Energy Is the Foundation of Good Health, Happiness, and Life Success!
If you’re reading this article, chances are you’re somewhere on the spectrum of struggling with chronic fatigue, low stamina, brain fog, depressed mood, and quite possibly a growing list of other symptoms.
And, what is the ripple effect of these symptoms in your life? Can you relate to any of the following?
Making it through a day is often a struggle. You usually can’t wait for the day to end so you can rest on the couch! Tasks such as grocery shopping, making dinner, and doing laundry can often seem like monumental undertakings.
You have little to no energy left for much of a social life or to pursue personal interests. The ripple effect of this is a lack of joy and passion for life.
Rigorous workouts or possibly exercise of any kind drains you even more.
You often feel unmotivated and lack the energy to show up in your life the way you want and need to. You may also struggle with depression and anxiety.
You experience sluggish cognitive performance, and so you’re not on top of your game in your professional or personal life.
You have low stress resilience and are easily overwhelmed. Because of this, you lack patience with your kids and other people in your life.
All of these experiences are a manifestation of reduced cellular energy production. This is when the power sources of our cells (known as mitochondria) are unable to convert the nutrients from the foods we eat into useable energy (ATP).
Conventional Medicine Has Little To Nothing To Offer!
When people go to their doctors complaining of chronic fatigue, the doctor will likely first begin by running some lab work and then suggest things such as stress reduction, graded exercise therapy, anti-depressants, stimulants, and talk therapy. Meanwhile, they will order labs to look for signs of cancer or other pathologies known to cause chronic fatigue.
Most of the time, the lab results come back unremarkable for the usual suspects that cause chronic fatigue, and none of their routine suggestions help much. You will then likely be given the diagnosis of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Fibromyalgia, Depression, “Adrenal Fatigue” (if working with a holistic-minded doctor) or some other condition of which is merely a label with no effective solutions for resolving.
Or, you may be told "your lab work looks great! There is no medical explanation for your symptoms." And then you think to yourself, “Great! Apparently I’m imagining all this. Perhaps I’m crazy!?”
I can assure that you’re NOT crazy and your symptoms are REAL!
The one thing that may show up on routine lab testing is thyroid dysfunction of which the treatment will be a script for thyroid medication. Thyroid medication may or may not help temporarily but it certainly will not resolve all the underlying factors that are robbing you of the energy you need to live the life you want to be living.
Does any of this sound familiar? This is exactly how my journey with severe and often disabling Chronic Fatigue Syndrome began over 20 years ago when I was just 26 years old! I have since figured things out for myself and have mostly recovered, and now I want to share my knowledge with others.
So, What Are The Root Causes of Chronic Fatigue?
My journey to recover from this life-robbing condition has armed me with powerful wisdom about what primes the body for illness and what is required to restore cellular function and thus reclaim one’s energy. Here are what I now understand to be the five primary underpinnings of ongoing fatigue and most other chronic conditions.
#1 A broken circadian rhythm: This is when one’s day and night cycle gets out whack, and the body no longer enters into deep, restorative sleep cycles. Lack of quality sleep, combined with lifestyle root cause factors such as but not limited to chronic stress, poor diet, lack of exercise, and toxin exposures that overwhelm the body’s ability to adapt, is the starting point of impaired cellular/mitochondrial function.
While there are many factors involved in causing a broken circadian rhythm, the BIGGEST is too little natural sunlight during the day and too much exposure to harmful EMF’s (electromagnetic frequencies) and blue light coming from all the technological gadgets that we have all come to love and depend on at night.
#2 Autonomic nervous system dysfunction: The ANS (which is regulated by the vagus nerve and intricately connected with the brain) is an integral player in optimal health. It is the master control center for regulating the life-supportive functions of the visceral organs such as breathing, heart rate, digestion and assimilation of nutrients, blood sugar regulation, movement, sexual function, hormone production, and more. When this system is impaired, nothing in the body functions optimally.
#3 Cellular defense mode: This is known as Cell Danger Response, and it’s when the cells of the body perceive danger and move out of energy producing mode into defense or “fight” mode. This is the same mechanism that causes one to feel so horrible during a bout with the flu. This is a necessary and helpful mechanism in the short-term but when it is chronically engaged it leads to cellular breakdown and widespread inflammation.
