Low Energy/Fatigue


 I am 35 years old and I used to be very energetic and full of life. Lately I have noticed significantly decreased energy, I rely more and more on caffeine, and also joints that ache constantly. I started taking glucosamine in addition to my daily multi vitamin for women, but found out that one of the side effects might be drowsiness. Is there a balance of supplements that I can take for overall general improvement? Am I just getting old or is there something wrong with me? PLEASE help me, I am way to young to slow down! Christine

 

Dear Christine, 

This is not an uncommon complaint.  Many people start to feel at a young at that their energy, stamina and zest start to diminish.  Most of time it is related to years of overwork or overstress without the proper balance of nutritional support, stress management and exercise.  The routine that most American’s follow is very much geared to constant work, running around and stress while at the same time we make very little effort to slow down, relax and move our bodies and focus on proper nutrition. 

Your self reported dependence on caffeine is the most common avenue people take to cope with the diminishing energy and not far behind is excessive sugar intake and alcohol intake.  All of these things help give people a false sense of energy and stress reduction but in the end make your system weaker.  

First thing you should do is go to see your primary care doctor and get some screening blood work to rule out conditions like anemia or hypothyroidism (please read my article on sub-clinical hypothyroidism before you see your doctor http://www.vitabase.com/blog/energy/sub-clinical-hypothyroidism.aspx)  which can both cause significant fatigue.  The blood tests will also help to rule out any other obvious signs of serious disease. 

From a diet perspective make sure to keep your balance your blood sugars.  This means eating 3 meals a day balanced with protein, fat and carbohydrates while avoiding simple carbohydrates like candy, junk food, sugar, sweets, baked goods and other highly processed foods.  Diets like The South Beach Diet and the Zone Diet are great examples of how to keep your blood sugar balanced throughout the day.  By doing this you will ensure that your body is not under further stress and start to create an opportunity to replenish your energy stores.  

Some very important supplements to consider are ones from the B vitamin family.  Vitamin B6 and Vitamin B5 can do wonders in helping to provide natural, stable energy throughout the day.  I advise taking a B-complex supplement in the morning with your breakfast and at lunch time.  Avoid taking at night due to the stimulating nature.  These can be taken along with a high quality multi-vitamin. 

Vitamin B12 is also very helpful at supporting energy levels.  The best way to take it is as a sublingual (dissolves under the tongue) tablet.  Also, if available get the methlycobalamin form over cyanocobalamin.  The methyl form is the activated form and does a better job at raising blood levels.  B12 has been used by the medical community for decades to help with chronic fatigue issues.  

Next to consider might be some herbs and I would recommend starting with the ones in the adaptogen family.  These are herbs that are thought to help your body adapt to stress and are often associated with the ability to increase energy levels.  Ginseng and Rhodiola are two great examples as are licorice, ashwaganda and cordyceps.  Many energy type formulas will contain a combination of these herbs.  Again, take them in the morning with breakfast and then again at lunch time. 

Last but certainly not least is make sure you are sleeping well.  Energy will continue to be an issue if proper sleep is not obtained.  If you are having trouble falling asleep at night you might try melatonin.  This is a gentle way of signaling your body to make the transition into sleep and can help promote a restful night’s sleep.  Other herbs like valerian, hops, passion flower and chamomile can have mildly sedating qualities and aid in a restful night’s sleep.  

Most importantly is not to accept the notion that this is just the way things have to be.  I have helped hundreds of men and women in a similar situation.  If you want to learn in detail more about why you might be experiencing some of the symptoms you are having and how to execute a step by step plan to get your energy back, check our the book called “Adrenal Fatigue” by Dr. James Wilson. 

In Health, 

Dr. Passero



Back to all Questions     View More by Dr. Kevin Passero

Lead Medical Director

As a certified and fully trained Naturopathic Doctor, Passero has trained and preceptored with some of the nation's leading doctors in the field of natural medicine, working under the guidance of MD’s, Chiropractors, Naturopaths and Acupuncturists. Furthermore, he is currently the Vice President of the Maryland Association of Naturopathic Physicians.

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