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The level of fatigue I have been seeing in my practice has been on the increase. It's the number one complaint my clients share with me and is arguably the most common health condition in America. Gift yourself and begin the New Year with a renewed level of energy by taking your health into your hands!

Santa Barbara Nutritionist, Santa Barbara Women's Health

Fatigue can be a symptom of an underlying imbalance and to ultimately address our chronic lethargy, we must uncover and address imbalances. It's important to note that these conditions do not stand in isolation. Our body systems overlap and often there is a cascade of reactions leading to fatigue. 

Let's dive in and explore some of the roots of fatigue.


Nutrient Deficiency and Poor Diet

The first place I explore with my clients is their everyday diet choices. Diet and nutrient deficiencies go hand and hand. Our body needs every macro and micro-nutrient to fuel the energy needed for our biochemical reactions. When we lack nutrients, our energy can suffer.

There is no such thing as the perfect diet for everyone. However, there are some common principles that apply across the board, when it comes to supporting our body's energy levels. 

  • Avoiding processed foods

  • Balanced meals (protein, carb, fat)

  • Supporting blood sugar

  • Avoiding inflammatory foods

  • Choose fresh, homemade meals

  • Ensure we are eating enough calories

  • Avoid pesticides in foods

  • Supporting assimilation and digestion

  • Ensure adequate hydration

Optimizing your diet is a personal journey. What may work great for a friend, may not be the right approach for you. I have listed some next steps that can be explored to narrow down an energy supportive diet.

Action Steps

1. Layer in nutrient dense - mineral rich foods to each meal. nutrient dense cheat sheet.

2. Support digestion and assimilation of nutrients with bitter foods, apple cider vinegar and/or quality digestive enzymes.

3. Ensure you are eating enough calories to support your body's biochemical needs. 

4. Ensure you are hydrated. Sprinkle in sea salt or trace minerals. hydration cheat sheet.

5. Lower sugar consumption. sugar detox cheat sheet

Functional Labs to Explore

1. Know your mineral levels and metabolic type. Running a HTMA (hair tissue mineral analysis) is a great way to check your macro & micro mineral levels, as well as if you are a fast or slow metabolizer. Minerals are the building blocks of our adrenals, thyroid, digestion, blood sugar, iron recycling systems, mitochondria and more. Learn more.

2. Know your food sensitivities. Your body uses energy reserves to address inflammation caused by food sensitivities. Learn more.

4. Gut health review. A comprehensive stool analysis can bring great insight to your gut health. It takes a lot of energy to digest and assimilate our food. We have several tests to chose from.

Root causes of fatigue, Functional Nutrition Santa Barbara

Insulin Resistance

Blood sugar issues overlap with our everyday diet choices. One of the consequences of insulin resistance is fatigue. When your body can't use glucose efficiently for energy, you're left feeling tired and sluggish and at the same time you are not able to burn fat as a fuel because insulin levels are high. Your body struggles to get enough fuel to provide energy for your body's cells, including those in your muscles and brain.

Action Steps

1. Eat regular meals and ensure protein at each meal and snack. fueling snacks cheat sheet

2. Know your metabolic type through running a HTMA. Knowing if you are a fast or slow oxidizer can guide your macronutrients (protein, carbs, fat) percentage.

3. Ensure you are getting quality sleep. Too little sleep affects insulin. sleep challenge cheat sheet

4. Address the stress. Blood sugar and cortisol have a bi-directional relationship. vagal tone tips

Functional Labs to Explore

1. Blood labs: insulin levels, fasting blood glucose (FBG), Hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c).

2. Run a HTMA (hair, tissue, mineral analysis). Gives insights to blood sugar uptake and metabolic type. Learn more.



Inflammation = fatigue. The majority of health conditions pair with chronic inflammation. In fact, when you reduce inflammation, energy dramatically increases. Inflammation can come from many different sources, so getting to the root of your inflammation is key.

Action Steps

1. Eat an anti-inflammatory diet (know your personal food sensitivities). AIP cheat sheet

2. Get some exercise. Just 20 minutes of moderate exercise can prevent inflammation. Ideally, try to get 30 minutes of physical activity a day, at least five days a week.

3. Put more spice in your life. Studies show that spices like turmeric, rosemary, cinnamon, cumin and ginger may slow down processes in the body that can lead to inflammation. 

Functional Labs to Explore

1. Know your food sensitivities. Your body uses energy reserves to address inflammation caused by food sensitivities. Learn more.

2. Gut health review. A comprehensive stool analysis can bring great insight to your gut health/infections and inflammation.

