Fatigue after eating is particularly common after lunch. It’s that time in the mid afternoon when you can barely keep your eyes open and all you want to do is sleep. If you want to avoid this state, you need to understand it, and here’s what you need to know.
01:11 - Why do you have fatigue after meals
02:30 - How digestion affects fatigue
03:52 - Food sensitivities and inflammation
06:00 - Size of meals and type of foods
08:55 - Adrenal Fatigue and post meal fatigue
12:00 - Whole person view on post meal fatigue
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The main causes of fatigue after eating. Do you find that eating leaves you feeling tired, out of energy, and, as if you just need to take another nap after you just ate? This isn't uncommon, and yet it feels wrong because food is supposed to give you energy, not take it away. Today on the Dr. Lam show, we're going to talk about why this happens, and I will give you some strategies to avoid this energy slump. I'm Dr. Carrie Lam, and I'm here to give you some insight into this problem from the perspective of Family Medicine, anti aging, and nutrition.Dr. Jeremy Lam, MD:
I'm Dr. Jeremy Lam. This problem of low energy after eating is something that I see often in my work. My passion is to understand, address, as well as reverse chronic disorders. So if you experienced this condition, you're definitely not alone. And you know, there's a difference between the heavy feeling you get after eating a really big meal, like Christmas or Thanksgiving, and the fatigue that occurs after every meal. Before we understand this difference, let's take a look at the effects that food has on your body. Now, eating is supposed to boost your energy, right? However, feeling sleepy after a meal can be normal, especially if it was a heavy meal. But are you among those who actually experience fatigue after eating? Then we have this problem. People often resort to coffee or energy drinks, thinking that might help but all they get is a temporary relief. And then the problem soon returns. So, we have to understand its root cause.Dr. Carrie Lam, MD:
Your body gets energy from food and needs it to function, it needs it to survive. The energy is released when food is digested. It breaks down into glucose or fatty acid, which your body can utilize as energy. And it also triggers various responses like secreting hormones like cholecystokinin, secretin and glucagon, which may increase a feeling of fullness. It also produces insulin, which tries to bring the sugar from the glucose into the cells from the blood. So those processes are there to provide your body energy. And as the digestive system is the major energy production center, your overall health largely depends on its healthy functioning. So, when your digestion is not working well, you can have unpleasant symptoms like fatigue after eating. In addition, other factors like unhealthy food choices can also cause a feeling of fatigue. Chronic infections and stress can also affect digestive health, as excessive stress produces excess cortisol which can negatively impact your body, including digestion.Dr. Jeremy Lam, MD:
So that's what happens in your body every time you eat. As you can tell, digesting your food can take a lot of energy, which is why fatigue is to be expected after every meal. But if you think you're experiencing more than just that after every meal, if you get tired after every single meal, then there might be something else going on. If you're unsure about this thing, call 714-709-8000 for free initial phone call with one of our staff, we will be able to help you identify whether your energy dips are normal or if there's really something else underlying this going on. Speaking of other things going on, there are a range of other issues that can impact your energy levels after eating. And one of the things that could be contributing is inflammation. We do food sensitivity testing as well because it can trigger inflammation, which can then make you feel fatigued after eating. Especially adrenal fatigue sufferers tend to have increased food sensitivities. So identifying your trigger foods and eliminating them from your diet is the first step to reduce the risk of inflammation and keeping up with your body's energy level at its peak.Dr. Carrie Lam, MD:
Talking about certain types of food, your diet does make a difference. There are certain foods that are higher in tryptophan that could make you sleepy, as tryptophan helps to produce the sleeping and feel good hormone, serotonin. Elevated serotonin levels in the brain can cause drowsiness. As most of us know that Turkey is high in tryptophan and that's why after Thanksgiving meals we tend to feel a little more sleepy. Other tryptophan rich foods include cheese and spinach, fish, egg, soy and tofu. Another source of food that can cause excessive secretion of insulin and raising the level of tryptophan in the brain is, sugary foods. Sugary foods help release neurotransmitters like melatonin and serotonin, which cause sleepiness. And did you know that over 90% of your serotonin is produced in your gut, where this hormone regulates intestinal movement, or good bowel movements. Carbohydrate rich foods such as rice, pasta, bread, potatoes also raise serotonin levels, making you feel sleepy. So these comfort foods make us want to take a nap after eating them. So if you feel this fatigue after eating processed foods, as they are quickly absorbed by your body, and then they can cause a spike and then a drop in your blood sugar levels, leading to tiredness.Dr. Jeremy Lam, MD:
