Feeling tired? Having difficulty losing weight? You’re not alone. It’s become such a common problem that almost everyone can relate. Fatigue, lethargy, poor sleep and weight gain often go hand in hand. Why are these issues so prevalent and what can be done about them?
Our cells are malfunctioning.
Mitochondria are little powerhouses within each cell that produce energy, or ATP. They regulate homeostasis and control much of our metabolic processes. Mitochondrial dysfunction is a major cause of fatigue and is implicated in chronic conditions involving low energy, metabolic disease and weight gain.
Clinical research into fatigued patients has found that enlarged or hypertrophic mitochondria are common, indicating a loss of function and reduced ability to produce energy. Antioxidant capacity was also found to be limited, resulting in increased oxidative stress and further damage to cells. CoQ10, an enzyme utilised to enhance energy production, was depleted in comparison with healthy subjects (1).
We live in a toxic world.
Toxins such as food additives, pesticides & herbicides, chemicals in household cleaners, makeup & personal products, and toxins in the air and water are known to be metabolic and hormonal disruptors, Avoiding all of them is almost impossible, but there are ways in which to reduce exposure. Filtering water, avoiding processed foods and choosing organic produce can assist in reducing much of the toxic burden. Use natural personal products – but do your research as not all are what they seem. Lemon in water first thing in the morning, or a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar will stimulate toxin removal and promote liver health.
Stress & sleep
When it comes to regaining energy, it goes without saying that getting enough sleep is essential. 7-8 hours of solid rest each night is needed to recharge the body for the following day. However, stress can disrupt sleep and impact circadian rhythms resulting in lethargy and insomnia. Take some time each day to unwind; a warm bath before bed, read a good book, or get a massage. Make the time to take care of your mental and emotional wellbeing.
A huge contributor to fatigue is an improper diet. Foods that contain refined carbohydrate make up a large proportion of the Australian diet, leading to weight gain, low energy, and impaired metabolism.
Protein is an often-overlooked component of the diet when it comes to improving energy levels. Amino acids not only make up the structural components of the human body, but are also part of the enzymes, hormones, neurotransmitters and essential biochemical reactions required to maintain human health.
How to shake fatigue and regain your energy!
While the factors mentioned above are just a small sample of the many causes of fatigue, it is important to assess this on a case by case basis. However, if you’re feeling overwhelmed, your naturopath or other qualified natural practitioner has many tools with which to tackle this issue. These may include:
CoQ10 – Often found to be deficient in those suffering from fatigue, enzyme CoQ10 is an essential part of the electron transport chain. Produced within the body, it can be supplemented when necessary – but make sure you are taking the most bioavailable form.
Carnitine – Acetyl-L-carnitine is a personal favourite of mine. Excellent for reducing muscle fatigue and soreness, improving concentration and memory, carnitine helps to utilise fatty acids for energy production by the mitochondria.
B vitamins – As always, B vitamins are essential co-factors in energy production (among many other things!). A complete B formula is the best bet, single formulations can result in imbalances.
Green Tea – A great herbal remedy for fatigue, memory and concentration difficulties. Also strongly antioxidant and anti-inflammatory, green tea helps to up-regulate mitochondrial function. (2)
Alpha Lipoic Acid – Required for energy production and a great antioxidant, ALA is often also used for managing diabetes and other metabolic conditions.
Managing fatigue and metabolic disruption naturally
We all have a basic idea of what we need to do to stay healthy. Eat well, exercise, stress less…right? But what happens when you’re doing these things and nothing improves? It’s time to ask the professionals! A qualified natural health practitioner can support you in managing your fatigue, and with the right solutions, get you back on track.
If you’d like more information on how to naturally improve your energy levels, lose weight, or improve your wellbeing, please contact us.
(1). Filler, K., et al. (2014). Association of mitochondrial dysfunction & fatigue: A review of the literature. BBA Clinical. 1, 12-23.
(2). Rehman, H., Krishnasamy, Y., Haque, K., Thurman, R. G., Lemasters, J. J., Schnellmann, R. G., & Zhong, Z. (2013). Green Tea Polyphenols Stimulate Mitochondrial Biogenesis and Improve Renal Function after Chronic Cyclosporin A Treatment in Rats. PLoS ONE, 8(6), e65029. http://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0065029