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What Can I Take To Increase Energy?

One of the most common questions in our clinic is, "what can I take to increase my energy?"

While I typically aim to give patients straight answers to their questions, I hesitate to provide a simple "band-aid" approach to a lack of energy.

The "band-aid" approach includes quick energy boosters like B-12 supplements or energy drinks, which only provide a temporary solution to low energy levels. In order to consistently restore energy, we must look at the root cause of fatigue.

Before any supplements or treatment plans are recommended, I suggest for patients to do some blood work. Blood work reports can identify issues with key areas of the body that are responsible for energy production, which in turn can help us select a proper course of action for chronic "energy shortage" sufferers.

When looking at blood work, two of the most important areas we check are the thyroid and adrenal glands. These functions work together to assist your body with energy production, which means if one is stressed or dysfunctional, the other will also be affected.

The Thyroid

"How do you sleep?"

This is one of the first questions I ask when my patients report low energy levels. Most of the time, their responses are "terrible," "not at all," or "I can't stay asleep." This is one of the major signals that an imbalance with the thyroid or adrenal glands may be present.

The thyroid regulates your metabolism and sleeping patterns.

Typically, patients with thyroid or adrenal gland issues are those who fall asleep rather quickly, but they awaken around 2:00am-3:00am and are restless for the remainder of the night. Then, they might fall back asleep briefly before their morning alarm, only to wake up feeling exhausted.

The Adrenal Gland

The adrenal gland is the primary gland for stress-response. We've all heard of the classic "fight or flight" response and its relationship to adrenaline, but the adrenals are also responsible for producing cortisol, DHEA, and even testosterone.

The problem occurs when the adrenal glands become stressed. Over-stress of the adrenal glands occurs when the body is not given enough time to rest or restore during times of stress. Without proper sleep, the adrenal glands never get a chance to fully "recharge," causing adrenal fatigue.

When reviewing a patient's blood work, we want to make sure both the thyroid and adrenal glands are working properly. If not, we want to "reboot" them, either by supplementing with the correct vitamins and nutrients -- such as B vitamins or iodine -- or jumpstart them by directly supplying hormones.

The Role of Exercise

In addition to nutritional supplementation, exercise plays a crucial role in restoring a patient's normal sleeping patterns.

Now, it seems sort of paradoxical to prescribe exercise for low energy -- most patients immediately think, "I don't have the energy to exercise; that's why I came to you!" However, exercise does not have to be a marathon gym session. Even a light 20-30 minute walk can begin to activate the systems in the body that are responsible for energy production.

Vitamins and B-12 Injections

Why are B-vitamins so crucial to energy? B-12, in particular, is critical to brain and nervous system function. Replenishing B-12 levels can have a profound effect on the body's energy levels.

B-vitamins and B-12 injections have become a popular energy-boosting solution for many patients. The benefits of these energy-boosters tend to increase with age as the body's ability to absorb B-12 from our food diminishes with age. Direct supplementation or injection of B-12 can help fill in the gaps from our lack of B-12 absorption from our food intake.

A severe or prolonged B-12 deficiency can cause much more than low energy, such as peripheral neuropathy (in non-diabetics) or pernicious anemia (where the body is unable to manufacture enough healthy red blood cells, causing improper oxygenation of the entire body).

While a B-12 injection may help boost energy levels quickly, it is important to talk with your chiropractic physician about diagnosing the root cause of your energy shortage and finding a treatment that will be the most effective for you.


*This article includes excerpts from "Made Whole: Regaining the Health Your Body Was Born to Enjoy by Working With the Missing Pieces of Wellness" written by chiropractic physician, Dr. Douglas B. Cook, D.C. To purchase this book, visit the Nutrition Store inside the Oklahoma Health and Wellness Center.

**The information in this post is based on the opinion of the authors and is intended for general consumer understanding. Read our full disclaimer here.


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