What is spring asthenia? Causes, symptoms and supplements

The original meaning of the word asthenia has its origin in Greek, meaning lack of strength or vigor. Identifying this problem is complex because it can manifest itself in different symptoms and to different degrees in each person. The easiest way of identifying whether a person is suffering from spring asthenia is how long they have been experiencing the symptoms of tiredness and weariness associated with that problem. 

It is important to realize that asthenia is not an illness or pathology, but is defined as symptoms of weariness and tiredness that can appear due to different internal and external factors. 

Causes of spring asthenia

Various environmental factors common in spring induce a series of mechanisms in the body that alter the regulation of circadian rhythms. This alteration is due to a change in the secretion of hormones that relate to endorphins, cortisol, melatonin, etc. These hormonal changes cause a change in biological rhythms, which during the process of adapting to new environmental conditions are more demanding on daily energy consumption.

Environmental factors that affect the body include:

  • Changes in season, with rising temperatures and atmospheric pressure creating more hours of light each day.

  • Daylight saving time. When the clocks go forward one hour, there is a change in daily routine.

As an adaptive disorder, it will simply go away by itself in one or two weeks, depending on the person.

Due to the wide variety of factors involved, the symptoms of spring asthenia can account for 30% of medical appointments1, making it a frequent reason for seeking medical care. Chronic fatigue accounts for up to 10% of these cases, and 0.2–0.7% of people are diagnosed with chronic fatigue syndrome. 

It is therefore very important to differentiate asthenia from weakness, dizziness or dyspnoea since people can often mistake them for each other. The time factor in asthenia is very useful in identifying it, as it is defined as prolonged fatigue when it lasts for more than one month. and as chronic fatigue when it lasts for more than six months. 

Symptoms: how do I know if I’m suffering from asthenia? 

With the arrival of spring, more than half of the population may experience adjustment problems commonly known as spring asthenia. Some of these symptoms can include: 

  • Fatigue and lethargy during the day
  • Lack of energy
  • Sleep disturbances and difficulty falling asleep 
  • Irritability or anxiety
  • Mood swings and apathy 
  • Decreased libido. 

If these symptoms persist over time, they can lead to health problems such as anemia and depression.

According to scientific studies, depression is the most common cause of fatigue and accounts for about half of all cases. The best remedy for asthenia is to address the underlying cause, although up to 20% of patients remain undiagnosed. 

How to combat spring asthenia?

There is no single specific treatment for spring asthenia, but it is possible to minimise its effects by accelerating the body’s adaptation processes through a series of measures:

  • Anticipate daylight saving time by gradually adapting your daily routine to the time change before it happens, paying special attention to eating and sleeping and schedules. If you are late getting to this point, you can compensate for it by doing the following.
  • Practice moderate physical exercise to release stress and help sleep onset.
  • Pay special attention to nutrition. Eating a balanced diet that focuses on less caloric foods, with more fruits and vegetables.
  • Adequate hydration is also very important.
  • Sleep routines are crucial, since spring asthenia affects the secretion of melatonin, meaning sleep is not sufficiently restorative for the body’s day-to-day needs. This creates a feeling of not having had a full rest.

The body can then require external support from supplements, and for this we of course always recommend natural supplements.

What to take for asthenia? Food supplements of natural origin

There is more than one ideal supplement for this time of year. Each person has different needs that can affect their body in one way or another during these months. However, we can recommend a few nutritional supplements that may help this adaptation process become easier or better.

These include:

  • Melatonin, a hormone produced by the pineal gland from tryptophan, with a chronoregulatory function in the body. This is the hormone that adjusts the sleep phase and resynchronizes the biological clock2. This hormone has several functions: it helps to regulate circadian rhythm and sleeping and waking processes, it acts as a neurotransmitter, and also has immunomodulatory and antioxidant properties. In addition, melatonin calms tensions, relaxes muscles, promotes natural sleep and drowsiness, boosts recovery from sleep and decreases night-time awakenings.

