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Help for Low Energy

Jonny Bowden

Question :

I'm not overweight (and I'm only 24), and yet I'm tired a lot. I don't have much energy, especially during exercise (in fact, while exercising I want to just give up because I'm so tired). This is true even on days when I get enough sleep. Should I be taking vitamins? I've heard that they don't do much, so I thought I'd ask you. Thanks for any help!

Answer :

Please consider having your thyroid checked by someone who is knowledgeable about alternative and complementary medicine. Low thyroid is one of the most misdiagnosed conditions among women, and it can have a profound effect on both weight loss and energy. Most complementary physicians suggest taking your temperature as a reliable way to test your thyroid. Use an oral glass-bulb thermometer under your tongue four times a day for three days; just before you eat and right before you go to bed are the best times. Alternately, you could just do it for three days in a row when you wake up in the morning (but not during your period). If the average is 97.8 or less there's a good chance that your thyroid may be the problem.

Vitamins do a great deal, but they don't actually provide energy. Vitamins will help you use the energy from food more effectively. However, many people who are very low in certain vitamins, especially the B vitamins and particularly B12, do indeed feel a lot better taking them, although we're not 100 percent sure why. L-carnitine is needed to transport fat into the "furnace" part of the cell, where it can be burned for energy. You may not be getting enough of this valuable nutrient, so carnitine supplementation is certainly worth a try. Coenzyme Q-10 may be helpful as well. I'm usually reluctant to recommend just a few vitamins, nutrients or supplements in isolation because it's like telling a baseball team to get a good left fielder -- sure, that's crucial, but you need the eight other members of the team to make it all work effectively. Vitamins and minerals are like that: they function best as a team. Most people don't get nearly enough of some of them, making it hard to get the most benefit out of the ones they do get.

Many people get tired exercising because they haven't eaten for hours before the exercise session and their blood sugar is low. Make sure this isn't the case by eating a good balanced snack or meal an hour or so before hitting the gym.

Assuming there's no medical condition I don't know about, my guess is that your lack of energy is also related to your food choices. You could be eating too few of the right kind of carbohydrates or, more likely, too many of the wrong kind. High-carbohydrate diets that produce high levels of blood sugar and insulin often lead to roller coasters of energy, cravings and so on. Look at a diet that revolves more around protein (at every meal), vegetables, some fruit, lots of fiber and high-quality fats. Leave out all processed foods, sugar, refined oils and flours, and packaged and convenience foods and eat like a hunter-gatherer. You may see a profound difference.



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