You know when you feel low and slow, but it’s hard to pinpoint what’s tripping you up, or if it’s just a normal part of life. So what starts the process that steals your energy? We don’t know all the answers, but we know some of the issues that make your energy plants (mitochondria) inefficient. Here are a few...
1) Insulin resistance: This is inefficiency in getting sugar to our production plants. We then distribute the sugar into fat storage rather than storing it in cells (like in our muscles), which need it to produce energy.
2) Viruses and other infections: Both acute infections and chronic low-grade ones can cause the fuse to blow. We see buggers fray the wires of your fuse box, reducing the energy it can be supplied. Or, the lines get frayed from lack of nutrients to keep them repaired (lack of the healthy fat DHA, for example). This starts an “out of energy” cascade after injury or pregnancy, which makes your immune system vulnerable. Viral particles are identified in the nuclei and mitochondria in people with energy deficits, like fibromyalgia. When one area feels less energetic, you place more demands on another area. This furthers the cascade. Then, a little wire fraying by viruses can make you feel exhausted most of the time.
3) Sleep problems: Many people have trouble falling asleep. Many of us also develop less than optimal habits, which worsen our ability to obtain a full night’s sleep and fight this vicious cycle. When your immune system needs all the energy it can get (when it’s fighting an infection), not resting your energy supply can overheat the wires, worsening your energy problem. This weakens the energy your immune system can borrow from other parts of your energy stores, so you feel more tired.
When you get poor-quality sleep (not deep enough or not enough dreaming), you tend to have more pain. The lack of sleep doesn’t allow you to fully refresh the neurotransmitters you have, which normally suppress pain. That extra pain drains energy too, so you feel wiped out near the start of your day. Sleep is so important to feeling revitalized and beautiful!
4) Hormonal imbalances: Hormones are like dimmers on headlights. When you need bright lights, you turn on certain hormones to increase the energy to that area, and decrease usage elsewhere. The fine-tuning starts in your hypothalamus and pituitary. There’s a strong link between hormone and energy issues. We see changes primarily with slow-functioning thyroid and adrenal glands. Small, important changes happen minute by minute. Stress increases cortisol, which spikes sugar in the bloodstream. This also increases insulin resistance, wasting energy in converting sugar into fat, instead of where it’s needed to produce ATP.
It’s not always clear how to best deal with hormonal issues. Physicians have trouble deciding whether to treat the numbers, or the symptoms the patients have. The so-called normal range of hormone levels is the middle 95 percent of people with those levels. The top 2.5 percent are considered high, and the bottom 2.5 percent, low. Doctors often try treating the symptoms, as long as the treatment doesn’t cause abnormal levels on blood tests. When you lack the thyroid hormone, your energy factories can’t use the food you’ve eaten to produce ATPs efficiently. This makes you feel tired.
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