Chronic Fatigue Conditions Cause Diet

While the exact mechanism that causes certain types of chronic fatigue is unknown, researchers such as those at the Cleveland Clinic (2009) have identified links between chronic fatigue and diet. Poor dietary choices can contribute to chronic fatigue or exhaustion, and improving your diet can sometimes help relieve extreme fatigue.

Chronic Fatigue and Diet

Your dietary choices have a direct effect on your energy levels. A poor diet–such as one high in saturated fats and processed foods and low in essential nutrients–can lead to exhaustion or extreme fatigue.

When you don’t get enough of the nutrients your body needs to function, you can easily become exhausted. In extreme cases, an unhealthy diet can cause chronic fatigue syndrome.

How to Eat to Prevent Exhaustion

A healthy diet gives you the energy you need and helps strengthen your immune system to prevent exhaustion and illness. The best diet consists of foods that are rich in nutrients, such as:

  • B vitamins
  • Calcium
  • Iron
  • Vitamins A, C and D.

Saturated fats raise cholesterol, causing poor circulation and stress on the heart. To reduce saturated fats in your diet, avoid red meat, high fat dairy products and fried foods.

Nutrient-rich foods include fresh fruits and vegetables and whole grains. Nuts, seeds and cold-water fish contain healthy fats that can counteract the effects of saturated fats and balance the body’s cholesterol. Avoid excessive levels of caffeine, refined sugar and alcohol.

Exhaustion is also a result of dehydration, so make sure to drink enough water throughout the day.

Antioxidants and Chronic Fatigue

Chronic fatigue, as well as a host of other diseases, may be caused in part by oxidants or free radicals, toxic byproducts that build up in the body. Oxidants are natural byproducts of the digestion of food. They can also result from exposure to cigarette smoke, sunlight or pollution in the environment.

Antioxidants are substances that remove oxidants from the body. Many are found naturally in foods, particularly in fruits and vegetables, but they may be added to your diet through supplementation. Some important antioxidants include vitamins C and E and carotenoids like beta-carotene and lutein.

If you’re experiencing extreme fatigue or exhaustion, changing your diet may make the difference between feeling better and developing chronic fatigue. Following a healthy diet can help prevent many other chronic illnesses as well, including cancer and cardiovascular problems. Always discuss any planned dietary changes with your doctor or nutritionist.


Cleveland Clinic. (2009). Diet, exercise, stress and the immune system. Retrieved September 30, 2010, from

University of Maryland Medical Center. (2010). Chronic fatigue syndrome. Retrieved September 30, 2010, from