Tired of feeling tired? How to spark your energy levels in 3 simple ways

Tired of feeling tired? How to spark your energy levels in 3 simple ways

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Between work, kids, school, chores and all the other responsibilities we may have, life can be exhausting. Feeling tired all of the time can be frustrating, but identifying the cause is the first step to claiming back your energy levels.

When a cup (or three) of coffee feels like the only way to get through the day it might be worth taking a more in-depth look at your exercise routine, hydration levels and overall nutrition.

What is fatigue

Fatigue is often described as lack of energy, mental or physical tiredness, decreased endurance and the need for a longer recovery period after physical activity[1]. It can be caused by physical or psychological conditions, but it can also be a combination of both. However, fatigue is not a disease but rather a symptom of something, whether it is lifestyle related or other[2].

Meet your mitochondria – The powerhouse of your cells

The mitochondria is often referred to as the powerhouse of the cell, enabling us to perform our body’s daily functions such as breathing, heart beat, speaking etc. as well as our activities with energy and vigour.

The mitochondria are cell organelles whose key role is to generate most of the chemical energy that our body needs to keep functioning[3]. Producing energy is so important that each cell contains between 1000 to 2500 mitochondria[4]. These organelles act like a second digestive system, transforming the food we eat into energy that cells in our bodies use, known as ATP[5]. Therefore, most cellular functions, from respiration to metabolism and immune defence, need the right supply of ATP to meet the energy demands for all these processes[6].

How can we combat fatigue?

Exercise

We may think that exercising will make us feel more tired and therefore we avoid it when our energy levels are low. However, the reality is that moving more may increase our energy levels.

The reason behind this, relies on the cellular-level changes that take place when we exercise. A study found that high-intensity interval training brings the biggest benefits at the cellular level to increase mitochondrial capacity by 49% in young individuals and by 69% in older people[7]. Mitochondria are the energy source of our body so having more of them increases our body’s energy supply[8].

Hydration

Dehydration occurs when the water content of the body is low, limiting its ability to carry out normal organ functions and activity which in turn may affect our health, mood, and performance. However, if we drink enough water, it prevents symptoms that can be caused by dehydration, such as tiredness and weakness[9].

Nutrition

Often inadequate nutrition can be overlooked as a contributing factor to fatigue. But it is incredible how small changes in our diets and eating habits can increase our energy levels and in turn, our focus and performance.  Not consuming enough wholegrains, lean meats, dairy, fruit and vegetables can result in feeling fatigued[10].

However, the solution does not rely on increasing our caffeine intake in foods or beverages[11] but rather in  keeping a balanced diet that includes a variety of unrefined carbohydrates, proteins, and fats, and a healthy large serving of green vegetables , and healthy oils.

Since we start the energy production process through food, it is worth supporting our mitochondria with the right nutrients as these organelles are especially affected by nutrient deficiencies, environmental toxins, and oxidative damage[12]. Although many nutrients are necessary for ATP production, Ubiquinol, the active form of Coenzyme Q10, plays an important role in this process[13].

Ubiquinol, a lipid antioxidant, can be found throughout the body, especially in mitochondria. However, our natural CoQ10 levels start decreasing from the age of 30[14]. A healthy diet and regular physical activity can help our mitochondrial performance but sometimes it is not enough. Supplementation might be needed to help these powerhouses produce the necessary energy that our body needs to function at its optimal level[15].

Although feeling tired is experienced by many, it is wise to check in with a health care provider to help rule out any other causes for your fatigue.

 Always read the label. Use only as directed. If symptoms persist consult your healthcare professional.


[1] Filler, K., Lyon, D., Bennett, J., McCain, N., Elswick, R., Lukkahatai, N., & Saligan, L. N. (2014). Association of Mitochondrial Dysfunction and Fatigue: A Review of the Literature. BBA clinical, 1, 12–23. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.bbacli.2014.04.001

[2] Healthdirect.gov.au. 2021. Fatigue. [online] Available at: <https://www.healthdirect.gov.au/fatigue> [Accessed 18 October 2021].

[3] Genome.gov. 2021. Mitochondria. [online] Available at: <https://www.genome.gov/genetics-glossary/Mitochondria#:~:text=%E2%80%8BMitochondria&text=Mitochondria%20are%20membrane%2Dbound%20cell,called%20adenosine%20triphosphate%20(ATP).> [Accessed 18 October 2021].

[4] Pizzorno J. (2014). Mitochondria-Fundamental to Life and Health. Integrative medicine (Encinitas, Calif.), 13(2), 8–15.

[5] Bscb.org. 2021. Mitochondrion – much more than an energy converter | British Society for Cell Biology. [online] Available at: <https://bscb.org/learning-resources/softcell-e-learning/mitochondrion-much-more-than-an-energy-converter/> [Accessed 18 October 2021].

[6] Saini R. (2011). Coenzyme Q10: The essential nutrient. Journal of pharmacy & bioallied sciences, 3(3), 466–467. https://doi.org/10.4103/0975-7406.84471

[7] Cell Press. (2017, March 7). How exercise — interval training in particular — helps your mitochondria stave off old age. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 18, 2021 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/03/170307155214.htm

[8] Harvard Health. 2021. Does exercise really boost energy levels? – Harvard Health. [online] Available at: <https://www.health.harvard.edu/exercise-and-fitness/does-exercise-really-boost-energy-levels> [Accessed 18 October 2021].

[9] Betterhealth.vic.gov.au. 2021. Water – a vital nutrient – Better Health Channel. [online] Available at: <https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/healthyliving/water-a-vital-nutrient> [Accessed 18 October 2021].

[10] Betterhealth.vic.gov.au. 2021. Fatigue fighting tips – Better Health Channel. [online] Available at: <https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/conditionsandtreatments/fatigue-fighting-tips> [Accessed 18 October 2021].

[11] Sports Dietitians Australia (SDA). 2021. Fighting Fatigue – Sports Dietitians Australia (SDA). [online] Available at: <https://www.sportsdietitians.com.au/factsheets/fuelling-recovery/fighting-fatigue/> [Accessed 18 October 2021].

[12] Pizzorno J. (2014). Mitochondria-Fundamental to Life and Health. Integrative medicine (Encinitas, Calif.), 13(2), 8–15.

NLM   

[13] Pizzorno J. (2014). Mitochondria-Fundamental to Life and Health. Integrative medicine (Encinitas, Calif.), 13(2), 8–15.

[14] Saini R. (2011). Coenzyme Q10: The essential nutrient. Journal of pharmacy & bioallied sciences, 3(3), 466–467. https://doi.org/10.4103/0975-7406.84471

[15] Saini R. (2011). Coenzyme Q10: The essential nutrient. Journal of pharmacy & bioallied sciences, 3(3), 466–467. https://doi.org/10.4103/0975-7406.84471

[16] Filler, K., Lyon, D., Bennett, J., McCain, N., Elswick, R., Lukkahatai, N., & Saligan, L. N. (2014). Association of Mitochondrial Dysfunction and Fatigue: A Review of the Literature. BBA clinical, 1, 12–23. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.bbacli.2014.04.001

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