Fatigue is a concern for millions of people worldwide. We all get tired now and then, whether it’s because we’ve been working nonstop or didn't eat right or skipped a workout. For many people, feeling sluggish can place a serious damper on your work and social life. Rest is a very important aspect of repairing and healing, but sometimes there's more to it than simply not getting enough rest.
5 Reasons You Feel Sluggish
Here are a few of the reasons you could be feeling drained.
1. B12 Deficiency
Also known as cobalamin, vitamin B12 is important for the production of red blood cells. It’s one of the several B vitamins essential for converting your food into glucose, the preferred energy source for cells. B12 largely comes from animal foods, and while vegans are certainly at risk, even consumers of animal products can have a B-12 deficiency. Supplementation is crucial for anyone experiencing less-than-ideal energy levels, particularly if your diet is poor. Find a good quality plant-based source for your B12.
2. Imbalanced Thyroid
A sluggish thyroid translates to sluggish energy. Why? When hormones are out of balance, they can lead to confusion, weight gain, and fatigue, hallmarks of hypothyroidism.
Although an imbalanced thyroid doesn’t always mean hypothyroidism, it is still important that you find ways to support the gland for healthy functioning. Iodine is essential for balancing the thyroid, as is exercise, sunlight exposure, and proper sleep.
3. Hormone Imbalance
As mentioned in number two, hormone balance is the most important thing when it comes to keeping your energy levels in check. Improper levels of testosterone or estrogen, too little human growth hormone output, and not enough thyroid hormone production can intertwine and deplete your ability to think and act properly — so-called brain fog.
Living a healthy lifestyle is key for preventing hormone disruption, and this includes getting enough exercise, optimizing your vitamin D levels, getting plenty of rest, and avoiding toxic chemicals whenever possible.
4. Your Digestion Is Off
You may be surprised to hear that your energy levels have something to do with the state of your gut. It turns out that if you’re not digesting the food you’re eating, you’re probably also not absorbing an adequate supply of their life-giving vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and other beneficial compounds. All nutrients provide energy, either directly or indirectly, but if you lack the enzymes to digest foods and thus not receiving vitamins, glucose, and minerals, you’re not going to be experiencing excellent energy levels.
Not only is enzyme supplementation a must for anyone suffering from poor digestion, probiotics can help digestion and energy levels, too.[4, 5]
5. Not Getting Enough Exercise
Exercise burns calories, lifts mood, and research also suggests it may improve energy. While it may sound counterintuitive, vigorous or even light daily activity can boost metabolism and activate certain areas of the brain responsible for an increased perceived energy level.
It may not just be psychological, however! Exercise also improves glucose uptake by making cells more sensitive to insulin. When your cells are receiving the energy they require, then you can be sure your energy levels will benefit.
Other Tips for Improving Your Energy
Improving your diet is the first step you should take to get your health in line, and this includes your energy. Here are some other tips for energy:
- Eliminate all simple sugars. Eat more berries and other fruits.
- Eat organic raw vegetables, and include more nuts, seeds, and herbs into your daily regimen.
- Be sure to eat enough calories to provide yourself with enough energy to think and be active.
- Get plenty of quality sleep each night, shooting for at least seven to nine hours.
- Get some sun for adequate vitamin D. Sunlight balances serotonin and melatonin and stabilizes your circadian rhythms.
- Reducing stress gets your body out of the fight-or-flight state and into the relaxed state, which boosts energy.
- Judy McBride. B12 Deficiency May Be More Widespread Than Thought. USDA. Agricultural Research Service.
- Laurberg P, et al. Iodine intake as a determinant of thyroid disorders in populations. Best Pract Res Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2010 Feb;24(1):13-27. doi: 10.1016/j.beem.2009.08.013.
- Tuin J, et al. Androgen deficiency in male patients diagnosed with ANCA-associated vasculitis: a cause of fatigue and reduced health-related quality of life? Arthritis Res Ther. 2013;15(5):R117.
- Roxas M. The role of enzyme supplementation in digestive disorders. Altern Med Rev. 2008 Dec;13(4):307-14.
- Balakrishnan M, Floch MH. Prebiotics, probiotics and digestive health. Curr Opin Clin Nutr Metab Care. 2012 Nov;15(6):580-5. doi: 10.1097/MCO.0b013e328359684f.
- Ashish S, et al. Exercise for Mental Health. Prim Care Companion J Clin Psychiatry. 2006; 8(2): 106.
†Results may vary. Information and statements made are for education purposes and are not intended to replace the advice of your doctor. If you have a severe medical condition or health concern, see your physician.