So you want to know how you can boost your energy naturally, right? Maybe you're tired or fatigued because you don't get enough sleep. Or maybe you work too much and you're too stressed out to actually fall asleep? Or maybe you've always been tired and you just can't figure out why or it seems like you've always been tired? Fatigue is a common problem and many people initially will resort to things like caffeine or energy drinks. These will give you an initial boost but it typiclaly won’t last long. It won't last throughout the day and it won't last long term. In a week or so you will be right back to where I started. If you don't address the underlying problem that is causing your low energy to begin with the caffeine or energy drinks just won't work.
Fatigue and low energy are one of the most common reasons people come into our practice and seek out our help. Now, sometimes they also have other things going on with them as well. Usually fatigue and low energy are part of the symptom picture as well.
Since this is one of the most common reasons that people seek our help, I wanted to:
- give you some ideas on what could be causing you to be feeling so fatigued
- what we can do to boost up your energy naturally.
1. Boost Energy Naturally with Vitamins
When people ask me how they can boot boost their energy naturally one of the first things that comes to mind is vitamin status. What are the vitamin levels of various vitamins. Now not all vitamins are going to help boost your energy or give you a sense of heightened energy. Many do and it really depends on your current level whether it’s going to have this effect.
There are other reasons why a certain vitamin may or may not have that effect on you. We can't just say well here take X, Y, & Z vitamins (or a multivitamin) and then you'll be good. There’s a chance you might be but for some of them you might actually end up causing more harm than good. Let's talk about a couple in particular.
Vitamin b12 in particular can definitely improve your sense of energy and help your body run more efficient. The thing we have to remember is that all vitamins and some minerals act as cofactors for the enzymes in our body. Enzymes basically help reactions occur. For instance, we take in food and that food turns into hormones, it turns into neurotransmitters, etc. In order for that to happen you need enzymes. Not the type of enzymes in your digestive tract, we're talking about the enzymes inside your body. Intracellular enzymes that help the mechanics of your body work better. so Back to specifics like b12, for instance, is a cofactor for many aspects of the methylation cycle and it can help with production of things like creatine and cell membranes and all these different things. When you don't have enough you start to feel fatigued. Bottom line, b12 is important.
Iron is another important vitamin and mineral liked with fatigue. Now taking too much iron could cause damage in some instances. So you really have to make sure you're not taking too much. Also when you're low in these things whether it's b12 or iron you kind of want to find out why you are low to begin with. When you do this you can correct it or know how often to take your supplemental vitamin or mineral. Lab tests and symptoms can help guide that conversation and understanding of what you supplementation should look like. I discussed some specifics on labs and symptoms in other video and articles, especially with regard to b12. So be sure to check those out. I may post more regarding iron in the future.
Vitamin D is another one that comes to mind. Low vitamin D, depending on how low, can cause people to have a little bit lower energy. Raising your vitamin D can potentially improve dopamine levels which is a neurotransmitter that helps you have more mental energy and motivation. Those are three vitamins / minerals that you could potentially take. I'm not saying you should take them. If you are low on them, then definitely it will help your energy. B12 is one that you're not really going to cause much harm with, nine times out of ten.
So vitamin levels are really important, just make sure with iron and the vitamin D you're not taking too much because it can cause some problems and with all of them kind of want to find out why it's low to begin with.
2. Boost Energy Naturally with Hormones
The second thing that comes to mind with how to boost your energy naturally is hormone levels. Low hormones can cause fatigue for sure. Sometimes high hormones can also do this, by the inverse. For instance, if hormones negatively affect your sleep, like high cortisol, this can keep you awake. It's gonna to potentially lead to, over the long term if it stays high, sleep deprivation and more superficial sleep. When this happens you're just not getting that sound recovery from.
Other hormones for males low testosterone will definitely cause some low energy. It can have an effect on both mental energy and also the actual physical energy or ability to you know do work and exercise. It will also effect your energy post work or exercise. Testosterone can come into play for females too. More so for females, if they're postmenopausal females would be estrogen. Estrogens are going to be more stimulating for for them. Testosterone can play maybe more of a role for younger females but it's also important that older females have enough testosterone. When women get older their estrogen level is going down anyway so that's usually more the focus. Using testosterone as well, can actually boost up estrogen levels.
