In our busy world today, there are very few people who can say they wouldn’t like more energy. So many get through their day with energy boosting caffeine via coffee, tea, energy drinks, or through a sugar boost and sweet snacks. While this quick energy can help check off some of that to-do list, it can have some downsides as well. For instance, too much caffeine can strain the adrenal glands which are in charge of the stress management systems in the body as well as a major part of the sleep-wake cycle. Strained adrenal glands will actually make folks feel more tired, so they reach for more caffeine, and the cycle continues.
How can you increase energy levels naturally without draining other systems? Here are five ways to help increase your energy levels:
Find some sunshine. Skin exposure to the sun (even just 15 minutes) is key for the production of vitamin D. Vitamin D is actually a hormone that has a number of jobs throughout the body. It aids in energy production, improving mood, and is hugely important in boosting the immune system.
Move your body.Researchers at the University of Georgia have found that 20 minutes of mild to moderate exercise 3 days a week for 6 weeks increases energy levels by 20 percent.
Breathing exercises.Inhale for 3 counts, hold for 4 counts, and slowly breath out for 12 counts. This increases oxygen levels in the brain while also calming the nervous system, both of which can boost energy and focus.
Take a cat nap.Research has shown that a 20 minute nap as the ability to increase energy better than a cup of coffee.
Nutrient and supplement support for energy:
Vitamin B12 is a key nutrient used throughout the body for a variety of functions. When it comes to energy it is most supportive as a cofactor to boost the adrenal glands, nourish the nervous system, and improve mood. As we age our absorption of vitamin B12 from our diet can reduce as the levels of stomach acids lower, making it even more important to ensure proper levels.
CoQ10 is an antioxidant that also functions as a shuttle for essential nutrients in and out of the mitochondria. Mitochondria are the powerhouses of each cell in the body, they make our cellular energy (ATP) and require a number of nutrients to do so. Too little CoQ10 in the body means nutrients can’t get into the mitochondria efficiently and the cell can’t make as much energy. Statin medications deplete CoQ10 so for those utilizing statins for cholesterol or diabetes management, it is an especially helpful nutrient.
NADH works in conjunction with CoQ10 in the mitochondria as an essential nutrient for cellular energy production. It is also key for DNA repair and cellular regeneration, but it depletes as we age, speeding the aging process and slowing down energy production.
Magnesiumis a mineral with so many functions in the body that most people would benefit from boosting their levels. It too helps those mighty mitochondria to produce cellular energy while also being a supportive cofactor for the nervous system and mood.
Iron is an essential building block of red blood cells. It is part the hemoglobin which shuttles oxygen throughout the body. Proper oxygen levels means the muscles and organs, including the brain, can function more efficiently and contributing to alertness. It is possible to have too much iron in the body so it is important to know your blood iron levels before diving into increasing this nutrient via supplementation.
Dr. Jenna Jorgensen is a naturopathic physician and founder of Northwest Life Medicine Clinic in Bellingham, Washington. With an emphasis on healthy and sustainable lifestyle, she works with her patients to find and heal the underlying causes of their symptoms so they are able to live their life to the fullest. You can learn more about her at www.nwlifemedicine.com or follow her on Instagram at @docjorgensen for insights and updates about sustainable health and wellness.
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