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Why You’re Feeling So Fatigued

Updated: Jun 30, 2020

Modern stress is a handbrake

As a collective we’re experiencing unparalleled levels of fatigue, but why? Simply put, our bodies are trying to function in a world they just weren’t designed to live in.

As a collective we’re experiencing unparalleled levels of fatigue.

A far cry from the simpler hunter-gatherer world our genes evolved in, each day we are exposed to an increasing amount of stressors, such as:

  • The psychological impact associated with finances, relationships, work or health issues;

  • Processed foods;

  • Poor sleep quality and/or reduced quantity;

  • Electromagnetic field (EMF) exposure emitted from smartphones, TV’s, Wi-Fi etc. and excessive use of these digital devices;

  • Environmental toxins through air pollution, plastics and synthetic home/personal care products;

  • A dysregulated body clock due to prolonged artificial light exposure; and

  • Prolonged periods of sitting.

As the body can’t differentiate between psychological and physical triggers, these factors cumulatively activate the stress response, increasing the demand and strain on the body’s energy reserves. Unsurprisingly, this is making us tired. It is then no surprise that fatigue is one of the top reasons patient’s presents to Practitioners looking for answers.[1]

One primary reason for this stress-induced fatigue is that nutritionally, the demand for energy is greater than what is being supplied by what would be considered a balanced diet. This nutritional deficit is akin to speeding down the highway with 100 places to be, whilst unknowingly having the handbrake on the whole way. You’ll reach your destinations, but it’s going to take a lot more effort! In order to get everything done, it’s clear you’re going to need to pull over, take off the handbrake, and continue your journey with more ease.

Mitochondria Matter Too!

Having a nutrient intake that doesn’t meet your energy demands impacts your entire body. Within each of your cells, there are clever components called organelles, the microscopic contents that carry out your cells functions.  One of these organelles is the mitochondria, which look after energy production, and work tirelessly to provide your cells with a constant fuel supply.

However, these mitochondria are extremely sensitive to psychological and physical stressors, which as we have already discussed, place a burden on our energy requirements. The nutritional depletion and cellular damage that can occur from stress therefore overly tax our mitochondria, comprising their function. The result, poor mitochondrial function, then leads to a reduction in overall energy supply and the presentation of fatigue.

So, in the midst of modern day stress, how do we meet these increased energy demands and kick fatigue to the curb?

Time to take off that handbrake

Luckily there are several key nutrients that help support and protect your mitochondria against the brunt of daily stressors, which include:

Co­enzyme Q10 (CoQ10):

A vital nutrient used by your mitochondria to produce energy, with research showing low CoQ10 stores are linked with increased susceptibility to fatigue states and chronic disease.[2] In addition to fatigue, stress is another cause of oxidative stress and inflammation in the body. CoQ10 carry’s strong antioxidant actions, helping to protect your mitochondria, and overall body, from the cellular damage that can occur from stress.

A vital nutrient used by your mitochondria to produce energy, with research showing low CoQ10 stores are linked with increased susceptibility to fatigue states and chronic disease.[2]


This essential mineral is needed by your body to help convert the food you eat into energy. Also, a magnesium deficiency makes you more susceptible to stress, whilst stress depletes your magnesium levels – resulting in a vicious cycle.[3]

B Vitamins:

Vitamins B2 and B3 are particularly required by the mitochondria to create molecules of energy,[4] but can become depleted in states of stress. However, other B vitamins like B6 and B12 also work to blunt the impact of stress on your body,[5]and modulate the production of stress hormones (e.g. cortisol).[6]

From Exhausted to Energetic

There is no doubt our exposure to stress is currently unprecedented, and the result? Our bodies may not be able to keep up with the energy demand, and become fatigued. As your sensitive mitochondria can become damaged with ongoing stress, but are needed to provide you with optimal energy, the time has come to show then some love! Talk to your Nutritionist at Power by Nutrition today to see if your body needs any of the fatigue-fighting nutrients above, and to work with them in creating strategies to moderate your stress exposure.


Author: Belinda Reid.

[1] Koch H, van Bokhoven MA, ter Riet G, et al. Demographic characteristics and quality of life of patient with unexplained complaint: a descriptive study in general practice. Quality of Life Research. 2007; 16(9): 17-55. PMID: 17899448

[2] Sanoobar M, Dehghan P, Khalili M, Azimi A, Seifar F. Coenzyme Q10 as a treatment for fatigue and depression in multiple sclerosis patients: A double blind randomized clinical trial. Nutr Neurosci. 2016;19(3):138-43. doi:10.1179/1476830515Y.0000000002.

[3] Cuciureanu, M, Vink, R. Magnesium and stress. Magnesium in the Central Nervous System [Internet]. Adelaide: University of Adelaide Press; 2011 [cited 2019 Feb 11]. p. 251-261. Available from:

[4] Depeint F, Bruce WR, Shangari N, Mehta R, O’Brien PJ. Mitochondrial function and toxicity: role of the B vitamin family on mitochondrial energy metabolism. Chem Biol Interact. 2006 Oct 27;163(1-2):94-112. PMID: 16765926.

[5] McCarty MF. High-dose pyrodoxine as an ‘anti-stress’ strategy. Med Hypoth. 2000;54(5):803-807. doi: 10.1054/mehy.1999.0955

[6] Head K, Kelly G. Nutrients and botanicals for treatment of stress: adrenal fatigue, neurotransmitter imbalance, anxiety, and restless sleep. Alt Med Rev. 2009;14(2):114-140. PMID: 19594222

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