Addressing low energy levels

 In Opinion

This seems to be something that most of us struggle with from time to time. I have had a lot of patients this year with low energy levels.
It could be due to a myriad of reasons but here are a few things that I tend to see in practice that can cause or contribute to low energy.
A common deficiency is low vitamin B12. This is commonly found in vegans and vegetarians but also in people who suffer from bowel disorders like IBS and IBD, since B12 is absorbed in the lower intestines. You can measure your levels in a blood test and easily take a supplement to boost levels. I am always sure to look at patients gut health to ensure the healthy absorption of this important vitamin.
A second common deficiency that can create low energy is having low iron levels. This is most common in menstruating women and vegans/vegetarians, but I do see it frequently in most patients. Iron is found in lean meats and leafy greens and in two forms – heme from animals and non-heme from plants.
The body is better at absorbing and utilizing heme sources. It is absorbed in the intestines and linked to red blood cells by the liver. I make sure to investigate these organs as the root cause besides dietary intake.
In addition to looking at deficiencies, I make sure to look into thyroid health when energy is an issue for patients.
Even if the thyroid is just slightly out of balance it can cause lethargy, fatigue and poor mental clarity. Associated symptoms if the thyroid is out of balance are weight issues, menstrual irregularities, poor skin and hair health as well as temperature imbalances.
If you are experiencing low energy or fatigue, be sure to have this looked into. It is a common complaint that many people ignore, but there could be something more complex going on.
What can you do to increase your energy levels?
• Get a blood test done of your B12, Ferritin (iron) levels and Thyroid function;
• Get enough sleep! Eight to 10 hours is optimal;
• Reduce sugars and alcohol – these cause poor sleep and lowered immune system.
In good health,
Dr. Kate Hunter, ND

Kate Hunter is a naturopathic doctor who is practising at Body ‘n Balance on weekends.Visit www.katehunternd.com.

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