In today’s episode, Dr. Lisa and Dr. Toni talk about fatigue and all the factors that can impact your energy levels. 

How do we get energy? 

According to Traditional Chinese Medicine philosophy, you are born with a certain amount of energy. We also transform air and food into energy

Sleep is crucial to fill up your gas tank and repair the damage done during the day. Your glymphatic system works to eliminate toxins from the brain while you sleep. Research suggests that 7-9 hours is ideal.

  • When is the best time to sleep? It is based on your chronotype! Take this quiz to find out your chronotype and to learn more.
  • How well does your brain work when you get enough sleep versus when you don’t get enough sleep? You can try this online cognitive assessment from Cambridge Brain Sciences to find out!

For more info on optimizing your sleep, check out the Perimenopausal Mamas Podcast Episode 4: Sleep Solutions .

Nutrient deficiencies and malnutrition  

  • Emerging research demonstrates that despite being extremely well fed, Americans suffer from a wide range of nutrient deficiencies with significant health implications. Nearly one-third of the U.S. population is at risk for at least one vitamin deficiency or anemia!
  • Nutrients to look at specifically for energy include iron, vitamin B12 and vitamin D.

How is it possible that you could have a nutrient deficiency?

  • Soil depletion – the soil feeding the food you eat doesn’t have the same level of vitamins and minerals compared to 20 or 30 years ago
  • Malnutrition and being undernourished – you’re either not eating enough calories or enough nutrient dense calories
  • Malabsorption – you might not be properly absorbing nutrients from your food or supplements due to a gastrointestinal issue like improper stomach acid production (hypochlorhydria) or bile flow 
  • Medications that can cause fatigue and nutrient depletion include some antidepressants, anti-anxiety meds, beta-blockers, cholesterol medications, opioids, birth control pills
    • Go to to look up your medications and find out which nutrients can be depleted by them

Blood sugar balance is important to prevent sugar spikes and energy crashes 

Adrenal gland function can be impacted by chronic stress, anxiety and caffeine intake

Thyroid gland function can be impacted by chronic stress, exposure to various environmental toxins and autoimmune disorders

Chronic Inflammation can be a hidden source of your fatigue that needs further assessment.

Mitochondria act like engines in your cells to produce energy in the form of adenosine triphosphate (ATP). They are found in higher numbers in your muscle, need certain nutrients like CoQ10 to function optimally, and are impacted by certain toxins and medications, like statins for lowering cholesterol.

Mental fatigue can be physically depleting!

Which lab tests can help you figure out why you are tired?

  • Blood tests
    • Iron panel with ferritin
    • High sensitivity C Reactive Protein (hs-CRP)
    • Vitamin B12
    • Vitamin D
    • Thyroid panel including TSH, free T4, free T3, thyroid antibodies (thyroid perioxidase, thyroglobulin)
    • Blood sugar including fasting glucose and insulin, hemoglobin A1c 
    • If you have been told in past you have low iron, vitamin B12 or D, you still may have it, especially if you haven’t had any supplementation
    • Ask your doctor for most recent blood work to share with your Naturopathic Doctor or check your local patient portal to access lab test results
  • Specialized hormone tests
    • DUTCH urine test, including cortisol
    • Salivary cortisol

Tips to increase your energy, other than sleeping more!

  • Drink more water
  • Practice deep breathing exercises, like Breath of Fire
  • Movement and physical activity
  • Get outside in the sun, especially upon rising 
  • Avoid multitasking and work on healthy daily habits
  • Schedule in breaks during your day for rest
  • Refuel your body
    • balanced macronutrients and blood sugar
    • replete nutrients from depletion of medication
    • consider adaptogens like ashwagandha, holy basil, Siberian ginseng, cordyceps, rhodiola
  • Address your stress and emotional health, including your relationships
    •  For example, are you avoiding certain difficult conversations that could be draining you of energy?

Today’s Mama Must Have:

Dr. Toni loves her homemade elixirs, but her most dependable energy pick-me-up for times of need is instant Mushroom Coffee with Lion’s Mane by Four Sigmatic

Thank you for joining us today! 

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