Whew, what a topic! This is tough but I decided to take it on because it is a major concern, as we age and as our food/water/air environment becomes more toxic. And a lack of energy is hitting many in their 30s,40s and 50s as well. This should not be happening. So, even as complicated as it is, let’s get started and see where it goes. I will stay out of the weeds for this first energy discussion. Part 2 however will be more technical.
At the most basic or root of our energy source is our universe, producing our solar system and sun, without which we would not exist, not just because of providing matter, time and space, but because of power. Our body uses energy to power every function in our organs and brain, thus giving us life on the planet. We have some 30 trillion cells, each with their own energy production engines, acting as batteries, 100s of them in each cell, powering our cells. Our cells actually carry a voltage and some scientists measure the health of the cell by the voltage it carries.
In a sense, we eat sunlight by eating plants and animals (which survive on plants). So, in an anthropomorphic view, one could say that plants are here as conversion machines, to convert the energy from sun into a form that power our energy factories in our cells, since we cannot convert all the energy from the sun directly that we need, although we know now that we do indeed derive some energy directly from the sun to power our cells, just like plants! This is astounding news, just discovered within the last few years!
But until we can derive all the energy we need directly from the sun, we are bound to the plants on our earth to convert that sunlight into two compounds our cells can use to produce power in our cells, Sugar and Fat. Protein is either used for structural function, enzymes and a host of other critical body functions or it is converted into sugar to burn as fuel. But our body only burns two types of fuel, sugar and fat. So this is why it is critically important to maintain the health of our soils and integrity of our plants..our existence depends on them…and to the degree we move away from healthy plants (given we have healthy cells), effects the degree of energy we can produce in our bodies, and thus maintain health and longevity. And our cellular energy factories are not 100% efficient, just like a gasoline engine is not 100% efficient in converting gas into power for the wheels. We “waste” energy as well in the form of heat, thank God. This heat, heats our bodies to exactly the right temperature to allow certain chemical reactions to take place, that sustain our lives.
Now there are many other compounds coming from plants such as vitamins and minerals and antioxidants and polyphenols that our body depends on for good health and cellular function, just like a gasoline engine needs oil and cooling to be able to burn gasoline. So the plant is really combining power from the sun with elements from earth into a neat little package that is exactly what our cells need to function well so it can burn the fuel to power our bodies. So anything that degrades the function of a cell, lowers its ability to produce energy for us. And this is one of the great secrets to energy throughout life; maintaining the health of each cell in our body so that it can burn fuel and give us the energy to go about our business. Speaking of vitamins, I have helped many clients with energy issues simply by correcting their B vitamin deficiency. I recommend taking sub lingual B complex vitamins because some people lack the co-factor it takes to combine with B-12 to be absorb-able by the digestive system so if you pull it into the blood stream from the bottom of your tongue, it gets around that problem. I like the Pure brand liquid B complex. Makes sense?
Cells are not the only issue here. The other part of the equation is hormones which act a signaling to cells to raise or lower factory production. But, hormones are produced by cells, so ultimately it all comes down to cellular health. So for example if you have a bunch of cells in your brain that are not producing enough Thyroid Stimulating Hormone (TSH), then your thyroid is not going to produce enough T4, T3, or reverse T3 hormones to send the right signals to rest of your body to uptake and produce the power you need. Your thyroid is the master gland that controls energy production in your cells. Or if your Thyroid cells are not healthy due to a lack of iodine or an auto immune disease, then that could be the log jam. Or, you could have an imbalance in your sex hormones, also important signalers to your cells. If your liver cells are not healthy, you are not detoxing and filtering your blood supply properly, or making enough compounds to keep your cells healthy, causing all sorts of issues, including energy problems. So you can quickly see, where ever there is cellular disease or poor function, there is systemic disease, whether you have symptoms or not, and the quicker you correct toxin ingest and nutritional deficiencies, the less you will become symptomatic.
So your job is to figure out what is toxic to your body (and remove those in your life) and where are your nutritional deficiencies. And then as you age, if everything else is working well, how do you bolster naturally declining function with the right lifestyle choices and supplements to keep your cells operating like a younger cell. Your body is mostly going to get you through your prime reproductive years. That is its instinct for survival. After that, it is up to you to sustain life with the best health practices possible. Since your genetics and epigenetics (a separate blog) are unique, what is toxic to your body is unique, although there are many recognized substances that are pretty much toxic to the human species. For example, besides carcinogens, coffee could be a toxin to your system, or it could be very good for you, depending on your genetics and genetic tags. This whole new science of nutrigenomics is becoming a thing now because of the ability and lowered cost of analyzing the human genome to help us understand better what may be robbing our energy from a nutritional standpoint.
One more factor here, we are not alone in maintaining our health. In fact, we are in the minority. We have 10 times more bacteria than we do human cells in our body! So they use our food for their lives, and in turn provide us with needed nutrients for ours. Not a bad trade. So, toxins that kill off our good bacteria, kill us as well, not only depriving us of needed nutrition, but allowing harmful bacteria to flourish, and thereby secreting toxic chemicals into our blood stream and damaging vital functions.
Since sugar is a main source of fuel in our cells, if you have sugar problems in your body, it will effect your energy levels, especially if you are not fat adapted. So what can cause sugar problems? Obesity, lack of exercise, glucose intolerance, pancreatic function, poor nutrition, too much sugar in your diet, and aging, not to mention a fungal infection, like candida. Candida is a double whammy because overgrowth overburdens your immune system number one, and number two, it is a sugar hog, stealing needed sugar from the rest of your cells. You don't think that would make you tired?
