Here is Part 3 of our 6 part mini health series. One of the most important health assets you have is your energy level, wouldn’t you agree?. What would you do if you were tired all the time? Could you work, exercise, or enjoy your life? Not really.
You can achieve excellent energy levels, and it is important to realise that energy and vitality are some of the greatest health commodites you can have, so every step you succeed at improving your energy levels is a great achievement, particularly as you age.
Today we focus on your energy levels- do you have enough energy each and every day?
Your Energy Levels – Part 3
One of the most important things you can give somebody is – energy. Are you quite often fatigued, tired, listless? Maybe you feel like a battery-operated toy at times with the batteries half flat? Without “power” you will have little motivation, little drive and certainly not much ability to really enjoy your life. About 30% of people we see can’t sleep properly. What came first, the sleep or energy problem? Read on, we have solutions for fatigue. I hope you find our article based on fatigue of interest today. And, feel free to pass it on to somebody who needs their batteries recharging!
Everyday in our naturopathic practice at least half of all clients say that they are fatigued, tired or exhausted. We commonly hear people making statements like: “I’m so tired, and I push myself to keep on going.”or “I get so tired in the afternoon, I could easily fall asleep.”or: “I feel completely drained, even after waking in the morning, I just wish I could stay in bed for another half hour.” Another statement we hear is: “I can’t move until I’ve had my coffee in the morning.”
Energy related comments such as these are much more commonplace than they were just ten years ago, with many women now having to work full or part time jobs alongside their partners, as well as having to run the household and tend to their children. It is no wonder then, that so many people complain of fatigue! Studies show, that at least 50% of adults who seek medical treatment self-diagnose themselves as being afflicted with fatigue.
If you were to examine your lifestyle right now; you may well recognise some of these 3 types of fatigue mentioned below. They are: physiological fatigue, pathological fatigue and psychological fatigue. Domenic has not found a person yet who does not suffer to some degree from the ravages of stress – a root cause of much fatigue today, and this stress-related cause can generally be attributed to one or a combination of these fatigue categories:
1. Physiological Fatigue.
This type of fatigue can be from sports, exercise or after a hard day’s work. Your muscles must have ample levels of glycogen, glucose and oxygen. These fuels “power up” your body and enable it to carry out any tasks you wish to carry out. However, waste materials which are the necessary by-products of energy production, such as lactic acid, sarcolactic acid and carbon dioxide gradually build up in your bloodstream. These toxic metabolites are so powerful, that if the blood of a tired animal was injected into an energetic animal, that animal too would quickly succumb to fatigue!
Maybe your expectations are too great of your time, and you are just plain doing too much, not giving your body the rest and recuperation it so badly needs? Many people go to bed at 11.00pm or later, and only sleep until 6.00 or 7.00 am. Try to be in bed by 10.30 at the very latest. You probably get tired around 9 – 9.30 pm, most people do. Do you stay up beyond the feeling tired? Some break through this and get “second wind”, then they stay up watching TV, on Facebook, etc. Are you in front of a screen most nights? It may cause a lot of sleep problems. Others will try to catch up with housework, vacuuming, ironing, cleaning, etc; because they work all day and on their “second shift” at night!
But are you sleeping enough? A study done at the University of Chicago found that people who were living at the beginning of the twentieth century benefited from an average of nine hours of sleep. At the beginning of the twenty-first century it has become apparent that we get just around seven hours each night on average. It could be argued that many of us actually suffer from the effects of sleep deprivation!
I generally recommend taking additional 500mg calcium and magnesium each day for sleeping problems – Try Calcium Magnesium as a supplement.. Many males and females lack calcium as it is, and under stress almost everybody will have a magnesium deficiency to some extent. Interesting studies done in America years ago revealed that when the urine was checked of many species of animals, including humans, under stress, magnesium wasting was apparent at levels in accordance with the severity and duration of the stress.
Herbal help for the initial stages of stress
To mildly sedate: Withania: Unlike most other herbs which allow you to cope with stress, withania is slightly sedative rather than stimulating. It might be one of the most appropriate herbs to use in a person who is “hyped-up”, finding it hard to relax and slow down. This is a good herb for an anemic person, and is one of the most commonly prescribed herbs to build up a “depleted” person. Good for a breast feeding mother, a busy mother with children trying to juggle a job or a person who is in the initial stages of stress and feels depleted. Try Adaptan, it contains Withania..
To mildly stimulate: Siberian ginseng in particular, is quite a good herb for the initial, or “alarm” stages of stress. For long-term use it is suitable for adults of any age as well as for adolescents who suffer from acute stress. I find it probably the best herb for an elderly person who needs “building up” after a long illness, or perhaps move into retirement village or loss of partner.Try AdrenoTone, it contains Siberian Ginseng..
Co-Enzyme Q10 helps with stress
Your heart pumps about 100,000 times every day, and has very high demands on the cardiac muscle cells which perform their function effortlessly. It is just amazing how much the heart is affected by stress, with smoking and stress being the two main causes of heart disease. The highest amounts of Co-Enzyme Q10 are found in the cells of the heart muscle. Japan leads the world in the use of Co-EnzymeQ10, where it is medically prescribed to millions of heart patients, improving cardiac efficiency and giving significant benefits. An amazing 75% of heart patients significantly demonstrate lower levels of this enzyme than normal.
