Energize Your Life!
by Laura Weiss
Energy Times, December 1, 2003
If every fatigued day leaves you
wondering where your energy went, you need a personal energy
"Energy, some special kind of energy, just leaks out and
I am left lacking the confidence even to cross the street,"
Diane Arbus, the photographer, once complained. And while
Ms. Arbus tried to overcome her energetic and spiritual ups
and downs with her art, you can use lifestyle changes as
well as self-expression to revive your vigor.
To Sleep, Perchance to Energize
When you're looking for a boost in personal energy,
you've got to get enough sleep, insists Jacob Tietelbaum,
MD, author of From Fatigued to Fantastic! (Avery). Dr.
Teitelbaum emphasizes that unless you "give your body eight
to nine hours of sleep per night," your personal energy will
never be adequate.
Studies show that getting less than six hours sleep a
night hurts your mental performance and drains your energy
(Sleep 3/15/03). As your sleep debt builds up, your energy
"[Our studies show] the importance of sleep as a
necessity for health and well-being. Even relatively
moderate sleep restriction, if it is sustained night after
night, can seriously impair our neurobiological
functioning," says Hans P.A. Van Dongen, PhD, Assistant
Professor of Sleep and Chronobiology at Penn State.
A recent poll by the National Sleep Foundation found that
Americans, on average, are getting less than seven hours of
shuteye a night. That sleep deficit drains energy.
Watered Down Energy
Added to that sleep requirement, Dr. Teitelbaum stressed
in an interview with a lack of water can
deplete your personal energy.
"The number one problem is often dehydration," he says.
"Make sure you stay hydrated. Although I think it's a bad
idea to [obsessively] count glasses of water, you should
carry a bottle of water with you, check your lips and if
they feel dry drink more water." Overall, your body is about
60% water and 70% of your muscles consist of water. If you
let your water levels dip too low, your muscles suffer and
your energy levels dip as well. Research shows that as your
body dries out, your mental processes can slow down. And the
hotter the temperature, the more fluid you may lose (AIHAJ
B Vitamins for Energy
Also important for keeping your energy up "is getting
enough of the B vitamins and magnesium." And even though Dr.
Teitelbaum advocates the necessity of a well-rounded
multiple vitamin and mineral supplement plus an adequate
diet and amino acids to get all the nutrients you need, he
recommends "taking a high-level B complex. The RDAs (the
government's Recommended Daily Amounts) are inadequate."
In the body, B vitamins are used for the production of
energy on a cellular level. For instance, vitamin B1
(thiamine) is crucial for burning carbohydrates effectively.
And vitamin B6 (pyridoxine) is necessary for the body's
ability to properly use B1. At the same time, vitamin B12 (cobalamin)
is required for proper nerve function. The need for B12 may
necessitate a supplement: Up to 30% of everyone over the age
of 50 may have trouble absorbing B12 from their food (Crit
Rev Clin Lab Sci 1996; 33:247). Plus, since vegetables
contain very little absorbable B12, vegetarians of all ages
may also require B12 supplements.
Dr. Teitelbaum also believes that taking malic acid, a
nutrient derived from apples, can help. Along with the B
vitamins, malic acid is used by the body in the production
of energy. When taken with magnesium, malic acid has been
shown to ease the pain of fibromyalgia (J Rheum 1995;
22(5):953-7), a condition characterized by fatigue and lack
of energy accompanied by painful muscles and joints.
Asian ginseng (Panax ginseng) represents a potential tool
for controlling blood sugar and improving stamina.
According to Dr. Teitelbaum, "...Asian ginseng enhances
energy, raises blood pressure and improves adrenal
function...Asian ginseng has such a wide mix of health
benefits that its name, Panax, comes from the Greek roots of
pan (meaning 'all') and akos (meaning 'cure')-that is, 'cure
Research on people with diabetes shows that this herb may
help control blood sugar levels. People who suffer what is
called type 2 diabetes often eat small meals to keep their
blood sugar from varying too much. (Rising and falling blood
sugar can drain you of energy as well as make diabetic
An investigation of how another form of ginseng, American
ginseng (Panax quinquefolius), affects blood sugar after
eating found that it tempered changes by up to 20% (Arch of
Internal Med 4/00). These scientists found that folks with
diabetes did best when they took the herb within two hours
of a meal.
Ready to re-energize? Time to stop skimping on sleep and
rushing through inadequate meals. For all of us, slowing
down and giving our bodies a chance to regenerate its zip
can make the big energy difference.