Many of us wish we had more energy, often desiring to have the boundless energy of children and young people. However, a large number of people live their lives feeling constantly exhausted and fatigued, which is not normal.
In this article, we will explain why your energy levels might be low, what causes fatigue, and provide effective strategies to boost your energy in tangible ways.
Before we delve into practical tips, it's important to understand how energy is produced in our bodies.
Inside our cells, we have small structures called mitochondria, which act as the powerhouses of our cells.
Mitochondria use the nutrients from the food we eat to create cellular energy known as ATP (adenosine triphosphate). This energy fuels our cells, organs, and bodily systems, ultimately making us function as a whole.
Throughout the day, our body produces energy by receiving signals from light, the sun, and our appetite. Eating provides the fuel necessary for mitochondria to create energy. As night falls, these signals weaken, and sleep becomes vital for replenishing our energy levels. During sleep, mitochondria balance the creation and usage of energy, ensuring we wake up feeling refreshed in the morning.
Energy is not just a biological process; it extends beyond that.
Energy is like a currency that we exchange every day. It is influenced by the places we visit, the people we interact with, the conversations we have, our living and working environments, and even the things we consume. All of these factors contribute to our energy levels.
While we focus on practical tips to boost energy, it's essential to remember that you are a manifestation of energy itself.
Table of Contents
Why do I have so poor vitality?
If you find yourself constantly lacking energy, there are several reasons why this may be happening. These reasons stem from imbalances in your body, which can be influenced by what you consume, how active or inactive you are, and the quality of your sleep.
Possible causes of fatigue
Here are eight common factors that can contribute to low energy levels. By understanding these factors and implementing practical tips and lifestyle changes, you can eliminate fatigue and live a more energized life.
Insufficient Intake of Organic Products
The concept of allostatic load refers to the burden of toxins in our bodies caused by environmental factors and oxidative stress. Oxidative stress leads to the formation of free radicals, which are harmful compounds that can damage the DNA of our cells and mitochondria. It's important to remember that mitochondria play a vital role in energy production within our cells.
When our allostatic load is high, the balance between pro-oxidants and antioxidants in our body becomes disrupted. This imbalance can lead to damage to the mitochondria, resulting in reduced energy production.
To prevent the accumulation of oxidative stress, we must identify sources of additional toxins in our lives. These toxins can be found in personal care products, plastic containers used for eating and drinking, regular consumption of drugs and alcohol, pesticides and fungicides in non-organic foods, or heavy metals and contaminants present in tap water. By addressing these sources of toxins, we can reduce the oxidative stress on our body and support optimal energy production.
The buildup of toxins in our body puts extra strain on the liver, which is responsible for detoxification. Being aware of these toxins can guide us in taking steps to minimize their presence:
- Opt for certified organic health foods to reduce exposure to harmful substances.
- Choose personal care products that are free from toxins and contain organic ingredients.
- Whenever possible, avoid using plastic containers for storing and consuming food and water.
- Limit the consumption of drugs and alcohol to reduce the toxin load on your body.
Furthermore, it is beneficial to include healthy foods in your diet that are rich in antioxidant compounds. These antioxidants can help balance and counteract the excess free radicals caused by oxidative stress. By implementing these strategies, we can support our liver's detoxification process and promote well-being.
Chaga mushroom is an exceptional superfood known for its powerful antioxidant properties. It possesses one of the highest ORAC values, indicating its effectiveness in supporting and safeguarding mitochondria from toxic damage. By protecting DNA and enhancing energy production, the Chaga mushroom contributes to vitality.
Cordyceps mushroom is another valuable resource for combating fatigue and promoting energy production. Its active compound, cordycepin, acts similarly to caffeine by binding to adenosine receptors. Adenosine is responsible for inducing drowsiness throughout the day and is naturally cleared away during sleep.
Moreover, Cordyceps mushroom enhances the oxygen supply to our tissues. This is important because hydrogen atoms play a crucial role in the Electron Transport Chain, which is the final step of energy production in the mitochondria. This step produces the highest amount of ATP, the energy currency of our cells.
Ashwagandha is a herb renowned for its ability to reduce oxidative stress and the creation of reactive oxygen species. It effectively safeguards the mitochondria and DNA against damage, showcasing its potency as an antioxidant and fatigue-fighting herb.
