May 2020 | Page 2 of 2 | Eurobio


What is fatigue? 

Most of the people might have experienced overtired or overworked from time to time. This is usually resolved with a nap or a few nights of good sleep. Although fatigue is sometimes referred as tiredness, they are actually different. Fatigue is described as feeling tired all the time, exhaustion, lack of motivation and energy. It usually last longer, is more profound and cannot be relieved by rest. It can be physical, mental or a combination of both. Certain people might even experience extreme fatigue that last for more than six months, or as we called it chronic fatigue syndrome.  

Symptoms of fatigue 

Fatigue is a common symptom of many medical conditions that range in severity from mild to serious. Most adults will experience fatigue at some point in their life. It is also a natural result of some lifestyle choices, such as lack of exercise or poor diet. Fatigue may cause a range of other physical, mental and even emotional symptoms such as: 

  • Chronic sleepiness 
  • Low energy levels 
  • Feeling exhausted all the time 
  • Extreme fatigue after exercise 
  • Headache 
  • Dizziness 
  • Slow reflex and response 
  • Muscle soreness 
  • Loss of appetite 
  • Irritability 
  • Impaired decision making and judgments 
  • Low motivation 
  • Poor concentration 
  • Reduced immune system function 

Causes of fatigue 

There are many potential causes of fatigue, which can be classified under three different categories: lifestyle-related causes, medical causes and emotional causes such as: 

Lifestyle-related causes 

  • Lack of sleep. Adult should get at least 7-8 hours of sleep per day. Without sufficient rest, we will feel tired and irritable the next morning. 
  • Poor sleep quality. Frequently interrupted sleep due to noisy neighbors, children waking at night or uncomfortable sleeping environment will cause disturbed sleep. 
  • Lack of regular exercise and sedentary behavior.  Physical activity helps to improve fitness, reduce stress and improve sleep. 
  • Poor diet. Consuming foods that are high in energy but low in nutrient will result in a poor supply of fuel and nutrients to carry out daily activities. Deficiencies in certain nutrients such as B Vitamins and Iron will cause fatigue. 
  • Poor workplace practice. Poor workplace practice can add to a person’s level of fatigue. These may include long working hours, job that require hard physical labour, irregular working hours such as rotating shift, a stressful work environment or persistent fixed concentration on a repetitive task. 

Medical causes 

  • Insomnia. People with insomnia experience difficulty to fall asleep and therefore are not able to obtain sufficient rest or feel refreshed in the morning. 
  • Anaemia. The most common form of anaemia is Iron deficiency anaemia, People who areanaemic often experience fatigue. This is because they do not have enough iron in the body to produce healthy new red blood cells. This will reduce the amount of oxygen carried throughout the body, leave them feeling tired, shortness of breath and weak. 
  • Problems related with thyroid hormones. Fatigue or severe exhaustion can be a key sign of undiagnosed or insufficiently treated thyroid conditions. Hypothyroidism occurs when there’s an under production of thyroid hormones from our thyroid gland. A drop in thyroid hormones leads to low energy levels. Fatigue can also be a symptom of hyperthyroidism as the condition commonly cause insomnia, anxiety and disrupted sleeping patterns and sometimes unintentional weight loss. A blood test measuring hormone levels can be carried out to identify the problem.   
  • Sleep apnea. One of the complications of sleep apnea is daytime fatigue. The repeated awakening associated with sleep apnea will disturb the quality of sleep, causing severe daytime drowsiness, fatigue and irritability. 
  • Low blood sugar. Glucose is needed to produce energy for our body. When our cells do not get enough glucose,it will leave us feeling fatigue and weak. 
  • Medication. Certain medications such as antidepressants are linked to side effects such as tiredness. 

Emotional causes 

Emotional exhaustion can arise when someone experiences a period of excessive stress in their life. It can make them feel emotionally drained, overwhelmed, exhausted and fatigued.  

