Is your chronic fatigue a sign of food sensitivity?

Is your chronic fatigue a sign of food sensitivity?

3 minute read time

Tiredness happens to everyone – whether it’s an expected feeling after strenuous activities or at the end of a long day at work. The other most common reason is, of course, lack of sleep, which can often be remedied by an early night. 

Fatigue can also be a sign of a food sensitivity. If you are suffering from drowsiness, headaches, dizziness and other symptoms after eating certain foods, you may want to investigate if a food sensitivity is to blame.

Many of us have experienced that tired feeling after having too much at Christmas or a party with friends. You may remember a family member falling asleep after the food has been cleared away. As the body works in overdrive to digest and process the meal, sleepiness takes over.

But when you have a food sensitivity, this could happen more often. The fatigue could be a response to a food sensitivity or allergy. Your body uses up your energy reserves to deal with the food sensitivity, making you too tired to do much else. 

It could also be a symptom of the stress caused by other more typical food sensitivity symptoms like IBS, cramps, and migraines. Lastly, the tiredness could stem from the body not being able to absorb certain nutrients and antioxidants from the food you’re eating. As a result, your energy levels get lower.

As you can see, fatigue can be a relatively common symptom of food sensitivity and intolerance. At yorktest, we have found 46% of our customers have experienced symptoms of fatigue prior to taking a test. 

This was true of keen marathon runner, Ian Moore. Ian was diagnosed with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (also known as ME). A mixture of brain fog, memory loss, headaches, chronic fatigue, and nausea resulted in Ian taking long-term leave of absence from work, and the 38-year-old had to pull out of the Amsterdam marathon. 

A friend then mentioned yorktest to Ian, suggesting he test for a potential food sensitivity tied to his condition. The test revealed that Ian did suffer from food intolerances, specifically to yeast and cow’s milk, with borderline reactions to apricots, elderberries, cashews and egg whites. After eliminating these trigger foods, Ian is now on the road to recovery – returning to both work and running. In other words, he’s getting his life back on track. 

Which foods can cause fatigue?

Commonly, people who suffer from food sensitivity fatigue assume that gluten, lactose, dairy or wheat could be at fault. However, there is no evidence of any one food triggering fatigue or any symptom. Everyone is different and has a unique fingerprint pattern of foods. 

Even foods that are considered healthy, such as fruits and vegetables, can be just as aggravating. Some have reported suffering from food sensitivity fatigue due to fruits and vegetables from the nightshade family (such as peppers, tomatoes, and potatoes), but there is no evidence of a concrete connection.

Since there is no clear tie between certain food sensitivities and fatigue, YorkTest’s Premium Food Sensitivity Test can be invaluable to helping you find the root cause of your tiredness. The test can pinpoint which foods you have a sensitivity to, testing for over 200 food and drink ingredients. A simple finger-prick blood sample is the first step to providing you the insight you need to adapt your diet and regain your energy.

Ways to naturally ease food sensitivity fatigue

Your body fighting off the foods to which you are intolerant takes energy – a bit like how you might feel when you are ‘fighting off a cold’. But by removing the foods that you have a reaction to, you can reduce your immune load and thus free up energy. Fatigue can have a huge impact on both your personal life and career, so take control of your diet and free yourself from your symptoms. 

Once you know which food sensitivities you are susceptible to, you can employ an elimination diet — as Ian Moore did — to optimise your body’s energy. A food intolerance or sensitivity doesn’t mean that you can’t still give your body the nutrients it needs, but you may have to think outside the box in how to get them. For instance, if you are intolerant to those fruits and vegetables from the nightshade family, you can swap potatoes for sweet potatoes or yams. 

We also suggest staying away from ultra-refined foods as you try to gain your energy back. This includes things such as:

  • Sugary foods
  • Bread
  • High-caffeine foods and drinks
  • Heavily processed foods

While there is no one easy way to get your energy back, eliminating the right foods and finding the alternatives that will still give your body the energy and nutrients it needs is possible. In time, you will find the energy to do all of the things you love and feel like you again. 


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