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Fatigue

Fatigue is a decrease in energy that lowers motivation and mental and physical performance. Some supplements are stimulants; they provide a temporary boost. Others may help by improving sleep (if bad sleep is a cause) or energy metabolism (either directly or by affecting hormones).

Our evidence-based analysis on fatigue features 2 unique references to scientific papers.

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Summary of Fatigue

Fatigue is a reduction in the amount of energy that one is able to expend and goes hand in hand with a lack of motivation. While physical and mental fatigue are often found together, they're distinct as well. This page contains information on both. It's also helpful to distinguish between acute and chronic fatigue. Acute fatigue is normal and derives from doing tiring activities such as exercising, staying up later than usual, or doing mentally demanding work. Chronic fatigue is when, regardless of your activities, you're generally fatigued and lacking motivation. This isn't normal and suggests that something is wrong. The causes of chronic fatigue are numerous and include insomnia/poor sleep quality, stress, anxiety, depression, metabolic abnormalities, severe nutrient deficiencies, use of drugs, and a lack of exercise, among many others.

Supplements on this page may work through ameliorating the various sleep and mood issues that can lead to fatigue, by being neuroprotective (as much fatigue is due to neural dysfunction) affecting metabolism, hormones, and neurological function, among other roles. For this reason, simply because a supplement can reduce fatigue in some instances doesn't mean that it will work for everyone.

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Human Effect Matrix

Unlocked for Examine members

The Human Effect Matrix looks at human studies to tell you what supplements affect Fatigue.

Full details on all Fatigue supplements are available to Examine members.
Grade Level of Evidence
Robust research conducted with repeated double-blind clinical trials
Multiple studies where at least two are double-blind and placebo controlled
Single double-blind study or multiple cohort studies
Uncontrolled or observational studies only
Level of Evidence
? The amount of high quality evidence. The more evidence, the more we can trust the results.
Supplement Magnitude of effect
? The direction and size of the supplement's impact on each outcome. Some supplements can have an increasing effect, others have a decreasing effect, and others have no effect.
Consistency of research results
? Scientific research does not always agree. HIGH or VERY HIGH means that most of the scientific research agrees.
Notes
grade-a Notable Very High See all 14 studies
The decrease in fatigue appears to be fairly strong and quite reliable when a low dose is given over a prolonged period of time or a high dose is given acutely; there are studies that have found an increase in fatigue, and one that found that it depended on the method of measuring fatigue, so it's possible that results, while generally positive, will be variable.
grade-b Notable High See all 7 studies
400 mg/kg/day in children and adolescents subject to traumatic brain injury reduces fatigue frequency from around 90% down to near 10%. Fatigue is also reduced, though to a lesser degree, in cases of sleep deprivation.
grade-b Notable Very High See all 6 studies
Fatigue is notably reduced with modafinil supplementation, particularly during instances of sleep deprivation or hypersomnia.

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Frequently Asked Questions and Articles on Fatigue

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Food and supplements that can help fight stress, fatigue, anxiety, depression, and help you sleep better.
What is Adrenal Fatigue?
Click here to see all 2 references.