  • Depression. People who are depressed often have sleep problems. They might either sleep too much or do not sleep at all. These unhealthy sleeping patterns will lead to exhaustion. 
  • Anxiety and stress. Prolonged stress can cause chronic fatigue and disruptions in sleep, which may result in decreased energy levels. Furthermore, people in constant stress and anxiety tend not to pay too much attention to their diet, which lead to an unhealthy diet causing nutrient imbalance. 
  • Grief. Dealing with emotions such as grief and stressful situations will leave you feeling emotionally exhausted and tired. 

Read more about How To Manage Stressful Situations here.

What can we do to help fight fatigue? 

In many cases, fatigue should improve once we are able to identify the underlying causes and make appropriate lifestyle and dietary adjustments. These are a few lifestyle tips that we can do to help fight fatigue: 

  • Eat healthily and drink enough water. Incorporate more fruits and vegetables in our daily diet. If our body is receiving enough vitamins, minerals and water it needs, we will experience less fatigue. 
  • Take B Vitamins. B Vitamins are a group of water-soluble nutrients that are essential for the proper functioning of our body. They are involved in the energy production in our system, and ensure that our body is provided with energy from the metabolism of carbohydrates, fats and protein, and also for the maintenance and health of the nervous system in general. 
  • Exercise will help enormously with tiredness. If our body gets a good work out every day, we will sleep better at night. Even a simple 15-minute walk can give you an energy boost. 
  • Practice relaxation exercise such as yoga, deep breathing and meditation. These will help to calm our body and mind and help with anxiety and stress relief. Decreasing stress in our life will help relax our body and we will sleep better at night. 
  • Practice good sleep habits to combat our tiredness. Keeping a regular bedtime is important for our energy levels. Avoid eating, reading or watching TV in bed. Listening to gentle and calming music is also helpful for some people to facilitate their sleep and improve sleeping quality.  
  • Avoid alcohol. Alcohol sedative quality makes us tired for hours after consuming no more than only a drink or two. Consuming wine, beer or hard liquor in the daytime will make us feeling drowsy. 

Fatigue and tiredness, if constant and prolonged, can be a debilitating and tiring condition. It heavily affects our quality of life as it disrupts our ability to carry out daily activities. If we still experience problems sleeping or feel constantly tired after plenty of sleep, we should make the necessary lifestyle changes. 

In some cases, lifestyle changes do not contribute too much to the improvement of fatigue as the fatigue is caused by underlying medical condition. The nature of the fatigue needs to be identified so the right treatment can be prescribed for the medical condition. Talk to your doctor if you experience fatigue alongside these other symptoms: 

  • Unexplained fatigue that do not improve after lifestyle changes 
  • Shortness of breath 
  • Pain in your chest area 
  • Irregular heartbeat 

Underestimating the importance of fatigue and general lethargy may only lead to more complicated problems. Therefore, it is important to be aware before chronic fatigue sets in, so that the issue can be addressed properly. 


  1. Tardy, A. L., Pouteau, E., Marquez, D., Yilmaz, C., &Scholey, A. (2020). Vitamins and Minerals for Energy, Fatigue and Cognition: A Narrative Review of the Biochemical and Clinical Evidence. Nutrients, 12(1), 228. 

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Death and diseases related to smoking are always a public health challenge around the world. Majority of us associate smoking with lung diseases, but many do not know that smoking causes a variety of unwanted effects that have no direct contact with the smoke itself, for example the liver. Our liver is an important organ that has many tasks, and one of them is to process toxins and remove them from our body.

Cigarette smoke produces various chemical substances with cell damaging properties that will induce oxidative stress on the liver and in turn increase inflammation and scarring of the liver cells.

Although smoking by itself may not cause liver cancer, it increases the risk of it, especially for those already living with an unhealthy liver eg: people with hepatitis.

Cigarette smoking is a risk factor for the onset of fatty liver disease in nondrinkers. According to studies, the more you smoke the risk of getting fatty liver disease increases.

These are some few tips to help you quit smoking and lead a healthy life and liver:

  • Set a quit date for smoking.
  • Eat food rich in anti-oxidants as chemicals in cigarette smoke will cause a lot of oxidative stress to our body.
  • Take Milk Thistle and other supporting herbal supplements to remove the toxins from our body.