In general, medicinal mushrooms and adaptogens like Reishi mushrooms enhance our resilience to stress, regardless of their source. These adaptogenic herbs assist in alleviating the burdens of an increased allostatic load and promote healthy mitochondrial function, ultimately supporting sustained energy levels.
Leading a Sedentary Lifestyle
Here's an interesting fact about mitochondria: we have the ability to increase their numbers within our cells. For instance, our muscle cells contain numerous mitochondria that require a constant supply of energy. By exposing our body to positive stress, known as eustress or hormetic stress, we can enhance the number and function of our mitochondria.
Eustress refers to stressors that have a positive impact on our body, pushing it to adapt and become more resilient. One example of a hormetic stressor is engaging in movement, particularly high-intensity interval training (HIIT) or vigorous aerobic exercise.
Incorporating more movement into your daily life is crucial for combating fatigue. It aligns with the saying "use it or lose it," which emphasizes the importance of physical activity in boosting energy levels.
Movement generates energy and improves our body's sensitivity to insulin, enhancing the utilization of glucose (blood sugar) for cellular energy production. Moreover, exercise releases endorphins, which contribute to feelings of happiness and positivity, providing us with an energy boost.
To overcome feelings of exhaustion and fatigue, it is essential to break away from a sedentary lifestyle and introduce moderate exercise into your routine. Changing this one thing can have a huge effect on how much energy you have.
Inconsistent Sleep Patterns
In our society, sleep is often undervalued and considered a luxury or a symbol of success. However, when it comes to improving our energy levels, sleep plays a crucial role and should be prioritized.
In the book "Why We Sleep" by Matthew Walker, the importance of sleep for health is extensively explained. Insufficient sleep leads to oxidative stress, which affects the mitochondria. These vital cellular components become susceptible to damage and lose their ability to produce energy and support proper cell function. When our cells lack energy, we feel drained and fatigued.
Establishing a consistent sleep routine with regular bedtimes and wake-up times is key to boosting energy levels and supporting optimal mitochondrial function. Ideally, we should try to align our sleep and wake times with the natural cycle of sunrise and sunset. Light acts as a stimulus for energy production, while darkness signals the time for rest and replenishment.
Mitochondria are influenced by sunlight and the release of cortisol, a stress hormone. During the day, they merge together to create a more efficient energy production system. As daylight diminishes, the mitochondria separate, reducing the available energy.
Disruptions in this natural pattern occur when our sleep is inadequate, leading to feeling both wired and tired. It is important to slow down and unwind after sunset to allow our energy levels to naturally decline.
However, the use of electronic devices such as cell phones, TVs, and tablets in the evening can interfere with this process. The artificial lighting emitted by these devices increases cortisol levels, which boosts energy and disrupts the production of melatonin, a hormone necessary for quality sleep.
In addition to supporting mitochondrial health, a compound called adenosine builds up throughout the day and is cleared away during sleep, preparing us for the next day. Insufficient sleep or consistently getting less than seven hours each night prevents proper clearance of adenosine, resulting in chronic tiredness and low energy levels.
Prioritizing a consistent sleep schedule and minimizing electronic device usage before bed can help optimize our sleep, allowing for better energy restoration and improved well-being.
Managing food sensitivities
In addition to external toxins, internal processes can also contribute to low energy levels through inflammation and immune responses, which drain our energy.
Food intolerances are a common cause of low energy.
When your body is constantly fighting against a food it considers harmful, it triggers inflammation and disrupts the functioning of the gastrointestinal tract. This impairs the absorption and utilization of nutrients that your mitochondria need to produce ATP, the cellular energy currency.
There are certain signs and symptoms that may indicate food intolerances, such as chronic fatigue, bloating, Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), skin issues like breakouts or eczema, headaches, itchy eyes, and persistent aches.
Each person may have different food intolerances, so it's important to distinguish between an intolerance and a food allergy. An intolerance elicits a sensitivity and immune-like response, but it is not as severe or life-threatening as an allergy.
Consulting with a healthcare professional can provide medical advice and help identify any food intolerances through testing.
Alternatively, you can keep a food diary and assess how your body feels 20-30 minutes after each meal. Pay attention to any symptoms that appear and try to identify the specific ingredient or food that may be causing them. Through an elimination diet, you can systematically remove one food at a time to see if the symptoms persist. This can help you identify and manage your food intolerances effectively.
