Nearly 80 percent of Americans admit they feel tired, exhausted, low energy, fatigue and experience too much stress. Many mistakenly link it to getting older. Contrary to popular belief, low energy and fatigue are not inevitable consequences of getting older.
Men, women, teens, even young kids rely on and are addicted to stimulants such as sugar (which is eight times more addictive than cocaine), energy drinks (laced with sugar, artificial sweeteners, pesticides, contaminated water and toxic chemicals), and an excessive intake of caffeinated beverages in an attempt to boost energy. In reality, they all provide a false sense of energy. High school and college kids illegally abuse psycho-stimulating ADD drugs (Ritalin, Adderall, Dexedrine) to help them focus for longer periods, lose weight and stay awake to study and cram for exams. They don’t understand the serious side effects from these drugs: sleeplessness, aggression, anxiety, depression, adrenal dysfunction, arrhythmias, hallucinations and hypertension.
Low energy and fatigue are symptoms that your body is out of balance and signs of deeper, underlying health problems.
Real food as medicine
Stabilize blood sugar. Avoid skipping meals and long periods of time between meals. Choose real food, not carb-heavy, processed foods that leave you exhausted.
Eat breakfast. Always include organic, grass-fed, free-range, pastured protein (whole eggs, wild fish, poultry, red meat, full-fat yogurt, clean protein powders). Amino acids in protein stabilize blood sugar, increase drive, alertness and activate feel-good neurotransmitters.
Avoid sugar, soda, gluten, wheat, grains and processed foods, which zap energy, increase inflammation (and your waist line), spike insulin, intensify cravings and deplete the adrenals.
Dehydration is one of the first signs of fatigue. Drink a minimum of half your weight in water. Add a pinch of Himalayan or unprocessed sea salt. Low sodium can cause fatigue, especially during hot weather with increased sweating.
Cut down on caffeine.
Identify hidden food sensitivities. Eating inflammatory foods your body’s sensitive to trigger exhaustion and fatigue.
Aim for seven to nine hours of uninterrupted sleep every night. Sleep deprivation lowers immunity, increases cravings and belly fat, causes fatigue, risk of depression, diabetes and dementia.
Nutrient deficiencies can take weeks or months to eventually present itself. You’ll notice a huge shift in your energy, especially if you’re supplementing with a particular nutrient you’re deficient in.
Run functional lab tests to rule out anemia, underlying viruses (Epstein-Barr, CMV, hepatitis), autoimmune disorders, infections (parasites, bacterial, fungi, mycotoxins, Candida), IgG food sensitivities and toxic heavy metals.
Address hormone imbalances, specifically adrenal insufficiency, hypothyroid and low testosterone.
Unplug. Addiction to electromagnetic stressors (smart phones, iPads, computers, TV) trigger fatigue, tiredness and disrupted sleep. Do you really need to email someone at midnight? Talk on your phone while grocery shopping? Text someone during your kids’ bath time?
Go outside. Enjoy nature. Get some vitamin D from the sun.
Put an end to multi-tasking, endless commitments and filling your life with noise, non-stop busyness and chaos that only makes the soul more distressed. Schedule less. Your adrenals will thank you.
Optimize digestion and healthy gut function. Rule out malabsorption issues (gastritis, SIBO, leaky gut, Crohn’s, ulcerative colitis, GI inflammation) and underlying infections (Candida, parasites, fungi, bacterial, mycotoxins) that drain your body of energy.
Address emotional depression and psychological stressors that deplete energy and the adrenals.
Beware of your thoughts and how you speak. Change “I’m soooo tired” to “I’m feeling energized.” Thoughts transmit an invisible energy that affect your mental and physical well-being.
Be mindful of who and what you surround yourself with. If a certain activity or person drains your energy, have the discipline to eliminate that activity or person from your life.
Meditation sustains energy. Aim for 10 minutes every day.
Aromatherapy: energizing essential oils include lemon, peppermint, Rosemary, orange
Consider alternative therapies: chiropractic, Reiki, massage, reflexology, acupressure and acupuncture.
Sit less. Stand more. Take a stretch break or a brisk walk. Bounce on a mini trampoline, do periodic posture checks, sun salutations, the 5-Tibetan rites, squats, pushups, lunges, jumping jacks or jump rope to get the blood circulating and energy flowing.
Practice breathing techniques (breathe of fire, alternate nostril breathing) to revitalize and energize every cell in your body.
Yoga, Tai Chi and Qi Gong promote internal energy, release blocked energy, and dissolve physical and emotional tension. Yoga asanas such as backbends and sun salutations stimulate and energize.
Instead of long-slow distance endurance-style cardio, opt for shorter, smarter workouts as those found in Fat Loss Revolution.
Avoid excessive exercise, which exhausts the adrenals.
• Optimize vitamin D, magnesium and B-vitamin status. Consider B-vitamins, L-carnitine, CoQ10, amino acids, probiotics, alpha lipoic acid, adaptogens. Avoid adaptogens during pregnancy, breastfeeding or when taking any medications.
• Be aware of the negative side effects from OTC and prescription drugs.
• Be smart. Always seek the guidance of a functional health practitioner to determine an ideal protocol for your unique biochemistry.
• Paula Owens, M.S., is the author of “The Power of 4” and “Fat Loss Revolution.” An Ahwatukee resident for 22 years, she is a leading expert in nutrition, functional health, fitness and fat loss with more than 20 years of experience. For more information, visit www.PaulaOwens.com.