6 Major Causes of Chronic Fatigue and Low Energy that Most Tests Miss

All information in this article is for educational purposes only. It is not for the diagnosis, treatment, prescription or cure of any disease or health condition.

When it comes to solving your energy problems, no single test can offer as many clues as a hair tissue mineral analysis (HTMA). The test, which measures the mineral content of your hair, can reveal several important causes of chronic fatigue and low energy years before they show up on other tests. 

In this article, I’ll review a hair test from one of my clients to demonstrate how much hair analysis can tell you about your body’s energy system. I’ll also explain the main difference between hair analysis and blood analysis. 

Meet Rachel

Rachel is a 43-year-old veterinary technician who was diagnosed with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Fibromyalgia in 2014. She had a long list of symptoms that included constant fatigue, stress intolerance, frequent headaches, muscle pain, and skin rashes (eczema). She also had sweet cravings, heart palpitations, sinus congestion, brain fog, neuritis, and candida (yeast) infection. In the winter, she would get extremely cold and feel miserable. She had severe PMS, and also suffered from cramps and hot flashes. She often felt angry, irritable, anxious, and depressed.  Furthermore, she had a tendency for mood swings, obsessive-compulsive behavior, and a very active, racing mind.

Rachel’s First Hair Analysis 

When Rachel did a hair analysis, it became clear how exhausted she was. Her test revealed at least six problems involving energy production, including:

1. Very Slow Metabolism
2. Adrenal Insufficiency
3. Sympathetic Dominance
4. Impaired Elimination of Toxins
5. Impaired Digestion
6. Lowered Immunity and Tendency for Infections

Each of these is explained in more detail below.

Low energy indicators on a hair tissue mineral analysis

1. Very Slow Metabolism

Rachel’s initial hair mineral analysis revealed an extremely slow metabolic rate. This is an exhaustion stage of stress and associated with diminished thyroid and adrenal glandular activity. It indicates a severe energy loss and lack of energy. 

What Causes Slow Metabolism?

Slow metabolism occurs as the body burns out as a result of prolonged stress from dietary factors, lack of rest, infections, toxin accumulation, structural imbalances, or other reasons, such as emotional or spiritual stress. 

Rachel was no stranger to chronic stress. “I’ve always been a workaholic,” she said, “and have had emotionally stressful and physically demanding jobs. I worked long hours and lived on very little sleep. After work, I was too tired to grocery shop or cook, so I lived on a fast food diet. In my spare time, I worked out…hard. So when I became “sick”, it seemed to happen quickly.” 

Symptoms of Slow Metabolism

Slow metabolizers can experience substantial fatigue. They also have a tendency for depression, hypoglycemia (low blood sugar), sweet cravings, copper toxicity, low blood pressure, constipation, weight gain, and low body temperature. This explained many of Rachel’s symptoms! 

A slow metabolic rate can also lead to many other symptoms and conditions because low energy affects every body function. For example, those with a slow metabolic rate are prone to osteoporosis, cancer, infections, skin problems, and other conditions related to aging.    

A slow metabolic rate is the most common finding on a hair analysis of people who are tired all the time.

2. Adrenal Insufficiency 

Rachel’s low sodium and potassium levels are key indicators of adrenal insufficiency, also called adrenal exhaustion, adrenal burnout, or adrenal fatigue. The adrenal glands secrete hormones that have many important functions, including to keep energy levels stable and activate the body’s stress response. The sodium level on a hair test roughly correlates with the adrenal hormone aldosterone, while the potassium level correlates with cortisol.

The discovery of adrenal insufficiency on Rachel’s hair test correlated with an adrenal test that she had done with her doctor. It showed stage 3 adrenal exhaustion, which her doctor said was one stage away from failure.

Symptoms of Adrenal Insufficiency

Low adrenal hormones can leave you feeling worn out and depleted. Other common symptoms of adrenal insufficiency include the following, which can vary from mild to extreme:

  • decreased tolerance to cold
  • poor circulation
  • low blood sugar level (hypoglycemia)
  • low blood pressure
  • allergies
  • low stamina
  • low self-esteem due to low energy output
  • joint aches and pains
  • low levels of gastric hydrochloric acid
  • constipation
  • muscle weakness
  • need for excessive amounts of sleep
  • fears, due to low energy and secondary copper toxicity
  • lowered resistance to infection
  • subnormal body temperature

Secondary Symptoms.  Weak adrenal glands also lead to the accumulation of copper and other heavy metals, which can trigger additional symptoms.  In women, diminished adrenal gland activity may contribute to PMS or menopausal symptoms such as hot flashes. This is because the adrenal glands are the sole source of female hormones after menopause.

3. Sympathetic Dominance

Sympathetic dominance is a lifestyle imbalance that indicates Rachel is overusing her sympathetic nervous system, also known as the fight-or-flight response.  She continues to push herself even though her body is exhausted. This is common among urban dwellers and anyone who lives a fast-paced lifestyle, worries too much, or has a very active mind.

The fight-or-flight response is the body’s emergency stress response system. However, many people are so exhausted that the body must use this system most of the day. This prevents adequate regeneration and slowly destroys the body. 

