Welcome to the non-stop, 21st century, where we juggle impossible schedules for work, home, and family responsibilities while running on empty with insufficient sleep and inadequate nutrition. No wonder we’re all so tired!
The Stimulant Rollercoaster
We have an energy crisis and many of the solutions are worse than the problem. The Standard American Diet (well-named “SAD” for short) is full of refined, nutrient-deficient foods that simply don’t sustain us properly. We turn to quick fixes: sugar, caffeine, nicotine, and drugs (legal and otherwise), that may give us a temporary boost by triggering the emotional center of the brain, the limbic system, to release the pleasure molecule, dopamine. But there is no free lunch here. These highs evaporate all too quickly, leaving us to cope with the nasty aftermath — mood swings, emotional depletion, physical exhaustion, and even addiction. Often we feel even worse than before we started! It’s not simply that the positive effects wear off, but we have to cope with a reaction called down-regulation. How does this happen? In response to taking a stimulant, our brain releases large amounts of the feel-good neurotransmitter, dopamine. Then, Nature’s way of maintaining balance is to quickly shut down some receptors in the brain to dampen the effects of this excess. As a result we end up needing more of the stimulant, more frequently, to get the same good feelings and high energy that we did initially We even get hooked on our own inner chemicals! Ever think of yourself as a “stress junkie,” finding it hard to chill on a weekend or while on vacation? Stress, just like stimulants, activates the adrenal glands, the almond-shaped stress organs that sit atop the kidneys. The adrenals release the stress hormones, adrenaline and cortisol, which promote the release of dopamine. While this is Mother Nature’s way of helping us deal with pain, it can also lead to an addiction to stress itself! The adrenals eventually become exhausted, and so do you.
Here are Some Winning Energizers
A number of safe, non-addictive supplements can help you sustain energy, optimize performance, overcome your cravings for stimulants, and boost your spirits. While they won’t give you the instant jolt you’d get from coffee or other stimulants, they can help you regain a consistent and sustainable level of alertness, energy, and well-being. Here are some of the key players:
1. Tyrosine (also called L-tyrosine) is an amino acid involved in alertness, mood and energy levels. Anyone low in tyrosine will likely have trouble getting out of bed in the morning, feel tired and slow throughout the day, and have difficulty concentrating. By supporting the body’s production of the “energizing neurotransmitters,” dopamine, noradrenaline, and adrenaline, tyrosine supports mental and physical performance, especially during times of stress, while contributing to improved mood. Tyrosine also aids in the production of thyroid hormone, the body’s energy regulator.
2. Trimethylglycine is a naturally occurring substance crucial for neurotransmitter production. In the body trimethylglycine is rapidly converted by the liver into the energy enhancing substance, dimethylglycine (DMG), and the mood boosting nutrient, SAMe. In addition to enhancing energy, DMG aids the body in detoxifying homocysteine, a powerful, damaging overly reactive freeradical recognized as a leading cause of heart disease.
3. Magnesium: Vital for your brainpower and overall health, this mineral is an essential cofactor in the production of neurotransmitters. Look for the aspartate (chelated) form of magnesium, which is much easier for your body to absorb and utilize.
4. B Vitamins: Essential cofactors in the production of neurotransmitters, five B vitamins — niacin, pantothenic acid, folic acid, B-6, and B-12 — also give you countless health benefits above and beyond restoring energy levels and alertness.
5. Adaptogenic Herbs: Adaptogens are herbs that help the body by supporting the adrenal or “stress-fighting” glands. While Western medicine tends to ignore the adrenal glands, traditional systems such as Chinese medicine (TCM) test for adrenal activity, and rely on adaptogenic herbs to deal with a variety of stresses, including infection, exertion, sleep deprivation, and emotional stress. They seem made-to-order for modern lifestyle! Here are three adaptogenic herbs that research shows can boost energy, mood, memory, and endurance, as well as strengthen the immune system:
1. Rhodiola (stimulation, mental sharpness, mood): Not only a boon to levels of the mood-enhancing neurotransmitter serotonin in the brain, rhodiola has been shown to increase energy and mental acuity. Used by Soviet athletes to enhance performance, this natural herb also supports a healthy immune system.
2. Reishi Mushroom Extract: By stabilizing adrenal hormones, this completely side-effect free ancient remedy sharpens thinking while both calming and energizing the entire body. As a fringe benefit, it can also help maintain a healthy blood pressure.
3. Eleutherococcus senticosus (also known as Siberian Ginseng): By increasing cellular oxygenation while normalizing blood sugar (and blood pressure) levels, this natural adaptogen supports the adrenal system, which supplies both physical and mental energy and performance. Many of these nutrients (the B vitamins, TMG and magnesium) also provide important support to the mitochondria, the molecular energy factories inside of each cell. To help you stay productive and alert all day long I’ve included all of these energizers in my ENERGY Balance Formula. This unique combination of amino acids, minerals and adaptogenic herbs is designed to enhance your feel-good, energizing neurotransmitters, while supporting the adrenal glands — the core of your energy system — to support energy production, enhance mental focus, and boost endurance, naturally and without harmful stimulants! With 2 capsules once or twice daily, ENERGY aids in enhancing energy, improving mood and promoting inner balance. My client, Dee, sends me SOS emails when she’s about to run out of ENERGY Balance Formula, since her job as an emergency room nurse is intense and focused. In her words, “ENERGY Balance Formula helps me during those draggy times of the day, when I just want a nap. One or two capsules and I’m wide awake, alert, and ready to work at my best!” My friend Jerome is a trial attorney who tends to push the envelope. When he has a trial coming up he stocks up on ENERGY Balance Formula, saying, “It keeps me going in a smooth, sustained way, without the jangly feeling I get from caffeine. And I can fall asleep when it’s bed time,” (unlike caffeine which keeps you up when you’d rather be asleep). And I use ENERGY Balance Formula to keep me going during my long, intense days. It keeps my adrenals happy – and me, too! Yours in good health,