A major advantage of CoQ10 is that absolutely no adverse effects are known – even after continuous use at very high doses, using many more times the therapeutic levels in clinical trials. The usual therapeutic dosage for CoQ10, for otherwise healthy people is 50 – 150 mg per day, or more precisely, 2 mg of CoQ10 per kg of body weight. A study found that younger people or people with no obvious CoQ10 deficiency may be able to derive benefit by using 10 – 30 mg of supplemental CoQ10 per day.
2. Pathological Fatigue.
By this I don’t necessarily mean disease, this can be a warning sign of an underlying disorder, and will need carefully checking out with your health-care professional. Your blood pressure may be elevated, there may be a problem with inflammation, immune problems, or you may even have a problem with your thyroid or adrenal glands. A good check-up with your health care professional should reveal any underlying disease.
Adrenal function or thyroid function? You may want to get your adrenal glandular system and your thyroid checked out carefully. Depleted adrenal glands can result in constant tiredness, irritability, poor blood sugar control, hypoglycemia, drowsiness, headaches, poor memory, and insomnia. People who experience physiological fatigue for to long, generally deplete their adrenal energy. This in turn can place additional strain on the thyroid gland, which in turn will become dysfunctional.Do you have Adrenal Fatigue?
How do you know that your thyroid is not functioning well? Well, you are probably at your beyond the stage where you react to everything, and at first, you may have few noticeable symptoms, or you may just feel plain” tired and sluggish”. The signs and symptoms of hypothyroidism vary widely, depending on the severity. Be careful before self-diagnosing: the below mentioned signs and symptoms can also be attributed to many other illnesses and may need checking out by your practitioner:
• Fatigue,. voice hoarse.
• Eyes can be gritty, burning, itchy.
• Skin dry, cold, rough and scaly.
• Sex drive: none or poor.
• Cholesterol high.
• Skin itchy in various places.
• Hair coarse, brittle and grows slowly or may even fall out.
• Eyebrows thinning, losing outer 1/3 of eyebrow.
• Sensitivity to cold, feelings of being chilly easily.
• Difficulty in losing weight despite rigid adherence to a strict diet seems to be a common finding, particularly among women.
With thyroid depletion, I generally recommend the minerals iodine, selenium, zinc, copper, and the vitamins C, E, B12 as well as the amino acid tyrosine, which is an essential component of thyroid hormones. Tyrosine allows the body to produce stores of nor-adrenaline and build adrenal health up. A woman with an iron-deficient anemia may have a problem converting inactive thyroid hormones (T4) into the active kind (T3). This could result also in hypothyroidism.
It is also worth taking your temperature morning and evening before bedtime for two weeks to establish your basal body temperature. Healthy people generally have a temperature between 36.4 – 36.9 C. We have a product called Thyro-Balance which is excellent for thyroid problems.
Are you getting enough iron ? It has been claimed that world iron deficiency is the world’s commonest disease. You probably already knew that people at high altitude who are unaccustomed to the “thin air” quickly begin to loose their energy. The reason for this is the oxygen deficiency they are getting. I can remember watching a TV programme of a soccer team trying to play a game of soccer at a very high altitude in South America.
The results quickly became apparent, with signs and symptoms of dullness, mental sluggishness, and muscular weakness, lack of co-ordination, listlessness and apathy. Not many people are aware that nutrient deficiencies such as iron deficient anemia can have the very same effect!
To prevent fatigue to due iron deficient anemia, ensure you consume plenty of foods high in iron, as well as have adequate Vitamin C as well as the B vitamin group in your diet, all important for allowing high uptakes of iron. As mentioned previously, the herb withania is a good tonic and pick me up for those with anemia.
Herbal help for adrenal or thyroid stress: Rhodiola rosea would be my pick for the top herb for adrenal burnout, or a person who is starting to move into thyroid dysfunction. This popular plant in Eastern Europe and Asia has a reputation for stimulating the nervous function, decreasing depression, enhancing work-performance, and eliminating fatigue. Research in Russia indicates that Rhodiola is good in cases of decline in work performance, sleep difficulties, poor appetite, irritability, high blood pressure, headaches and fatigue. Rhodiola is known as an “adaptogenic” herb, which essentially means that it allows the body to better adapt itself to stress. Bladderwrack, or kelp, rich in iodine, is another good choice.
3. Psychological Fatigue.
This very often comes from stress of some sort. Especially emotional stress, it could be a “mother-in-law”, a poor close relationship with a family member or the one you love. I tend to find that the closest relationships are the ones that potentially give us the most grief. Dr. Hans Selye, German endocrinologist who pioneered the work with stress and the body’s responses to stress in the 1930’s, was able to demonstrate that a stress-induced breakdown of the hormonal system could lead to conditions such as heart disease and high blood pressure, that he called “diseases of adaptation.”
Doctors are the first to admit that stress-induced diseases such as headaches, heartburn, insomnia, high blood pressure and various heart diseases occur routinely in people under stress. The increasing incidences of cancer have even been linked indirectly to stress. Exhaustion occurs when the capacity for resistance to stress (or the adaptation) is overwhelmed. Exhaustion of adaptive capacity results in many of the stress-induced diseases we know of today like “chronic fatigue syndrome.”
Herbal help for your brain: Bacopa would be my pick for the top herb for ongoing mental stress. Bacopa, otherwise known as Brahmi, increases alertness, allays anxiety, improves concentration, memory and improves moods. It is a very useful herb where stress and nervous exhaustion are impairing mental function. This is the herb to use if you want to keep a “clear head” inspite of some ongoing stress which you simply cannot avoid temporarily.
Next article we focus on your sleep patterns.