4. Impaired Elimination of Toxins

Rachel’s test showed very low levels of toxic metals. This is significant because everyone today—including children—has excessive toxic metals in their bodies due to widespread environmental contamination. So why weren’t they showing up on Rachel’s test? 

Detoxification is an energy-dependent process. One reason for the low levels of toxic metals is that Rachel simply does not have enough energy to eliminate them. Instead, they remain sequestered in body tissues and continue to accumulate.

How Toxic Metals Cause Fatigue

Toxic metals contribute to fatigue by disabling thousands of enzyme reactions in the body, some of which directly affect energy production. As energy decreases, more toxins accumulate, leading to a cycle of worsening health and even lower energy.

Aluminum was the one toxic metal that was elevated on Rachel’s test. It is known to inhibit energy production by interfering with the synthesis of ATP, the body’s main energy molecule. (Aluminum blocks the absorption and utilization of phosphates, which are needed to produce ATP.)

5. Impaired Digestion

If digestion is impaired, even the best diet will not supply the cells with enough of the raw materials needed to produce ATP. In addition, improperly digested food will ferment or putrefy in the intestines and produce extremely toxic chemicals that further tax the energy supply. Rachel’s hair test showed several indicators of impaired digestion. 

Low Phosphorus. For example, her low phosphorus indicates insufficient protein synthesis. This means that her body is not making proteins at a fast-enough rate for optimal health. Proteins have many important functions, including to serve as hormones (insulin, thyroxine) and enzymes, both of which directly impact the amount of energy you have. 

Adequate protein synthesis requires the proper digestion, absorption, and utilization of proteins. A common cause of low phosphorus and impaired protein synthesis is candida overgrowth or other intestinal infections, which interfere with protein digestion in the intestines. 

Low Sodium. Dr. Paul C. Eck, biochemist and founder of Analytical Research Labs., found that when hair sodium level is low, the person often has low hydrochloric acid in the stomach. Without enough hydrochloric acid in the stomach, proteins cannot be digested properly.

6. Lowered Immunity and Chronic Infections

Rachel’s test revealed a low ratio of sodium-to-potassium (Na/K)—a tell-tale sign of lowered immunity and a tendency for chronic infections. Most of us carry several hidden or low-grade infections that may proliferate when the body becomes worn out. Common ones are Epstein-Barr virus, Lyme, Cytomegalovirus, Candida albicans, and others.

Rachel had a history of infection. When she was 10, she contracted mononucleosis, an infectious illness caused by the Epstein-Barr virus. In 2014, decades later, a reactivation of the virus left her bed-ridden for two months. 

Chronic infections by bacteria, yeast, parasites, and viruses drain the body’s energy and can result in extreme fatigue. Infections can be deadly if they get out of control, so the body uses a lot of energy to fight them off. This is why rest alone is so crucial and effective when you are sick. 

“The Results Amazed Me”

“The results of the hair analysis amazed me,” Rachel said. “Not only did I receive a wealth of information, but it also correlated with my other test results. And subsequent tests, matching exactly how I was feeling, made me a true believer in its accuracy. I could have saved a lot of money if I knew about hair mineral analysis to begin with.”

Why Didn’t These Imbalances Show Up on Rachel’s Blood Tests?

Rachel’s hair analysis showed significant mineral imbalances. However, her blood tests showed that her mineral levels were normal. How can this be?

This occurs because blood is maintained at the expense of the tissues. Mineral levels in the blood are rigorously controlled and do not vary much. For example, excess minerals are quickly deposited in body tissues like the hair. When deficiencies occur, the body responds by taking minerals from the tissues and moving them into the blood. This means that a hair biopsy will expose mineral imbalances years before they show up in the blood. 

For example, when blood calcium levels drop, the body rapidly responds by stimulating bone resorption, thereby releasing stored calcium into the blood. This is why you can have osteoporosis (demineralization of the bone) and at the same time have a normal blood calcium level.

Using Hair Analysis to Restore Your Energy

Hair analysis is not only valuable for identifying biochemical imbalances. Your test results will also paint a clear picture of what is needed to rebuild and rebalance the body’s energy production system. A practitioner familiar with nutritional balancing science can use your results to suggest specific foods and nutrients that balance your body chemistry and optimize your energy output. Using hair analysis to make nutrition and lifestyle recommendations is a science that’s been refined over 40 years. 

Finding a Practitioner Who Offers Hair Analysis

Since hair samples can be transported by mail, many practitioners offer the test remotely (serving clients via the internet and mail), so you can do the test no matter where you live. 

Ideally, find a practitioner who works with Dr. Lawrence Wilson. He’s been using hair analysis for over 40 years and has trained dozens of people who offer his protocol. If you work with one of his practitioners, Dr. Wilson will personally set up your nutrition program. Other practitioners may not have a good enough understanding of the test and how to use it.

Conclusion

Many people who are exhausted struggle to find the cause—even after visiting several doctors. Yet, a hair analysis will often reveal multiple causes of chronic fatigue and low energy. These include mineral deficiencies, the presence of toxic metals, glandular imbalances, digestive issues, glucose intolerance, and more. Some of my clients go from having no idea why they’re tired all the time to having several answers.

If you’re interested in doing a hair analysis, I offer the test to a limited number of clients. To learn more about joining my practice, contact me.

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