  • Griffonia simplicifolia is a plant with seeds naturally rich in L-5-HTP (hydroxytryptophan), direct precursors of serotonin3. Serotonin is involved in sleep and stress management. When its production is stimulated, states of depression or anxiety reduce, and quality sleep can be enjoyed again. It therefore becomes a natural response to help restore calm, serenity and high-quality sleep.

  • Rhodiola rosea acts against mental and physical fatigue, restoring mental vitality and natural energy4. It is an adaptogenic plant, in other words a complex natural substance that allows the body to adapt to different stress situations, regardless of the causes4. As an adaptogenic plant5, it provides a functional response that varies from person to person, tending to increase the body’s homeostatic capacities.

  • Ginseng is known as the energy and vitality plant6. Its properties regulate balance in the nervous system and it also has aphrodisiac effects on the body. Its roots have the most properties, such as protecting the cardiovascular system and stimulating the immune system, exerting anti-inflammatory and anti-allergic effects. It acts on blood sugar, increasing the number of insulin receptors7.

  • Ginkgo Biloba: Its effectiveness derives from flavonol glycosides and terpene lactones contained in its leaves. Ginkgo extract can inhibit the enzyme that degrades dopamine8 and improves cognitive abilities such as concentration and memory8.

  • Omega 3 is essential to maintaining good emotional balance. It has been clinically proven that these fatty acids have a mood stabilising function within the body. This is thanks to EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid), which is one of the two components of Omega 3 with DHA (docosahexaenoic acid). The brain’s mass consists of 60% fatty acids, essential components of brain cell membranes. It is therefore important that there is a good balance between Omega 3 and Omega 6 polyunsaturated fatty acids.

  • Hypericum or St. John’s Wort (Hypericum perforatum L.) is a plant that has been used for thousands of years. It helps to promote relaxation and general mental and physical well-being9, since it helps to maintain healthy sleep and a positive mood (x). It also contributes to emotional balance and promotes optimal relaxation9.

  • Sea buckthorn juice (Hippophae rhamnoides L.) is a great source of nutrients thanks to its vitamin (C, E, folic acid), flavonoid, carotenoid and organic acid content. Its high vitamin content makes sea buckthorn the perfect ingredient for preparing drinks with high nutritional value.

  • Matcha green tea supports good digestive function10, is a source of antioxidants that helps to strengthen the body’s natural defences against the harmful effects of free radicals11, besides promoting concentration12.
     

Bibliography

  1. Young P, Finn BC, Bruetman J, Pellegrini D, Kremer A. Enfoque del síndrome de astenia crónica [The chronic asthenia syndrome: a clinical approach]. Medicina (B Aires). 2010;70(3):284-92. Spanish. PMID: 20529781.
  2. COMMISSION REGULATION (EU) No 432/2012 of 16 May 2012 establishing a list of permitted health claims made on foods, other than those referring to the reduction of disease risk and to children's development and health.
  3. Extracted from the European Commission compilation list, under EFSA evaluation (ID 2446)
  4. Extracted from the European Commission compilation list, under EFSA evaluation (ID 2659)
  5. Extracted from the European Commission compilation list, under EFSA evaluation (ID 2829)
  6. Extracted from the European Commission compilation list, under EFSA evaluation (ID 2673)
  7. Extracted from the European Commission compilation list, under EFSA evaluation (ID 2809)
  8. Extracted from the European Commission compilation list, under EFSA evaluation (ID 2261)
  9. Extracted from the European Commission compilation list, under EFSA evaluation (ID 4065).
  10. Extracted from the European Commission compilation list, under EFSA evaluation (ID 1116).
  11. Extracted from the European Commission compilation list, under EFSA evaluation (ID 1103).
  12. Extracted from the European Commission compilation list, under EFSA evaluation (ID 1222).
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