I have a 4.5 yo boy why has recently started school (prep). He seems to be always tired, even when on summer holidays last month. He is often yawning, becomes visibly tired after just a few minutes of running around and generally has to be woken up in the morning for school.

Short background:

  • He is on iron and vitimin D suppliments as he was found lacking in a blood test a month ago. He gets plently of sunlight but it is now summer in Melbourne so usually wears sub block.
  • He had his adenoids and tonsils removed 6 months ago when they were found to be causing sleep apnea.
  • He generally is in bed by 8:00PM and up at 7:15AM.
  • We go to the park every day for play and swim at least twice a week
  • He eats well
  • He is alergic to peanuts but clear for everything else

Any thoughts? I have heard that gluten intolerance can cause issues but know no more about it.

Follow-up: We believe we tracked down a major cause of his tiredness to one of the medications that he was on. He was prescribed Nasonex for a few months. When we ran out, he seemed to have more energy. It turns out that one of the (rare) side effects of this medication is tiredness. A while later, we tried another steriod and it had a similar effect.

  • I hope everything will be great with your child!!
    – user3973
    Commented Feb 26, 2013 at 15:48
  • My 4.5 year old needs to be in bed before 8 - like 7:30 at the latest. Any later and she exhibits similar symptoms and is, quite frankly, a total bitch. Have you tried an earlier bedtime? Does he have a decent bed (e.g. pocket coil)?
    – Doug
    Commented Feb 27, 2013 at 15:25
  • @Doug - Not really possible to do the earlier bed time - we both work fulltime. It's not a bad idea to try and get a bit more sleep into him, though.
    – dave
    Commented Feb 27, 2013 at 19:14

3 Answers 3


If your pediatrician has eliminated any remaining physical issues after the apnea, and his blood work is clear (I know it usually takes a few weeks for levels to get back to normal in most cases), then a gluten allergy was my next guess too. It's easy enough to find out: cut out the gluten for 2-3 weeks, and see if you can tell (and if he reports) a difference.

Bonus: gluten-free diets can be healthier than the usual diet, since one easy way to go gluten-free is to amp up the fresh fruit & veg.

Good luck and let us know how he does!


I also had fatigue issues and they cleared up completely by following a Paleo-type diet (specifically the Perfect Health Diet which is a little different).

My doctors couldn't find anything wrong with me, all blood values were within parameters, and I was still tired. I cut out gluten and felt somewhat better, but after starting to eat PHD I have felt great all the time.

Since then, my family eats the same way. We eat lots of whole foods, and snacks for the kids are mostly limited to yoghurt (with or without low-sugar jam), fruits, nuts and meats. They don't snack that much anyway.

So my answer is that you can try changing his diet to a very clean diet that has been proven to improve many issues in many people, even though it's a little controversial.

Apart from PHD linked above, there's also a nice book Eat Like a Dinosaur which has lots of tips for eating Paleo-style with kids.

Search the web for Paleo or Primal for lots more info.


My first suspect for tiredness, after medication and low iron, would be a low B12 count.

Vitamin B12 is one of those things that often goes missing together with iron, so if he has low iron, he may also have low B12. There's plenty of it in Marmite, not sure about Vegemite, but it mostly comes from animal products.

Since my family is vegan, we've occasionally supplemented with methyl-cobalamine syrup, which brought their values high quite quickly.

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