One of the most common complaints that patients share with me is feeling fatigued all the time. This fatigue causes them to always be looking for a way to get quick energy fast. Many people use energy drinks to give them more liveliness when they are feeling sluggish. Energy drinks usually contain caffeine and sugar to help give that pick-me-up you are looking for to get through the rest of your day. These energy drinks will give often give you the temporary feeling of having more energy. This quick fix comes at a cost - stripping your body of necessary nutrients to help you produce energy on your own. Energy drinks work by stimulating your adrenal glands to release hormones like cortisol and epinephrine. This makes you feel like you have a shot of energy flowing through your body and brain. This energy is short lived and then you return back to the feeling of fatigue and tiredness. Can you see the vicious cycle that starts to happen? You feel fatigued so you start taking energy drinks, soda, or coffee to give you a pick-me-up and that creates more fatigue in your body. How do you break this cycle? It is important to have an annual check up with your physician to make sure the fatigue is not a result of a medical condition. Once you have ruled that out then look at lifestyle factors that could be contributing to your low energy. Behaviors like lack of sleep (less than 6 hours of sleep each night, poor eating habits (a diet mostly of highly processed foods, and sugars), lack of exercise, ineffective stress management strategies, or a combination of the above can often cause fatigue. Changing your behaviors is not always as easy at it seems and you might need to consult a naturopathic doctor or qualified healthcare practitioner to give you the correct advice. Creating a plan to improve your lifestyle factors can boost your energy so you don’t have to depend on energy drinks to make it through your day.
[box] Dr. Dae maintains a private practice and see patients as a naturopathic physician. If you are interested in becoming a patient, know that Dr Dae also offers services via Skype and through phone consultations. Her office phone is 202-248-1907 or email her with questions drdae@ healthydaes.org[/box]