#4 Mitochondrial dysfunction: This is where the mitochondria (which are the power sources of the cell) sense danger coming from lifestyle inputs mentioned in #1 and move out of energy producing mode and into defense mode. When this happens, essential functions such as detoxification, assimilation of nutrients, production of hormones and neurotransmitter, and more slow way down or stop altogether.
#5 Loss of metabolic adaptation: Our bodies were made to adapt to stressors. Optimal health and robust mitochondria depend on exposure to and our ability to overcome the right kind of stressors such as exercise, intermittent fasting, and “healthy” mental challenges. We were not, however, created to be able to withstand the chronic stressors that we’re up against in the fast-paced, technologically-driven, toxic-laden world of the 21st century.
Most people are getting too many of the wrong lifestyle (epigenetic) inputs and not enough of the right ones! As a result, the cells of the body become overwhelmed and no longer can adapt and overcome stressors. The result is symptoms, illness, and dis-ease!
We All Have Two Choices!
Conventional medicine WILL NOT provide the explanations highlighted in this article for chronic fatigue or any other chronic conditions nor will it offer effective solutions for them!
Because of this, we all have two choices. The first choice is to take 100% full responsibility for learning as much as we can about what blocks health and what supports it and then make appropriate shifts in our life to support our wellness goals.
The second choice is to continue to give our power away to a medical system that is great at emergency medicine but has little to nothing to offer when it comes to helping people reclaim their lives from the grips of ongoing fatigue challenges and other chronic conditions.
I ultimately chose the first option, and I’m now on a mission to help others become self-empowered to regain their energy and live their best life.
Where Does One Begin To Restore Their Energy Levels?
While I can’t possibly go into full detail on all points covered thus far, I can tell you that the starting point to restoring your energy is fixing your broken circadian rhythm and getting the deep, restorative sleep your body needs to recover. This is step one in creating the environment your cells need to move out of defense mode and back into energy producing mode.
To begin, it’s first important to know some of the warning signs of a broken circadian rhythm. Do any of these describe you?
Chronically fatigued during the day more often than not.
Sleep a “full” night but do not wake up feeling rested; often struggle to get out of bed and get going in the morning.
Eating “enough” but never feel well-satiated; blood sugar de-regulation goes along with this.
Cravings for salty or high carb/sugary foods.
Low stress-resilience/easily overwhelmed by life’s demands.
Low moods; prone to anxiety and depression.
Tired but wired at night.
You’ve been working on improving your health for a long time but you’re stuck!
Post-exertional malaise. In other words, you lack stamina and when you do exert yourself it often results in a crash of some sort.
Brain fog, cognitive challenges, and mental fatigue after doing mental-based tasks such as reading, learning, etc.
And, here are some of the ways that a disrupted circadian rhythm causes chronic fatigue and wreaks havoc on your body and life!
Weakens mitochondria, primes them for damage, and causes the body to have reduced metabolic adaptability.
Epigenetic expression! Turns on the genes of poor health and turns off the genes of good health.
Depletes energy stores in the brain and puts the nervous system in “high alert” mode!
Causes hormone imbalances (thyroid, cortisol, melatonin, estrogen, testosterone, etc.)
Causes neurotransmitter imbalances (orexin, dopamine, serotonin, gaba, etc.)
Depletes the endocannabinoid system, which is highly involved in endocrine function and energy regulation.
Impairs the body’s and brain’s detox capacity.
Impairs digestion and assimilation of nutrients from the food we eat.
Impairs blood sugar regulation and causes insulin resistance, which then leads to weight loss resistance.
Disrupts autophagy which is a fancy word for cellular recycling and cleansing and is essential for optimal health. Autophagy occurs at night; while we sleep and in a fasted state! Failure to go into autophagy puts one at high risk for cancer, neurodegenerative diseases such as dementia, inability to recover from conditions such as chronic Lyme, mold illness, and much more!
Are You Ready To Restore Your Energy and Move Beyond Chronic Fatigue!?
Do you now understand what sets the stage for chronic fatigue and why a balanced circadian rhythm is SO crucial for recovery and maintaining optimal health?
Are you now ready to learn some practical strategies to begin reversing all this and regain your energy levels?
