Mitchell L. Gaynor M.D.

Your Genetic Destiny

8 Ways to Banish Fatigue (and Boost Energy) for Good

Strategies to put a spring back in your step.

Posted Jun 25, 2015

Are you struggling to get out of bed in the morning? You’re not alone. Millions of people face difficulties in jump-starting their day. If you feel drained, your energy crisis may be due to anything from a jam-packed schedule to an undiagnosed medical condition.

In The Gene Therapy Plan, I discuss how diet and lifestyle choices affect our health at the level of our DNA. Poor dietary habits can lead to chronic inflammation and free-radical damage that exhaust our cells and manifest as fatigue and other health conditions like advanced aging, cancer, and heart disease.

To reinvigorate your day, here are 8 things you can do to get your energy level back on track:

1. Get adequate rest.

Although you may be asleep, your cells are working hard to replenish all the energy you used throughout your day. When we sleep, chemicals like enzymes and hormones work to repair and revitalize the body. Sleep is the time when the body promotes growth, repairs tissue, bolsters immunity, and restores energy. The better rested you are, the better equipped you’ll be to move through your day feeling refreshed and energized.

2. Eat a healthy breakfast.

Breakfast sets the tone for our day. If you eat a doughnut, or worse, skip breakfast altogether, you're going to feel cranky and hungry. Why? When you don’t eat in the morning, or eat processed foods like sugary cereals, you cause irregularities in your blood glucose levels. Try a bowl of steel-cut oatmeal, which packs lots of fiber that will keep you feeling full longer. Another good option is Greek yogurt which contains healthful bacteria to promote gut health. It's also a great source of protein, which your gut takes longer to digest.

3. Choose wholesome snacks.

Between meals, avoid sweets, which cause your blood sugar levels to spike, giving you a temporary jolt of energy. Poor glucose control will cause cells to become insensitive to insulin, the hormone released by the pancreas when the body “senses” glucose molecules in blood after we eat a meal. When you feel like having a snack, nuts and seeds are great choices. They contain protein, minerals, and vitamins that won’t trigger sugar spikes and that crash-and-burn feeling. Try almonds, cashews, pumpkin seeds, or walnuts.

4. Bolster your digestive health.

Our number of bacterial cells outnumber human cells 10 to 1. Studies show that the bacteria in our gut is linked to our immune system and brain chemistry, so it's in our best interest to eat foods that boost healthy gut microbes. To foster wholesome gut ecology, try kimchi, kefir, yogurt, kombucha, or tempeh.

5. Exercise.

Many people say that they are too tired to exercise. But exercising gives us a much-needed reboot, especially after a stressful day. Through exercise, we recharge tired cells by getting more oxygen to them. Physical activity that helps to build muscle strength also improves the efficiency of the mitochondria—the cellular powerhouse for energy. By working out, we help our bodies make the energy that helps keep our cells healthy.

6. Supplement your health.

Various compounds like vitamins and enzymes help to make energy and sometimes our bodies are depleted of these energy-boosting substances. The production of energy in the body requires certain key players like vitamin B12 and antioxidants like L-carnitine and coenzyme Q10. While these fatigue fighters are available as supplements, seek the guidance of a medical professional before you begin taking any over-the-counter pills.

7. Try to reduce stress.

Everyone faces stress in their lives: We all have looming deadlines, mounting tasks, and daily obligations. But stress is disease-promoting, and when we’re stressed, essential health habits like exercise fall to the wayside. We also don’t sleep well.

8. Visit your doctor.

Sometimes our schedules may appear to cause of our fatigue. But if you feel tired a lot, there could be a medical explanation for your loss of energy. One possibility may be a thyroid condition. The thyroid gland is a butterfly-shaped organ that sits below the Adam’s apple and plays essential roles in maintaining a healthy metabolism, regulating weight, and controlling energy. Other conditions like depression, vitamin D deficiency, iron deficiency anemia, or diabetes could contribute to fatigue.

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