We’ve all been there. One more round of the snooze button. Bottomless coffee. And zoning out in front of Netflix when you can finally crash at the end of the day. Sometimes, being tired can be fixed with the obvious – more sleep. But what if that doesn’t work?
If you’re suffering from more serious fatigue, your home might be partly to blame.
The modern approach to diet, exercise, and daily routines leaves us depleted in essential nutrients and in a constant state of stress. When you add to this the toxic chemicals in every day products like mattresses, skincare, and kitchenwares, our bodies become overburdened.
All of this takes a toll on our health… and you probably know this, but it’s easier said than done to make massive changes. Between the time and money involved, it’s easier to just ignore the signs and symptoms and keep going. Trust me, as a mom and a borderline workaholic, I get this all-to-well.
But if your body is sending you a message, the sooner you listen, the sooner you can heal.
A Primer: Environmental Medicine
There are many ways you can take control of your health. And my role here isn’t as your healthcare provider, but that should be your first step.
There’s an area of speciality called environmental medicine that focuses on treating conditions caused at least in-part by these exposures. There’s even a department at Women’s College Hospital here in Toronto focused on Environmental Health. Last year, I met Dr. Elgez and Dr. Siu at EnviroMed Clinic, a naturopathic medicine practice in Toronto specializing in environmental medicine, and was blown away by the range of health issues they see as a direct result of toxic chemicals in our homes.
We can become overloaded with toxics just by living our average lives. So, if you’re already working on a few different strategies to manage your fatigue and haven’t yet taken a look at your home, many experts agree that it’s a good place to start.
How Your Home Might be Causing Your Fatigue
Drs. Elgez and Siu introduced me to the work of Dr. Walter Crinnion, a leading naturopathic physician on environmental health in the US. According to his book, Clean, Green, and Lean, when toxic chemicals enter our bodies, they damage the mitochondria within our cells. Mitochondria are responsible for taking fats and sugars that are stored in our fat tissues and turning them into fuel that our bodies need to stay healthy.
They drive our metabolism, and all of our systems – tissues, bones, muscles – rely on this fuel to function properly. So when our mitochondria stop working properly, so too does the rest of our body.
Now, I want to stress that you should not treat this post as a way to diagnose your fatigue. But I do want to include some examples to help you put this into context. These are all conditions that present with fatigue (among other symptoms), and are linked to the body’s toxic load from our environment – including the air, water, food, and products we use every day:
Difficulty losing weight. Dr. Crinnion holds that if you’re struggling to lose weight, and suffering from any of fatigue, allergies or asthma, autoimmune disease, chemical sensitivity, fibromyalgia, or infertility (among others) then it is likely your body is overburdened with toxic chemicals.
Hashimoto’s thyroiditis. This is an autoimmune disease that I’m starting to see more and more among mom’s groups. It is the most common cause of hypothyroidism, a condition with results in decreased thyroid function, and its symptoms include fatigue and weight gain. Women’s health specialist Dr. Lisa Watson has a great overview of Hashimoto’s thyroiditis here.
Adrenal fatigue. This is another condition that may be related to your toxic load. Our adrenals are responsible for how we cope with stress. They produce cortisol (among many other hormones), which helps us function during stressful situations. As Calgary-based Dr. Melina Roberts puts it, stressful situations used to be when we were being chased by a lion. Now, we are under constant stress – emotional, physical, and even the toxic load we expose ourselves to is a stress on our bodies. And physical and mental fatigue is a common symptom of adrenal fatigue.
Our bodies are complex, and correcting issues as serious as those mentioned in this post goes beyond switching out a mattress or shampoo brand. But if you’re seriously working to regain control of your health, and you aren’t detoxing your home, there’s a good chance you’ll end up back where you started.
If you’re ready to take steps to create a healthier home for a healthier you, be sure to check out my monthly membership, The Healthy Home Collective.