Insulin secreted by your pancreas escorts sugar into your cells. When you are 30, you have loads of stem cells replacing your insulin secreting cells as they ware out in your pancreas, replacing pancreatic beta cells at a regular rate, giving you plenty of insulin to keep your blood sugar balanced and a good supply of sugar coming into your cells. But as we age, that replacement trails off, your insulin producing cells trail off. So, less insulin and less sugar in your cells. Can you do anything about this? Absolutely! See remedy section below.
So now lets talk a little about supply and demand. You only have so much energy produced by so many energy factories in so many cells, and each function of your body demands a certain amount of energy and guess, besides the brain, what is the top energy demand of your body? You guessed it…digestion. This is a very expensive process, in terms of spending your finite energy dollars. Your immune system is also very expensive. So, if you are fighting chronic infection or have poor digestion, they are sapping energy (and nutrients) that should be available for other things, thus lowering the overall energy to power cells and feel great. Cancer is a sugar hog, consuming way more sugar than a normal cell, so if you have cancer, most likely you are fatigued, because cancer is stealing your price energy source (if you have been relying on sugar rather than fat). Many people who die from cancer, die from starvation. And your body, being a self-healing system, will always partition off energy for vital functions, so you can survive, robbing Peter to pay Paul. That is why you have no energy when you are sick with a bad cold or flu, your immune system needs it to do its thing first. This is the top priority at the time. And by the way, if your digestive tract is not working well, then you are absorbing less nutrients to keep your cells healthy, so it is a double whammy; your digestive systems demanding more energy and less nutrients getting to the rest of your body’s cells. So, you need to rid yourself of chronic infection and fix your digestive issues.
And then there is engine density. Your fuel engines are called mitochondria and they exist in different densities in each cell. Your retinal cells in your eyes are the highest density at around 80% of the cell. Your muscle cells, due to the energy demand we place on our muscles, especially the heart, come in at a whopping 40%. This is a classic supply and demand equation. Your body tries to meet your demand. So, a marathon runner would have a much higher density of mitochondria per muscle cell than a sedentary person. Now you know where I am headed...if you want more energy, put more demand on your muscles and over time, mitochondria density will improve. Another way to increase mitochondria is fat density. You have at least two types of fat, white fat (like around your belly) and brown fat (as an insulation layer for your body). Brown fat is brown because of increased mitochondria density. Since it is an insulating layer for your body, how do we place a demand on it? Well, cold exposure. Getting out of an IR sauna and into a shower, slowly turn the water colder and colder, start with your legs and then move it up to your entire body and head. Or just go from a nice hot shower to end with a cold shower. Over time, as your body builds up that brown fat layer, you get more and more used to it and when you get out, you will feel absolutely amazing. There are many other benefits to cold treatment but this is about energy, so that is where I am staying.
Many people do not realize a source of major infection could be your mouth. If you have root canals, then you have a dead appendage still attached to your body. This is an open invitation to bacteria to set up residence, feed off your food, and produce toxins that are absorbed into your blood stream and cause havoc; energy issues, headaches, heart issues, lung issues, tons of other issues depending on your genetics and even cancer. Or you could have fractured teeth or other issues causing similar problems. Please watch Root Cause on Netflix to get the full story on oral health.
So, I hope you are getting the sense that solving your energy problem may be as simple as fixing your thyroid (which is not simple by any means), or as difficult as eliminating all the energy vampires (drains) in your life (including emotional drains), stopping toxins, detoxifying toxins left in your system, fixing your gut, starting an effective exercise routine and getting a complete nutritional overhaul. Just depends on the route cause of your energy problem. If it is simply aging, then there are things we can do to boost our factory production and supply lines, now that we understand much more about exactly what is going on in there.
Here are some basic things we can eliminate or change to get us on the right road, because we know the closer we align to natural clean food and water and air (the things that we have become adjusted to in the last several million years before the industrial revolution), the more our bodies will get back to normal energy factory operations:
1) Organic and grass fed food. Minimizes toxic pesticides, herbicides, hormones, antibiotics and genetically modified plants.
2) High Quality and plentiful Filtered Water. God only knows what is in our public water these days.
3) No processed foods or synthetic/manufactured ingredients
6) Liver/Gall Bladder cleansing
7) Elimination of plastics
8) Elimination of house toxins/molds
9) Elimination of allergic foods
10) Fixing digestive issues
11) Getting your endocrine system checked/sex hormones/bio identical hormones
12) Decreasing Stress levels in your life
13) Increase probiotics and prebiotics (happy bacteria, happy you!)
14) Sugar system control: some or all of these can help...
- Ceylon Cinnamon
- Egyption Black Seed
- Cerasee Vine bitter fruit
- Gymnema Sylvestre
15) Correct any vitamin deficiencies
16) Correct any protein deficiencies
I personally put organic tumeric in and on everything I can think of. I used to hate the taste, but now it does not bother me. Someday, I will do a blog just on tumeric. It truly is a wonder drug. I also put Ceylon Cinnamon in all my smoothies and breakfast formulas. That is all I do on a regular basis for this grouping for sugar control, but I have been thinking about adding Berberine to my protocol because it has no many benefits, but the last thing I want to do is add another supplement to my day. Yet, I may figure out a way. You can buy all this in one package with a product from Barry Sears called: Recovery Metabolic Rescue. The reviews on it look really good but I have not tried it myself nor do I know anyone who has. If you do, let me know how it goes...
I could write a blog on each of the above 16 items but I think that is about it for part 1. In part 2, I will get into the weeds on the biochemistry of energy production, the difference between fat and sugar burning, and the many ways we can biohack our energy factories and pump up our energy production at the cellular level, why our cell walls or membranes are absolutely critical to cellar health and how to optimize all that especially as we get older. Remember, this may be one of the greatest secrets to health and longevity, given that energy drives all of our self healing and self protective mechanisms in the body. Until next time...
Yours in health..