The type of food is really important and Dr Carrie also mentioned the portion size. Having a large meal, especially one that's high in fat, can make you feel tired. And this is because the gut needs to break down the food and it uses a lot of energy to help digestion. So if you have a large quantity of food, then using more energy in the digestion process will make you more sluggish. So consider having smaller meals, about four to five smaller meals throughout the day to help maintain your energy levels. The next component is if you experience fatigue after a meal, then that could indicate symptoms of hypoglycemia, or diabetes. People with hyperglycemia or high blood sugar levels could also feel tired after meals. That's because the food is converted to glucose or sugar and transported through blood to the cells for energy. Now insulin is actually put out by the pancreas and it helps to transport sugar molecules in your blood into the cells to use them for energy. Now diabetics tend to have insufficient insulin or insulin resistance, therefore leaving the sugar in your bloodstream and not being able to process into the cells. And so you can have an elevated blood sugar level causing fatigue. So if you have diabetes, you should consider focusing on a nutrient rich yet low carb diet to maintain stable blood sugar levels.Dr. Carrie Lam, MD:
Right diabetes is one condition that you should definitely get checked out. But there are other health conditions that you want to make sure are checked out before eating too much carbs. So conditions such as anemia, or an underactive thyroid, or food sensitivities, allergies, celiac disease, even sleep apnea can cause fatigue after eating. In such cases, make sure you talk to your health care practitioner to rule out as many of these as possible, and to identify the true reason of feeling fatigued after eating. So if any of these causes sound like they could apply to you, because your health, your body and your metabolism is very different than everyone else's. So, you know, what's going on with your body. And if you don't understand, it never hurts to get a second opinion, you can call us at 714-709-8000 for a free initial phone call, you will get an objective view from us on why this fatigue is happening. Adrenal Fatigue is a very common cause of post meal slumps and that is another reason that is overlooked, a lot of the times. So Dr. Jeremy, let's talk about adrenal fatigue and post meal fatigue.Dr. Jeremy Lam, MD:
Your body is equipped with a natural stress fighting mechanism called the neuro endo metabolic stress response. It consists of an intricate network of various organs and six circuits, including the Bioenergetic circuit, which functions in close coordination to help fight stress. Now a pair of walnut shaped adrenal glands which is located above the kidneys are also part of this response system. And so during stressful situations, that any stress response sends signals to your adrenal glands to help support your body by secreting the anti stress hormone, cortisol. However, when the stress is constant, the adrenals can get overburdened and are no longer able to produce enough cortisol and this can affect then the natural stress fighting ability of your body which can then lead to adrenal fatigue. Now frequently, adrenal fatigue sufferers experience low energy levels, fatigue when waking, insomnia, brain fog, anxieties, stubborn weight gain, constipation, low concentration levels, and just craving for salty, salty and fatty foods as well.Dr. Carrie Lam, MD:
As the adrenals get more and more overworked with consistent stress. This results in a cortisol imbalance which can disturb the entire neuro endo metabolic stress response. People in advanced stages of adrenal fatigue have very weak bodies. Everyday functions of the body, and organs like the liver, the pancreas and thyroid of the bioenergetic circuit gradually begin to slow down and this can complicate the actions necessary for maintaining the health of the body especially eating and digestion. And the Bioenergetic circuit of the NEM system comprises the liver, the pancreas and the thyroid. Any imbalance in this circuit can lead to mitochondrial issues, sugar cravings, reactive hypoglycemia, which is feeling hungry after you just ate, catabolism, dizziness, weight gain, weight loss, and insulin resistance. So the pancreas and the liver play key roles in this digestive process, as the pancreas needs to secrete enzymes like trypsin, chymotrypsin, amylase, lipase to help digest proteins, carbs and fat into usable products like cholesterol and fatty acids. It also helps to transport glucose to tissues through the blood and help the liver absorb glucose. A major detoxification center of your body the liver, performs multiple crucial functions as it helps secrete bile, helping detoxification and digestion and metabolism of these fats, proteins and carbs in order to maintain healthy levels of your blood glucose and chemicals. So, any dysfunction of the liver, the pancreas can also impact digestion and therefore contribute to fatigue after eating. So it's important to keep a whole person view on why you might be having fatigue after you eat. The causes of post meal fatigue can be difficult to identify. So it's vital that you do the work. You find what's going on deeper and don't just ignore it. If you need help with that process, give us a free initial phone call with one of our staff at 714-709-8000. With our extensive experience in adrenal fatigue, we are the best source for expert advice and guidance. We are so grateful to have you been listening to us here today on the Dr. Lam show. We hope that you found all this information helpful about post meal fatigue and gives you an idea on how to improve your health holistically as we're here to empower you to take control of your health. If you'd like this podcast, please make sure to subscribe to the channel for more content like it and share it we give you the best and hope to see you next week.Unknown:
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