Feeling fatigued? It’s a good bet that you’re also stressed. Fatigue and stress feed off each other.
How to perk up? Add whole foods to your diet, find more time to exercise, and cut down on sugar and caffeine. Adding some key supplements may also help.
In his book No More Fatigue, natural health expert Jack Challem identifies “The Five Circles of Fatigue” as stress, poor dietary habits, hormone imbalances, chronic illnesses (and many medications), and the aging process. Common medical causes of fatigue include anemia, sleep disorders, depression, chronic pain or infection, and inflammatory disorders. Stress is an underlying contributor to all of these.
Contrary to popular opinion, sugar is not an energy food and coffee is not an energy drink. Relying on either for a pick-me-up will leave you more tired.
Consider instead the nutritional density of whatever you consume. For example, sugar has a lot of calories, but it offers little in the way of vitamins, minerals, or other nutrients. On the other hand, protein and vegetables are nutrient dense.
Green food = super energy
Many green foods are nutrient dense, including alfalfa, barley grass, chlorella, green tea, kelp, spirulina, and wheatgrass.
In addition to being loaded with vitamins, minerals, and fiber, these supergreens have the added benefits of enzymes and chlorophyll. Enzymes are essential for nearly every biological process, and chlorophyll (the pigment that makes plants green) oxygenates blood and delivers magnesium.
Supergreens are available in supplements, including powders, tablets, and tinctures. Here are other proven fatigue-fighting supplements.
- B-complex vitamins, which help turn food into energy
- Vitamin C, necessary for making chemicals that keep the brain energized
- Coenzyme Q10, known to boost energy levels and enhance stamina
- L-carnitine, which helps transport fat to the cells’ mitochondria, where it is burned for energy
- Alpha lipoic acid, which fosters energy production
- Quercetin, which increases your body’s ability to metabolize glucose and fat for energy
Also consider adaptogens: herbs that generate a defensive response to stress. Adaptogens that specifically help fight fatigue and increase energy and endurance include American and Asian ginseng, ashwagandha, cordyceps, eleuthero, holy basil, rhodiola, and schisandra.
7-Syndrome Healing by Marcia Zimmerman, CN, and Jayson Kroner, CSN ($16.95, Nutrition Solution Publications, 2006)
Adaptogens: Herbs for Strength, Stamina, and Stress Relief by David Winston, RH (AHG) and Steven Maimes ($18.95, Healing Arts Press, 2007)
No More Fatigue by Jack Challem ($25.95, Wiley & Sons, 2011)