If you have chronic fatigue or pain and have at least three of the above symptoms, you should ask your doc to consider testing your blood for thyroid dysfunction. If it's positive, she might give you a trial of Armour Thyroid by prescription. This form has the active thyroid hormone (called T3) in it, and many experts in this field find that it works better than the more commonly used Synthroid. No data prove this difference, but some patients swear it made the difference to them.
Scoop Up, Power Up
Some ill-advised folks might say that the greatest nutritional discovery of the last decade has been the Baconator (at a whopping 830 calories, we don't think so). The real nutritional heroes: DHA and ribose.
DHA: The active form of omega-3 helps constitute nerve membranes and keeps the nerves to your muscles firing, as well as helps encase muscles. You can get this in fish oils or from the algae that fish eat. Try 600 mg of DHA a day (equivalent to 2 grams of fish oil if you like that taste better).
Ribose: This special sugar is made in your body and doesn't come from food; it helps build the energy blocks of your body. Of all the things you can do to combat the effects of knee-dragging fatigue, taking a daily ribose supplement is the one that seems to really turbo-charge some people who have diseases associated with low energy. (The only side effect is that some people feel too much energy, if that's possible.)
The data aren't good enough to recommend ribose for all of us. But if you want to give it a try, start with 500 mg three times a day for a week or so until you get used to the taste (or find a smoothie, coffee, or tea to put it in). Then go to 5 grams three times a day for three weeks to get a sense of the effect. Then you can scale back to 5 grams twice a day.
By the way, since we know you're wondering: Each 5-gram scoop contains only 20 calories, since ribose isn't metabolized as a sugar. Taking it won't increase your chances of becoming mistaken for a Sea World attraction. In fact, since it is a bit sweet, you might think of it as a sugar substitute.
As an aside, ribose has been shown to relieve fatigue, soreness, and stiffness after exercise, and some professional athletes have reported muscular benefits after taking ribose (again, the data are too weak to say it does or doesn't work well, since the studies just haven't been done).
Find Your Chia
Say the word chia, and most of us immediately think of little green pets. But we want you to think of chia for another reason: A whole grain used by the Aztecs as their main energy source, chia can help restore energy levels and decrease inflammation because of its omega-3 fatty acids.
Similar to cornstarch, chia can be used as a thickening agent and as a substitute for whole grains in your diet. Whole grains, of course, are especially important because they help stabilize blood sugar levels, as opposed to causing the spikes and falls that can occur when you eat sugars and refined carbohydrates. Here's one way to use chia.