Health & Fitness

Feeling tired often? Check your vitamin and mineral levels

Feeling tired? Unexplained and frequent tiredness is your body's way of telling you that it's not getting enough restful sleep, nutrients or exercise.

You’ve taken all the herbal help, clocked enough sleep hours, eaten for energy, lightened your load, but you still end up feeling tired almost all the time. Is it the summer setting in, or a quiet depletion of your micro mineral and vitamin resources? Make time for a quick peep into your health index.

Signs to watch out for

Feeling sleepy in the morning when you haven’t slept well or enough is normal, as is the post-lunch dip in energy. But what are the tell-tale signs of abnormal fatigue at any age?

“Brittle nails and pale nail beds, slow hair growth or hair loss, dull and dry hair, and dark circles under the eyes are signs to watch out for,” says nutrition and fitness coach Prateek Kumar, founder, FitCru, Mumbai. “These may be tiny expressions of a lack of nutrients, poor hydration, reduced sebum production, hormonal imbalances, improper blood circulation, inadequate oxygen supply, and nutrient deficiencies.”

Our body constantly sends signals to us, it pays to learn to read the signs. “A nagging headache, soreness in the muscles, frequent irritability, low appetite, slight dizziness, dip in energy levels, and slow reflexes indicate that you are fatigued and need to pay extra attention to your health,” says Dr Manjusha Agarwal, senior consultant- internal medicine, Global Hospitals, Parel, Mumbai.

What about the impact of menstrual cycles? It is draining for many women. Spasms, menstrual cramps, wobbly legs, and bleeding can leave you feeling sapped of energy. Primrose oil capsules are a popular resort to ease up the dip in energy. “According to studies, primrose oil is known to be beneficial for PMSing women. They can help to ease menstrual cramps. However, do not take it if you haven’t been advised by your gynaecologist,” advises Dr Agarwal.

Adds Prateek, “Research indicates that evening primrose oil may possess anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties that could lessen menstrual cramps. The hero is the gamma-linolenic acid (GLA), an omega-6 fatty acid found in evening primrose oil, that can help reduce inflammation and pain associated with menstrual cramps. But remember, this may interact with certain medications and even cause side effects in some individuals. Go by your own bio-individuality.”

Nutritional deficiencies and fatigue

The most common culprits are low haemoglobin, or a dip in Vitamin B 12, or Vitamin D levels. Check also for optimum levels of potassium, Vitamin E, magnesium in your diet.

Says Dr Vikrant Shah, consulting physician, intensivist and infection disease specialist, Zen Multispeciality Hospital, Chembur. “A low haemoglobin condition characterizes anaemia and commonly presents with a feeling of tiredness throughout the day. If ignored, it manifests itself in forms including lack of motivation, mental fatigue, weakness, exhaustion, low concentration, weariness, and even shortness of breath that may need immediate medical attention. A deficiency of Vitamin D is known to bring on a generalized body ache and feelings of listlessness.”

Shilpi Madan for MoneyControl

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