Fatigue seems like a fairly uncomplicated, ordinary thing. If you don’t get enough sleep, you’ll be tired… right? Unfortunately fatigue is only partially due to not enough sleep. It can also be caused by certain vitamin deficiencies (among many other things). Years ago, in our gynecology practice, we noticed that many of our patients suffered from fatigue even if they were getting a good amount of sleep. We started taking note and realized (many years ago, in fact) that our patients oftentimes tested on the low end for certain vitamins. It didn’t take long to wonder if all of our patients should be screened.
For example, we noticed that a good percentage of our patients had low levels of vitamin D despite getting their 15 minutes of sunshine a day. We noticed that some patients also had low levels of vitamin B, especially B12. We noticed that some ladies had thyroid issues as well, especially the underactive type. And some ladies were used to dealing with pain so frequently it just wiped out their energy. All of these issues have contributed to our patients’ fatigue levels, even if they were getting enough sleep. You could sleep ten or twelve hours a night but it would never feel like enough. Anyone who is tired knows that when the mind and body are fatigued, life becomes more complicated. It’s hard to work. It’s hard to study. It’s hard to take care of your family. Pain tolerance goes down. Mood is affected.
Luckily, we can help. Testing for and treating the thyroid is more involved, but testing/raising vitamin levels is pretty easy (and inexpensive!). Many of our patients have started feeling more rested and seen reduced fatigue just from increasing vitamin D or B12.