Exhausted? Join the club!
Chronic tiredness has become such a common complaint that doctors in the UK have named the condition TATT – Tired All The Time Syndrome.
However, a busy schedule may not be the only reason why we’re sleepwalking through our lives.
According to reports, iron deficiency may be one of the reasons behind an ‘exhaustion epidemic’ in which up to four out of five women complain of extreme tiredness.
A top nutritional disorder
According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), iron deficiency is the top nutritional disorder in the world.
Reports estimate that almost 80% of the global population don’t have enough iron in their bodies. The WHO says two billion people – over 30% of the world’s population – are anaemic due to iron deficiency, contributing to extreme fatigue and poor health.
In developing countries, 50% of pregnant women and 40% of pre-school children are estimated to be anaemic.
Chronic tiredness manifests in poor concentration, constant exhaustion and difficulty in making decisions.
“Iron is essential for the oxygen-carrying part of red blood cells, which is why tiredness is usually the first signs of a shortfall. Without enough iron… red blood cells… can’t carry enough oxygen to your organs and tissue, which means they don’t work as efficiently,” says celebrity UK practitioner, Dr Hilary Jones.
Who is at risk?
South African health and wellness expert, Vanessa Ascencao, says women are most at risk of iron deficiency, especially when pregnant, those with a heavier menstruation cycle or irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), athletes, vegetarians and vegans.
Ascencao says iron absorption from conventional tablets is low and many iron supplements result in unpleasant side effects, including constipation and nausea.
How to beat exhaustion
Ascencao suggests the following health tips to help you stay energised:
- Eat a healthy, balanced diet: nutrition plays a big role in energy levels, mood and stress levels.
- Increase intake of fruit and vegetables, avoid sugary foods and stay hydrated.
- Exercise for at least 30 minutes a day. It’s good for body, mind and soul and helps improve sleep.
- Get enough quality sleep – eight hours a night. This is essential to help the body replenish itself.
- Manage stress and seek healthy ways to relax, such as meditation or spending time in nature.
- Increase intake of vitamins and minerals such as vitamin B, D and iron.