We all have varying degrees of energy levels. Some people are perpetually peppy, while others are as animated as an anchor.Most of us live life in the large gray area in between. We battle bouts of fatigue, sluggishness and the occasional aches and pains that slow us down. Our goal is to make sense of these gray areas. We can then understand how to manipulate our biology to feel better.Having more energy is at the heart of what feeling beautiful is all about. It’s having passion for life and the means to act out that passion.But we all know what happens when there’s an energy crisis: chaos. One small issue triggers a domino effect. That’s what happens when you can’t maintain your energy.It can eventually lead to a major short-circuiting of your energy system. These massive drops are ultimately an energy crisis in your body.There are many culprits. Some are excessive stressors and not enough sleep. Others are too much saturated fat and sugary foods. Or you may not be experiencing enough passion and fun.Even still, it can be an infection or other chronic disease. You’re prone to being attacked by viruses, bacteria or fungi when your resilience is gone. The ensuing insomnia and stress can wear down your adrenal glands. This creates a vicious cycle of progressively larger challenges.To understand these dipping energy levels, let’s look into how energy works. Your energy’s stored in packets called ATP and phosphocreatine. These are made of chemicals including a sugar called ribose, adenine (used to be called vitamin B4) and vitamin B derivatives. Ribose serves as the lumber of your energy-producing house. Other substances help to support it.The nutrients and genes inside your cells, and hormones and chemicals from nerves and your brain act as switches and fuses that control your power factory. Your mitochondria and their ribosomes take ribose, sugar and helper B vitamins and use electron transport to crank out your energy packets, ATP. Your body can perform tasks once it has enough ATP.There are many scenarios that can cause the fuse to blow and trigger you to produce ATP. These include: infection, hormone dysfunction and inadequate diet/sleep, among other causes.Even if you have tons of ATP, you’ll need an abundant blood flow to provide your body nutrients and keep waste products away. To do this you simply have to engage in activities that keep your blood pumping and arteries dilated. So, what’s good for your heart is good for your energy levels.Nitric oxide helps open your arteries and lung passages to increase blood flow and oxygen transfer. This short-lived gas that lines your arteries, breathing tubes and brain rapidly changes in relation to your activities and diet. 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.