What is in this article?:
- Beat your fatigue, naturally
- 5. Mind your brain
Learn what might be causing your low-energy, and then heed these seven tips to help reclaim your liveliness.
5. Mind your brain
Vitamin C supports the adrenal glands, energizes the brain, and helps the body make L-carnitine, an amino acid that enables mitochondria to convert fat to energy. But most people don’t get enough C; even in citrusy Florida, only 56 percent of people get the recommended amount. Challem suggests supplementing with 1,000–3,000 mg daily, divided into three doses.
Powering down your brain is just as important as keeping it fired up, however. Magnesium tames your stress response and enables your muscles to relax, Koff says, leading to better sleep—and ultimately more energy. Many women who take calcium supplements don’t get sufficient magnesium to counterbalance its effects, and people who shun whole grains and legumes, like those on a strict paleo-style diet, are at further risk. If you’ve got tight muscles at bedtime or restless leg syndrome, you may be magnesium-deficient, Challem says. Improve intake with nuts (see page 17), seeds, dark leafy greens, and cacao, or with 400 mg magnesium citrate daily, divided into two doses.
A class of herbs known as adaptogens helps your body respond to stress. Three in particular, ashwagandha, Siberian ginseng, and rhodiola, encourage healthy adrenal-hormone levels. Licorice root, another adaptogenic herb, “prevents the body’s breakdown of cortisol, which you want when you’re in adrenal exhaustion,” Challem says. He recommends 200–300 mg daily each of rhodiola and ginseng and 500 mg ashwagandha. Look for licorice root that’s not deglycyrrhizinated (DGL). DGL is great for gastric disturbances, but for adrenal fatigue, glycyrrhetinic acid is the active compound. Follow package directions for dose.
Make sure you schedule downtime, too. Meditate, journal, walk around the block—whatever helps you tamp down the stress and reduce your cortisol demand.
7. Move and groove
Does the thought of exercising make you feel more fatigued? If so, start with slow, gentle activity, such as walking just 15 minutes a day. Then choose something you love, like dance, martial arts, or hiking, and try to do it four times a week, says Laurie Steelsmith, ND, a Honolulu-based naturopathic physician. Before long, you’ll find that exercise actually gives you more stamina. Not only does it build muscle and burn fat, but it also enables muscle cells to produce more mitochondria, which in turn make more energy. Plus, it shifts stuck energy associated with difficult emotions, says Steelsmith. Exercise can (and should!) include sex, she adds. “Getting your sex life up and running is essential for your vital energy flow.”
Colorado-based freelance writer and editor Laurie Budgar energizes with dance and frequent naps.