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The human body is made up of various complex systems working harmoniously to sustain life. Among these important systems, the digestive system plays a crucial role as it is responsible for processing and absorbing nutrients necessary for growth, energy production, and overall vitality. By understanding the digestive system, we will be able to make informed dietary choices for maintaining optimal health. In this post, we will be discussing the function of the digestive system and factors affecting its function and what we can do to take care of it. 

What is the digestive system? 

The digestive system is made up from a complex network of organs starting from the mouth to the anus. These organs include the mouth, oesophagus, stomach, small intestine, and large intestine. Along the way, there are other organs that aid the digestion process, which includes liver, gallbladder, and pancreas. From the moment we ingest food, a series of complex processes are set in motion, ultimately converting food into nutrients that fuel our cells, organs, and bodily functions. These nutrients may include carbohydrates, proteins, fats, vitamins and minerals which are essential for healthy body functions. 

The commonly known functions of the digestive systems are: 

  • Ingestion 
  • Digestion
  • Absorption 
  • Excretion 

What parts of the body are involved in the whole digestive system? 


 human digestive system diagram

  • Mouth

    The whole digestive system begins when food is ingested through the mouth. Throughout the chewing process, food is broken down into smaller pieces, while the enzymes in our saliva start to break down the food into simpler forms. The preliminary breakdown of carbohydrates begins in the oral cavity. 

  • Oesophagus

    When food is swallowed, oesophagus, which is a muscular tube, is responsible for transporting chewed food from the mouth to the stomach through a coordinated motion known as peristalsis. 

  • Stomach

    Digestion, which is the mechanical and chemical breakdown of food, happens in the stomach and small intestines. The stomach is a muscular, J-shaped organ located in the upper abdomen. The lining of the stomach contains gastric glands that secrete gastric juices, which consists of hydrochloric acid and digestive enzymes during digestion process. The stomach muscles also undergo peristalsis to mix the food with digestive enzymes and gastric juices, breaking it down into smaller particles preparing for the absorption process. Besides, the highly acidic environment in the stomach serves as a first line of defense against harmful microorganisms. 

  • Small intestines 

    The small intestine is responsible for the majority of nutrient digestion and absorption. It is a long, coiled tube that extends from the stomach to the large intestine, which consists of three distinct sections, namely the duodenum, jejunum, and ileum. Nutrients and molecules from the stomach are absorbed through the walls of the small intestines and transported to cells via the bloodstream. These nutrients will provide us with energy for body functions. 

  • Pancreas 

    The pancreas is responsible for secreting digestive enzymes into the small intestines, such as amylase, lipase and protease to further breakdown carbohydrates, proteins and fats. The pancreas also sends out hormones that control the amount of sugar in your bloodstream. 

  • Liver 

    The liver plays a role in the digestive system by producing bile. Bile is stored in the gallbladder, and aids in the digestion and absorption of fats via fat emulsification. It also helps in the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins. 

  • Large intestines (colon) 

    The large intestine, also known as the colon, is the final part of the digestive system. It plays a crucial role in excretion, which is the processing and elimination of waste products from the body. Any remaining food that is left undigested will enter the large intestines. In the large intestines, water and electrolytes are absorbed, with the remaining material becoming increasingly concentrated and compacted to form faeces. There are also beneficial bacteria present in the colon, which helps to ferment certain indigestible carbohydrates, producing vitamins and gases. Faeces are stored in the rectum until they are ready to be eliminated from the body through the anus during a bowel movement. 

What factors affect digestion? 

Several factors can influence the efficiency and effectiveness of digestion, ultimately impacting how well nutrients are absorbed into your body.  A healthy digestive system will influence your overall wellbeing. 

 Common factors include: 

  • Dietary choices

    The types of food we consume greatly impact digestion. By consuming foods that are high in fiber will help in digestion and prevent constipation at the same time. Excessive intake of oily, fatty or processed food can slow down digestion and might cause gastrointestinal discomfort. 

  • Eating habits

    Some people tend to have unhealthy eating habits such as eating too quickly and not thoroughly chewing their food. This can lead to indigestion and bloating. Besides, eating too quickly may lead to overeating and this can also overwhelm the digestive system and may lead to weight gain. 

