Re: Strange unrelenting fatigue
I think under 7 is too low and causing you most of the problem. I read the following:
At the low end of body fat levels, folks run into all sorts of health problems.Lower Isn’t Better
Lower body fat is not better. Not from a performance standpoint and not from a health standpoint. Although it’s probably as related to energy balance as body fat per se, the point is that when folks get beyond a certain point of leanness, hormone levels are disrupted in both men and women (and a great deal of this is controlled by leptin, discussed in detail in other articles on the site).
The normal menstrual cycle in women may stop (this is called ammennorrhea), indicating a problem with estrogen production. This tends to cause bone loss which is a very serious problem.
In men not using drugs to maintain their hormone levels, testosterone can approach near-castrate levels as they reach the lower limits of body fat. Complaints of zero sex drive (and not being able to get it up even if the drive were there) are common among natural bodybuilders who get extremely lean.
And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Thyroid, growth hormone, IGF-1, metabolic rate, and the immune system are all severely depressed under situations of extremely low body fat (genetic oddities excepted). Cortisol goes through the roof at extremely low body fat levels especially when a lot of training is being done.
This is all just part of a coordinated set of adaptations that occur with both starvation and dieting (dieting is just starvation on a smaller/slower scale) to try to keep you alive. It’s frustrating but actually makes perfect sense, at least to your body.
A body fat of 5% in a man is likely occurring because there is no food. Your body can’t tell the difference between you starving it because you’re a crazy bodybuilder or you starving because there’s no food available ; it reacts the same way.
If there is no food, the last thing your body wants is for you to get your mate pregnant. Either there isn’t enough food to keep it alive or you’ll be dead before it’s born, and unable to fulfill your fatherly duties (watching TV, drinking beer, changing the oil and killing the occasional spider). So testosterone crashes to make it impossible in the first place. If you’re starving, chances are so is your mate so that’s a double whammy.