Not Consuming Enough Calories
Many people, especially women, may unknowingly under-eat, particularly due to restrictive diets and intermittent fasting for weight loss purposes. Low energy levels can often be attributed to not consuming enough calories to fuel the body.
Intermittent fasting can have short-term benefits on mitochondrial activity, but when the body is chronically deprived of calories, it enters survival mode. This leads to the preservation of energy from muscles, fat stores, and the limited food we consume, resulting in decreased cellular energy production.
Undereating also disrupts sleep patterns, which are crucial for energy production. It also downregulates thyroid hormones that control metabolism, affecting the breakdown and utilization of food as fuel. Additionally, undereating increases cortisol levels, disrupting digestion and nutrient absorption, further draining energy.
On the other hand, diet-induced obesity impairs mitochondrial function and energy production.
Insufficient Protein Intake
Protein is known as the "hero" among nutrients, and for good reason. It plays a vital role in boosting energy levels and preventing fatigue.
Our body relies on protein to create essential components like neurotransmitters, enzymes, hormones, and tissues. These processes require amino acids, which are the building blocks of protein. When our diet lacks sufficient protein, these processes cannot function properly.
Protein is also well-known for its ability to build muscle. When we have lean muscle mass, it means we have more mitochondria to support their function. This, in turn, leads to increased energy production and sustainability for our bodies.
Constant snacking and frequent meals without sufficient time in between can lead to constant spikes in blood sugar and insulin levels, ultimately decreasing energy levels. Digestion itself requires energy, and consuming large meals can make us feel sleepy as our body diverts energy and blood flow to the digestive process.
However, it's important to find the right balance with protein intake. Consuming excessive amounts can suppress mitochondrial function and place additional load on the liver and kidneys. Therefore, aim to consume a variety of protein sources to meet your daily requirements.
Remember, finding the appropriate calorie intake and protein balance for your individual needs is key to maintaining optimal energy levels.
Proper hydration is often overlooked but it is crucial for our overall well-being. Water is like a super nutrient for our body. It helps our cells function, aids in detoxification, breaks down food, and removes harmful toxins that can drain our energy.
Water is essential for digestion. It helps break down our food into usable forms like glucose, fatty acids, and amino acids, which our mitochondria use as fuel to create energy. Additionally, water supports gut motility and the elimination of toxins. When we're not adequately hydrated, our digestion slows down, leading to constipation and the accumulation of toxins in our gut. This can cause inflammation, and imbalances in our gut bacteria, and hinder nutrient absorption, all of which can lower our energy levels.
Dehydration is directly linked to fatigue. Even mild dehydration can decrease our performance, increase fatigue, and impair cognitive function. Rehydrating ourselves can reverse these effects.
The quality of water we drink matters too. Choosing high-quality spring water that is rich in minerals is beneficial. You can also enhance your water by adding a mineral supplement like Fulvic Acid, which provides additional minerals, supports cellular health, and boosts energy levels.
It's important to note that when we feel thirsty, it means our body is already mildly dehydrated. So, drinking water regularly throughout the day, especially when we're physically active, during warm weather, or when we're sick, helps us stay energized and properly hydrated.
Dealing with Excessive Tension
Stress is a major contributor to fatigue and low energy levels, and it's a common concern among practitioners.
Various factors can cause stress, including the food we consume, personal product choices, food intolerances, lack of sleep, inactivity, overexercising, and undereating. These factors lead to oxidative stress in the body, which generates harmful free radicals that damage our mitochondria, affecting energy production.
Stress is a complex and widespread issue. It manifests in our relationships, thoughts, daily movements, workplaces, and environments, and it's often unavoidable.
Modern lifestyles keep us constantly busy and on the go, sacrificing rest and downtime due to fears of falling behind, not meeting goals, feeling guilty, ashamed, or being labeled as lazy or unproductive. Chronic stress negatively impacts digestion, burdens the liver, and suppresses the immune system, directly affecting our energy levels and overall vitality.
Managing stress requires identifying the stressors that contribute to low energy. Becoming aware of these stressors is the first step.
Assess the additional and unnecessary stressors in your life. Then, support your adrenal glands by consuming whole foods and incorporating medicinal mushrooms and adaptogenic herbs like Ashwagandha root, Schisandra berry, Reishi Mushroom, and Cordyceps Mushroom into your diet. These powerful adaptogens help support the HPA axis (hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis), buffering the physiological stress response and cortisol release.