  • Hydration

    It is important to stay hydrated as water helps to break down food and aids in the absorption of nutrients. Without sufficient hydration, one may suffer from constipation and this will also hinder the smooth movement of food through the digestive tract.

    water helps to break down food and positively affects digestion  

  • Physical activeness 

    Staying active is good for our digestive health. Regular exercise promotes healthy digestion by stimulating the muscles of the digestive tract. This will help to move the food through the digestive tract and prevent issues like constipation. 

  • Gut microbiome 

    Gastrointestinal tract is populated with over 400 different species and close to 100 trillion of bacteria. The balance of these bacteria is the key to good health. However, sometimes the “balancing act” of the microorganisms in our gastrointestinal tract can be thrown off.  This will then lead to digestive issues and impact overall health.  

  • Age 

    Just like other body functions, digestive function can decline with age. As people get older, the production of digestive enzymes may decrease, leading to problems with nutrients absorption and digestive functions. 

  • Stress and mental health

    As the brain and digestive system are interconnected, stress can significantly affect digestion. Chronic stress can lead to irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), indigestion and acid reflux. 

  • Smoking and alcohol 

    Smoking and consuming excessive alcohol consumption can harm the lining of the digestive tract, impair its function and damage other organs that are responsible for digestion. This will potentially lead to conditions like acid reflux, gastritis, and ulcers. 

Are supplements good for the digestive health? 

While a balanced diet is the foundation of a healthy digestive system, there are some supplements that can help to support digestive health: 

  • Probiotics

    Probiotics have gained significant attention in recent years for their potential to support digestive function and promote overall gut health. They are known to help regulate digestion, support nutrient absorption, and contribute to a healthy immune system. As there are many factors that can cause an imbalance of these microorganisms such as antibiotics, stress, travelling, poor diet and illnesses, reintroducing probiotics into our gastrointestinal tract can help to restore the gut balance and promote a healthy gut environment that aids digestion. 

    probiotics support digestive system and promote gut health  

  • Zinc 

    Zinc is known for its role in immune health. It also supports enzyme function and repairs the cells on the gastrointestinal lining for better nutrients absorption. 

  • Milk thistle

    Milk thistle is beneficial for supporting liver function, which indirectly affects digestive health. Liver is responsible for the production of bile, which is needed for fat emulsification and digestion. Milk thistle may aid in the detoxification process, which indirectly benefits overall digestive health too. 

  • Fiber

    Fiber is crucial for maintaining regular bowel movements and preventing constipation. If dietary sources are insufficient, fiber supplements can be beneficial. 

  • Digestive enzymes 

    Supplements containing digestive enzymes can assist the body in breaking down foods, which will be beneficial for individuals with conditions affecting enzyme production. 

Understanding our digestive system and the factors that affect its function can help us to make informed decisions about our diet and lifestyle habits. While supplements can provide support, they should be used in conjunction with a balanced diet and a healthy lifestyle. Always seek professional advice if you encounter any problems with your digestive health such as persistent diarrhoea or constipation, severe pain in any part of the digestive system, blood in the stools or changes in your bowel habits for urgent care and early treatment. 


  1. MediLexicon International. (n.d.-a). Digestion: Anatomy, physiology, and Chemistry. Medical News Today. 

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As we age, our bodies change in many ways that affect the function of both individual cells and organ systems. Functional changes in cell occur little by little and progress inevitably over time. However, the rate of this progression can be very different from person to person.

The aging process depends on a combination of both genetic and environmental factors. Although we could not change our genetic, we can adapt a healthy lifestyle as many environmental conditions have a substantial effect on aging. A healthy lifestyle is an especially important factor in healthy aging and longevity.

There are things we can do to stay healthy and active as we age by practising healthy living e.g.

  • Not smoking
  • Drinking alcohol in moderation
  • Exercising
  • Getting adequate rest
  • Eating a diet high in fruits and vegetables
  • Coping with stress
  • Having a positive outlook
  • Maintaining a healthy weight

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