There is no doubt that chronic tiredness is the most frequent complaint in modern society. It may disappear after taking rest, but chronic fatigue requires more time and effort to recover from.
Key Causes of Low Energy
Fatigue could be a sign of many underlying problems including inadequate sleep, chronic stress, low blood sugar level, anaemia, depression, underactive thyroid, fibromyalgia, malnutrition or malabsorption of nutrients and many other causes and medical condition.
People with diabetes suffer from chronic fatigue due to the inability of their cells to absorb sufficient amounts of glucose (a key cellular fuel).
Chronic fatigue can be also caused by a sedentary lifestyle, chronic inflammation, eating foods rich in sugar and refined carbohydrates (such as white flour products), and regular use of popular stimulants such as caffeinated energy drinks. Drinking alcohol leads to tiredness. Pregnant women often experience fatigue.
A cup of coffee and other stimulants can give a temporary boost of energy, but eventually contribute to chronic fatigue and adrenal exhaustion.
What Nutritional Deficiencies Cause Tiredness
Any B Vitamin deficiency (especially vitamin B12 and folate) and Iron deficiency often cause or contribute to feelings of tiredness and fatigue.
Very common today zinc deficiency exacerbates hormonal imbalance in men and women and contributes to mental tiredness and adrenal fatigue.
Zinc supplementation is the most important element in treating fatigue as zinc aids in the production of many vital hormones including the thyroid hormones, progesterone, cortisol and aldosterone.
Low blood levels of Vitamin D can trigger fatigue. Lack of this vitamin D leads to poor mitochondrial function resulting in insufficient energy production.
There are reasons to believe that tiredness and weakness can be caused by the loss of Magnesium and Potassium in muscle cells. The lack of Magnesium (very common today due to soil depletion, stress and refined diet) may cause not only mental and physical fatigue but also muscle weakness.
Iodine deficiency contributes to underactive thyroid which leads to hormonal imbalance, tiredness and fatigue.
Since Molybdenum and Manganese are required for cellular energy production, the insufficient intake of these two trace elements may contribute to tiredness.
Consequences of Chronic Fatigue
Chronic fatigue may deprive us of the motivation to be physically active or regular exercise thus contributing to countless health problems associated with a sedentary lifestyle.
Consequences of fatigue may include memory decline, irritability, anxiety and depression, problems with handling stress, impaired judgment, concentration problems, compromised immunity and conditions associated with it.
What Foods Should be Eliminated or Reduced
Avoid eating foods rich in refined sugar, high glucose/fructose syrup, fruit juices and other refined carbohydrates such as white flour products and white rice.
Since sugar and other refined carbs are deprived of fibre, they are quickly digested and converted to glucose. As a result, glucose gets into the blood and cells too fast causing blood sugar spikes. They boost energy but only for a very short time.
In addition, such sugar spikes stimulate the pancreas to flood the body with insulin which leads to hypoglycaemia (low blood sugar level). Since glucose (blood sugar) is brain’s primary energy source, its insufficient levels trigger various bad symptoms.
Those symptoms may include fatigue, inability to concentrate, depression, suicidal thoughts, anger, anxiety, panic attacks, dizziness, insomnia, headaches, hot flashes, high blood pressure, craving for sweets, chocolate, or caffeine.
In addition, since sugar is deprived of nutrients and contains only empty calories, it steals nutrients (vitamins and minerals) from the body as it needs them for its own metabolism. In this way, it further exacerbates the tiredness problem through deficiency of B Vitamins, Magnesium, Iron and other vital nutrients.
Avoid stimulants such as alcohol and addictive alkaloids found in caffeine (in coffee, green tea, cola drinks, caffeinated products, chocolate, etc.), theophylline (in tea) and theobromine (in cacao and chocolate).
Although these stimulants appear to give a short-term energy boost it is only borrowed energy. It means sooner or later you will have to pay for it with the loss of energy. And, as soon as you feel exhausted, it will force you to use these stimulants again and again thus causing a vicious circle and addiction.
What Foods Should I Consume to Boost Energy
Every day, 30 minutes before breakfast, drink one glass of green juice made of kale, spinach, and broccoli. It is high in energy-boosting chlorophyll. You will get still better results if you mix it with a half glass of raw beetroot juice (another excellent energy booster).
