THE ENERGY OF LIFE – HOW DO WE CAPTURE AND OPTIMIZE OUR ENERGY OUTPUT?
Lack of energy or chronic fatigue is one of the major chief complaints and reasons for visiting a health care practitioner.
Many doctors will classify this as a syndrome, which really means they don’t know the cause nor how to treat. After all, how can you treat something that you don’t know the cause?
Energy for most people is having the ability to do things without tiring easily and being able to enjoy life.
Scientifically speaking, energy is the ability of our cells to convert oxygen into water and carbon dioxide with the production of a molecule called ATP. ATP is the energy currency of the cell.
When Cells Don’t Produce Energy Efficiently
Without efficient energy production in the cells, cells cannot do their job and they fail. When cells fail, symptoms develop. Cells in the brain fail and symptoms such as anxiety, depression, decreased concentration and focus, memory loss occur.
When cells in the heart fail, we have symptoms such as arrhythmia, poor heart function.
When cells of the gastrointestinal system fail we get symptoms of diarrhea, constipation, irritable bowel, immune dysfunction, weight gain.
Our endocrine system is made up of tissues and cells that control the release of hormones. When these cells cannot make sufficient energy, they fail and we develop hormone disorders such as hypothyroidism, imbalances in sex hormones which lead to symptoms such as chronic fatigue, loss of sexual function, insomnia, exercise intolerance and hair loss.
Many Americans suffer from all of the above symptoms and are typically referred to specialists to treat the symptoms.
We Know the Cause and the Solution
What if I told you all of the above symptoms were caused by the same thing and if you corrected that one thing, all symptoms would go away?
In medicine that would be a miracle cure. Well in science we know the cause of all these symptoms and we know mechanistically how to resolve the issue.
The problem is the loss of efficiency of oxgyen utilization to make energy.
Our body makes energy two ways, aerobic respiration and anaerobic respiration.
Aerobic means using oxygen while anaerobic means without oxygen.
Inside the trillions of cells in our body, molecules of oxygen, hydrogen, sugar, fat, vitamins, minerals and amino acids pass through an assembly line of enzymatic processes that generates an enormous amount of energy.
Roughly 60% of this energy is used to generate heat. The other 40% is used to fuel every single physiological and biochemical reaction in the body.
Poor aerobic energy production causes one to be tired and cold but also in the underlying cause of aging, disease and weight gain.
The Process: How Our Bodies Use Oxygen to Make Energy
In order to fix or resolve the issue, we must first understand the process.
The air we breathe contains about 20-24% oxygen depending on where you live. If you live in a rural area with lots of trees and plants at sea level, the oxygen you breathe is higher than those that live in urban areas with few trees that produce oxygen and even less at higher altitudes.
When we breathe we take in oxygen and excrete carbon dioxide. The oxygen then has to be delivered to individual cells of the body.
Oxygen is then delivered to the mitochondria of every cell in the body to make energy and carbon dioxide.
The waste products from this metabolism then have to be taken out and excreted.
Let’s address each step in the process so we can figure out what may be wrong in each person.
⦁ Oxygen must be delivered to all cells of the body. We need nitric oxide to open up the small blood vessels so that oxygenated blood gets delivered. Without nitric oxide, some cells and tissues will not get oxygen to generate energy, these cells then have to utilize anaerobic respiration which is highly ineffecient and leads to accumulation of lactic acid. This causes pain, soreness and dysfunctional tissues.
⦁ Oxygen must be released from hemoglobin to individual cells. This again requires nitric oxide for oxygen to be released from hemoglobin. Without sufficient nitric oxide, oxygen will not come off. Also, our cells need a molecule called 2,3 DPG to release oxygen. People who don’t exercise regularly or who have elevated insulin or diabetes have decreased levels of 2,3 DPG. Without nitric oxide or 2,3 DPG the cells are unable to get enough oxygen to generate energy.
