Fatigue is on the rise in modern culture.
Many of my patients tell me they feel more tired than they used to. Even those who live active lives find they don’t have the energy that they once did. If you are also experiencing pain or stiffness, this creates a double-whammy for your quality of life.
As a reader of this newsletter, you already know that the lion’s share of the blame falls squarely on the modern diet. Hopefully you’ve moved away from eating unnatural, processed and packaged foods.
When Dietary Changes Aren’t Enough
Of course even if you’re eating the best food you can you may still notice a drop of energy. It’s tempting to blame “getting older” for this, and to a certain extent it’s true.
Even so, there are herbs and nutritional supplements that can substantially increase your energy and overall wellbeing. Here’s a list of the best:
- B-vitamins – particularly vitamins B1, B2, B3 and B-12 – drive the Krebs cycle and energy (ATP) production. ATP (adenosine tri-phosphate) is the energy workhorse inside the mitochondria within every cell in your body. It is, in a very real sense, the source of your physical vitality. You can think of it as the energy currency within each cell. The B-vitamins support this process. Ideally you’ll take your B-vitamins in the most natural form possible and in proportions to one another similar to what you find in foods.
- Alpha lipoic acid, a powerful antioxidant, helps cells efficiently burn glucose and increases energy production. Glucose is the primary fuel your body burns to drive metabolism and all cellular activity. Although eating straight glucose isn’t a good idea, your body does convert other foods that you eat into glucose to generate energy. By eating the optimal foods for your metabolism and taking Alpha Lipoic Acid (ALA or Lipoic Acid), you optimize your ability to generate energy. Recommended dosage is 100 mg twice daily.
- L-Carnitine, an amino acid found in the highest concentrations in red meat, helps transport fats into cells where they are burned for energy. Also useful in the form of Acetyl-L-Carnitine. Obviously, if you burn more fat you’ll tend to lose weight and also have more energy. Weight lifters and body builders often use L-Carnitine to enhance the effects of their workouts. Dosage ranges from 50 to 500 mg a day for L-Carnitine or 30 to 300 mg per day of Acetyl-L-Carnitine.
- Coenzyme Q10 plays key roles moving energy-carrying electrons and protons within the cells in a process called oxidative phosporylation (OXPHOS). This leads to higher ATP levels (see above). People often take Co-Q10 to support their heart, but every cell in your body uses it. This fact explains why it’s also called “ubiquinone” (because it’s ubiquitous in the body). NOTE: if you are taking cholesterol-lowering drugs (“statins”) you are almost certainly low in Co-Q10. Dosage is typically 30-90 mg per day in divided doses.
- Magnesium is perhaps the most common nutritional deficiency in the modern world. For giving you energy magnesium is important because it helps your body regulate sugar metabolism. Also, when you have too little magnesium your cellular energy generators (mitochondria – where ATP gets used) are less efficient. In extreme cases of low magnesium your cells can die because of chemical imbalances this can cause. If you decide to take magnesium, the form you take it in makes a difference. The generally best form is magnesium citrate, which is tolerated by all Metabolic Type®s. Since everyone needs a different amount depending on many factors, start with around 400 mg a day in divided doses and slowly increase. When you get more than you need, your stool will loosen. That’s a sign to lower your dose back down to the previous level.
The next post on the Balance Point Blog (due this coming Thursday) will continue looking at energy-increasing supplements. We’ll talk about additional antioxidants and two other supplements that can help.
Hyperhealth Pro Database, In-Tele-Health, Hansville, WA, 2009.