The third kind of category of hormones that I think about is cortisol and adrenal function and low cortisol. High stress over long periods of time can lead to low cortisol. This is sometimes referred to as adrenal fatigue. As I said high cortisol can actually impair your sleep which can affect your ability to recover and get proper rest. If you are not sleeping well you are not able to take advantage of everything that comes your way the next day.
The last one more that comes to mind is things that alter your blood sugar. Cortisol does alter your blood sugar but so does insulin. One of the tell-tale signs of blood sugar problems is if you're getting really fatigued after you eat. This occurs potentially from too much insulin. This is more notable when you're also gaining weight. The other thing to note is high cortisol could potentially lead to high insulin, but not always. So you should take a look at what your insulin levels are and how your blood sugar levels are. If you’re getting a spike and then a crash that’s usually from high blood sugar and then followed by high insulin. The subsequent high insulin drives down your blood sugar and makes you kind of fall asleep or feel tired.
so those are the hormone categories to think about. The last one is fairly straightforward. If you have this you would want to reduce your carbohydrate intake. This is sometimes easier said than done but there are ways to help your body even out. For high cortisol you want to reduce stress and better manage it. You could potentially take some adrenal herbs ashwaganda or some other adrenal adaptogens like that to help balance out your stress level.
3. Boost Energy Naturally with Digestion
The third category or third thing I think about when trying to boost someone's energy naturally is what’s going on with your digestion. Digestion could play a role for various reasons in energy levels. Number one that's where you absorb all of your macronutrients like your carbohydrates, fats, and protein. It is also where you absorb your micro nutrients like vitamin levels and even the things that are not measurable but like carotenoids and polyphenols. All these super nutrients that help your cells run at their optimal level. These molecules are boosting the the function of your cells. When you're not absorbing them or you don't have good digestion those things are gonna be lower in your body. So obviously absorption is important to boost energy.
Now if you have some inflammation or digestive issues which could be IBS, IBD like Crohn's or Ulcerative Colitis, the main thing we do to fix that is to calm down the inflammation. The inflammation is coming from inside the digestive tract but the immune system is also getting activated by that inflammation. Sometimes you will get low level inflammation which can drain your energy just like a cold or a flu. You might feel you are kind of fatigued when you have the cool cold or flu even if it's mild. This occurs from the cytokines coming from the immune cells. These can definitely drain our energy. It your bodies way to preserve the energy for fighting the problem. This is occurring when you have digestive inflammation too. In addition, it's draining to the body for those immune cells to be working more than they need to.
So fixing digestive issues can be helpful because you're cutting down on inflammation and reducing the drain on the body's energy reserves. You are also potentially improving the immune function when it doesn't have to deal with stuff down in the digestive tract your body is has more reserves to do other things like produce actual energy, help your neurotransmitters, work, and all that.
This is a broad overview of how digestion can affect your your energy and help you boost your energy naturally. A little tip for you is if you want to get better better digestion, find out what's triggering your inflammation. Food can be a really big trigger for inflammation and poor absorption. Typically you are putting that food in there every single day, sometimes multiple times a day. If that's triggering poor absorption and inflammation, which are often you know tied together, then guess what's going to happen to your energy every time you eat that food? You guessed it you're going to get drained. So food can play a big big role and that's the next topic we’re going to go into a little more detail.
4. Boosting Your Energy Naturally with Diet
Diet wise there are a couple things that come to mind that people do to not allow them to get enough energy. When we talk about boosting your energy naturally diet is a huge. Maybe this should be number one actually on the list. All these things are interrelated of course. If you're not digesting well, you’re not getting enough vitamin levels which could potentially impair your ability to produce hormones etc.
More specifically with diet, we have macronutrients and micronutrients. I wanted to take a minute to talk about imbalances in macronutrients. Too much carbohydrate too much protein too much fat can potentially lead to slowdown in your energy production depending on the person. Typically with most people it's too much carbohydrate. There’s different macronutrient breakdowns that may benefit on person more than another. I’m not going tell you which one is best for everyone because it's not always the same. I will say that your macronutrients should depend on what you're doing with exercise and your ability to balance your blood sugar.
