NADIA NATUROPATH AND MEDICAL HERBALIST ANNALIESE JONES SHARES SOME OF THE REASONS YOU MIGHT BE LACKING IN ENERGY, AND SUGGESTS SOME EASY WAYS TO GET YOUR BOUNCE BACK
Roughly 50 percent of my clients lack energy. These people are struggling to get out of bed, to exercise, to run around with their kids, even to have sex. They make plans that never eventuate because they can’t muster the energy. Their relationships, jobs and dreams all suffer.
There are many drivers of low energy including certain diseases which are important to rule out. If it’s possible you’ve become depressed, see your GP, a counsellor or psychologist. If there’s diabetes in your family, check that your blood sugars and Hba1c haven’t crept up. If you have a coeliac in your family or someone who’s had thyroid problems, those illnesses are worth ruling out, too.
Some medications can also cause lethargy, most notably statins (for reducing cholesterol), beta blockers and antihistamines. You can always chat to your doctor about your dose but never stop taking your medications without discussing it with him or her first.
Other non-disease-related drivers of low energy can be nutrient inadequacies. You may have nutrient levels just within the so-called normal range, but they’re still low enough to make you feel below par. The two most common inadequacies I see are: B12 This little B vitamin packs a big energy punch. For something so vital to mitochondrial performance (mitochondria are the power plants of every human cell) it’s surprising how hard it is to get it from our diet. Beef and lamb (especially liver) is by far the easiest source of B12 but you’ll find some in sardines, salmon, egg yolks, mackerel and cottage cheese. We tend to think we’re covered by taking a multivitamin or B complex but B12 is tricky to absorb from the digestive system. That’s why if you have dangerously low levels, you’ll receive an injection straight into the bloodstream (bypassing the gut to avoid any absorption issues). If you do
take a B12 supplement, make sure it’s the methylcobalamin form and is a sublingual tablet (one you suck under the tongue). That way all the veins and capillaries under your tongue will absorb it straight into the bloodstream.
When you have a blood
for iron, it’s important to be aware of the normal range. The range for ferritin, which represents iron storage, is 20-160 (for women, depending on age). I work on improving iron levels when ferritin goes below 40, especially if it’s been trending down over time. Red meat is the most concentrated source of iron but you’ll also find good amounts in eggs and tofu. Sometimes the best way to improve iron can be to stop losing it. There are some foods and drinks that rob our food of iron. Those containing tannins, such as tea, red wine and coffee, are the worst culprits. Because of this, these drinks are best consumed two hours before or after an iron-rich meal (sorry steak-and-red-wine lovers). Zinc or calcium supplements also interfere with iron absorption, so follow the same advice. On the flip-side, vitamin C-rich food or drink enhances iron absorption, so add some capsicum or citrus to your side salad when enjoying an iron-rich meal.