When we are feeling run-down and tired, we usually reach for the coffee, tea, or soda—or anything else which contains caffeine or a similar stimulant. However, even though caffeine may be considered a natural energy boost, it is also a stimulant which elevates blood pressure, elevates heart rate, causes jittery nervousness, and keeps you up when you need sleep. (1)
But, there are safe, natural solutions which can not only help provide you with the get-up-and-go you need to make it through your day, they can do it in a far healthier, safer, and “cleaner” manner than with stimulants.
Here is what you need to know about avoiding quick energy solutions, and instead using nutrition, natural herbs, and lifestyle changes for the kind of healthy, sustained energy you need.
The Dangers of Most Stimulants
While it is true that not all drugs classified as “stimulants” are the same, and some may be “healthier” than others, the fact remains that they all have essentially the same effects: A quick burst of energy, an every-bit-as-quick crash at the other end, elevated blood pressure, and jittery, nervous feelings.
Even worse, most stimulants cause insomnia, mood swings, and even neurological problems which can lead to sleep deprivation, depression, and even death.
This also goes without saying that as dangerous as caffeine, prescription drugs, and over-the-counter stimulants may be, the perils of using illegal drugs such as amphetamines, cocaine, or methamphetamine are even more so. Even under the most “careful” use, these types of stimulants are still highly addictive, and can cause rapid weight loss, depression, rapid aging, muscle deterioration, and death. (4)
However, by avoiding the need for a quick energy boost, and instead focusing on safe, long-term energy solutions, you can enjoy longer-lasting energy levels which won’t interfere with your sleep or cause dangerous health problems.
Safe Energy Sources
So, what is the best, safest, and most natural way to enjoy more energy during your day? While there is no one answer to this question, there are some options for you to consider.
First, let’s look at some of the different types of energy boosters out there, including nutrition, adaptogens, and personal habits:
Nutrition—Not only can poor nutritional choices leave you feeling listless and tired due to vitamin and mineral deficiencies, they can also leave you overweight, which is another factor which can cause low energy. This is because just as your car’s engine needs oxygen to ignite fuel and provide your car with the energy to go, so does your body need enough oxygen to burn calories and ignite your metabolism to make you go. (5) Carrying around extra weight not only puts a strain on your heart and reduces oxygen-providing circulation, the extra burden can also lead to fatigue from the physical act of carrying it around. (6)
However, there is the other side of the equation, which is dieting for weight loss. Extreme dieting can not only include a diet too low in the kinds of energy-providing fats and complex carbohydrates which energize you, but crash diets can also leave you with a lack of the calories necessary to maintain your energy.
Also, vitamins such as vitamin B-12 (AKA cobalamin) and other B vitamins are necessary in converting food into energy, as well as in the production of red blood cells and guarding against anemia. (7) By skipping meals, consuming highly processed foods in place of nutritionally dense whole foods, and consuming vitamin-depleting substances such as caffeine or alcohol, you are also depleting your body’s energy-providing B-complex vitamins.
It should also be noted that if you follow a 100% vegan diet, you need to include a vitamin B-12 supplement or consider adding non-vegan foods such as eggs or dairy to your diet. This is the most common reason for low-energy in vegans, since as mentioned, vitamin B-12 is crucial to the formation of red blood cells necessary in carrying oxygen throughout the body. (8)
Adaptogens—You may not be aware of just what adaptogens are, or how they work, although they may hold a safe and healthy solution to your energy needs.
This is because, as previously mentioned, most stimulants provide a burst of energy, followed by a crash which leaves you are depleted of energy, rather than energized. Think of this as a book of matches, with your energy being the matches. If you light the entire pack at once, there will be a burst of flames followed by nothing left to burn, which is kind of like what happens when you consume stimulants.
Adaptogens, on the other hand, are a variety of herbs and roots which have been used since ancient times in Chinese and Ayurvedic medicine, and which help balance adrenals, thus working with the body to produce consistent energy without a crash. Using adaptogens in place of stimulants is more like using 1-match to light a more efficient, longer-burning fuel so that you can keep the rest of the matches to use as needed.
Some examples of adaptogens are Maca Root, ashwagandha, Asian ginseng, Siberian ginseng (AKA eleuthero), rhodiola, and reishi mushrooms, all of which have various properties which support a healthy stress response and energy supply. (9)
Personal habits—Everything from your bedtime to your exercise habits can affect your energy levels. By identifying habits which deplete rather than provide energy for you and changing to habits which help you maintain and renew the energy which you do have can make all the difference in your energy level.
Those who get regular exercise, for instance, are far more likely to have higher energy levels than those who lead a sedentary lifestyle. (10) And, those who continuously burn the midnight oil are likely doing more harm to their productivity than they are good, due to the low energy not enough rejuvenating sleep can leave them with.
Other factors can include consumption of alcohol or other nutrient-depleting drugs, having high levels of stress, and poor eating habits. These can lead to a vicious cycle of further depletion due to an increased consumption of stimulants when attempting to regain lost energy levels.
Simple and Safe Natural Solutions
In fact, supplements such as Dr. Hotze’s Energy Formula, B-12 liquid, and B-complex veg caps are not only a convenient way to add naturally-sourced nutrition to your day, these high-quality nutritional supplements are doctor formulated for maximum potency and absorption to ensure your optimum health and energy levels.
Additionally, your diet should consist of whole, natural, and unprocessed foods such as green leafy vegetables, fruits, and grass-fed meats, and processed foods containing high sodium and simple carbohydrates should be avoided.
Getting a full 7-8 hours of quality sleep each night is also critical in maintaining your energy naturally, which may mean changing your habits to consistently get to bed at the same time each night. You should also make sure your sleep chamber is cool, dark, and that your bedding and mattress are comfortable and clean, and you should turn off all electronic devices a few hours before bed to avoid the effects of blue light, which can alter your production of the sleep hormone melatonin. (11)
Adding adaptogens such as Siberian ginseng can also help boost your energy while allowing you to sleep well when the time comes, since the word “adaptogen” means just that—it adapts to your needs.
A Word About Thyroid and Adrenal Function
It is important to note that if you are doing everything right and you still feel tired all the time, you need to get your thyroid and adrenal function evaluated. Hypothyroidism and adrenal fatigue are both very common causes of fatigue.
Hypothyroidism is a condition in which a) your thyroid gland does not produce enough thyroid hormones, or b) your thyroid gland is making enough thyroid hormones, but those hormones are not properly used at the cellular level (called type 2 hypothyroidism), or c) your body makes antibodies to your thyroid gland, called Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis. With hypothyroidism, your metabolism slows down and you don’t have the energy you need to function well, and the resulting fatigue is a very common symptom. Please be sure to go to a doctor who will NOT solely rely on a blood test to diagnose low thyroid function.
Adrenal fatigue occurs when the adrenal glands cannot produce enough cortisol to meet the demands of your body. In short, you are wearing your adrenal glands out, so you feel increasingly fatigued, stressed, anxious, and many other health conditions may occur as a result.
While there are many natural energy sources, most are stimulants which tend to deplete rather than increase your energy level over time. And, this is in addition to most stimulants causing sleeplessness, jitters, and mood alterations—not to mention the dangers of overdose, addiction, and organ damage many of them come with.
However, by sticking to natural energy foods, supplements, herbs and life habits, you can better and more sustained energy every day.
It’s the kind of energy boost which will keep you healthy and productive!
Wondering if you have a thyroid or hormone deficiency?
Take our symptom checker quiz today to find out if hormonal imbalance could be the cause of your fatigue. It’s time to get your energy back!