“Why Do I Feel Tired All The Time?” – The Answer May Surprise You

Feeling good is similar for everyone – the boundless energy,  the joy, the zest that makes life flow –  but feeling bad can take many different forms.tired man

Some of us have low energy.  We ask, “Why do I feel tired all the time?”  We wonder why we fatigue so easily, even when doing things we enjoy.

Others wonder why they can’t concentrate and become easily distracted; or why they feel anxious, depressed, or restless.

What Ties All These Conditions Together?

Still others have insomnia, migraines, perhaps weight or digestive issues.

Diabetes, heart problems and cancer wreak havoc with many lives. Serious health issues that can make every day a struggle.

I’ve often wondered:  does it have to be this way?  How can we prevent or mitigate this pain and illness?

I’ve always tried to connect the dots in my own life and the lives of those I love, believing there must be a common factor to all these seemingly separate and mysterious illnesses.

Does Your Body Struggle to Produce Energy?

I believe there is a common factor, and it is sunlight.  Or, more precisely, our bodies’ ability to use the energy from our food, which ultimately comes from sunlight.

It’s really an amazing process.  And the outcome is life and growth and muscles and complex brains – all nourished, ultimately, by the orb in the sky that makes all plants and animals grow.

It is a beautiful thing – when it works right.sunlight

We eat our food and it travels along our digestive tract. Along the journey, the food is broken down into molecules to feed our cells.

All foods – steak, potatoes, apple pie – are reduced into carbohydrate, protein, and fat molecules, most of which are further reduced into sugar (glucose) to feed every cell in our body – our brain, our muscle tissue, our heart and lungs – everything!

But to do its work, the food energy must penetrate the cells effectively.  And something has to put this process into motion.

How We Get the Wheels Turning

Imagine that your body is a car and the food you eat is the fuel, the gasoline. The object is to start and drive the car, right?  So you will need an engine as well.  If you don’t have an engine, your car (or body) won’t start or run properly.

It may have a full gas tank, a charged battery, new tires and reliable breaks.  But if it doesn’t have an engine it won’t move.  And if the engine is faulty, it may sputter and spit, but it won’t run smoothly and reliably.  You won’t be able to count on your vehicle to get you where you need to go.

A Healthy Thyroid is Your Engine

In the human body, the engine is the thyroid gland.  It produces the chemicals that deliver the energy into your cells to make them operate effectively – that make your heart pump and your lungs inflate and your brain fire.

Without a healthy thyroid gland and the chemicals it produces, our energy falters, and many processes start to go wrong.   Our cells don’t get enough oxygen, chemical reactions become less efficient, and our organs begin to starve for nutrients.

And to make matters worse, if the cells aren’t functioning well, they will not use the thyroid hormones properly to produce energy.  Each cell in the body has special receptors to which thyroid hormones must attach themselves to do their work.

If the receptors aren’t functional, the thyroid hormones will not be able to enter the cells, and energy will not be produced and stored.

Stress Hormones Are A Temporary Solution

When this happens, the body undergoes a stress response, because it isn’t getting enough energy.   If glucose (sugar), the energy that powers every cell, is not readily available, the body will release adrenaline and begin to break down muscle and fat tissue into glucose to feed our hungry cells.

This stress response is designed to help our bodies deal with an overload, as when we are faced with a challenge or emergency  and our normal cell metabolism just can’t keep up. Perhaps we must run fast or far or use all our strength and intelligence to avert danger – then this secondary energy system kicks in to help us through a crisis.living cells

But it is just that – secondary.  It is not as efficient as our normal metabolism and places great stress on the body if used over time.

If this secondary system is called upon frequently, it will eventually create a feedback loop that will reduce the output of the thyroid, reducing our ready energy reserves even further, as well as the healthy functioning of all our cells.

In this negative feedback loop, the body stays in stress mode most of the time and illness can more readily take hold.

Yet, this cycle can be reversed if the primary energy system, centered in the thyroid, is allowed to heal and take over its vital functions again.

Heal Your Thyroid and Heal Your Life

In the next post, I will discuss a couple of simple at-home tests to help you assess the health of your thyroid, tests that have been used for decades by adept doctors to undercover thyroid issues quickly and reliably.  (Even when blood tests show thyroid function as “normal”, yet you still feel bad.)

