1- Balance Your Circadian Rhythms/ Balancing Your HPA Axis (Adrenals)
Step one is to balance the stress response in the body. During times of stress, our adrenal glands produce the stress hormone cortisol. The body expects that the stress will go down eventually and the cortisol can then return back to baseline. During times of prolonged stress (divorce, lack of sleep, emotional stress at home, over exercising, skipping meals throughout the day), the cortisol remains high for as long as the body can keep up the production.
After a prolonged stress response, the cortisol starts to be depleted as well as DHEA. This depletion in cortisol leads to fatigue, body and muscle aches, decreased libido, brain fog and feelings of overwhelming exhaustion. In our current lifestyle, we are all prone to over stressing our adrenal glands and depleting cortisol. This decrease in cortisol response also leads to symptoms of hypoglycemia. Cortisol is responsible for keeping blood sugars stable when they start to drop. If cortisol is depleted, the body can not regulate blood sugars well and we feel hypoglycemic if regular meals are not consumed.
Cortisol should be produced at its highest level in the morning. This should give us energy in the morning to get out of bed and head to the gym. If you are waking up tired, your cortisol is too low in the morning. Also, some people tell me that they have a hard time going to sleep at night and get more energy at night. This likely means that your cortisol is going up at night when it should be at its lowest point. Salivary cortisol testing is done at 4 points during the day (before breakfast, before lunch, before dinner and before bedtime). This assess the pattern of your cortisol production throughout the day.
Melatonin should be the hormone that is going up at night as cortisol goes down. In the morning, cortisol goes up and melatonin goes down especially with exposure to morning light.
In order to rejuvenate your energy, you have to get your cortisol pattern reset back to normal. This means waking up with energy in the morning and being able to peacefully go to sleep at night.
a- Proper sleep is the first step to fixing our abnormal cortisol pattern. This means getting 7- 8 hours of sleep each night and getting this sleep between the hours of 10 pm and 7 am. The best two hours of sleep are between 10 pm and 12 pm. If you miss those two hours, you are missing the best two hours of restorative sleep. If you snore at night, you should be screened for obstructive sleep apnea.
b- Finding techniques to reduce stress like the following: meditation, yoga, prayer, paced breathing, enjoying nature, Chi Gong, and focusing on gratitude are critical to the restoration of your energy.
c- Eating balanced regular meals throughout the day keeps your blood sugars stable and stops the perception to your body that you are stressed and running from a saber toothed tiger.
d- Lastly, using adaptagenic herbs during the course of the day can buffer your cortisol response. Herbs like Ashwaghanda and Rhodiola act like bumper lanes in a bowling alley. If your cortisol is too high, it will help the cortisol come down. If your cortisol is too low, these herbs will help keep your levels up. These are usually taken in the morning and afternoon.
As the above streps are followed, the body will naturally regulate cortisol and melatonin to give you rejuvenated energy throughout the day.
2- Fixing Your Gut Health
Step two to improving energy is to heal the inflammation in your gut. If you have chronic inflammation in your gastrointestinal tract, your body has to devote precious energy resources to fight this fight. We should never have gas, bloating, constipation, pain or diarrhea. We should be having 1-2 bowel movements a day. If you have any of the previous symptoms, you are using precious energy in the form of ATP to calm the inflammation. In addition, as your gut becomes inflamed, it allows bacterial particles call Lipopolysacharides (LPS) to enter into your blood stream. These LPS’s go to the adrenal glands in the body and block the glands ability to make cortisol. So under times of stress the adrenal glands cannot respond by making cortisol. This in essence blocks the bodies ability to produce cortisol during times of stress.
So it is important to clean up the gut. This way you are not consuming precious energy resources to fight an inflammation battle in the gut. How to do we fix the gut? In a previous article, I talked about the 5 steps to Rejuvenate the Health of the gut. Check these out.
3- Rejuvenate Your Mitochondria
The mitochondria are the power plants in each cell of the body. They produce ATP. Without ATP, the cell dies. ATP is basic unit of energy that the body uses. Without ATP, we experience fatigue, depression, cold hands and feet, brain fog and weight gain.
Thyroid is important in the production of ATP as well. Thyroid hormone works by increasing the number and the size of the mitochondria in every single cell in your body. With this increase in the mitochondria comes an increase in the production of ATP. So making sure you have your thyroid properly evaluated and treated is critical to improving your energy.
Another way to improve the mitochondrial production of ATP is performing proper exercise. Implementing high intensity interval training increasing the bodies production of ATP. Also, doing resistant training increase the amount of muscle fiber the body has. This results in more muscles cells that have to have mitochondria and subsequently more ATP.
Eating a diet that feeds the mitochondria can be extremely helpful. These include the following: blueberries, pomegranates, almonds, grass fed beef, wild salmon, avocados, coconut oil, and broccoli. At the Health Rejuvenation Institute we have special diet plans designed for this purpose. We also have a Nutritionist that can help you with specific recommendations for your nutrition plan.
Certain supplements help fuel the production of ATP by working on the electron transport chain which lies within the mitochondria. These are CoQ10, carnitine, alpha lipoic acid, magnesium, vitamin C, and vitamins B2 and B3. Taking these supplements can improve, energy, memory, and mood.
Combining the comprehensive approach of balancing your adrenal glands, fixing gut health and rejuvenating your mitochondrial production of ATP will restore your energy and your excitement for life. Come and see us at the Health Rejuvenation Institute and we will help you through this process.
Dr. Randy Lundell DO