If so, GREAT! Here is a general framework and some practical lifestyle tips to help you get started on fixing your broken circadian rhythm and get the deep, healing sleep you need!
Step #1: Decide that restoring your energy system is a priority for you and commit to making the changes you need to make.
Step #2: Eat a whole-food, organic whenever possible, anti-inflammatory diet. This is essential for simmering the flames of inflammation. Without this step, your immune system will be prone to activating throughout the night, causing spikes in cortisol that will disrupt your sleep cycles.
Step #3: Move your body in healthy, supportive ways each day, preferably as part of a regular, morning routine. If you are currently severely fatigued, then this may only be light walking and stretching to start.
Step #4: Reduce psychological stress in your life and engage in daily mindfulness practices. One will never experience regular, restorative sleep or enter a healing state of being with a perpetually engaged stress response!
Step #5: Sleep in a pitch dark bedroom — one that blocks ALL sources of light. The reason for this is because even minute amounts of light from the moon, alarm clocks, etc. can block the sleep hormone (melatonin) and tell the body it’s time to be awake versus asleep.
Step #6: Keep the temperature of your bedroom a bit on the cool side.
Step #7: Reserve the bedroom ONLY for sex and sleeping! Remove televisions and other screens.
Step #8: Place cell phones on airplane mode, turn off blue tooth and Wi-Fi signals, and place the phone as far away from your body as possible. Avoid charging it on the nightstand, next to you!
Step #9: Turn Wi-Fi off in the house at night! The reason for steps 8 and 9, is to prevent harmful EMF’s from disrupting brain waves and sleep patterns.
Step #10: Make a point to be off all electronics and screens at least an hour before bed. The longer, the better! Read a REAL book or listen to relaxing music instead! Avoid watching any television programs that rev up your nervous system in the evening.
Step #11: Eat your last meal of the day at least 2 hours before bed, but preferably 3. Food in the belly during the night will cause the body to expend energy on digestion versus cellular cleansing and repair that is supposed to happen during sleep.
Step #12: Balance your blood sugar levels. Blood sugar spikes and dips will for sure inhibit deep sleep. This process will be supported by all the other steps and eating an anti-inflammatory diet that emphasizes plenty of filtered water, ample healthy fats, moderate protein, plentiful veggies, and moderate amounts of low glycemic fruits. If you currently have severe mitochondrial dysfunction, you may have to eat every 3-4 four hours throughout the day to achieve this. This is OK and necessary temporarily. In the long-run, as you level out, you will then gradually increase the time between meals.
Step #13: Wear day-walker blue blocking glasses during the day and night-walkers at night while looking at screens from cell phones and computers. I use the day walkers from Tru Dark while working during the day and night-blockers from Swanick while watching television in the evening. I also use an application on my Apple computers called Flux that blocks sleep-disrupting blue light.
Step #14: This step is ESSENTIAL to your success! Get thirty minutes of natural sunlight exposure within thirty minutes of waking and at least 30-60 minutes of red light exposure in the evening within an hour of bed. If you live in a climate that is not conducive to sunlight exposure in the morning, then I recommend a full spectrum 10,000 lux light box. I use and recommend the Verilux Happy Light which can be purchased on Amazon for under $100 here. For red light exposure, I use a combination of candlelight, fires in our fireplace, salt lamps, watching the sunset, and the REDjuvenator #3, which is a therapeutic red light panel that you can learn more about here. The REDjuvenator #3 has been an integral component in my success for stable energy levels and renewed health!
Step #15: Support your mineral status! Most people are severely deficient in minerals and not aware of it — especially magnesium. Low mineral status can put the body in defense mode and trigger stress hormone spikes during the night. Standard blood tests will not reveal cellular mineral status. To support optimal mineral levels I recommend 1/2 tsp of ConcenTrace Trace Minerals by Trace Minerals in 64 ounces of filtered water, sipped throughout the day, 400 milligrams of magnesium malate taken in two doses per day, and 200 mg of magnesium glycinate with dinner each evening.
So, that’s a wrap for this article. I hope you found value in it. If you implement these strategies and stick with them, I am confident you will see many positive shifts in your health.
If you’re interested in receiving personalized guidance and taking a deeper level dive into your ongoing low energy and other health struggles, I invite you to learn more about working with me using the button below.