Hi Everyone, I have been diagnosed for only a year and have tried it all from Gluten Free, to only eating fruits and vegetables. Nothing can has changed but made more tired and weak. Can I get any suggestions or ideas.
Denise Nowack, RD:
Without knowing specific information about what (and how much) you’re eating, my first question would be whether your diet is providing the nutrition you needs to fuel your body. The weakness and fatigue you’re experiencing may be related to not ingesting enough calories or missing nutrients that are important in energy metabolism.
If fatigue goes unmanaged it can result in a decrease in appetite, activity, and less interest in food preparation. There may be an interrelationship between your diet and fatigue. This can be somewhat of a vicious circle. Fatigue can be a contributor to poor nutritional status. Pay attention to your eating habits when you’re tired. Do you skip meals when you’re feeling tired?
Your eating habits can also contribute to being fatigued by depriving you of the energy and essential vitamins and minerals your body needs to function effectively. Food is the fuel; so missing meals can compromise your energy levels and in turn be a contributor to fatigue. For some, healthy snacks that act like mini-meals is one way to make eating more manageable and keep energy levels high.
If fatigue has made it difficult to meet your daily nutritional needs, you may find that your diet may be low in certain nutrients that could compound the problem. One consequence of these deficiencies can be anemia or “tired blood.” See if the following areas of your diet could use a boost!
Low Iron: Iron is an important part of hemoglobin, which carries oxygen in your blood. Anemia can be a common problem if you don’t get enough iron. Find it in your diet from:
Foods from animals—“Heme iron”—the most absorbable form of iron in your diet—comes from animal sources. Usually, the deeper the red color of the meat, the higher the iron content.
Foods from plants –provide another source of iron called “Non-heme iron.” It can be found in good amounts in fortified breakfast cereals, pumpkin seeds, bran, spinach, beans and prune juice. You can help your body absorb iron from non-heme sources by consuming them with a source of vitamin C or heme iron foods
Low Vitamin B6: Vitamin B6 or pyridoxine helps in the production of hemoglobin. Too little B6 can also result in anemia. Find B6 in your diet from chicken, fish, pork, liver and kidney. It can also be found in reasonable amounts in whole grains, nuts and legumes.
Low Folic Acid & Low B12: Folic acid works with Vitamin B12 to make red blood cells. Find folic acid in your diet from fortified grains including cereals, breads, and pasta, and also in dark, green leafy vegetables, and citrus fruits (like oranges). Find B12 in your diet from meat, fish, poultry, eggs, and dairy foods. Animal products are the key source to Vitamin B12. It can also be found to a lesser extent in fortified foods. (Note: Vitamin B12 is often touted to be beneficial for those with MS, it is best to have a physician test for B12 deficiency before exploring B12 supplementation.)
Low Protein: Too little protein in the diet can also cause anemia and weaken your immune system. Aim to include 1 gram of protein in your diet for every kilogram of body weight. Find protein in your diet from lean cuts of meat, fish, poultry, eggs as well as lowfat or nonfat dairy products. Plant sources of protein can be found in tofu, beans, peas, lentils, nuts and seeds.
I would also recommend that you share this information with your doctor if you haven’t yet done so, to rule out other factors that may be contributing to your fatigue and weakness.