Feeling tired? Lost your zest for life? It’s pretty common at this time of year. But if the hustle and bustle of the post holiday season is wearing you down, I have some suggestions to help you get more energy naturally and put that pep back in your step year round. Let’s take a look at my top tips for more energy.
Tip for More Energy #1: Build a Solid Nutritional Foundation
If you want to have more energy naturally, a solid nutritional foundation is a must. Start with your diet. Focus on lean protein sources (turkey, chicken, fish), plenty of fresh vegetables, a little fruit, and healthy fats (avocado, extra-virgin olive oil). Go for low-glycemic carbohydrates like quinoa and sprouted grain bread and be mindful of portions. And take a high-quality multivitamin to fill in any nutritional gaps.
Remember, while sweets, baked goods, and desserts may be abundant this time of year, eating these items will cause rapid spikes in blood sugar—and subsequent crashes that will leave you feeling even more tired and sluggish than before.
Tip for More Energy #2: Get Some Exercise
This tip for more energy may seem counterintuitive. After all, the one thing you may not have the energy to do is the one thing that can help the most: exercise. Inactivity breeds greater inactivity (known in physics as inertia), and this can turn into a vicious cycle of fatigue and depressed vitality. Physical activity, on the other hand, sparks more energy naturally. But that doesn’t mean taking a walk in the morning and then spending the rest of the day on the couch. Regular, natural exercise—climbing the stairs, doing laundry and other household chores—helps you stay evenly charged throughout the day.
Tip for More Energy #3: Have Your Thyroid and Iron Levels Checked
If there’s one health problem that conventional physicians poorly diagnose and treat, it’s hypothyroidism, or underactive thyroid. Your thyroid gland regulates your body’s basic rate of activity by releasing hormones. Low levels of these critical hormones are clearly linked to fatigue, depression, and a host of other health conditions. Synthroid is the primary treatment for hypothyroidism. However, I always prescribe natural thyroid replacement. When patients come to me with low thyroid function symptoms, including low energy, I start them on a six-week therapeutic trial of low-dose natural thyroid. I carefully monitor the patient’s well-being and adjust the dose as needed until energy is restored.
I also suggest having your iron levels checked. Iron deficiency is a common cause of fatigue, and it’s especially common in younger women. There is a downside to excess iron, and supplementation should only be done under the supervision of a doctor after tests reveal low levels.
Tip for More Energy #4: Supplement With Vitamin B12
One supplement that can give you more energy is vitamin B12. Vitamin B12 is required for proper nutrient absorption, protein synthesis, and metabolism of carbohydrates and fats—all of which affect your physical energy levels. This vitamin also plays important roles in the neurological system and has profound effects on mood, memory, and mental energy.
As we get older, we have a hard time absorbing vitamin B12 from food. For this reason, it’s especially important that seniors take supplemental B12. If you’re interested in more energy, I recommend 1,000-5,000 mcg per day.
Tip for More Energy #5: Consider CoQ10 (Ubiquinol)
Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) is best known for its essential role in treating cardiovascular conditions, especially heart failure, and it’s a proven therapy for neurodegenerative disorders, fibromyalgia, and more. But CoQ10 may also be just what you need if you’re looking for more energy naturally. Japanese researchers divided older women into two groups and gave them either 150 mg of the ubiquinol form of CoQ10 or a placebo daily for eight weeks. When the women were retested, those who had been taking CoQ10 had improvements in both physical performance, as measured by before-and-after pedometer step counts, and quality of life surveys. An earlier study revealed that 100 mg of ubiquinol per day improved fatigue and depression in older men as well as women.
Although the ubiquinone type of CoQ10 is acceptable, at Whitaker Wellness we use ubiquinol, the far more active form. For general health, these study doses of 100–150 mg per day are appropriate. If you are taking a statin cholesterol-lowering drug, I suggest a minimum of 200 mg per day to protect against inevitable CoQ10 deficiencies.
Tip for More Energy #6: Give Ginseng a Shot
Another option for achieving more energy is a group of herbs known as adaptogens. The best known adaptogen is ginseng, an exceptionally hardy plant that endured the Ice Age and other climactic upheavals that wiped out other species. Ginseng has been a central remedy in traditional Asian medicine for thousands of years. Scientists now know that the secret of ginseng’s adaptability and resistance to extreme environmental changes—and its diverse medicinal benefits—are compounds called ginsenosides.
Ginseng is a natural stimulant that helps you feel more energetic and alert. And numerous studies have documented the ability of ginseng to increase endurance and improve performance on a variety of physical and mental tasks, such as running, swimming, mental arithmetic, and logical deduction. Furthermore, ginseng seems to be most beneficial under stressful conditions, when the pressure to adapt is highest. (Cue the holidays!) Look for a product standardized for ginsenosides, and because dosages vary from product to product, use as directed.
More Energy Recap
So there you have it, my top tips for gaining more energy naturally. If you have more energy boosting suggestions, I’d love to hear them. Email me at email@example.com.