3. Optimize your iron recycling system. Displaced iron can be the root of inflammation. Run a HTMA and Full Monty Blood Panel. Learn more.

Nutritionist Santa Barbara, Women's Health Coach

HPA Axis Dysfunction

HPA axis dysfunction is an alteration in the stress response over time and has been verified and associated with many different conditions, such as extreme fatigue. The HPA axis is closely related to our circadian rhythm and sleep. If we are not getting restorative sleep, then we know exhaustion can ensue. 

The importance of circadian rhythm to maintaining health is well researched, therefore it is essential to have adequate and good quality sleep. Having a regular schedule which includes sleeping and eating that aligns with our circadian rhythms helps everything function optimally.

Action Steps

1. Begin improving sleep hygiene. sleep challenge cheat sheet

2. Get morning light and watch the sun set. This helps to set circadian rhythm.

3. Address the stress. Stress is at the root of HPA dysfunction. vagal tone tips

Functional Labs to Explore

1. Dutch Complete or Dutch Adrenal. Knowing your cortisol rhythm allows pin-point support. Learn more

2. Run a HTMA. Shows the burn rate of the stress minerals. Minerals are key to adrenal health. Learn more.

3. Gut health review. A comprehensive stool analysis can bring great insight to your gut health/infections and inflammation.


Thyroid Imbalances

Thyroid hormone drives metabolism–the energy needed to support the work of the cells–all cells. This is much like the thermostat in your home that controls how much your heating and air conditioning units will work to produce the temperature changes (the energy) you desire.

Thyroid hormone works in concert with other hormones within the Brain-Thyroid-Adrenal-Mitochondrial axis to create and sustain vital energy. There can be many players in thyroid optimization and it should be accessed from a holistic perspective.

Action Steps

1. Supporting your liver can help with thyroid conversation of T4 to T3. liver health cheat sheet

2. Support gut health. Dysbiosis has been shown to affect thyroid health.

3. Minerals are needed for thyroid health. Run a HTMA and explore minerals and heavy metals. Learn more.

Functional Labs to Explore

1. Blood labs: TSH, Free T4, Free T3, TPO, Antibodies (TPO, TGAB). Learn more.

2. Run a HTMA (hair, tissue, mineral analysis). Gives insight to the cellular level of thyroid function. Learn more.

3. Gut health review. A comprehensive stool analysis can bring great insight to your gut health/infections and inflammation.

4. Virus panel: EBV has been shown to contribute to thyroid dysfunction.


Mitochondria & Toxic Load

Environmental toxins are present in the air we breathe, the food we eat, the water we drink, and the products we use in our homes and on our bodies. These toxins can damage our mitochondria, thus why I have combined these two potential root issues.  Mitochondria are the cell's powerhouses, and they take the food we eat and turn it into adenosine triphosphate (ATP), the energy our bodies use. 

However, environmental toxins can damage the ability of the mitochondria to repair themselves. When mitochondria are sluggish, chronic diseases can develop. The good news is that many of the environmental toxins we're exposed to can be minimized, and you can use food as medicine to keep your mitochondria healthy!

Action Steps

1. Eat a clean diet. Include organic, grass fed foods as much as possible.

2. Bring in foods that support the liver. liver health cheat sheet

3. Implement a Ditch & Switch approach to lower everyday exposures. ditch & switch cheat sheet.

Functional Labs to Explore

1. Environmental Toxic Load. Explores, glyphosate, heavy metals, BPA, phthalates, etc. Learn more.

3. Run a HTMA (hair, tissue, mineral analysis). Balancing minerals can greatly support detoxification. Learn more.

4. OAT (organic acids test) Gives us a glimpse into mold metabolites, mitochondria function and supportive nutrients.


Take Away

Taking small steps to address our lifestyle factors can go far when it comes to addressing fatigue. Additionally, utilizing supportive functional labs can pin-point areas that need fine tuning.

While we offer many A La Cart Testing Packages; working one-on-one with a functional practitioner is the best way to help you claim your life back. With a practitioner, you can learn about your specific imbalances and hone in on the most important dietary, lifestyle, and supplement modifications for your unique biochemistry.

Happy New Year!


  1. Functional Testing Packages, here

  2. Supportive Cheat Sheets, here

  3. Health Blogs, here

  4. Ditch & Switch, here

  5. Work one-on-one email consultation, here

1 comentario

Miembro desconocido
16 feb

❤️ Great info! Gonna look into the HTMA with blood lab option you have.

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