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Just Plain Tired

June 2016

I’m so tired. What can I take for energy? This is a question we get asked at least 4 times a day. It seems there are a lot of people who feel they are lacking in energy. I have to admit occasionally I am included in that group of people.

But what is energy and how is it produced in our body? Energy is defined as the strength and vitality required for sustained physical or mental activity. There are several different ways our body produces energy but the end result is in the production of glucose and ATP or adenosine triphosphate.

I really like this explanation of energy production in simple terms - HERE

Our bodies need fat, carbohydrates and proteins and metabolizes these down into a source of energy for all our cells. Make sure you are eating all of these macronutrients each day. Of course good quality sources are very important and I do not promote refined carbohydrates or trans fats as a source of energy.

I often tell people there are three levels in regards to supplements that can help with energy. The first level is trying to support a possible lack of nutrients needed to produce ATP or energy.

And that is with our B-Vitamins: Most people who come in looking for B-12 are wanting the resulting energy boost. And although B-12 is involved in energy production so too are the other B vitamins, all helping you convert your food into energy.

Vitamin B1 (Thiamine pyrophosphate)

Importantly, Vitamin B1 contributes to normal energy yielding metabolism, being required as a coenzyme for the production of Acetyl Co A from pyruvate. It is important in enabling the production of energy from food.

Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin-5-Phosphate) is needed for participation in the citric acid cycle to produce energy. Adequate doses are required to reduce tiredness and fatigue. It also plays a role in the maturation of red blood cells, again important because of their oxygen carrying capacity.

Vitamin B3 (Niacinamide) is invaluable in the production of energy in the body and adequate amounts are paramount to optimum energy levels. B2 and are vital components of pathways that make more energy molecules (ATP).

Vitamin B5 (Calcium pantothenate). Vitamin B5 is required for manufacturing (CoA) Coenzyme A and ACP (an acyl carrier protein). Both of these are necessary for energy production by metabolizing fats and carbohydrates to glucose. It also aids the body’s ability to burn stored fats and for this reason is often included for sports performance. Importantly it contributes to the reduction of tiredness and fatigue.

Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxal-5-Phosphate) Vitamin B6 is very important for changing glucose into energy and for converting carbohydrates and other nutrients into glucose, enabling blood glucose to be maintained within the normal range. Vitamin B12 (Methylcobalamin) is vital for energy production. It is needed for an enzyme, Methylmalonyl Coenzyme A Mutase (MCM) found in the mitochondria. MCM is needed to make Succinyl CoA to create energy in the citric acid cycle. Inadequate levels of Vitamin B12 result in tiredness and fatigue. In addition, Vitamin B12 is needed for normal red blood cell formation, essential for carriage of oxygen to the tissues.

You should always make sure you are taking either a B-Complex or a good multi-vitamin with 24 to 100mg of the B-vitamins. Then you can always add more B-12 if needed.

Then there is also D Ribose which is a sugar used by every cell in the body, being the main source of energy required for the creation of ATP. A study using supplementation of D Ribose in chronic fatigue and fibromyalgia patients showed significant increase in energy and an average overall improvement in well-being.

Coenzyme Q10 is also involved in the production of energy (ATP) in the mitochondria of all cells. It is both synthesized in the body and consumed in the diet and helps convert carbohydrates and fats into energy.

The second level is using herbs: There are many herbs that are considered adaptogens and help create a non-stimulate but sustained energy level in the body. Two notable herbs for helping the body with energy levels are Eleuthero and Ashwaghanda.

Eleuthero or Siberian Ginseng has been used for centuries as a tonic to improve stamina and vigor, increase mental acuity and enhance endurance. Some research shows it to help with the utilization of glucose.

Ashwagandha is an Ayurvedic herb which pairs well with eleuthero. Like eleuthero, ashwagandha is an adaptogen, lessening the effects of stress on the nervous system, which cuts back on the adrenaline, ‘fight or flight,’ response, leaving us with more energy for daily use.

The third level in regards to energy is stimulants. And although we carry some stimulants, mostly found in our sports nutrition area of the store, I always recommend starting with the above suggestions first. Although the stimulants found in thermogenic formulas and weight loss enhancers will give you some quick energy they do not work naturally with your body’s own energy production and are not recommended for those with high blood pressure or cardiovascular issues.

And along with eating healthy, make sure you are getting good quality sleep. We all need energy in order to enjoy life, enjoy family and live a long vibrant life. We hope we can help you achieve all that and more.

With Renewed Energy,

Brenda Valen, BS, CNC, CNHP