Do you feel tired all the time?
We effectively ‘burn’ carbohydrate, releasing the sun’s energy within food, with oxygen. With more oxygen, people feel more energized and the simplest way to increase your intake of oxygen is through certain breathing techniques. However, it’s not that simple – before the carbohydrate you eat gets to meet oxygen for the final energy-making reaction, the ‘fuel’ has to be prepared and broken down, step by step. This is done by a sequence of enzymes that depend on a whole family of nutrients, especially B vitamins and vitamin C, as well as the minerals iron, zinc and magnesium. Chromium also plays a vital role in stabilizing glucose supply to cell.
The way that you eat will make a difference to how your feel. By keeping your blood sugar levels even and your energy nutrients in good supply – you will discover a new, energy boosted you. Here’s how;
Eat the right kind of carbs
All carbohydrate is broken down into glucose. The earliest thinking in nutrition was that you’d get the most energy by eating glucose-rich foods, hence ‘A Mars a day helps you work, rest and play’. We now know the reverse to be true. In Patrick’s Optimum Nutrition UK survey of 37,000 people – those people who ate the most sugar and refined carbohydrates had the lowest energy levels. Meanwhile, those following a low-GL diet designed to maintain a constant, steady supply of glucose into the bloodstream, reported big increases in energy. The trick is to only eat carbohydrates, that release their sugar content slowly (low GL) and to always eat them with protein (Patrick’s preferred option). Protein helps to slow down the release of sugar from carbohydrates and has virtually no effect on blood sugar.
The energy nutrients
The first important energy nutrient is chromium. It makes insulin work properly and is associated with increasing energy, improving mood and reducing sugar cravings. Only levels of 500mcg or more work for stabilizing blood sugar in diabetics. If you are not diabetic, but do have sugar cravings, Patrick recommends 200mcg of chromium a day. All the B vitamins are critical for energy production within cells and a lack of them is one of the most common causes of fatigue. One way of knowing if you are lacking either B6, B12 or folic acid is to test your homocysteine level. If it is high (above 9) you’re not getting enough for you. A common reported symptom of high homocysteine is low energy. Foods rich in B vitamins include; fish, shellfish, liver, bran, soy products, dark green leafy vegetables, fruit and fortified whole-grain cereals.
The most important antioxidant, which controls the last stage of energy production that produces ATP – which is the cell’s actual energy source – is Co-Enzyme Q10 (or Co-Q for short). It’s highly concentrated in mitochondria, the energy factories of cells. It’s not strictly a vitamin in that we can synthesize some in our own bodies, but the older you get the less able you are to make it from food. Supplementing 60 to 90mg a day can give an energy boost, particularly among older people. Co-Q has been put on the map by statins, the cholesterol-lowering drugs that also block the liver’s ability to synthesize Co-Q, resulting in fatigue and muscle and heart pain as side-effects. Being the biggest muscle in the body, the heart is particularly dependent on Co-Q, as well as the amino acid carnitine. Carnitine helps prepare fats for burning as energy and is found in good amounts in orange-coloured vegetables like carrots and pumpkins and in sweet potatoes, spinach, kale, turnips and beetroot.
Generating vital energy
Most of us only use a third of our lung capacity. The basis of all yoga and all traditional martial arts starts with the conscious use of the breath – this means more than breathing deeply and involves a method of breathing that connects you with the centre of vital energy in the belly. Patrick recommends Psychoalithenics – a series of 23 breathing-with-movement exercises that promote vital energy through the whole body. Psychocalisthenics can be done easily at home, needs little space and no equipment. It delivers extraordinary results in terms of vitality, flexibility and wellbeing. Find out more here. https://www.patrickholford.com/books/psychocalisthenics-oscar-ichazos-vital-energy-exercise
Avoid the energy expenders
There are two sides to the energy equation: one is generating energy, the other conserving it. We consume the energy available to us in many ways and get ‘burnt out’. Stimulants, from caffeine to alcohol can be thought of as energy consumers. One of the models that Patrick uses to explain how and why we do things that deplete our energy is described by Oscar Ichazo. In an article on drug abuse he says: “Drugs (all of them) can be characterized as ‘energy consumers’, consuming energy at a rate much greater than our natural ability to replace it. As drugs burn all our accumulated vitality in short periods of time, the brief exaltation is inevitably followed by depletion of vital energy, felt as the ‘down’, the depressant effect of drugs. Nothing can replace a natural, clean body capable of producing natural and clean vital energy.”
Interestingly he rates the drugs most damaging to our vital energy in this order: alcohol, heroin and opiates, tobacco, cocaine, barbiturates, anti-depressants, amphetamines, marijuana and caffeine.