Then I will discuss tips I’ve learned to help reduce your stress, refuel your cells, and help your body recover its mental and physical energy.

These methods, discovered in my own pursuit of better health, are offered as a step-by-step recovery plan from the Hypothyroidism Revolution program founded by Tom Brimeyer, a functional medicine practitioner, and former hypothyroidism sufferer.

I will discuss this program further in subsequent posts – as I continue to follow it myself – and invite your thoughts along the journey.

Please leave your comments below and I’ll talk to you soon,

Jen

14 thoughts on ““Why Do I Feel Tired All The Time?” – The Answer May Surprise You

  1. Hi Jen,

    Thanks for the interesting post. I actually don’t suffer from low energy. I enjoy working out on a regular basis and drink plenty of water. Plus sleep well enough to get my rest.

    However, my wife had been taking medicine for her thyroid for a very long time. In a matter of fact, she hasn’t been feeling well, so she going to see her doctor. Maybe a change to her dosage is needed.

    Looking forward to your next post for solutions at home, cheers.

    1. Hi, Xdeem!

      I’m glad you are doing well and that your wife is seeing her doctor.

      I have found that changes in diet and routine can often get to the root of health issues.

      I plan to share more info going forward to help people have a greater sense of control over how they feel from day to day.

      A lot of this has to do with thyroid health.

      Talk to you soon! Jen

  2. This was good information for me because I did not know the thyroid did all this. I do get tired sometimes but normally I am energetic. But that doesn’t mean it is something wrong with my thyroid, does it?

    1. Hi, Ronnie! No, it doesn’t necessarily mean there are problems with your thyroid if you get tired sometimes. But thyroid health (and overall health) can be safeguarded and improved by good nutrition, a good balance of work and rest, and dealing well with stress. I will be covering some of these topics in later posts. Thanks for visiting!

  3. I really would love to use extra energy for my training routine. Do you think if I have better functioning thyroid, would it help?

    1. Hi, Furkan! Yes, a healthy thyroid will always assist energy production. As far as your training goes, some athletes have become low-thyroid from years of endurance training. Shorter training sessions with adequate rest is now considered the wiser course by many experts, and can increase your energy over time. Thanks for your question! Jen

  4. I have been taking Synthroid for my thyroid problem for years, I found this article very interesting. I wonder if this would help lessen my need for such a high dose of medication? Thank you.

    1. Hi, Heather! I think it might. Synthroid, as you probably know, is a T4-only thyroid med that has to be converted to the active T3 form by your liver. One of the issues with hypothyroidism is that many sufferers don’t convert well because they have problems with their liver. So some end up taking higher and higher doses, which doesn’t really address the core problem.

      This program addresses all these issues through food and teaching us how to reduce stress, such as through exercise specially suited to hypothyroid sufferers. Stay tuned as I will be following up on these topics. Thanks for your interest and good luck!

  5. I don’t know if I have a thyroid problem or I just drink too much coffee. I think the caffeine addiction is what does it to me. I go from extreme levels of energy to lows and then I pick myself up again with a coffee.

    1. Hi, Kurtis! I’ve learned from the program I’m following (Hypothyroidism Revolution) that coffee in moderation is actually very good for the thyroid. They recommend one or two cups per day, with sugar and milk, sipped slowly with a meal. That way it doesn’t hit your system all at once. It does leave me more energized without any jagged feeling.

      Yes, more than that may be counterproductive.

      Thanks for your comment and hope to see you again.

      Jen

  6. I haven’t really thought about the thyroid as the main culprit of me being tired all the time. I had blood work done recently and everything checked out okay. I thought the main problem of being tired is not eating the right foods and not sleeping enough…

    1. Hi, Dinh! Even if you had blood work done, sometimes it doesn’t detect thyroid problems. I will discuss this more in my next post.

      A thyroid problem can affect how well you process your food for energy and how well you sleep. It underlies many different problems, I am discovering.

      Also, there are certain foods that are known to boost thyroid health – such as coconut oil – and many foods that suppress it. I will discuss this more going forward.

      Thanks for stopping by!

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