I Get Enough Sleep, So Why Am I So Tired?
We’ve been talking lately about the many ways epigenetics, (genetic testing or nutrigenomics testing) can reveal important information about not only genes themselves, but how they combine with outside forces to explain symptoms a person may be experiencing from a cellular level. This time I want to address how certain gene mutations can lead to chronic fatigue, a common complaint among many of my patients.
What Is Chronic Fatigue?
Chronic fatigue is a condition in which the patient suffers from a constant feeling of tiredness so severe that it interrupts daily routines and activities. Symptoms include trouble getting quality sleep, nerve and joint pain, memory and concentration issues, frequent headaches, and overall sluggishness and malaise, none of which can be easily tied to a specific medical condition.
If you’re lucky enough to find a doctor who doesn’t believe it’s all in your head, a focus is often on adrenal health and thyroid issues, since both are tied to your body’s reaction to stress. When stressed, your adrenal glands release cortisol, the fight or flight hormone that gives you the extra energy and heightened awareness often needed in stressful times. Too much of this hormone can not only lead to adrenal fatigue over time, but can interfere with thyroid hormone function, causing it to work harder than necessary. And if you already have a thyroid condition, such as hypothyroidism, unchecked stress can exacerbate symptoms.
How Can Genetic Testing Help?
We now know that combatting chronic fatigue is another instance when genetic testing can be extremely beneficial. The revelation of single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs,) which are gene mutations, or defects, can not only improve diagnosis but help in the implementation of treatments targeted to specific aspects of the disease.
In fact, research by the Centers for Disease Control that analyzed different gene profiles of people with chronic fatigue shows genetic evidence linking symptoms of the disease with genetic factors that determine how the body handles stress.
The research singled out five SNPs in three separate genes common to sufferers of chronic fatigue that are vitally important to the body’s stress response system, the effect of which appears to be that people who have them are less able to adequately respond to stress, whether from life events, illness, injury, or environmental toxins.
Therefore, if the revelation of genetic SNPs can help predict a person’s propensity, severity and likely response to the treatment of chronic fatigue, they can also be used to help properly diagnose it.
If you wonder whether epigenetics can answer some questions you have about chronic fatigue or another condition, Dr. Wards or Dr. VanNoy would be happy to walk you through the process of genetic testing, as well as the findings to get on the road to infinite wellness.
Learn more about Nutrigenetic Testing