Furthermore, take steps to eliminate, delegate, automate, or seek help with the stressors in your life. Reducing your stress burden creates space to engage in energy-giving activities.
Creating energy is not only about the psychological and biological aspects; it also involves doing more of what you love. Engage in activities that ignite passion, spark joy, and bring fulfillment. Prioritizing activities that make you happy and fulfilled will naturally boost your energy levels.
Frequently Asked Questions
How can I improve my stamina?
Increasing energy levels involves various actions:
- Consume more certified organic whole grains, foods, and personal care products to reduce exposure to toxins.
- Stay physically active with enjoyable exercises that challenge you.
- Establish a regular sleep routine.
- Pay attention to possible food intolerances by observing how your body feels after meals.
- Ensure you're consuming enough calories to support your body's needs.
- Include enough protein in your daily diet.
- Stay hydrated with high-quality water and minimize the use of plastic bottles.
What foods can boost energy levels?
To enhance energy levels, focus on key nutrients that support mitochondrial health and function:
- Vitamin B-rich foods like leafy greens, whole grains, fruits, and high-quality proteins.
- Vitamin C-rich foods such as citrus fruits, kiwi, papaya, sweet potato, pumpkin, tomatoes, and Schisandra berry.
- Vitamin E-rich foods including nuts and seeds.
- Iron-rich foods like animal protein, spirulina, and cacao.
- Selenium-rich foods such as Brazil nuts.
- Zinc-rich foods like oysters, seafood, pumpkin seeds, and Fulvic Minerals.
- Magnesium-rich foods like cacao, leafy greens, nuts, and seeds.
- Omega-3-rich foods such as salmon, fatty fish, walnuts, chia seeds, and flaxseeds.
- Wild blueberries, broccoli, sweet potatoes, goji berries, acai, matcha, cocoa, turmeric, and oregano are just a few examples of antioxidant-rich foods.
- Incorporate adaptogenic herbs like Ashwagandha root, Astragalus root, Chaga mushroom, Cordyceps Mushroom, Lion's Mane Mushroom, Maitake Mushroom, energy-boosting Pine Pollen powder, Reishi Mushroom, Schisandra berry, and Tulsi (Holy Basil) into your diet to support energy levels.
What happens if fatigue persists?
If you continue to experience low energy levels despite trying various strategies, it is advisable to seek guidance from a healthcare professional. They can provide you with proper medical advice and conduct tests to evaluate your iron levels and thyroid hormones.
Low iron levels are a common cause of chronic fatigue and low energy, especially in women. An underactive thyroid can also contribute to persistent low energy.
An additional examination may be necessary to determine if you have any food intolerances, leaky gut or systemic inflammation, parasites, methylation issues, heavy metal toxicity, or respiratory blockages. A comprehensive assessment of your diet and overall health can help uncover the underlying reasons for your low energy and chronic fatigue.
There are various factors that can contribute to low energy levels. This includes having a high allostatic load, not staying properly hydrated, and not getting enough quality sleep.
Fortunately, there are many lifestyle changes we can make to support increased energy. These include consuming more protein and organic whole foods, prioritizing rest and physical activity, addressing any food intolerances, staying adequately hydrated, and minimizing stressors in our lives.
It's important to note that creating abundant energy is not an overnight solution. It takes time and consistency to develop energy-boosting habits. By implementing the strategies discussed in this article and maintaining discipline, you can gradually improve your energy levels in a sustainable way.
Lastly, if you continue to experience chronic fatigue and low energy despite your efforts, it's recommended to seek medical advice from a healthcare professional.
- Matthew Walker – Why We Sleep https://www.booktopia.com.au/why-we-sleep-matthew-walker/book/9780141983769.html
- Ashwagandha Leaf Derived Withanone Protects Normal Human Cells Against the Toxicity of Methoxyacetic Acid, a Major Industrial Metabolite https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0019552
- Mitochondrial adaptations to high intensity interval training in older females and males https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/31145037/
- Short-term sleep deprivation with exposure to nocturnal light alters mitochondrial bioenergetics in Drosophila https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0891584918307263?via%3Dihub
- Our circadian clock sets the rhythm for our cells’ powerhouses https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/03/180306093116.htm
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