The last place we may think of, but the first place to check is your gut! Digestive problems can impact on your entire body resulting in fatigue, allergies, mood disorders, arthritis, acne, dementia, autoimmune disease and much more. So restoring your gut to great health will go a long way to resolving most of the above states of illness.
What causes the gut to become sick or compromised?
A range of factors exist:
A diet that is high in processed, refined carbohydrates & sugars and low in fibre can cause an overgrowth of yeast in the gut. This damages the membranes of the gut and creates inflammation, compromising both digestion and absorption.
Bacterial infections or parasites in the small intestine can become chronic states if left unchecked.
Poor enzyme function caused by acid-blocking medication, eg. reflux medication, or even zinc deficiency may lower our enzyme production. Enzymes are required to promote proper digestion in the gut.
Overuse of medications like anti-inflammatories, antibiotics and steroids damage the gut lining.
Toxins such as pesticides, herbicides, moulds and heavy metals like mercury, also damage the gut.
Stress can cause changes in the gut creating greater permeability which leads to leaky gut and an overgrowth of bad gut bacteria.
Have you been diagnosed with a more chronic form of fatigue? … for example, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Multiple Sclerosis, Adrenal Fatigue or Fibromyalgia?
The problem begins in the mitochondria or energy ‘factories’ that are found in each cell. They are the centres where our metabolism occurs. Large numbers of mitochondria exist in muscle tissue, our organs, heart and brain. In our mitochondria we manufacture our energy from the oxygen we breathe and food we eat. So it stands to reason that if our nutrients are not of high quality then our energy manufacture may be less than adequate. This will dampen down the metabolism and make it work less efficiently.
Mitochondria are easily damaged and when they are, symptoms of fatigue, pain, memory loss and accelerated ageing occurs. Probably the biggest insult we inflict on our mitochondria over time is our highly processed refined diet of too many sugars with little to no nutritional value. This includes alcohol which is loaded with sugar.
In the mitochondria, when food is burned in the presence of oxygen, waste is created called ‘free radical’ waste. This leads to a chemical reaction called oxidation. So if the diet is low in antioxidants (fresh fruits, vegetables, fibrous plants), we are unable to protect our mitochondria from this damage and this contributes to cellular and tissue damage. In short progressive deterioration occurs throughout the body, leading to chronic inflammation and almost every known disease stems from this oxidative stress.
How to Boost Energy
Reduce intake of processed food, added sugars, artificial sweeteners, junk food, chemical additives and preservatives. These are highly toxic to our mitochondria, which prevents them from manufacturing energy. Instead eat nourishing foods full of antioxidants and phytonutrients, like vegetables, fruit, nuts, seeds, beans, legumes and wholegrains.
Inflammation must be arrested. Increase omega-3 fats to build up and strengthen mitochondrial membranes, by including cold water fish, flaxseeds, avocado and eggs.
Rule out Lyme disease, heavy metal toxicity, gut infections and adrenal fatigue. Additional testing may be required to identify these.
Sleep must be prioritised. Everything in life looks better when you have a good quality 7 hours or more of sleep each night. You feel and look better and manage your day better.
Reduce or avoid recreational drugs and stimulants including caffeine, alcohol, sugar etc. Run a trial over 4-6 weeks where you remove all of these and see just how much better and more energised you feel.
Address chronic stress. Our adrenal glands exist to help us cope with stress. Adrenal dysfunction is a good example of the body screaming out for us to relax and reset. These stresses arise from everyday situations like stresses in the work place, at home, in our families, relationships and even from social media.
Learn to hit the pause button and reset, to rediscover your energy.
COVID-19 update: As of Tuesday 19th May our Naturopath Merridy will be returning to the clinic for face-to-face consultations. All appropriate safety measures are in place regarding social distancing and sanitisation in the clinic. Merridy is still available for online consultations if you prefer. To make an appointment email or call on 0438 577 351.