Generally speaking people eat too many carbohydrates and that can lead to fatigue (as noted above with insulin). Sometimes if you are not getting enough protein it can cause issues. If you're eating a vegetarian or vegan type diet, you may be getting some protein from your lentils and beans and things. However when you eat these you are also getting a lot of carbohydrate with that. So I usually recommend a protein supplement when you're eating a vegan or vegetarian diet. This way you don't have to get so much carbohydrate every time you eat your protein sources. so keep that in mind. The target is about half of your body weight in grams of protein. Here is a vegan vegetarian protein option.
Not enough protein can lead to not enough neurotransmitters. Neurotransmitters are made from amino acids and without protein you’re not gonna be able to produce those amino acids among many other things. Our body is made up of protein. All your cells and proteins need to be replaced and regenerated at different times, sometimes every 30 days sometimes 90 days. It really depends how quickly the turnover is in that particular tissue but you need to have enough protein.
The same thing with fats. If you are really really low fat diet it will cause issues. You need fat for for producing hormones, you also need it for all of your cell membranes. So you need to make sure you have enough fat in your diet too so that's the macronutrient side. The micronutrient side we already discussed. If the food you’re eating is causing inflammation and problems in the digestive tract it’s probably causing systemic problems. That can lead to chronic inflammation autoimmune disease and real drain your energy. So find out which foods are triggering you're triggering your inflammation. There's various ways to test for that and various experiments you can do to figure that out. I posted other videos on diet and digestive things like;
Lastly with regard to diet is how well your food choices are from micronutrient perspective. Are you getting enough vitamins and nutrients from the food our eating. All breads, white foods and sugary stuff have very little micronutrients and is very processed. It also often has a lot of chemicals in it like food coloring. This food is potentially sprayed with a lot of pesticides as well. All these things are going to have a negative drain on your body. Whether or not that's going to be the critical thing that's gonna help you improve your energy it's hard to say. For some people genetically those things are really important.
5. Boost Your Energy Naturally with Sleep and Nutrigenomics
The next topic we're going to talk about is sleep and then we'll talk a little bit about genetics. So you get a bonus way to boost your energy naturally. A lot of people have trouble sleeping their whole life. They find this starts early on maybe in their teens or even younger. Sometimes it is trouble falling asleep or trouble staying asleep. They just tend to not need as much sleep. Lower sleep levels could be fine as long as you don't have low energy. If you all the sudden are having lower energy but the sleep is the same that may not be a contributing factor. However, many times we just don't know how much we’re sleeping - unless you have some kind of monitor.
Generally six to eight hours is way up way tp het. If you're getting less than six hours even if you've had this your whole life I don't think that's healthy. I break up sleep problems into two categories, I can't fall asleep and I can't stay asleep. If you have the former can't fall asleep you know it's usually from overthinking. This could be from a COMT snp which is a genetic thing. (I do have other videos related to the COMT snp).
The other category is whether or not you are staying asleep and that's usually related to higher cortisol and higher stress levels. Sometimes you have both situations, trouble falling asleep and you’re restless. You may have you know overactive thinking and that's leading to higher cortisol levels, that's not uncommon. Usually we try to help one and then circle back to the other depending on where the prevalence is. You can do some testing to figure out where you are at with cortisol. In this case you want to you know kind of help the adrenal glands get maybe take some higher protein higher fat food before you go to bed. That will keep the cortisol levels from spiking. Sometimes blood sugar issues can be more of the problem rather than stress.
So sleep is important and then genetics comes in to play usually over you know time where your body gets more the enzymes that are naturally there from your genetics get stressed for various reasons. Sometimes it is diet problems and inflammation. other times it is high stress from a job or family stress. All kinds of things can trigger high stress high cortisol in our bodies There are other things that stress the body that aren't necessarily stress from work or pressure kind of stress. As those stressors affect the the body in various ways you'll start to see genetic vulnerabilities show up. This push your biochemistry in different ways. My job when I look at someone's genetics is to find out where that biochemistry has been shifted. Generally we will look at these other things noted above first. When they are not working then, we look at what might be going on genetically. We are looking for how can we help shift that biochemistry back into a more balanced state. When you do that you have better energy. There are many different genetic vulnerabilities that can do this. There are mitochondria problems, problems in the methylation pathway, problems regarding your production of antioxidants like glutathione.
There are many many things can affect your energy levels. finding out what the cause of your low energy is the quickest and most effective way to boost your energy naturally. Hopefully this gives you some ideas and a broad understanding of what you should be looking at to help boost your energy naturally. If you have questions level them in the comment section below.
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