Mystery Fatigue, Stress & Toxic Illnesses

fatigueMystery fatigue can be debilitating and can be caused by anything from Adrenal Fatigue to excess stress to exposure to toxins. Clues include changes in body shape, hormone changes, lightheadedness, food cravings, skin or lung issues.

I specialise in identifying the cause of mystery illnesses and creating a tailored plan to get you back to optimum health.

Rather than find the most convenient label for your condition, I will guide you through an exhaustive but efficient investigative process that eliminates the next most likely cause until we find the issue. Once the issue is found treatment is often straight forward. Given time and a a push in the right direction, the body has an amazing ability to heal itself.

Adrenal Fatigue

Adrenal fatigue is better understood as “stress maladaptation syndrome” where your ability to cope with stress has been compromised, resulting in a whole myriad of symptoms, including: waking up exhausted, energy dips during the day, higher energy at night, difficulty sleeping, weight gain around the belly, craving salt, craving sugar, lightheaded when standing up too quickly, more easily stressed out, imbalanced hormones, and brain fog.

[Please note: All functional tests mentioned below can only be gotten through a health care practitioner, such as the Dr. Sam Shay, DC, here in New Zealand.]

Adrenal Fatigue is treatable and you can test for it through the clinic with stress hormone testing via saliva (Adrenocortex Stress Profile). Read more about the saliva testing.

There is now a more comprehensive hormone panel available called the “DUTCH” test, which gives a meticulous read out of estrogens, progesterone, testosterone, androgens, melatonin, cortisol, and cortisol derivatives. Read more about the DUTCH test.

Get my free ebook: “Ending Adrenal Fatigue: Easy Breakfast Guide”, which includes a shopping guide and my free newsletter and video training on adrenal fatigue. Click here to get your free ebook.

A sample of my video trainings on adrenal fatigue:

Adrenal Fatigue – Why it’s the 21st century syndrome [6 min]

Adrenal Fatigue – how chronic stress creates chronic symptoms [7 min]

Key signs and symptoms of adrenal fatigue [4 min]

Causes of Adrenal Fatigue [4 min]

Why wellness isn’t a fluffy topic [4 min] (Note: This video was recorded at the time I was practicing in Hamilton, my current clinic is in Wellington, or available over Skype for patients that cannot come to Wellington).

Why blood tests for adrenal fatigue are inaccurate [5 min]

How long it will take to recover from adrenal fatigue [4 min]

Thyroid Fatigue

Thyroid Fatigue is not quite like adrenal fatigue, where the thyroid is the primary driver of symptoms. Many thyroid patients suffer from thyroid symptoms secondary to adrenal fatigue because the adrenal glands shut down the thyroid, as the body is focused on survival (adrenal), not longterm healing and repair (thyroid). I estimate that well over 50% of thyroid symptoms are actually caused by an overly activated adrenal gland.

That being said, there are people who have primary thyroid issues, such as iodine deficiency, autoimmune reaction to the thyroid called Hashimotos, or other thyroid issues. These issues can be tested through the clinic via a Comprehensive Thyroid Profile under (code 1114): TSH, FT3, FT4, rT3, Ratios, and thyroid anti-bodies (TPO Ab, ATG Ab, TSH Rec Abs) in which you would get a test kit to get a blood draw at a local pathlab. This particular test is critical if you suspect you have an autoimmune issue with your thyroid, which drastically alters therapeutic treatment. You can read more about this test under “endocrinology analyses”.

There is also a slightly different test called an Extensive Thyroid Hormone Profile (code 1220): T4, T3, T4/T3 ratios; Tyrosine, Iodine, Selenium. This test is a 24-hour urine collection to check for thyroid-specific nutrient levels. You can read more about this test under “endocrinology analyses”.

Symptoms of Thyroid fatigue differ from Adrenal fatigue in specific ways. Where adrenal fatigue has ‘ups and downs’ of energy with more energy in the evening, thyroid fatigue is a ‘flatline’ of energy with a big drop in the evening. Those with thyroid fatigue will also show signs of a foggy brain, feeling constantly cold, the loss of the outer 1/3 of their eyebrows, and even a possible goiter (throat enlargement).

Some people have both adrenal fatigue and thyroid fatigue and luckily both can be treated at the same time. Test kits can be ordered from the Dr. Sam Shay, DC to solve the mystery of your thyroid fatigue.

Toxic or “liver” fatigue

“Toxic fatigue” is fatigue related to an overburdened liver due to toxins or inflammation. People with ‘toxic fatigue’ feel relatively normal until they are exposed to something toxic, such as off-gassing of a carpet or paint, the smell of exhaust, agricultural sprays, fast food, or toxic substances. Their energy levels crash and very slowly creep back up over days or weeks, unlike adrenal fatigue which goes up and down over the course of a day or the flatline energy of thyroid fatigue.

Other signs and symptoms include: 1) Sensitivity to smell, 2) feeling sluggish after fast food or deep fried food, 3) history of toxic exposure as a child or adult, 4) history of pain killer usage (which is damaging to the liver), 5) history of overuse of alcohol or recreational drugs, 6) history of industrially made fats such as soy oil, cottonseed oil, corn oil, margarine, or hydrogenated or ‘trans’ fats, 7) hobbies that expose you to toxic materials like painting or stain-glass work, 8) health deteriorating once moving to a house with new carpets, paints, or furniture, and/or 9) long-term use of commercial makeups and body lotions (they are full of toxic chemicals that absorb through your skin).

You can test your liver function through a “liver detoxification profile” (code 4010), which is a functional test to check for the two phases (Phase 1 + 2) of liver detox. Read more here under “Metabolic Analyses”.

Treating liver fatigue differs from treating adrenal fatigue where the main focus is to detox and remove inflammation from the liver. It’s very common for people to have both adrenal fatigue and toxic fatigue at the same time. If this is the case, it’s best to deal with the toxic fatigue first by cleaning out the liver and removing inflammation. Once the liver is healthier, then it’s time to treat adrenal fatigue because now you can properly absorb the nutrients required to help heal the adrenal glands.

Chronic Fatigue

Chronic fatigue is best understood as a prolonged and severe version of a combination of 2 or more of adrenal fatigue, thyroid fatigue, and/or toxic fatigue. Chronic fatigue is when your cells themselves start to lose their ability to generate their own energy efficiently because the mitochondria (the ‘powerhouses’ of the cells) can no longer function well. The mitochondria are the efficient electricity stations of the cells. Once they start to shut down, the cells can no longer function well, no different than a city not functioning well when there is no electricity.

Chronic fatigue is complex, as it involves multiple systems. To learn more as to why women get more chronic fatigue than men, please watch this comprehensive video.

There is now functional testing for chronic fatigue, testing at the mitochondrial level. It’s called a Organic Acids – Metabolic & Environmental Pollutant Panel (Code 4017) under “metabolic analyses” at // This test checks the specific compounds within the mitochondria that affect energy production, including: organic acids for Bacterial dysbiosis, Yeast & fungal dysbiosis, Citric acid cycle metabolites, Ketone/fatty acid metabolites, Cofactor sufficiency markers, Neurotransmitter metabolites AND Environmental Pollutants.

Once the main causes of chronic fatigue are identified, treatment will take some time in order to rebuild your energy metabolism from the inside out.