Increase consumption of plant-based unrefined foods (raw vegetable salads, whole grains (avoid wheat), fresh fruits, pulses, and soaked overnight seeds and nuts). Fibre in these foods makes the conversion to glucose a very slow and stable process thus providing a long-lasting energy boost through constant and slow glucose supplies.
If you need a sweetener, try to use dried and fresh whole fruits (not juices), date sugar, coconut sugar, blackstrap molasses, or sometimes moderate amounts of raw honey, Erythritol, Xylitol and Stevia.
Do not use any artificial sweeteners, especially aspartame, because they make recovery from hypoglycaemia much more difficult and are a major health hazard.
Lifestyle Recommendations to Fight Fatigue
Go for a fast long walk or exercise for at least 60 minutes every day. One of the key causes of fatigue is an insufficient number of mitochondria (energy-producing power stations) in your cells. The key cause of this shortage is a lack of physical activity.
Be more physically active. Regular energetic exercise is the best way to stimulate the body to make more mitochondria (cellular power stations). Fast walk and other forms of energetic exercise also increase energy by boosting serotonin and cellular oxygen levels while reducing carbon dioxide.
Go to sleep as early as possible as the longer you sleep before midnight the more efficient (restful) the night rest is. Try to sleep seven to eight hours.
Learn to reduce stress and try to think positive.
Short alternative hot and cold showers will improve circulation, oxygenation of cells, elimination of toxins and will stimulate the nervous and immune system.
Start with hot shower, and after about 3-5 minutes when your body is warm enough, take a short (1-2 min) cold shower, slowly reducing the temperature. Then alternate the flow of water from hot to cold back and forth about 3 times in a row.
Before using this treatment consult your physician first if you have any serious chronic health conditions, especially if they are associated with the heart.
Best Supplements to Boost Energy
Take a good quality standardised Ashwagandha root extract. It not only increases mental and physical energy levels but also helps address many of the underlying causes of fatigue including low mood, hormonal imbalance, chronic stress, adrenal fatigue or thyroid problems.
Ashwagandha is the most extensively researched and most commonly used adaptogen herb. In the 12-week 2009 study, a standard multi-vitamin and 300 milligrams of Ashwagandha twice daily decreased anxiety levels by 55 percent and significantly improved energy levels.
Make sure you provide your body with sufficient amounts of all vitamins and minerals as fatigue can be caused by deficiency of any single vitamin or mineral, especially the following ones: Vitamin B complex, vitamin A, C, D, and E, iron, zinc, calcium, and magnesium.
Usually all of them are included in multivitamin-mineral formulas, but B12, D3, and Magnesium should be taken additionally as they require higher doses than included in multivitamins.
After every breakfast take one tablet of a good quality multivitamin-mineral formula such as Healthy Mega (HealthAid) as it contains 42 ingredients including high strength B vitamins, minerals, trace elements, digestive enzymes, herbs and super greens.
In addition to the above multivitamin take the following:
After every breakfast place 1000mcg tablet of Metcobin - sublingual Methylcobalamin (well-absorbed form of vitamin B12) under the tongue. It often helps increase levels of energy as deficiency of this vitamin is regarded as “rampant” today.
Magnesium citrate powder or Magcitra (magnesium tablets): 150-200mg twice daily.
Vitamin D3: 3000-5000 IU every day after breakfast. Remember that it requires magnesium for proper conversion to its active D4 form in kidneys.
HealthAid Super Greens powder is an excellent energy booster. It contains a carefully formulated mixture of the most potent, nutritionally rich and alkaline-forming superfoods including chlorella, spirulina, alfalfa, barley grass, wheat grass, beetroot, turmeric, kale, celery, parsley, green tea leaves, and spinach.
It provides a concentrated balance of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, phytonutrients and chlorophyll. It helps maintain a strong immune system, combat fatigue, improve energy and endurance, brain function, digestion, detoxification and overall health.
Other excellent energy boosters you can take interchangeably with the listed above include Ginsengs, Rhodiola, Beetroot powder, CoQ10, Alpha Lipoic Acid, L-cysteine, or Alfalfa.
In order to be more effective, you also need to address any possible underlying causes of fatigue such as diabetes, anaemia, hypoglycaemia, fibromyalgia, depression, Candida overgrowth, poor blood circulation, etc.
Any information or product suggested on this website is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any medical condition. Never disregard medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. Consult your primary healthcare physician before using any supplements or making any changes to your regime.