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with the tiredness of the Corona era. How should I go out with you? (Mechanism of fatigue)

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In 2020, life changed drastically due to the new coronavirus. There was a need to refrain from going out, work from home by telework, make meetings online, and study at home. However, the situation changed from moment to moment, and it seems that more and more people feel tired in various situations because they cannot keep up with the daily changes.
Therefore, this time, we interviewed Dr. Yasuyoshi Watanabe, a leading researcher in fatigue research, about the mechanism of fatigue and how to deal with fatigue in the with corona era.

Dr. Yasuyoshi Watanabe (RIKEN Center for Biosystems Biosciences, Health and Pathological Sciences Research Team)

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with New Normal Fatigue in the Corona Era

Are more and more people feeling stressed by the corona sickness?

(Interviewer) When
I live every day, I often hear about problems from people around me, and I also hear the word “new normal tiredness” in the media. In addition, according to a certain survey, one-third of them feel unwell after the start of telework. It seems that the most common upsets were stiff shoulders, followed by mental stress, and then back pain.

After all, is the number of people who are feeling mental stress due to the new normal lifestyle increasing?

(Professor Watanabe) In
the stress check item of the questionnaire survey “Measurement of physical fitness of heart 2020” (Mediplus Research Institute), a graph analyzing from high stress to low stress is posted. Looking at that percentage, the number of people with high stress did not actually increase dramatically.

The problem is that the number of people with less stress, called “low stress people,” is decreasing. And it turned out that there was a national difference. In areas with many infected people, such as the Tokyo metropolitan area, Osaka, and Hyogo, the number of people with less stress is decreasing, and the number of people who are definitely feeling stress is increasing.
On the contrary, it seems that many people in rural areas have a higher degree of health and stress has been relieved because they have more opportunities to come into contact with nature by working from home or refraining from doing so. But overall, it’s safe to say that more and more people are stressed by the infection.

There are two main causes of stress-lifestyle changes and mental stress-

Is the change in the living environment the most important thing because the number of people with low stress is decreasing?

(Professor Watanabe)
Well, I think it is largely due to changes in the living environment.
I think that you can keep the same posture for a long time at home, you have less chance to move your body and the amount of exercise is drastically reduced, and you are not accustomed to working.

But when it comes to stress, I think the mental part is bigger. It is a psychological stress caused by anxiety such as “I don’t know when and where I get infected”, “I may not be able to continue working”, and “When will I return to my original school life”.
And it will be great that the place to dissipate the stress is lost. Opportunities to enjoy each event such as dinner and travel are decreasing. The fact that taking a vacation does not change your daily life is also considered to be a factor in accumulating stress.

How do you feel tired in the first place?

What is the fatigue mechanism?

Teacher, how does fatigue occur in the first place?

(Professor Watanabe)
Our daily activities consist of the work of each cell in detail. When the cells of the body overwork, active oxygen (oxidative stress) increases, and when the oxidative stress damages the cells, it becomes one of the causes of feeling fatigue.
At that time, if the energy to repair the damaged cells is low, fatigue (feeling) remains.

Restorative energy is produced by metabolism from the three major nutrients, but it is the B vitamins that are essential to support the metabolism, and vitamin B 1 that helps to make energy from the most important sugars . Therefore, vitamin B 1 is an important nutrient to prevent the accumulation of fatigue.

Relationship between stress and fatigue / pain

(Interviewer) When the
load builds up on your body due to overwork, fatigue appears.

(Professor Watanabe)
For example, when mental stress puts a strain on the mind and body, the body tries to prepare for battle in order to deal with it. CRH (corticotropic free hormone) from the brain to the pituitary gland, ACTH (adrenocorticotropic hormone) from the pituitary gland to the adrenal cortex, and the secretion of the hormone cortisol from the adrenal cortex are one of them. Cortisol promotes metabolism and works to generate energy, and while it works for anti-inflammatory, it is also called “stress hormone” and it also lowers immunity.

In addition, stress causes the secretion of adrenaline and noradrenaline. They can also constrict blood vessels and cause blood circulation problems. Blood circulation disorders can also be associated with pain such as stiff shoulders and back pain.
Originally, cortisol, adrenaline, and noradrenaline play important roles in the body, but the problem is that stress continues to cause excessive conditions. These can cause a variety of physical problems, so it is important to deal with stress early.

with Corona era-conscious fatigue coping method

The point is prevention and anti-fatigue component against fatigue

Please tell us the lifestyle habits that you should be aware of so that you do not accumulate fatigue.

(Professor Watanabe)
Basically, it is important to prepare the autonomic nervous system in a regular life such as sleep, a balanced diet, and moderate exercise.

It is important to increase the activity of the sympathetic nervous system in order to be active, but if you keep working for too long, it is like whipping up a slope.
That is why it is necessary to rest comfortably = relax and restore the ability to climb the slope again. It’s a good idea to prepare your own relaxation method on a regular basis.

How about consciously supplementing the necessary nutrients?

(Professor Watanabe)
It is necessary to take preventive measures against fatigue. In that respect, it is very important to have a balanced diet and to supplement the lack of nutrients. Dealing with stress from the inside and taking things that are useful for anti-fatigue are required in the with corona era.

Specifically, what should I do?

(Professor Watanabe)
Polyphenols that work on the immune system, vitamins C, E, β-carotene that have antioxidant effects, reduced coenzyme Q10, cysteine, imidazole dipeptide, astaxanthin, etc. You also need B vitamins, α-lipoic acid, pantothenic acid, zinc, and iron to help you recover from fatigue. You should also be aware of the rare metal ions such as vanadium and selenium.

How about the tiredness that has appeared?

(Professor Watanabe)
Research has also revealed an anti-fatigue component. For example, fursultiamine. It is an important derivative of vitamin B 1 in energy metabolism (TCA cycle) and is an improved version of vitamin B 1 . It is used only as an ingredient in medicine.
Vitamin B 1 tends to be deficient when trying to supplement it with food alone. It is known that there is a limit to the amount of vitamin B 1 that can be absorbed, even if it is taken in large quantities at one time. Fursultiamine, a vitamin B 1 derivative, is an improved version that is more easily absorbed by the body and produces “active vitamin B 1 ” in the body , helping to recover from fatigue.

Message from Dr. Watanabe to readers

How to deal with fatigue in the corona era

Finally, in the with Corona era, could you give us guidance on how to deal with fatigue well?

(Professor Watanabe)
As mentioned above, stress causes fatigue, so it is important to simulate situations where you are likely to face stress in advance. For example, when you have to go to a dense group, when you get on a commuter train, imagine what you will do to reduce stress. I think this kind of thing is very important.

That will protect you.

(Professor Watanabe)
Yes. And the other is the selection of information. In the with Corona era, collecting correct information is essential. A lot of information comes out, but unnecessarily misleading it can also lead to stress. You need to make a solid choice of people and media that you can trust.
By catching accurate information quickly, we want to take preventive measures against fatigue.

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