It’s one thing to be suffering from chronic fatigue syndrome, or fatigue, period, when a crushing case of lethargy can leave you dragging through an otherwise normal day. It’s quite another to deal with loss of appetite, those times in which even those foods you normally crave are off limits to your taste buds. Or it could be worse; you could be suffering from both conditions at the same time, leaving you feeling miserable and in search of an “antidote” – assuming you have the energy to get up out of bed or off the sofa to start looking.
It makes sense that these two symptoms typically go hand in hand. If you experience loss of appetite, then it is natural to experience fatigue as a result, according to naturalfoodseries.com. Also, some medical conditions such as viral infections are known for causing both of these symptoms at the same time.
What Else Is Causing Your Symptoms?
Per medicalnewstoday.com, this debilitating tandem of fatigue and appetite loss can result from a variety of health conditions. Some of these are long term (e.g., asthma, thyroid issues), while others are short-term illnesses (e.g., flu, common cold, stomach bug). Other possible causes, per healthline.com, include pregnancy, postpartum depression, heat emergencies (e.g., heat exhaustion, heatstroke). Certain medications, such as antibiotics and diuretics, can also be culprits.
Alternatively, certain lifestyle factors can contribute to fatigue and appetite loss. Following are some ways to potentially remedy the situation.
Habits to Help Prevent Fatigue & Loss of Appetite
Exercise. Believe it or not, as counterintuitive as this sounds, exercise can be effective in combating general fatigue and perhaps even restoring your appetite. Per naturalfoodseries.com, endorphins produced in your brain during exercise can improve your mood and combat feelings of lethargy. Exercise can also stimulate hunger, as your body will crave food to replenish the energy it lost during exercise.
Sleep hygiene. In other words, be proactive to protect your sleep time and quality of sleep. A lack of sleep over time can cause fatigue, especially if you work full time or have some other kind of busy schedule. An irregular sleep schedule can throw off your circadian rhythm and affect your eating schedule, and, in turn, damper your appetite. Per naturalfoodseries.com, setting a strict work and sleep schedule and sticking to it for at least a month can bring positive changes by energizing your life and restoring your appetite.
Stress. If you are persistently tired and lacking hunger, your problem might just be stress. If you are frequently stressed out because of work or a family issue, you could be suffering from what is known as an ‘adjustment disorder,’ per mayoclinic.com, which shows up as diminished appetite and impaired daily function. In such a circumstance, per thehealthy.com, you should periodically take a timeout to not only slow your breathing but just rest and, hopefully, recuperate through mindfulness.
Dietary Practices for Alleviating Fatigue & Loss of Appetite
Avoid sugary foods. This is especially helpful if you already have a lot of sugar in your diet. Per atkins.com, consuming high-sugar foods has the potential to affect your blood-glucose levels, which can cause fatigue and mood swings. Eating excess sugar can also cause cravings for more sugary foods, and thus steer your appetite away from healthier, better foods.
Watch portion sizes. If you struggle from fatigue and appetite loss, reducing your portion sizes can help. Instead of eating three regular-sized meals in a day, medicalnewstoday.com recommends switching to four to five smaller meals in a day, or even liquid meals. Doing so will ensure that you consume an adequate amount of food, and will help prevent fatigue that is a direct result of appetite loss. Additionally, eating too large of a meal can lead to sleepiness afterward, so avoid large meals or binge eating.
Supplements to Consider
If you are suffering from extended fatigue and appetite loss, a trip to your physician for a consultation is in order. Be sure to discuss with him or her what nutritional supplements might help, taking extra caution to make sure none of these will conflict with medications you might already be taking:
Following are four such supplements known to help in this area, as a deficiency might be involved:
Vitamin B12. Adding B12 to your diet via supplementation is a commonly effective treatment for tiredness. Per express.co.uk, it plays a role in manufacturing red blood cells and releasing energy from consumed food. Plus, note that a B12 deficiency can be manifested in the forms of a sore tongue and mouth ulcers, which will help kill anyone’s appetite. ].
Omega-3s. Omega-3 fatty acids have been shown to help alleviate depression, a condition that can leave you feeling fatigued, per health.clevelandclinic.com.
Vitamin D. Research has shown a link between a vitamin D deficiency and low energy and depression, and it is not available through food. Exposure to healthy levels of sunlight can provide D, which otherwise requires supplementation.
Magnesium deficiency is a fairly common occurrence, and fatigue is one of the first symptoms, per health.clevelandclinic.com.