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Fatigue: Cured by Infection and Stress?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created March 17, 2013 at 2:12 AM

I've suffered from daily fatigue for 15+ years. Its cause has been a complete mystery to me.

But after going on a paleo/PHD diet for the past 4 months, I've had several week-long episodes where I've experienced normal energy levels -- no afternoon naps, brain-fog, or heaviness.

It felt amazing!

The peculiar thing is, these 3 separate weeks of near-normal energy levels coincided with either being sick (common cold) or being massively stressed out at work. It seems as though these stressors somehow improved my energy levels.

Thanks to the paleo diet, my energy highs and lows are more clearly defined; I have good days and bad days, so now I'm trying to connect the dots.

Does anyone have any ideas why getting sick or being consumed with worry and stress could remarkably improve my energy levels? When these stressors dissipate, the fatigue returns.

Thanks for reading!

Be803dcde63e3cf5e21cc121097b8158

(529)

on March 17, 2013
at 10:56 PM

I'm pretty sure eugene was just offering more methods to produce this effect and not suggesting a lifestyle of stress and shock to keep me awake :)

Be803dcde63e3cf5e21cc121097b8158

(529)

on March 17, 2013
at 10:54 PM

Thank you for your suggestion and sharing your experience! I am definitely going to tweak my diet to see if I can produce this effect. I do notice that during the wake hours of my IF, I am usually feeling my best. If there is one time to expect fatigue, it would be after my first noon time meal. (Of course, this is common for a lot of people.) When I was in ketosis, my fatigue was much worse. Candida feeds off of ketones, so perhaps that's one lead I can follow.

7cf9f5b08a41ecf2a2d2bc0b31ea6fa0

(4176)

on March 17, 2013
at 01:00 PM

And what happens when he burns out? what then?

Be803dcde63e3cf5e21cc121097b8158

(529)

on March 17, 2013
at 12:43 PM

I've tried a lot of stressors over the years, including the ones you've mentioned. I've never had consistent results, but on occasion, a stressful situation or even video games can seemingly lift my fatigue, if only briefly. As I've cleaned up my diet and lifestyle, I'm starting to see this effect a bit clearer. An entire week or reliable energy levels, happening 3 times in the last 4 months is definitely unusual and gives me hope. Thanks for your suggestions.

Be803dcde63e3cf5e21cc121097b8158

(529)

on March 17, 2013
at 12:37 PM

Yes, I've thought about this, and I'm currently reading about adrenaline, cortisol, thyroid activity etc. I hope I can pin down the mechanism at work here and finally solve this problem.

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4 Answers

best answer

0
234801107ff0ee93ccea4515f0e2acfa

on March 17, 2013
at 05:44 AM

Perhaps you're experiencing heightened levels of adrenaline while under stress.

Be803dcde63e3cf5e21cc121097b8158

(529)

on March 17, 2013
at 12:37 PM

Yes, I've thought about this, and I'm currently reading about adrenaline, cortisol, thyroid activity etc. I hope I can pin down the mechanism at work here and finally solve this problem.

2
32652cb696b75182cb121009ee4edea3

(5802)

on March 17, 2013
at 12:42 PM

The fact that you feel better when sick makes me think possible bacterial overgrowth (like candida, h pylori, sibo, etc). I noticed a few years ago that when I got sick, it was like my immune system kicked into overdrive. I would feel great for about a week or two, then the fog would come back. I ended up following a SIBO protocol to try and kill off the bacteria in my system ... I followed it for a month or two (can't remember) and it worked! Sometimes I start to feel the fatigue come back, and I switch back to it for a week or so. It seems to keep my body in balance. Nothing fancy, just restricting some foods that feed bacteria:

http://www.eat-real-food-paleodietitian.com/paleo-diet-and-SIBO.html

EDIT 3/31/13: Just read "The Infectious Origins of Disease" in the 2nd edition of The Perfect Health Diet, and it totally confirmed what I was guessing at above. They call this "chronic infections", ie, the low-level stuff that just makes you feel crummy, until you get older and your immune system goes down and you get SICK... One of their suggestions is IF (intermittent fasting) to help control the germs that linger in our bodies.

Be803dcde63e3cf5e21cc121097b8158

(529)

on March 17, 2013
at 10:54 PM

Thank you for your suggestion and sharing your experience! I am definitely going to tweak my diet to see if I can produce this effect. I do notice that during the wake hours of my IF, I am usually feeling my best. If there is one time to expect fatigue, it would be after my first noon time meal. (Of course, this is common for a lot of people.) When I was in ketosis, my fatigue was much worse. Candida feeds off of ketones, so perhaps that's one lead I can follow.

0
D3ccec4effab29e377f522b3690edb05

(28)

on April 01, 2013
at 05:18 AM

I also feel much less tired when I am under a certain optimal level of stress. I do not think it is pathological--everyone has a uniquely calibrated stress-response curve. Too little or too much stress and you feel less than your best. At the risk of sounding anti-paleo, I would suggest that amphetamines, caffeine, and other stimulants might make you feel more yourself. Low doses of Adderall are prescribed for chronic fatigue--it really does work for a subset of people. Combine them with lots of sleep and meditation for maximum effect...

0
5c682a753753881ecefcd3b0bdd1736d

on March 17, 2013
at 11:55 AM

Try inducing physical stress. Cold shower? Caffeine?

7cf9f5b08a41ecf2a2d2bc0b31ea6fa0

(4176)

on March 17, 2013
at 01:00 PM

And what happens when he burns out? what then?

Be803dcde63e3cf5e21cc121097b8158

(529)

on March 17, 2013
at 10:56 PM

I'm pretty sure eugene was just offering more methods to produce this effect and not suggesting a lifestyle of stress and shock to keep me awake :)

Be803dcde63e3cf5e21cc121097b8158

(529)

on March 17, 2013
at 12:43 PM

I've tried a lot of stressors over the years, including the ones you've mentioned. I've never had consistent results, but on occasion, a stressful situation or even video games can seemingly lift my fatigue, if only briefly. As I've cleaned up my diet and lifestyle, I'm starting to see this effect a bit clearer. An entire week or reliable energy levels, happening 3 times in the last 4 months is definitely unusual and gives me hope. Thanks for your suggestions.

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