Fatigue (low energy) is one of the most common complaints that patients report to their doctors.  Fatigue can result from many different causes and each of these must be investigated and ruled out in anyone that complains of fatigue.  These include:

  • Anemia
  • Low thyroid hormone or thyroid hormone imbalances
  • Blood sugar imbalances
  • Toxicity or compromised hepatic detoxification
  • Hormonal imbalances
  • Mitochondrial dysfunction
  • Immune imbalances or chronic inflammation
  • Psychological stress
  • Lack of sleep
  • Lack of physical activity or excessive physical activity
  • Nutrient deficiencies

Conventional Treatment of Fatigue

Conventional treatment for fatigue focuses on ruling out common causes of fatigue, such as anemia and low thyroid hormone (hypothyroidism).  Treatment is directed toward correcting these underlying causes with medication. However, conventional medicine often falls short when it comes to identifying other common causes of fatigue, such as blood sugar imbalances, compromised hepatic detoxification, hormonal imbalances or mitochondrial dysfunction.

Functional Medicine Management of Fatigue

A comprehensive approach to the management of fatigue must take into consideration many aspects of health, including gut barrier integrity and imbalances of gut flora, liver detoxification capacity and toxic burden, hormone imbalances, immune imbalances, nutrient status and most importantly, mitochondrial energy production capacity.  More specifically, Functional Medicine approaches fatigue by supporting normal physiology of the organ systems which become imbalanced in this condition and may contribute to the development and progression of this condition.

There are several areas of management of fatigue in the Functional Medicine approach:

  • Assessing for and eliminating pathogenic infection and supporting immune health
  • Restoring normal gut barrier integrity, digestion and gut microbial balance
  • Supporting liver detoxification processes and decreasing toxic load
  • Supporting restoration of hormone levels, including adrenal hormones involved in the sleep-wake cycle
  • Supporting healthy blood sugar regulation
  • Supporting energy production by the mitochondria, the “power-houses” of the body’s cells
  • Restoring healthy levels of nutrients in cases of nutritional deficiencies
Functional Medicine seeks to restore normal body Function


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