3

votes

Dealing with fatigue/lethargy?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created March 26, 2010 at 8:57 PM

I suffer from endometriosis - a major symptom of which is fatigue and lethargy plus niggling energy sapping pain (lower back, pelvis and breasts). My body makes too much oestrogen despite having had my ovaries removed and basically there is nothing that can be done about it medically. I obviously avoid soy products as well as most other neolithic foods (been paleo for nearly 3 months). My iron count and thyroid levels seem to be fine so does anybody have any other ideas on how I can boost my energy levels? I'm trying to eat plenty of fat so I am having butter and cream. I take Evening Primrose Oil which is the only thing my doctor suggests plus Vit D and Cod Liver Oil. Another other suggestions much appreciated.

C61399790c6531a0af344ab0c40048f1

on March 28, 2010
at 11:17 AM

The article on the mushrooms was fascinating - I love them anyway so I'll make sure I eat plenty. Will check out the cortisol next - making this much oestrogen without ovaries must be over taxing something somewhere.

C61399790c6531a0af344ab0c40048f1

on March 28, 2010
at 11:15 AM

Ate paleo with no supplements for 2 and half months - that's when I realised I had a problem and got the blood tests done. My oestrogen level is 545 and should not be more than 170 so I clearly need to do something to address this. I'll drop the fish oil now though. I'm thinking that making this much oestrogen without ovaries must be taxing my adrenals/thyroid somehow.

6426d61a13689f8f651164b10f121d64

(11478)

on March 27, 2010
at 02:35 PM

@Queen, hypothyroidism and adrenal insufficiency can have similar symptoms. Consider getting your cortisol level checked if it hasn't already been done.

06d21b99c58283ce575e36c4ecd4a458

(9948)

on March 27, 2010
at 11:49 AM

For you in the UK http://www.stopthethyroidmadness.com/uk-thyroid-news/ This what you get if you have a government run health delivery system.

C61399790c6531a0af344ab0c40048f1

on March 27, 2010
at 08:30 AM

Thanks for this - interesting links. Will investigate the thyroid supplements but not sure I can get them OTC in the UK so may end up risking mail order. Cheers.

C61399790c6531a0af344ab0c40048f1

on March 27, 2010
at 08:19 AM

Thanks for the ideas. Bodyfat is not issue for me - I'm 5'6" weigh 126lbs and have a BMI of about 18% - in fact weight gain is about the only symptom on the underactive thyroid list I don't have! Will definitely check out the aromatase and sleep issues though. Cheers.

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4 Answers

2
6426d61a13689f8f651164b10f121d64

(11478)

on March 26, 2010
at 11:26 PM

After your ovaries are removed, your estrogens come from a process of peripheral conversion from androgens by the enzyme aromatase. Have you tried aromatase inhibitors? They're used in the treatment of breast and cervical cancer ( http://cancerres.aacrjournals.org/cgi/reprint/50/1/193.pdf ). There are investigational trials of aromatase inhibitors for endometriosis as well ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aromatase_inhibitor ). White mushrooms contain a natural aromatase inhibitor.

Another way to reduce peripheral estrogen is to lose bodyfat. You don't mention your weight, but there may be room to lower your bodyfat. This is most rapidly and efficiently done with a ketotic diet, with your carbohydrate intake less than 50 grams per day. There are numerous blogs and references concerning ketotic diets.

One of the most common contributors to fatigue is sleep deprivation--either a lack of sleep or poor quality sleep. See the previous thread on how to hack your sleep ( http://paleohacks.com/questions/318/how-can-i-hack-my-sleep ).

Exercise is important in fighting fatigue, as long as you don't overtrain. I would recommend combining low-level cardio, such as walking, with interval sprints and brief, intense weight training sessions. Mark Sisson's MDA archives are an excellent reference if you need specific exercise suggestions ( http://www.marksdailyapple.com/primal-blueprint-101/ ).

6426d61a13689f8f651164b10f121d64

(11478)

on March 27, 2010
at 02:35 PM

@Queen, hypothyroidism and adrenal insufficiency can have similar symptoms. Consider getting your cortisol level checked if it hasn't already been done.

C61399790c6531a0af344ab0c40048f1

on March 28, 2010
at 11:17 AM

The article on the mushrooms was fascinating - I love them anyway so I'll make sure I eat plenty. Will check out the cortisol next - making this much oestrogen without ovaries must be over taxing something somewhere.

C61399790c6531a0af344ab0c40048f1

on March 27, 2010
at 08:19 AM

Thanks for the ideas. Bodyfat is not issue for me - I'm 5'6" weigh 126lbs and have a BMI of about 18% - in fact weight gain is about the only symptom on the underactive thyroid list I don't have! Will definitely check out the aromatase and sleep issues though. Cheers.

2
A89f9751a97c3082802dc0bcbe4e9208

(13978)

on March 26, 2010
at 09:25 PM

I think Robb Wolf mentions some paleo foods that help remove excess estrogen in this podcast.

Also, many paleo proponents feel that nuts, eggs, and dairy can negatively effect the immune system in some people, especially if they're insulin resistant. Try eliminating nuts, eggs, and dairy for a month, and get your fat with avocados, coconut oil and animal fats, and see how your energy levels are affected. If your energy levels improve, then bring each item back one at a time to see which one affects your energy levels most. It's worth the effort!

Finally, avoid bottled water. Get a stainless steel water jug and a good water filter and drink your own filtered water. The plastics in bottled water break down into estrogen-like compounds!

P.S. Go decaf.

1
06d21b99c58283ce575e36c4ecd4a458

(9948)

on March 27, 2010
at 12:19 AM

I have seen quite a few references across the net that even though Thyroid T3, T4, TSH levels are susposedly within reference ranges, the lethargy/fatigue remain.

Diana Hsieh has been talking about this over the last few months. You can read her story at http://www.dianahsieh.com Her updates are interspersed in her blog. You can go here and see each entry. Read oldest date to most current date. She has also setup a google list and already has about 40 members

http://blogsearch.google.com/?bl_url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.dianahsieh.com%2Fblog%2F&ui=blg&as_q=thyroid

Based upon Diana's blog, both my wife and I are supplementing with over the counter dessicated porcine supplement as well as Iodoral. Huge improvement in energy for my wife.

You should suspect your thyroid is not functionally optimally

I can tell you fatigue seems to set in after being on paleo for a while and no one seems to know why. It seems maybe the SAD was masking the non optimal functioning thyroid.

Here is another site put up by a doctor about fibro and thyroid. He is selling some kind of a thyroid booster, but his info seems spot on. Buyer beware. http://www.drmurphreestore.com/hypothyroid.html

C61399790c6531a0af344ab0c40048f1

on March 27, 2010
at 08:30 AM

Thanks for this - interesting links. Will investigate the thyroid supplements but not sure I can get them OTC in the UK so may end up risking mail order. Cheers.

06d21b99c58283ce575e36c4ecd4a458

(9948)

on March 27, 2010
at 11:49 AM

For you in the UK http://www.stopthethyroidmadness.com/uk-thyroid-news/ This what you get if you have a government run health delivery system.

0
77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on March 27, 2010
at 01:23 PM

i've found that fish oil can increase my flow. how about just eating food and forgetting the supplements for a trial period?

C61399790c6531a0af344ab0c40048f1

on March 28, 2010
at 11:15 AM

Ate paleo with no supplements for 2 and half months - that's when I realised I had a problem and got the blood tests done. My oestrogen level is 545 and should not be more than 170 so I clearly need to do something to address this. I'll drop the fish oil now though. I'm thinking that making this much oestrogen without ovaries must be taxing my adrenals/thyroid somehow.

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