With the arrival of summer we get more and more sunlight every day, yet a large number of people still complain of low energy and fatigue. Low energy is a common symptom not only during spring or summer time but throughout the year. Low energy is body's defensive reaction to a situation where energy supplies are running low. To prevent the person from squeezing the last resources, the body begins to protect itself. Some feel more tired in the spring than others. Low energy can be caused by the body adapting to new weather conditions. However, it should first be determined whether there may be another cause behind the tiredness and fatigue.
How to help and support your body in the way that the beautiful season of summer does not pass by fighting low energy and mood swings. The important thing is to evaluate your sleep, exercise routine, and diet.
Here are some of the key points to consider when trying to support your energy levels.
Diet should include enough protein and good fats. The need for omega 3 fats is many times greater than what people tend to get from their diet. If oily fish is not consumed at least twice a week, it is worth considering using a fish oil supplement. Omega 3 fatty acids help to control inflammation in the body, support the brain and the nervous system. Fish oil produces hormone-like compounds in the body that help to relax blood vessels, control blood sugar levels and support immunity. Omega 3 fatty acids can improve learning, concentration and mood.
Another important factor that can support the body’s energy levels is blood glucose stability. If your blood sugar rises too fast, it will fall just as fast, causing you to feel tired and weak. Three main meals a day with two snacks in between (if needed), help to stabilise blood sugar levels each meal congaing a balance of carbohydrates, proteins and healthy fats like fish, olive oil or avocado.
B vitamins as a complex play an important role in balancing mood and energy levels. B vitamins are closely involved in the metabolism of macronutrients and energy production. Vitamin B1 is known to overcome tiredness because it helps convert glucose into energy. B3 deficiency may cause insomnia, depression, irritability, and muscle weakness. B4 or in other words known as choline is needed to maintain memory, while B6 is involved in the production of important neurotransmitters like serotonin and dopamine.
Most common B vitamin deficiency involves B12 that can lead to a decrease in energy levels and memory problems. Both B6 and B12 play an important role in getting a good night's sleep and support the natural production of cortisol upon awaking. Many have plenty of animal products on the menu, while B12 is still not absorbed enough. B-vitamin stores are depleted by stress, antidepressants, hormonal contraceptives, antibiotics, chronic inflammation, digestive problems and more.
Vitamin D deficiency can signal a decrease in energy and increase in mood swings. Studies show that women with vitamin D deficiency are more prone to have depression. Vitamin D affects serotonin (happy hormone) levels, it is often associated with mood swings, sadness, sleep disturbances and daytime sleepiness. Lack of vitamin D is often associated with severe symptoms of PMS (premenstrual syndrome) and hormonal imbalance. Since, it is almost impossible to get adequate levels of vitamin D from food, it is recommended by NHS to supplement with vitamin D during darker months, from October till April.
One of the key nutrients in energy production is magnesium. Due to the modern eating trends, too much processed foods and not enough whole foods causes many to run low in this crucial nutrient. Fatigue caused by muscle weakness and mental exhaustion may indicate a more severe magnesium deficiency. Magnesium is a pivotal mineral for sleep regulation, helping the body to relax and supporting the production of the neurotransmitter GABA, directly related to sleep. Insufficient sleep, less than 9-6 hours can affect the way our body produces energy.
by Marianne Grechko, Nutritional Therapist (DipNT) at Wild Nutrition