How your body creates the energy you need to attack the day. Why Am I so Tired?
Exhausted? Just can’t get up in the mornings? No energy to do your housework? Falling asleep after dinner? One of the most common thing people come to see me about is fatigue. Why is everybody so tired? Why don’t we have the energy to make it through our days? How can we make more energy?
All parts of our bodies need energy to work.
Energy is made in our bodies by a biochemical process that converts the food that we eat into a compound known as ATP (adenosine triphosphate). ATP is made in all of our cells but different types of food – fats, sugars and proteins – make ATP at different rates.
So, in order to make energy, we must eat food.
The food is broken down in our stomachs by acid, then in our small intestines by enzymes and bile. Here, it becomes smaller molecules. These molecules are absorbed across the lining of the intestines into the blood and then carried into the cells where they are converted into ATP in a process known as the Kreb’s cycle.
This process relies on: adequate food, proper acid in your stomach, enzymes in your intestines and bile from your liver to break the food down, a healthy lining of the small intestines so that your body can take the food stuff into the blood stream. In order for the nutrients to be delivered into the cell, you need to have enough insulin and other molecules that “unlock” the doors into the cells. Sometimes, as in diabetes type 2, the door is locked and it won’t let the nutrients in.
Once inside the cell the molecules from the food are then converted in a step-wise fashion into ATP. This little dance requires a number of vitamins and minerals in order to convert one molecule into the next. The main players here are the B-vitamins, magnesium, iron and manganese.
How to ensure you have enough energy
Without enough sleep, our bodies are unable to adequately repair damaged cells. Exercise provides oxygen that helps drive some of the ATP production. Proper hormonal balance is also important, particularly our adrenal glands which govern our ability to cope with stress.
So, if you are fatigued, eat well, chew your food, exercise, get to bed on time and work on stress reduction. Maybe take a b-complex. That’s the first step. If that doesn’t work, go see your doctor.
Dr. Jennifer Means welcomes you for Primary Care for the whole family: Nutrition, IV Therapy, Naturopathy, and Acupuncture. Contact us at 503-641-6400.