Natasha Dunn

Senior embryologist at Primary IVF, Yoga teacher, Nutritionist
Natasha Dunn

Why is my child so tired all the time – Part I of II

 Have you ever stopped to wonder why your child is rubbing their eyes so often? Complaining of being tired? Lack of energy, crying and not enthusiastic about the day? 

Children become tired for a number of reasons. These little humans that we want the best for, need more rest than we do, and their bodies are rapidly growing, needing extra nutrients to sustain them. This blog will highlight the 3 most common causes of fatigue.

Iron deficiency in your child

Did you know that children are at a higher risk of iron deficiency than adults? Being low in iron can cause fatigue and lack of energy.

Iron is essential for your child’s growth and development. Inadequate iron in your child’s diet it can lead to anaemia.

Anemia, is when there is not enough red blood calls in the body. We need red blood cells to carry oxygen to all our muscles and organs. The less oxygen we have in our bodies, the weaker and more fatigued we become. 

Did you know your child needs on average 11-15mg per day depending on their age?

What signs should I be looking for in my child for iron deficiency?

  • Pale skin
  • Fatigue
  • Poor appetite
  • Infrequent infections
  • Behavioural problems

What can I do to prevent low iron in my child?

  • Make sure your child consumes food high in iron – chicken, fish, spinach, lentils, silver beat, broccoli, beans, whole wheat, brown rice, nuts and seeds.
  • Feed your child foods high in vitamin C to aid in the absorption of iron – sweet potato, lemon, oranges, tomatoes, spinach, cauliflower, capsicum just to name a few.

Food sensitivities

Food allergies and sensitivities cause symptoms such as bloating, fatigue, diarrhoea, and weakness.

If your child is getting all the correct nutrients in their diet but they still seem tired, is there a chance they are not absorbing their nutrients due to a food sensitivity?

Commonly food malabsorption can be due to leaky gut, IBS, SIBO, celiac and other digestive issues. Removing the trigger food (always under the guidance of a professional) can increase the energy and performance of your child.

465 people tested in a study by the university of York, used the elimination diet to remove the trigger food, the results showed 87% of the subjects reported a boost in their energy levels.

Celiac disease causes malnutrition and anaemia leading to fatigue. Celiac is caused by a protein found in gluten, that prevents correct absorption of nutrients in the gut. 

If you suspect any food allergies or sensitivities with your child, make sure that you consult a professional nutritionist or dietician to determine the best and most effective way to treat your child.

Is your child eating too much sugar?

Our bodies do need some forms of sugar in correct proportions, but if your child is getting too many refined sugars this can lead to sugar crashes, and lack of proper sleep leaving them tired during the day. You can read more about sugar in our blog “Sweet Poison – How Sugar is Ruining Your Health.”

What can you do to help prevent sugar crashes?

Fill your child’s lunch box with healthy sugar alternatives, such as fruits, vegetables they can snack on, protein rich foods and complex carbohydrates.

Limit foods such as soft drink, juices, candy, and refined snacks and don’t allow your child to pack their own lunch box 

Increased refined sugars and these types of snacks also lead to obesity, which can in turn lead to your child exercising less as it is harder to run around, and also increased chances of anaemia and iron deficiency.

A study by Pinhas-Hamiel et al, 2003, found that obese children had a higher incidence of anemia and low iron due to poor dietary habits with 38% of obese children being low in iron and only 4.4% of the normal-weight children being low in iron.

A good option is to keep your house a refined sugar and candy free zone! Your child will still get their fair share of these sugary treats at parties or from other kids and parents. Make an appreciation for healthy food options in your household.

Please keep an eye out on the site for ‘Why is My Child So Tired’ part II, in the mean time make sure your child is getting adequate nutrition from fresh fruits and vegetables, enough sleep, plenty of water and limit refined sugar intake.

 

References

Moss Centre for integrated medicine. Integrative medicine San Diageo. Food allergy, sensitivity and fatigue. Sited 21st of April 2019 https://mosscenterforintegrativemedicine.com/treatments/fatigue/food-allergies-fatigue

Pinhas-Hamiel, O., Newfield, R, S., Koren, I., Agmon, Arnon., Lilos, P., and Phillip, M 2003. Greater prevalence of iron deficiency in overweight and obese children and adolescents. ‘International Journal of Obesity.’ 27, 416-418

 

 

 

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ction of testosterone.

Naturopathic treatment involves correcting nutritional deficiencies as this can profoundly affect testosterone production. Chemicals found in insecticides, herbicides and plastics can disrupt hormones and lead to androgen deficiency. The use of herbal medicines such as Tribulus, Damiana and Rhodiola may be indicated. Weight loss is an integral part of treating androgen deficiency as a 10% gain in your BMI will result in about a 10% drop in your testosterone!

Alcohol intake is also relevant – in a recent study, a group of 72 healthy young men drank the equivalent of about six servings of beer or wine. Their oestrogen levels dramatically increased and were still high five to ten hours later. This means that no type of alcoholic drink can be drunk in excess without increasing oestrogen levels!

Ask the men in your life to take the questionnaire above and read through this information. If androgen deficiency seems relevant then ask them to see their GP for comprehensive testing as well as a naturopath for holistic support.

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