Home > Energize Yourself
by Dave Foreman
Millions of us are running low on ENERGY! Our active lives - family, career, friends, poor diets, lack of rest and lack of proper supplementation - have created an energy shortage that is becoming more and more difficult to reverse. Throw in stress resulting from the national financial crisis, and you have a very hazardous cocktail.We tend to burn the candle at both ends (some of us even burn it in the middle) and zap the strength and energy we need to maintain great health. As always, the 4 Pillars of Great Health play an important role in addressing the "energy crisis."
Constant stress, combined with our poor diets, weakens our adrenal glands, which are responsible for many functions in the body, in particular the body's ability to adapt to stress and manage fatigue. When these lifestyle choices continue over time, the body is unable to keep up, and eventually begins to suffer in many ways. Fatigue and low energy are probably the most notable adverse effects of poor lifestyle choices. To get your energy back, follow my 4 Pillars of Great Health: Diet, Exercise, Spirituality and Supplementation.
Start by eliminating caffeine, tobacco and refined foods (sugar, white foods, etc.), and then get checked for food sensitivities (yes: certain food sensitivities can cause you to feel tired all of the time). At the same time, it will be beneficial to add more greens to your diet. Greens help to purify the body and promote increases in energy and well-being. It is a win-win! A supplement form of greens is the way to go. You get a concentrated amount all in one serving. Some good options include Vibrant Health's Green Vibrance, Amazing Grass Green SuperFood, and Paradise Herbs Orac Energy Greens.
Exercise may seem like a silly thing to recommend to someone who is tired, but believe it or not, increased activity will decrease fatigue and increase your energy. Exercise (increased activity) will help reduce stress which in turn will allow your body to recover from the everyday rigors of life. Just try it; what do you have to lose? Fatigue? Stress? A few pounds? And what could you gain? Lower blood pressure? Stronger immune function? More energy? I recommend 30 minutes of brisk walking per day. You should walk fast enough that you will be almost short of breath.
Spirituality plays a huge role in managing fatigue. It can help with stress reduction, and assist your body in resting better at night. I use prayer and reading my Bible to help in this area. In addition, if you have problems sleeping, try my A-Z method of sleeping. For each letter of the alphabet, think of something for which you are thankful (for example: A- Adam and Amanda-my children, B- birds of prey-my favorite type of bird). You get the idea. Prayer and rest go hand in hand.Most nights, both my wife and I fall asleep while praying. Spirituality will bring you inner peace-something we can all use more of. Just ask someone who is spiritually connected and follows my other three Pillars if they are tired.
Finally, the area that will make the quickest impact on your personal "energy crisis" is supplementation. Supplements not only help build up your energy stores, but they will also reduce your fatigue in the meantime. You should keep in mind that rebuilding your energy stores is a long-term project. In order to help re-build your energy stores, you should take a few key nutrients on a regular basis: B-5 (also known as pantothenic acid), phosphatidylserine, licorice, melatonin and B-complex. This may sound like a ton of supplements, but if you really wish to get your energy back to full strength, using this arsenal of supplements may be necessary.
Taking a closer look at each of these nutrients will better explain why they are all needed to get you back on the road to more feeling more energetic.
Vitamin B-5 (pantothenic acid) helps to activate the adrenal glands. A prolonged deficiency of B-5 can lead to headaches, fatigue and sleep disturbances. It also plays an important role in the production of energy within your cells.
Phosphatidylserine (PS) provides serine, a precursor to the formation of many neurotransmitters. By providing the tools the nervous system needs, you are more likely to stay emotionally in balance, and suffer from less fatigue.
B-complex is recommended because most of the B-vitamins have either direct or indirect effects on nourishing the adrenals, or helping with neurotransmitter supplies. Don't forget, I always suggest taking a magnesium supplement along with your B-complex. They work together and are needed for each to do its job in the body. Two 250mg servings per day may be all you need.
Licorice root is used in Chinese medicine in most of their herbal prescriptions. It is known to stimulate and nourish the adrenal glands, and has also been used for more serious conditions such as Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. (Caution: Licorice root can lead to increases in blood pressure and contribute to fluid retention. Please check with your doctor before using licorice root.)
Melatonin, known as the sleep hormone, is naturally occurring in the body and can improve circadian rhythms and help you fall asleep faster. Improved rest will help the body to recharge, so you can feel more energetic each morning. There are a few other supplements that often get overlooked but play a HUGE role in fighting fatigue.
Here is the list of what you need to look for:
Rhodiola: helps with stress and rejuvenating your adrenals
Cordyceps: helps with stress and rejuvenating your adrenals
Green or White Tea: provide low levels of natural caffeine (make sure you brew your tea for no more than three minutes). Three minutes or less will keep the caffeine level low, plus your tea will taste better.
L-Carnitine: the body uses this in producing energy (How obvious is this one?)
Ubiquinol or CoQ10: one of my personal favorites for boosting energy
Another way to increase your energy is to help with your digestion. If you don't believe me, fast for 3 days (only clear liquids) and see how much more energy you have. Your body only has so much energy to use, and if your digestive tract is busy working on your meal(s), it is taking energy from somewhere else in your body. Have you ever noticed how tired you feel after a big meal? This is due to the energy being used on digesting your meal. To better assist your body with digestion, I suggest you use a broad-spectrum digestive enzyme with each meal, a probiotic at bedtime and perhaps a magnesium supplement also at bedtime to help with digestive regularity. About 250-500mg should suffice. By keeping your digestive tract moving, and with the support of the enzymes and probiotics, you will feel an increase in energy in only a few days.
Don't forget cleansing and detoxification!
The number one thing that I hear from people that have used a "total body" type of cleanse is the dramatic increase in energy they experienced. Think about it: all the systems in your body are probably bogged down with "sludge". Not just your colon, but your liver, blood, kidneys and more. By removing the toxins (I suggest a four week cleansing period) you will allow your body to gain access to the energy it was using for handling toxins. Your local Vitamin Shoppe carries a bunch of total-body cleansing systems. Some good cleansing kits include Whole Body Cleanse by Enzymatic Therapy, Vitamin Shoppe brand Açaí Cleanse and Detox, Perfect Food Raw Cleanse and Nature's Secret Ultimate Cleanse.
If you like what you feel like after using a cleanse, you may wish to cleanse daily. I use Flor*Essence tea, but there are other detox teas as well, also available from The Vitamin Shoppe.
A final thought:
Most of us suffering from the "energy crisis" seem to look for a short-term solution. Perhaps a stop at your favorite coffee shop or at the local vending machine has been your answer. Remember that your energy depletion didn't happen overnight, and fixing it won't happen immediately either. This is a lifestyle choice. By taking the proper supplements along with the other three Pillars of Health, you will be well on your way to being the energetic you from the past.