⦁ Mitochondria must be functional and efficient. All people with a chronic disease have dysfunctional mitochondria. In fact, this is the reason they have a chronic disease. When people are sedentary, out of shape, overweight and/or smoke, their mitochondria are unfit. Hormone deficiencies lead to mitochondria dysfunction especially hypothyroidism and adrenal insufficiency. The mitochondria require many factors to efficiently convert oxygen into energy. This includes L-carnitine that transports good fats into mitochondria for energy production, vitamins and minerals and Co-enzyme Q10. If we are missing certain nutrients, vitamins, minerals or CoQ10, then our mitochondria do not work.
⦁ Waste material must be transported out and excreted. This requires a healthy circulatory system and excretory system. We need to drink lots of good clean water to help remove waste, we need to sweat to remove wastes along with good breathing exercise and good digestion and excretion. Chronic dehydration poses a problem, poor digestion, mouth breathing and lack of sweat all causes a build up of waste products and toxins that further disrupt mitochondrial energy production.
As you can see, this is a very complex process that can be disrupted at every level.
Lifestyles That Lead to Poor Energy Production
The American lifestyle is the problem.
The standard american diet (SAD) diet is depleted of many essential vitamins, nutrients and minerals but includes lots of sugar and hydrogenated fats that completely destroy the ability of our mitochondria to generate energy and it shows.
We have an epidemic of obesity with over 40% of Americans over the age of 20 are obese and over 71% of those over 20 are overweight.
The cause of their obesity and inabiliity to lose weight is caused by inefficient energy production. We must address this in order to combat this epidemic and a sick and unhealthy nation.
Tips to Improve Your Energy Production
Below are some easy tips and suggestions to improve our energy production efficiency.
⦁ Drink at least 2 quarts of good, clean, purified water every day. Most americans are dehydrated. There is no substitute for water.
⦁ Get at least 6-8 hours of good sleep per night. Our body heals and regenerates when we sleep. If we don’t get sufficient sleep, our bodies cannot heal or regenerate.
⦁ Get out in the sun. Just like plants need sunlight to create energy, we humans need sunlight to produce energy and make hormones such as Vitamin D. Get at least 30 minutes of direct sunlight per day, mornings are best.
⦁ Supplements to replace missing nutrients from our diet. I suggest nitric oxide, iodine, CoQ10, magnesium, chromium, Vitamins A, C, E and D and zinc.
⦁ Eat a balanced diet with limited carbohydrates, good source of protein and good fats. Avoid hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated fats. Eat plenty of green leafy vegetables to enrich nitrate so your body can make nitric oxide. Intermittant fasting, at least 16 hours, one day per week has been shown to improve health and longevity.
⦁ Moderate physical exercise. People get old when they stop exercising. Do 30 minutes of physical exercise and weight training 2-3 times per week. Exercise at a heart rate that primarily burns fat. Don’t over do it.
⦁ Deep breathing exercises. We need to deliver as much oxygen to our lungs with each breath. This requires nasal breathing and not mouth breathing. Taking 10 minutes each day to practice deep breathing through our nose is simple and you will find very helpful for many conditions you may be fighting.
⦁ Optimize your hormones. Hormones are essential for optimal energy production, especially thyroid hormone. Our thyroid controls our basal metabolic rate. If the thyroid is not optimized then our body cannot efficiently make energy. The best way to determine if your thyroid is working is to take your temperature first thing in the morning when you wake up. If your temperature is less than 97 degrees, then you have hypothyroidism, despite what your TSH, T4 and T3 labs reveal. Avoid flouride and chlorine that interfere with thyroid function. Go see a physician that specializes in bio-identical hormone replacement.
Back to Basics
Medicine today has become too complicated.
We must get back to the basics of biochemistry and address the underlying issue, rather than taking a medication to treat a symptom.
The fundamental basis of every single symptom, syndrome or disease is inefficient energy production.
If we focus on repleting what is missing and removing what is interfering with energy production, the body will heal itself. It is that simple.
However, it takes discipline and an understanding of the problem. We understand the problem. The rest is on you.
Do you have the disclipline to follow these simple steps that have proven to change people’s lives and improve their health? You no longer have an excuse.
Special thanks to Frank Shallenberger M.D. and his book Bursting with Energy for the basic framework and understanding of energy production.