Are you constantly complaining that you don’t have enough energy? Do you find yourself wishing you just had a couple more hours of sleep? Are you constantly asking others how they have so much energy? Chronic Fatigue is one of America’s most common complaints.
Factors such as stress, physical and mental exhaustion, poor diet, can impact your energy levels, including less obvious reasons, such as hormonal imbalances and genetics.
Lack of energy is often associated with chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), which is a condition characterized by debilitating fatigue and other possible symptoms such as impaired memory and concentration, body aches, joint pain, swollen lymph nodes, and exercise intolerance. CFS symptoms cannot be alleviated by sleep, whereas a general lack of energy can be overcome with quality sleep and a healthy lifestyle.
Histone acetylation is a fancy way of describing relaxed DNA that is available to be transcribed. DNA is wrapped around histones, which are made of eight proteins and can also be referred to as octamer. Looking like spools of thread, the thread-like DNA circles around each histone. Gene modification can affect how close the spools of thread are to each other. Acetylation adds an acetyl group to each histone creating more space between threads allowing transcription and gene expression to occur. Conversely, histone deacetylases remove acetyl groups and tighten the DNA coils, limiting DNA transcription. The absence of the enzyme silent information regulator 1 (SIRT1), a histone deacetylase found in the spinal cord, may be the culprit for the development of neuropathic pain.
Haijun Shao et al. conducted a study to identify the presence of SIRT1, the co-enyzme nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD), as well as the byproduct of NAD metabolism, nicotinamide (NAM), in the spinal cords of mice after chronic constriction injury or sham injury. They also tested the effects of NAD on hyperalgesia and mechanical allodynia by injecting this coenzyme into the spinal cords of the mice. The researchers additionally determined if a SIRT1 inhibitor, EX-527, could reverse the anti-nociceptive effect of NAD and resveratrol.
The most common causes for fatigue
The Blood Sugar Roller Coaster
Unregulated blood sugar often causes peaks and valleys in our energy levels. Consuming a diet high in carbohydrates, simple sugars, and caffeine, can cause unwanted spikes in your blood sugar levels. High blood sugar (hyperglycemia) is a signal for your body to produce insulin, a hormone that helps remove sugar from your bloodstream into your cells. Low blood sugar (hypoglycemia) can result from excessive insulin production, followed by feelings of shakiness, irritability and fatigue.
These ups and downs can feel like a ‘blood sugar roller coaster,’ leading to serious diseases, such as diabetes. Additionally, we have a tendency to make poor food choices when we experience a crash in blood sugar, thus further fueling the ‘blood sugar roller coaster’. This process is also exaggerated by intestinal yeast and dysbiosis, which enhance the cravings for and response to empty carbohydrates, causing fat deposition, inflammation, lack of energy, and fatigue.
Diet is probably the most common cause for fatigue and a lack of energy. Processed and refined foods in general can cause fatigue and low energy levels. These types of foods have been manipulated from their true form and and often have other added artificial ingredients. These foods are often high in calories and low in vitamins and minerals.
It is important to eat foods that support your body by aiding in hormone production and balance, neurotransmitter function, sleep cycle and mood. Foods that are high in nutrients including salmon, kale, blueberries, egg yolks, and dark chocolate give you more bang for your buck opposed to low nutrient dense foods. High nutrient dense foods provide more nutrients than calories, which can help maintain a healthy weight and protect against diseases.
Feelings of fatigue can be caused by a lack of activity and exercise. Typical nine-five desk jobs can lead to sedentary lifestyles and sitting for extended periods of time can cause soreness and stiffness. When you are tired, exercising might be the last thing you want to do, but exercise releases mood-boosting endorphins, balances hormones and improves sleep. Taking a break during the work day for a short walk or simple stretch can also help battle fatigue.
Low energy levels can be caused by mitochondrial dysfunction. The mitochondria in our cells are responsible for creating 90% of the energy required to support normal organ function. Mitochondria have been coined the powerhouse of the cell and are very important for energy production. Mitochondria are responsible for producing adenosine triphosphate (ATP), which is used as an energy source in metabolism.
What would inhibit your cells and mitochondria from producing energy?
A lack in the number of mitochondria within each cell. Your cells need multiple power centers to fuel all the physiological process that occur on a daily basis. Sometimes mitochondria that are no longer functioning are not disposed of properly, a process called mitophagy. Other times old parts are combined together to create a new mitochondria, but this process can be tricky as well.
A lack of necessary ingredients, such as nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD+), will prevent your mitochondria from producing energy through the electron transport chain. If key ingredients cannot be transported into the mitochondria, or there is a lack in supply, you will undoubtedly feel fatigued.
Problems within the electron transport chain can occur by damaged proteins, or by a damaged membrane. Reactive oxygenated species (ROS) are the main culprit in cell damage and are a result of normal metabolism. Normally your cells are very efficient at neutralizing ROS, but sometimes a few escape to cause damage.
