We often hear about ways we can improve energy, but not necessarily what it is that is bringing our energy down. Let’s explore the top reasons that might be making you feel fatigued. And remember, you can have more than one!
Energy Killer #1: You lack sufficient Energy Vitamin levels.
Given the state of many American’s diets – processed, and GMO (Genetically Modified), it is little wonder that vitamin deficiency is rampant. The top vitamins that contribute to energy, ironically, can also be the hardest to absorb. This can be worsened by a gut issue such as IBS, IBD, Leaky Gut Syndrome, and chronic food allergies. To begin, I like to look at these top energy vitamins: Vitamin B12, B6, Folate (a Homocysteine test will capture these), Iron, Ferritin (Iron Stores), Vitamin D3 (not D2), and Magnesium. These can be measured via blood at your normal lab. We want all of these levels to be optimal to give your body the tools it needs to create energy. For example, a study looking at the effect of vitamin D3 deficiency on premenopausal women found that women who were insufficient (<30) were more likely to have chronic fatigue and a reported impaired quality of life.
Your next step: Have these vitamins measured with your local integrative functional medicine doctor. If you don’t have access to one, we would love to fill that role, measure these for you and create a comprehensive, personalized energy plan. If you want to dig a little deeper, the next level is to look at why your levels are so low, which many times comes back to the gut. Testing can be done to rule out/in leaky gut, and chronic food allergies, thereby improving your future ability to maintain good vitamin levels.
Energy Killer #2: The sugar content of your diet is quite high.
Sugar may feel like it gives you energy, but it causes a spike in insulin, which then results in a drop in blood sugar, which makes most people feel a little run down. You may go through a small detox (more fatigue, headache, aching – the same as if you’ve gone through a coffee withdrawal), but once you’re over the hump people begin experiencing a rise in energy that is more sustained. Sugars include: all processed carbohydrates, added sugars, high glycemic fruits (such as bananas), and milk sugars. Fruits that are keto-approved are fine, such as blackberries and raspberries.
Your next step: Begin a 2 week sugar elimination. Go through your cabinets and take out the processed carbs and sugars and give them away so you won’t be tempted! Share your goal with a friend, as you are more likely to stick with this if you have accountability. Keep a journal each day, and rate on a scale of 1-10, your level of: Energy, Focus, Motivation, Stamina and Amount of Sleep.
Energy Killer #3: You do not sleep well.
Lack of sleep is not just bad for your energy levels, but also your general health. Sleep deprivation can interfere with memory and concentration; contribute to a weakened immune system; and increase risk of diabetes and high blood pressure. Healthy levels of growth hormone, which is a major contributor to regeneration and healing during sleep, are also reliant on a normal sleep schedule. While sleep requirements can vary from person to person, most adults need between 7 to 9 hours of sleep.
Your next step: If you snore or stop breathing, please reach out to your doctor for a sleep apnea referral. Studies have found that between 17%-22% of the population have undiagnosed sleep apnea. Next, review good sleep hygiene habits and implement: no TV, phone or computer one hour before bed; add a blue-light blocker to your phone and computer in the evenings; and block ambient light in your bedroom. One tip for menopausal and peri-menopausal women is to explore your levels of progesterone. I find the addition of natural progesterone to be a game-changer for good sleep for women who’s hormones are beginning to shift.
Energy Killer #4: You have poor glandular function.
When was the last time your thyroid, adrenals and pituitary (growth hormone) glandular levels were checked? Many people will ask their doctor to check their thyroid, without realizing that to optimize the thyroid you really need more than just the standard test, TSH. You also need Free T3, Free T4, TPO and TG Antibodies, Reverse T3, and ideally selenium and zinc/copper levels checked. AND if your thyroid is suboptimal, it is likely putting strain on your adrenal glands, and these need to be assessed and supported as well. We often incorporate growth hormone testing when there is a presence of slow metabolism and difficulty with weight loss, in addition to fatigue.
Your next step: Contact your integrative functional medicine to order thyroid (above), adrenal (cortisol x 4, dhea) and growth hormone precursors (IGF-1, IGFBP-1, IGFBP-3, GH). If you do not have access to an integrative doctor, we are happy to fill this role for you! We specialize in creating personalized energy plans, and can order the testing above. Once you have these values, you can support these glands with a combination of herbal and vitamin support, although, prescriptions are sometimes needed.
Energy Killer #5: You have a methylation defect.
Exploration of your methylation and your Nutrigenomics (Vitamin Genetics) is the next big thing in energy and anti-aging medicine. We like to explore your MTHFR as a first step to evaluate how you methylate, which is a biological process in which we create energy and detoxify. This reflects your need for activated B-vitamins, along with other methylation supporters such as trimethylglycine, choline, inositol, and magnesium. In a nutshell, if you are a poor methylator (ie, +MTHFR), you likely will have difficulty with your energy levels. Luckily, there are ways that we can treat and support this, and the great news is, it makes a great difference in your overall vitality and health.
Your next step: Have your MTHFR levels tested. We do this through Boston Heart labs (which takes about 10 days to return). You can also test MTHFR and your other methylation genetics through completing ancestry.com or 23andme.com, then running the report through go.stratagene.org. Once you have the medical report from Stratagene, this is what we like to see to create a comprehensive energy, vitality and wellness plan.
Bonus tip: If you are chronically fatigued, MTHFR positive and/or have a methylation defect, I definitely recommend supporting yourself with an activated B-vitamin shot series. Our Energy Boost B-shot series is a therapy we find helps people consistently reach their energy goals.
Energy Boost B-shot Benefits Breakdown:
- Increased levels of a full-spectrum of B-vitamins that your body and brain uses to boost energy
- Increased cellular energy production of ATP and NAD, your cells energy-boosting molecules
- Increased levels of the amino-acid L-carnitine, which increases fat breakdown and better use of fat to make energy for your muscles and brain
- Improved detoxification process in liver and cells
- Increased cellular energy, increasing your mental and physical energy
- Especially beneficial for people with methylation defects, such as MTHFR
- Can also support cognitive function, such as improved learning ability and memory
In addition, we use the best, most absorbable forms of B12 – Methyl B12, and Hydroxy B12 – the powerhouses of B-vitamin energy production.
You can try our Energy B-shot series at a discount of up to 45% here: https://sagemedclinic.com/energy-boosting-b-shots/
Starting with one or two of these energy-boosting tips could make the difference between struggling and taking control of your energy.
If you’re feeling overwhelmed, or would just like guidance on more specific ways you could optimize your energy, we would love to see you!
Please be safe and be well!
In health and wellness, Dr. Angila Jaeggli
Visit sagemedclinic.com or call (425) 835-0359 to schedule your appointment.