Learn How to Increase Energy Levels
Energy is the essence of life. Life ends when energy productions ceases. Increase your energy and you will revitalize your life. Low energy may be related to an underlying medical condition, or may be related stress or poor health habits, nutritional deficiencies, and even prescription drugs. Sudden onset of fatigue and lack of energy, especially if debilitating, should prompt a visit to your doctor for a thorough evaluation. Tips on how to increase energy levels are below.
Increase Energy Levels with Lifestyle Changes
Many people suffer from low energy because of poor health habits. High sugar diets, little exercise, and poor sleep are common causes of decreased energy that can improve by making the necessary lifestyle changes.
Low energy many times is the result of rapidly fluctuating blood sugar levels. Sugar is used for energy, but too much sugar can have the opposite effect. When sugar enters the blood stream rapidly as it does when simple sugars and high glycemic foods are consumed, it causes a spike in insulin levels, which rapidly lowers the blood sugar level. So this causes fluctuating levels of blood glucose; first too high, then too low. Stay away from high glycemic foods and be careful with consuming too many energy drinks loaded with sugar.
Dehydration is another common and preventable cause of low energy. Dehydration becomes a bigger issue the older we get. By and large most of us don’t drink enough water, especially the elderly. Our thirst mechanism falters as we age. By the time we feel thirsty we are already a little dehydrated. It does not take much dehydration to adversely affect body physiology, and thus energy levels. Athletic performance is impaired with as little as 1% dehydration.
Hydration improves blood circulation improving oxygen delivery to the cells. It also facilitates the removal of toxins from out cells and organs. Toxins also drain our energy levels
Most of our body is made of water, and water is what it needs. Drink plenty of water throughout the day so that your urine is nearly clear. A good rule of thumb is drink half your body weight in ounce. So if you weigh 160 pounds you should strive to drink 80 ounces of water a day.
Sleep and Recharge
The body recharges itself during sleep. It is also during deep sleep that most of our growth hormone is released. In adults, growth hormone is better thought as being a healing hormone facilitating the body’s ability to repair and replenish itself.
Poor sleep is associate with weight gain. Both poor sleep and weight gain are energy zappers. Sleep apnea is a fairly common problem. Apnea is where you fail to breath for periods of time throughout the night eventually waking you up and preventing you from getting into the deep restorative phases of sleep.
If you have issues with sleep you might wish to consider a sleep evaluation. Is there anything much better than waking up with energy ready to take on the day! Do not ignore sleep issues.
ATP is the energy source our bodies run on. ATP is produced in tiny organelles in the cells called mitochondria. They are the energy producing organelles of the cell Mitochondria are unique in that they have the ability to divide and replicate without cellular division. This is because mitochondria have their own DNA. Cardiac cells (heart) have 5,000 mitochondria per cell and that’s because the heart needs an ongoing source of energy. But, all our cells do, too – the heart just needs more.
Intense exercise either through strength training or high intensity interval training serves as a stimulus or mitochondrial replication.
There are nutritional supplements (see below) that support mitochondrial function improving energy production. Mitochondrial function wanes as we age and some supplements can minimize that.
Several key nutrients are necessary to keep our mitochondria in tiptop shape. Many of these nutrients come from eating fruits and vegetable and lean sources of protein.
The B complex vitamins, L-carnitine, acetyl-L-carnitine, coenzyme Q10, alpha lipoic acid, D-ribose are vital for mitochondrial health. Another nutrient, pyrroloquinoline quinine (PQQ) has been shown to stimulate new mitochondria.
Below are recommended daily doses for these nutrients. The lower doses are for those of you who are healthy and the higher doses for those of you who have any chronic diseases.
- CoQ10: 100-200 mg if healthy. 400 mg if you have cardiovascular disease.
- L- carnitine: 1,000 mg to 3,000 mg
- D-ribose: 5 to 10 grams.
- Alpha lipoic acid: 100 mg to 300 mg
- PQQ: 10 mg to 20 mg.
Don’t forget nutritional deficiencies. They are quite common and many times related to prescription medication – especially those that reduce acid production in the stomach (PPI class for instance).
Iron deficiency with or without anemia is a cause of low energy. Vitamin B12 deficiency is more common than thought, especially as we get older. Vitamin B12 deficiency contributes to low energy. Some patients notice dramatic improvement with their energy after a single B12 injection.
Low Energy Levels from Prescription Drugs
Presciption drugs can lower energy levels mainly through depleting critical nutrients vital for energy production. Two of the biggest culprits are beta blockers used for a variety of cardiovascular conditions and the statins used to lower cholesterol. Both of them lower CoQ 10 levels which can be easily measured in the blood. Beta blockers also can slow the heart rate that contributes to low energy especially during exertion.
SSRIs used to treat depression and anxiety also can cause fatigue.
So if you are on any of these medications and are fatigued without any other plausible cause you may wish to ask your doctor if there is an alternative medication.
Low thyroid function is far more common recognized. You can have low thyroid in the presence of normal thyroid function tests. The normal ranges are a statistical reference that encompasses 95% of the population. Many patients with low thyroid level symptoms has thyroid function tests that fall in the low normal range.
Thyroid hormone regulates metabolism. If thyroid is low, then metabolism is low and all of our bodily functions slow down. Low thyroid is more common in women and there is an association between low thyroid and fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome.
Hormones work synergistically, and they work better when they are all at optimal levels. Low levels of sex hormones also lead to low energy levels. Testosterone is typically thought of as the “male” hormone, but women need it too. Testosterone helps build and maintain lean body mass. Estrogen improves energy levels in women.
While you may have to pay out of pocket if you don’t have any symptoms we believe it is beneficial to have a complete hormonal panel obtained in your early to mid-30s to establish a baseline of healthy levels that can be used as a reference point once you start to develop a hormonal deficiency.
Much of the lack of energy that occurs during middle age can at least partially be contributed to low levels of hormones. Optimal levels are also essential for mental health and well-being. Hormones improve moods leading to better energy levels. They facilitate the maintenance of lean body mass, help protect against fat gain, improve muscle strength, decrease joint pain – all of which directly or indirectly can help you increase energy levels.
If you are over age 30 and feeling fatigue or are suffering from low energy, be sure to have your hormone levels measured.
Change your lifestyle and follow these tips on how to increase energy levels.
Related articles include “Natural Metabolism Boosters” and “Sleep and Increased Longevity“.