is the accumulation of copper in the body sometimes to quite toxic levels. Copper interferes with the absorption or blocks the action of magnesium, vitamin C, folic acid, zinc, vitamin B1 and vitamin E, iron, molybdenum, manganese and boron. Copper excess leads to a lot of problems including hair loss, early greying of hair, headaches, depression, anaemia, iron deficiency, fatigue, high cholesterol levels, hormone imbalances and thyroid dysfunction (hypothyroid), fatty liver even if you don’t drink alcohol, poor liver function, gastro-intestinal dysfunction, constipation and salicylate intolerance. The list is nearly endless. People with high copper levels have usually experienced a long period of stress and are exhausted. Hair mineral analysis can help in determining mineral deficiencies and excesses.
Some Signs of Long Term Stress
- Fatigue on exertion and general feelings of tiredness which are deep and persistent.
- Muscle spasms and cramping or muscle soreness.
- Sighing often
- Feeling the need to take a deep breath often but otherwise being unaware of breathing patterns. Shallow breathing, shortness of breath and adult onset asthma.
- Forward posture with rounded shoulders with head forward position affects the ability to breathe deeply into the lower lungs and puts stress on posterior neck muscles causing occipital generated headaches. Restriction in head rotation.
- Mouth breathing either with or without exertion.
- Excessive weight gain especially around the middle of the body in both men and women.
- Headaches and migraines
- Complete alcohol sensitivity and sensitivity to foods which were previously not a problem to eat.
- Gastrointestinal problems including bloating, cramps, flatulence and constipation.
- Feeling tired after eating or wanting to fall asleep
- Feeling low in mood or mildly or moderately depressed.
- Sleep disturbances and frequent urination especially at night.
- Lack of motivation.
These signs are an indicator that you need to change something in your life because you method of dealing with stress is not working. If you have ticked off some or most of these points you need to look not only at the body’s requirements for nutrient support but at what is causing the stress. Is there another way I can deal with my circumstances? Do I always deal with the stresses in my life in the same manner and keep getting the same result? Developing new strategies for our life is what many of us need and an experienced kinesiologist can help you get a better view of your situation and the possible changes that you could make to ease the stresses.
Hair mineral analysis can help with determining whether you have a deficiency or excess of minerals. Minerals in excess in the body can block the action of other minerals causing symptoms of deficiency even when there is no actual deficiency in the other minerals as is the case with copper excess. Below is an example of a hair mineral analysis of someone who had the following symptoms. Fatigue, muscle weakness, insomnia, lacking motivation and feeling slightly depressed, adult onset asthma, mouth breathing especially after mild exertion, higher than normal cholesterol levels, sugar handling issues, migraines and headaches, muscle spasms and muscle pain, back pain, digestive discomfort and flatulence.
 Breathing Matters; Dr Jim Bartley FRACS at page 85; Tortora & Derrickson; Principles of Anatomy and Physiology 13th Ed. Breathing Matters is available over the internet or at ACNEM in Melbourne.
 Clinical Naturopathic Medicine; Leah Hechtman at page 78