Lack of sleep
Lack of sleep is an obvious factor that leads to fatigue. Factors leading to poor quality sleep include interrupted sleep cycles or not enough hours of deep sleep. Adults need approximately eight hours of sleep every night, but this will vary depending upon your activity level. Sleep can be interrupted from poor diet, stress, hormonal imbalance, and sleep hygiene.
Tips For Good Sleep Hygiene
Avoid sugary and carbohydrate-heavy meals or meals that can cause indigestion up to three hours before bed.
Limit caffeine to the morning hours.
Avoid blue-light exposure from your phones, televisions, and computers for two or more hours before bed.
Sleep is crucial to your health because while you are sleeping your body is repairing itself. The brain forms new pathways to aid in learning, memory, and problem solving while you’re fast asleep.
Uncommon Causes of Low Energy
Anxiety and Depression
Lack of energy can be caused by psychological disorders such as anxiety and depression. Fatigue is one of the most prevalent symptoms associated with depression, and may be the first sign that something is wrong.
Anemia, a condition where there is a deficiency in red blood cells, also results in lack of energy. Red blood cells, which are composed of hemoglobin, provide oxygen to your entire body. Without an adequate amount of red blood cells delivering oxygen to your tissues, your cells will not be able to produce energy efficiently and will you quickly feel fatigued. Typical symptoms of anemia include weak muscles and bones, constantly feeling tired and unable to concentrate. In extreme cases, fainting, shortness of breath, and heart attack may occur. These symptoms arise from your body not getting enough oxygen-rich blood.
What are the causes of anemia?
Insufficient iron levels within the blood;
Low vitamin B9 and B12 levels;
Loss of blood, such as a bleeding ulcer; and
A diet low in essential nutrients necessary to make hemoglobin.
With this in mind, the symptoms of anemia may be alleviated with natural supplementation. It is recommended to consult your physician or medical professional if you feel at risk for anemia.
The thyroid is an endocrine gland that is fueled by iodine. This master gland secretes hormones that are responsible for regulating metabolism, body temperature, heart rate, and energy levels. Stress and diet may induce hormonal imbalances disrupting the thyroid’s function causing disease. Thyroid diseases such as hypothyroidism or hyperthyroidism affect more than twenty million people in the United States, and is of concern for older adults and women. People with thyroid diseases may suffer from fatigue, moodiness, muscle and joint pain, changes in appetite, weight gain or loss, and poor regulation of body temperature.
Adrenal fatigue, similar to thyroid disease, is caused by a hormonal imbalance. The adrenal glands are another type of endocrine gland that is responsible for secreting hormones and steroids, including adrenaline and cortisol. Cortisol, known as the stress hormone, may be increased due to sleep deprivation, poor diet, toxins, drugs and alcohol. High levels of stress will affect your adrenal glands and cause fatigue.
Adrenal fatigue may cause intractable fatigue, poor quality sleep, muscle and joint pain, headaches, weight gain, mental fogginess, and many other debilitating symptoms. Trying to limit the stress in your life may be a sufficient way to combat adrenal fatigue. There are many forms of stress reduction, such as meditation, yoga, leisure walks and hikes, singing, dancing, coloring or other forms of art.
Testosterone is a hormone important for male reproductive tissues and male sexual characteristics, but has effects on both men and women. Low testosterone can be caused by chronic conditions, including type 2 diabetes, hyperlipidemia, and HIV, as well as medications, hormone imbalances, and genetic conditions.
Low testosterone can cause fatigue and weakness, along with a loss of interest in sex. Treatment may include testosterone replacement therapy, but underlying causes of low testosterone and fatigue should also be addressed.
How to Combat Fatigue
Causative factors leading to a lack of energy are interconnected and can cause a vicious cycle of hormonal imbalance, sleep deprivation, fatigue, poor diet, and depression. Treating low levels of energy may be as simple as not watching television after 9pm or skipping out on the espresso in the afternoon, but investigation to an underlying condition may be necessary.
Those who suffer from chronic fatigue battle with debilitating symptoms every day. It’s unclear exactly what causes CFS because currently there are no diagnostic tests for the condition. Conventional treatment for CFS may consist of a combination of antidepressants and sleep medication, but this method is like placing a bandage over an internal injury.
IV NAD+ therapy addresses the core issue by supplying your body with the energy it needs to heal on a cellular level. NAD+ increases production of ATP, which is the currency your cells use for energy. A CFS patient of the NAD Treatment Center states after his first 7-day treatment:
“It hit me, I started feeling better. I felt amazing. I was even hearing music differently… I just didn’t have the excruciating pain that I had before. I felt eight years of pain melting away,” explained a CFS patient from the NAD Treatment Center after his a seventh day of NAD+ therapy.