Exhaustion: Refuelling the depleted body

There are many situations when the body can become very depleted, with the end result that people feel they’ve just “run out of batteries”. Common causes are overwork, long periods of stress or insomnia, all of which are very evident in our modern society.

However, this is particularly severe with people who have been chronically infected with bacterial infections such as Borrelia (Lyme), Bartonella and other tick-borne infections - we loosely call them crypto infections because these bacteria are stealth pathogens that hide from and suppress the immune system. We have also known for decades that viral infections, such as glandular fever a.k.a. mononucleosis, can also take patients a very long time to recover from.

Sadly we are also seeing this now in people recovering from COVID-19. It’s nicknamed ‘Long Covid’ and, as well as the chronic fatigue, people are experiencing organ damage that is taking a long time to heal. Testing can be difficult. It is becoming apparent that people can test negative for antibodies even after having a confirmed COVID infection some months before. In the case of bacterial infections, many are missed with ELISA testing and only show up in private EliSpot or PCR tests. I often wonder how much other conditions like myalgic encephalomyelitis (M.E.) or chronic fatigue syndrome (C.F.S.) are actually the result of a previous bacterial or viral infection.

Whatever the diagnosis, and aside from tackling infections, it is really important to find ways to treat people who are so depleted. I believe that this needs to be done in a multi-pronged approach: to support the immune system, reduce inflammation, support metabolism, support detox and, importantly, to nourish the cells and the body which in turn produces more energy. Consequently many of the patients who attend my clinic have drawerfuls of supplements, so I place a high premium on combination products.

SubLyme Vitality Plus contains the full range of vitamins from A to K. This includes the methylated forms of folic acid (B9) and B12 which are better absorbed by the body, and vitamin D from mushrooms (D3) to make the product all-inclusive to the growing number of people following a vegan lifestyle. Alongside the vitamins are the appropriate minerals that are vital for energy especially those critical to thyroid health: magnesium, zinc, manganese, selenium, copper and - very importantly - iodine. The iodine used in SubLyme Vitality Plus is in its seaweed state form. This is significant as chelated iodine in the seaweed matrix acts differently in the body to the potassium iodide commonly used in supplements. I am a big fan of seaweed and contributed to a research study that demonstrated very clearly how much more bioavailable it is to the body (reference below). Every cell in the body - including the mitochondria - has a receptor for thyroid hormones and this supports the metabolic rate and energy produced in the body.

Amino acids are another important set of ingredients - L-Arginine, L-Theanine, L-Taurine. Our bodies break down proteins into amino acids. These are the building blocks for immune cells, hormones and other vital components of the body. A deficiency of dietary protein or amino acids impairs immune function and increases our vulnerability to infectious diseases. SubLyme Vitality Plus contains amino acids from vegetable sources which is unusual as the majority are extracted from meat products. Choline metabolises amino acids and synthesises two major phospholipids that are vital for the integrity of cell membranes. Choline is also essential for optimal brain development and cognitive function, balancing blood homocysteine, and it stimulates the release of neurotransmitters that contribute to good mental health.

There are other excellent additions too. Alpha-lipoic acid is a mitochondrial compound that helps create energy at the cellular level for the body’s organs by breaking down carbohydrates. A vital antioxidant, it also protects cells from damage - especially helpful for the brain. D-ribose also provides energy including to the heart and Omega 3 powder is also another important nutrient that, like chelated iodine, also originally comes from the sea.

In an ideal world all our essential micronutrients should come from a fresh, organic, healthy diet. However when you have been chronically tired for a long time, you often don’t have the energy to shop and cook, or your appetite is poor. When your immune system is low it is really important to keep the right fuel going in. For my very depleted patients with fatigue an all-inclusive food supplement ticks all the right boxes.


Further reading:
Combet, E., Ma, Z. F., Cousins, F., Thompson, B., & Lean, M. E. (2014). Low-level seaweed supplementation improves iodine status in iodine-insufficient women. British journal of nutrition, 112(5), 753-761.

Hager, K., Marahrens, A., Kenklies, M., Riederer, P., & Münch, G. (2001). Alpha-lipoic acid as a new treatment option for Azheimer type dementia. Archives of gerontology and geriatrics, 32(3), 275-282.

Kok, D. E., Dhonukshe-Rutten, R. A., Lute, C., Heil, S. G., Uitterlinden, A. G., van der Velde, N., ... & Steegenga, W. T. (2015). The effects of long-term daily folic acid and vitamin B 12 supplementation on genome-wide DNA methylation in elderly subjects. Clinical epigenetics, 7(1), 1-14.

Li, P., Yin, Y. L., Li, D., Kim, S. W., & Wu, G. (2007). Amino acids and immune function. British Journal of Nutrition, 98(2), 237-252.

Pauly, D. F., & Pepine, C. J. (2000). D-Ribose as a supplement for cardiac energy metabolism. journal of Cardiovascular Pharmacology and Therapeutics, 5(4), 249-258.

Zeisel, S. H., & Da Costa, K. A. (2009). Choline: an essential nutrient for public health. Nutrition reviews, 67(11), 615-623.

Zimmermann, M. B., Jooste, P. L., & Pandav, C. S. (2008). Iodine-deficiency disorders. The Lancet, 372(9645), 1251-1262.


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