We all occasionally have a low energy day, but did you know that lack of energy is one of the more common complaints that a doctor hears? Our everyday lives can be fast-paced and daunting! Between long commutes, stressful jobs, financial worries and juggling your children’s activities, it is no wonder we are tired. All of this busy-ness often means we are stopping at fast food drive-throughs for breakfast and picking up take-out for dinner. These less-than-healthy food choices tend to provide more than enough calories but are often lacking in vitamins, minerals and other important nutrients. The end result for you: low energy!
WHAT YOU CAN DO TO IMPROVE YOUR LONG-TERM ENERGY
- Exercise is an important part of your energy-boosting routine. Exercise is often the last thing you want to do when you feel you can’t get off the couch, but research has shown that regular exercise reduces tiredness and gives you energy.[i]
- Getting a good night’s sleep is one of the best tools in your energy-boosting arsenal. Try going to bed at the same time every day, avoiding caffeine late in the day, read a book instead of watching TV, and try using earplugs if noise wakes you up.
- Take care of yourself by eating better (avoid sugar and processed foods), avoid skipping meals, and take time during the day to relax (even 10 minutes alone in the bathroom can help).
- Be moderate in your caffeine intake. Those canned energy drinks are often spiked with caffeine and loaded with sugar leading to a quick energy boost followed by a crash. Green tea is a lower caffeine healthier alternative.
- Supplement wisely; start with a well-balanced multivitamin product. Research has shown that consuming an array of nutritional supplements including omega-3 fats and a broad array of antioxidants supports better health.
- Magnesium deficiency is one of the more common deficiencies in America, with close to half of people in the US not getting enough.[ii] Magnesium is required for over 300 processes in the body including the breakdown of glucose into energy. The best form of magnesium to take is a time-release formula; this ensures a steady stream of magnesium all day long.
- B-Vitamins(including B12 and folate) are important in so many metabolic processes in the body and have long been used for people looking for energy. In a study, supplementing with extra B vitamins improved stress, mental health, energy, and cognitive performance during intense mental processing.[iii] Because B vitamins are water-soluble, we need to get them throughout the day so consider a sustained-released formula.
- Iron is an important mineral for women who are still menstruating and low iron can lead to lack of energy, especially in young women who have heavy menstrual bleeding.[iv]
And finally, fatigue can be a sign of a number of underlying conditions. If your fatigue persists and/or is debilitating, we strongly urge you to check in with your physician about your low energy.
[i] Puetz TW, Flowers SS, O’Connor PJ. A randomized controlled trial of the effect of aerobic exercise training on feelings of energy and fatigue in sedentary young adults with persistent fatigue. Psychother Psychosom. 2008;77(3):167-74. PMID: 18277063.
[ii] Rosanoff A, Weaver CM, Rude RK. Suboptimal magnesium status in the United States: are the health consequences underestimated? Nutr Rev. 2012 Mar;70(3):153-64. PMID: 22364157.
[iii] Kennedy DO, Veasey R, Watson A, et al. Effects of high-dose B vitamin complex with vitamin C and minerals on subjective mood and performance in healthy males. Psychopharmacology (Berl). 2010 Jul;211(1):55-68. PMID:20454891
[iv] Wang W, Bourgeois T, Klima J, et al. Iron deficiency and fatigue in adolescent females with heavy menstrual bleeding. Haemophilia. 2013 Mar;19(2):225-3. PMID: 23106971.